/ Down jackets for UK use

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Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
Hello all,

I have the opportunity to replace my knackered synthetic duvet jacket with a down jacket. The new jacket will be used for day-to-day cold weather wear (e.g dog walking), winter camping, and perhaps some winter climbing.

I'm drawn to the likes of the Mountain Equipment Sigma but I'm wondering whether the new generation of lightweight down jackets are more than adequate for my needs? I run pretty warm, and don't want (can't afford!) more than one insulated jacket.

I know the Sigma is water-resistant; how water-resistant are any of the lightweight options?
Erstwhile on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Surely down is a "downer" in the UK for anything more than piste skiing and general poncing. It gets soaked, heavy, and useless.
The Lemming - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Alpkit may be able to help, but they only have one colour left. I've had mine for two years and so far its going well for cragging and walking the pooch. The hood is an option that can be removed.

http://www.alpkit.com/shop/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16965&category_id=301
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

If you are set on down, fair enough. But I would consider a synthetic jacket for UK dog walking and suchlike...purely on the practicalities of coping with our wet weather.

There have been some big shouts on here for the Simond jackets at Decathlon (they do down as well) Uniqlo do a good range of down jackets. All much cheaper then the "climbing" brands
The Lemming - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:



I am off to Decathlon today for a synthetic jacket. The orang Simond jackets are only available in the Belfast store, or so the Check Availability' says.
Snoweider - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hi Clare, I wouldn't normally wax lyrical on a specific product like this but I recently got to test the Jottnar Fjorm and I'm very impressed. It has box wall baffles in the torso, making it a lot warmer than other jackets in its price range, and synthetic fill around the cuffs and likely wet out zones- its basically designed for cold/wet climates as much as a down jacket can be. It is very light for its warmth and features.

There is a youtube review from Up and Under here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMx0FaWBio0

In reply to Snoweider:

> Hi Clare, I wouldn't normally wax lyrical on a specific product like this but I recently got to test the Jottnar Fjorm

I'm sitting on my Fjorm at this very moment on the bus - lovely coat, kept me warm last weekend https://twitter.com/TobyinHelsinki/status/404607604384493569 - but possibly more full on than Clare wants/needs? I notice the rigidity of the hood peak for example when wearing it casually.

Clare, the lightweight "micro baffle" down jackets aren't super warm but do pack up incredibly small. Uniqlo have theirs on sale currently, and so about 50 quid I think. They are really good for the money, I've used mine a fair amount now. I've got the non hooded one and it packs down to not much bigger than a coffee mug. Possibly one of them AND a cheaper synthetic filled duvet with a good hood could be the way to go and still cheaper than buying one full-on winter weight down duvet?
In reply to Tall Clare:

You need to fully kit yourself out in TNF clothing.
Climbing Pieman on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Never used it, but you could always try a down proof treatment? Say http://www.nikwax.com/en-gb/products/productdetail.php?productid=103
Climbing Pieman on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:

> You need to fully kit yourself out in TNF clothing.

LOL, yesterday the checkout lady at a local supermarket asked me what TNF meant - I was wear one of their softshell jackets. She says she has seen lots of the TNF logos on customers recently and did not know what it meant!
nufkin - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I see a lot of folk in the micro-baffle jackets these days - the Rab Microlight might do for your needs, now it's got their hydrophobic down
In reply to Tall Clare:
This is a great do a bit of everything jacket and very cheap here if you fit one of the sizes they have http://bit.ly/1eFFGdV
Post edited at 12:06
SteveD - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: I am always amused by peoples contention that down is no good for the UK. I dig mine out when the temp gets down to about 5deg and wear it pretty much every day through the winter. If the forecast is for persistent rain, then I use something else but it will handle most conditions. If I am winter climbing then it won't be raining!

The thing I like over my synthetic jackets is that it is comfortable over a wider range of temperatures, synthetic seems to be more clammy somehow.

Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
Some interesting thoughts here - will reply more extensively when on my computer rather than on my phone.

