/ Lightweight synthetic insulating jacket
Currently, most likely contender is Rab Alpine Generator.
Thoughts, oh wise people of UKC?
Genny alpine fits all of those (I have one). ME Fitzroy is equivalent, and I've been told harder wearing. But less good looking.
Agree completely - in fact, just sold mine! Replaced with ME Fitzroy, as it is harder wearing and has a better hood.
Light, has a hood and cheap. Only slightly heavier than the really expensive offerings from say Patagonia...
Arcteryx Atoms are excellent but expensive. (I got mine half price)
Montane Prism is a cheap copy. But when you're risking shredding the fabric on some razor sharp gabbro it's comforting to think you bought the cheap one!
Other good options
Patagonia micro puff, Arcteryx Atom LT, Montane Fireball, OMM rotor smock
all these are 40g primaloft or equivalent, much more versatile warmth for UK use
I always feel like if you're going to put a belay jacket on, it's for belaying. If I wanted to be warmer whilst doing active things, don't I have a softshell or a fleece for that?
I've always been glad of the 100g primaloft one in my genny alp.
I like my North Face Redpoint Optimus. Not sure about the outer fabric but I've sat about in falling snow and the odd light shower in it. Packs down nice and small in its own pocket.
If you are using it as a belay jacket then it NEEDS to:
Have a 2 way zip so that you can open it at the bottom to access your harness/belay devise.
Have a hood that will fit over a helmet.
Have high pockets in case you need to use it under the harness or with a sack.
If it doesn't do the above it is not a belay jacket no matter what the manufacturers tell you.
Did you have a look at the Rab Xenon Hoodie? I was given one as a present and love it to bits. It has replaced my DAS Parka as belay jacket on a couple of winter routes (bit cold, so only on easy days,) replaces it completely for summer alps stuff and my normal combo of cheap fleece and windproof top for long trad days cannot match the comfort or weight savings that come with it. I think it is sub 400g, clipped to the back of the harness and stuffed in it's pocket it is barely noticeable. The pertex and synthetic fill take a while to get saturated, so if the day is only showers I'll only take that jacket to go over my t-shirt. I disagree with others comments on double zips and high pockets as this jacket is a near perfect accompaniment to getting out in all seasons bar winter. The major downside is the pertex is thin to save weight. Once I put a few holes in it I learnt to avoid scraping it off the rock... For what you have said you are looking for, it fits the bill. (Gf has an Arcteryx Atom LT which looks much better, but it seems to be a tailored fit and I have no idea if that is what you are going for...)
I have the Generator pull-on and it's superb. I don't miss a hood or a full-zip facility. It's super light - you hardly feel like it's on and is very flexible & incredibly warm. FWIW, I also tried the 'Montane Prism' and felt it wasn't as good a fit nor as comfortable to wear - it also felt a good bit heavier and 'stiffer'.
Didn't try the Arcterx Atom but have heard good thing about it.
Great jts that can be picked up cheaply and will be
Good performers. I use an Arcteryx Atom Sv,had an Lt
But preferred the hood adjustment and a little warmer
With no stretchy sides on the Sv.
Cotswold currently selling the Xenon at £100 down from £165...
However just seen the Xenon X (tougher outer and only 30g heavier) for sale for £116. Apparently RRP of the X is 130.
I'll go for the Xenon X and report back when I have it!
I don't agree with this one although the other points I think are all good. http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1375 I can't remember which jacket of mine had a two way zip, but it was a total faff coming undone when you didn't want it to. I much prefer the base of my belay jacket to be snug and to stay down over my bum and I've never found it necessary to unzip the base of the jacket to belay - just pull the front of the jacket up slightly if needed.
If the jacket does have a two way zip make sure its a decent locking one and won't come undone when you don't want it to.
Check your hood and helmet, it probably won't work with an alpine shield or such. It is snug with me which I prefer as it keeps me further from the weather when I need it.
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