A couple of things: women's fit is important as I've stumbled along with a man's duvet for a while and it just doesn't fit the same round the hips.

I tend to 'make do and mend', and the opportunity to be warm and draught free in winter is exciting - the microlight down is attractive in that I can shove a goretex over it.

Hmm...

Snoweider - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Yeah, I realise that the Fjorm is a bit of a beast!- but it is I think lighter, warmer and more suited to uk conditions than the ME option Clare is considering so def worth a look.
Denni on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:


Hi Claire,
If you're set on a down jacket then I can't help you but how about a waterproof, primaloft jacket?

My wife has a Patagonia Winter sun hoody and it is awesome. As soon as the autumn/winter sets in, it's never off her back. She is a size 12/14 (Patagonia women's size large) and it has a woman's specific cut, a wee bit longer at the back, helmet compatible hood, etcetera. She also runs hot and she doesn't get too hot.

It really does do everything and she loves it. So much so, we bought another one in Canada for when this one wears out which will be a long time! The other alternative which is basically the same is the North Face Makalu. (Also women's size large)

Hope this helps, Den

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBCUhubvskU

Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Denni:

Definitely worth a thought - thanks.
martinph78 on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Erstwhile:

Not true. If it's raining enough to soak a DWR coated down jacket then it's not cold enough to be wearing a down jacket.

I personally don't think the lightweight down jackets (micro-baffle) are warm enough on their own as an everyday jacket and think that they need to be part of a layering system.



Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Martin1978:

That's interesting - sounds like primaloft may well be worth further exploration...
BnB - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> That's interesting - sounds like primaloft may well be worth further exploration...

Yep. I've pretty much stopped wearing down as I find primaloft less hassle to look after, warm in all weather conditions and the textile linings more comfortable. I have loads of insulated jackets in recent use, at least 2 down and 4 Primaloft and my favourite by a clear margin is the Rab Strata because of the breathability of the new Primaloft Alpha filling. Not as warm as thicker, less porous insulation, and certainly not a winter belay jacket, but with an excellent operating range for your intended use. A stylish, comfortable and breathable alternative is the Arcteryx Atom LT hoody which is pretty much staff uniform for workers in any smart gear outlet. Check them both out.
Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to BnB:

Arcteryx is far too expensive!

I'm also looking for a cheerful colour - my current belay jacket is orange/red. Shall have a look in local gear emporiums (emporia?)
marsbar - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I have an old down jacket and I use it to walk the dog most nights in winter, if its raining its not that cold and I wear something else.

I find that I wear the sleeveless one more often the rest of the time.

If its drizzling then the down doesn't get too wet.
Tall Clare - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to marsbar:



That's my experience of my last down jacket, an old Rab Glacier.
winhill - on 29 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Alpkit say they should be getting delivery soon, delivery in time for Xmas.
martinph78 on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Not quite what I meant. Primaloft is good, don't get me wrong, but for absolute warmth you really can't beat down, and not micro-down, but proper lofty down. I have both, and when it's properly cold nothing beats the down jacket!

Extra 10% off this weekend, and it's a properly warm down jacket for UK use:

http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/berghaus-womens-popena-hooded-down-jacket-p282817

I can't find better for £145.
Jonny2vests - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Erstwhile:


> Surely down is a "downer" in the UK for anything more than piste skiing and general poncing. It gets soaked, heavy, and useless.

There speaks a man who has probably never been bouldering.
crossdressingrodney - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Erstwhile:

Couldn't agree less. Down's great for belaying, between routes/boulders in winter, camping, wondering round town at night.

Only worthwhile on cold, crisp, dry days though.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hi Clare, what is your budget? Rough is okay. Stops us recommending 300 pound down/synthetic jackets you see!
Tall Clare - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
Up to £250, hence the Sigma suggestion. It'd be a once-in-a-very-long-time purchase, so I need to consider it carefully.

I understand Alpkit down isn't a great fit for women, and I've never got on with Berghaus for similar reasons. I know ME and Haglofs tend to be well-proportioned for lanky folk like me... and to qualify the Arcteryx comment, I have a perception that it's expensive 'high end' kit that's more technical than I need...
Post edited at 04:06
lady_radiation - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hi,
I have a ME primaloft jacket (can't for the life of me remember the model) but its women specific so fits well around the hips.I use mine for day to day stuff (got it with me now for post nightshift warmth) and for winter outdoors stuff (bouldering etc). Its really warm and packs down pretty light. I would say its probably not quite as warm as some of the equivalent price range proper lofted downs that I have tried/borrowed off other people (not micro down). I also have a micro down which is great for layering and ok by itself but not warm enough really for standing around unless its combined with something else, then its great.
The only thing i would say is the primaloft jakets don't have quite the same 'look' as a down jacket. I think some of the downs are all together prettier.

Josie
r0x0r.wolfo - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> Up to £250, hence the Sigma suggestion. It'd be a once-in-a-very-long-time purchase, so I need to consider it carefully.
Fair enough Clare. I'm sorry it sounded like a silly question but there are various prices for these jackets from 140 to 250, so I was not sure if you were basing price on RRP or a particular deal. Or perhaps you were looking at that jacket as a benchmark but not on price terms and was/are willing to spend more or less. Don't mind my pedantry, you'll never find anyone who geeks out more before getting anything buying anything over about 20 pounds than me.

> I understand Alpkit down isn't a great fit for women, and I've never got on with Berghaus for similar reasons. I know ME and Haglofs tend to be well-proportioned for lanky folk like me... and to qualify the Arcteryx comment, I have a perception that it's expensive 'high end' kit that's more technical than I need...

People may generalise a little quickly about certain manufacturers sizing philosophy, or perhaps there's an exception on some bits of clothing. That's a very non commital 'keep your mind open and just try on different jackets rather than brands' statement. I'm totally geeking out over that Jöttnar jacket myself, except that damn price tag of £295. But I am a fool and you can do much better bang per buck wise. If it is your workhorse all weathers jacket then logically the synthetic suggestions make sense, though hydrophobic down is possibly narrowing that gap. What did you wear with your old jacket?
Jonny2vests - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

You could make 250 quid go a long way if you went to the Rab factory shop near Nottingham.
Siward on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Someone was selling a bargain ME Annapurna on these forums recently. Nice warm jacket which is what you want from a down jacket surely.

(I never miss an excuse to get out my bright red ME Redline jacket, giving a very Father Christmas look but great for sitting outside drinking a wee dram of an evening camping in the hills in winter...)
Erstwhile on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

That's what I meant by general poncing around.

My experience of "winter climbing" (to quote OP) is water drizzling over me on half frozen icefalls, sindrift pouring down my neck, and sleeping damp under boulders in a blizzard. Rest assured that in those conditions down is useless.
sam.sam.sam.ferguson - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

try the hangar 18 down jackets, really good jackets, mine is great. lasted me 2 years with no issues, packs down really small too.

http://www.h18orr.com/products/down-jacket
Tall Clare - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to sam.sam.sam.ferguson:
Two years isn't a long time in my gear-purchasing world!

They also don't do women-specific jackets. Thanks for the suggestion though.
Post edited at 17:29
sam.sam.sam.ferguson - on 30 Nov 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

i will re-phrase what i wrote - i have had it two years and it is still going strong.
Timmd on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Ebay could be worth keeping an eye on, I've noticed howies insulated jacets going cheap on there, if you're a Howies fan and know your sizing with their jackets?

It's my cunning way of affording Howies. (:-))
Carolyn - on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> It's my cunning way of affording Howies. (:-))

Shush, don't tell everyone.

TBH, it's true for most brands if you're prepared to bit of time searching. My down jacket (MHW water-resistant shelled one with hood) came of eBay for under £50, as new - but was just listed as "women's puffa jacket" or similar.
Post edited at 15:23
purplemonkeyelephant - on 01 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

It's a shame Black Diamond haven't released Women's stuff yet because their Stance Belay jacket is incredible
ads.ukclimbing.com
alasdair19 on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hi Clare

I'm a UK down jacket exasperated owner.

Think about the last time you were cold in the UK.

You were wet weren't you....

Down is therefore F all use.

Buy a new smart synthetic and glory in the knowledge that unlike the rest of the population you have though about what your wearing.

ps i own 2 down jackets and rarely use either
Jonny2vests - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

Maybe you're just harder than me, but I've been cold loads of times without being wet. Mainly stood still holding a rope or bouldering. But shopping isn't out of the question either.
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests:

Yeah - cold and wet aren't necessarily synonymous.

My current belay jacket isn't that water-resistant.

Some down jackets are described as 'highly water resistant' - is that just marketing guff?

control freak on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare: Hello, not exactly an expert but a couple of things I've found with jackets - I've got the RAB microlight. One of the reasons I got it was the women's fit that for once takes into account having shoulders, waist and hips (mannequins for many other outdoor designers are seemingly made with out these three components) so it is a lot less bulky around the waist than some others. I also prefer it to heavier ones because I can walk around in it without overheating (couldn't walk anywhere in my heavier down jacket and was forever taking it off and putting back on again) so lightweight down/pertex might be a better option for dog walking? Mine's fine in light to moderate rain and it can't be the only one that is.
Oh and I specifically chose one with a hood and have not regretted it - makes a huge difference in addition to a hat when standing around belaying or spotting. (if you do decide to get one, mine is the blue/pink one ;)
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to control freak:

Some good thoughts, but I'm getting a distinct 'lightweight down wouldn't be right for most of what i need' feeling from what others have said - it seems my orange jacket will perform that function, either that or goretex/fleece, which is what I wear for anything proper.

I think it's easiest to forget about it and muddle on for the time being.
alasdair19 on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Of course its guff, better but still rubbish. Arc teryx and everyone else do good female cuts now. Check out decathalon as well they can order quite a lot in
alasdair19 on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Jonny2vests: when I'm cold is allmost allways cause base layers are soaked.
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

Nearest Decathlons are each an hour and a half away - I'd rather buy locally, whatever I end up with. As I say though, I think it's best to muddle on for the moment with what I already have.

Thanks everyone.
alasdair19 on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Nice to know they,ve not conquered world yet!
Boxing day sales!
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to alasdair19:

I'm not in a huge rush - it's part of our wedding presents so I'd rather get exactly what I want.
duchessofmalfi - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

"I'm also looking for a cheerful colour"

Get a black one - so much easier to repair when you inevitably snag it on something -
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

No - don't understand the point in black outdoor jackets, but each to his/her own.
MG - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Greeny-greys do mean you blend in better on the hillside, if you wish to be inconspicous. Maybe you don't.
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to MG:

Argh.

The most likely uses for a warm jacket of this nature would be a) winter camping, often in campsites (no need to wear camouflage gear), b) belaying/etc (no need for camouflage gear), c) standing around at cyclocross races (brighter colours are better so Mr TC can find me), d) working on events (colour not important), e) very cold weather dog walking (colour not important).

Hope that helps.

<starts to sob>

MG - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:


> <starts to sob>

Oh, sorry.
Tall Clare - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to MG:

:-)

I've just ordered a dark green tent, by way of compensation...
galpinos - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

The Sigma is a lovely jacket but I'd also look at the Xero (in "Enamel", Iris is a bit full-on). If I was buying a down, I'd get the mens Xero.
Despite all the "down-haters", putting on a down jacket is far cosier than a synthetic and I have numerous examples of both.

I have a micro-baffled smock which is great, but is warn as a warm jumper more than a big cosy jacket.

Oh, and my "big" down is a Rab Neutrino and if buying again, I'd go ME. Better fit and feels better quality than my jacket - loose threads and velcro tabs falling off.....
Jonny2vests - on 02 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

I don't like outdoor gear with dark colours, it looks crap in photos (most importantly), you lose stuff and you're always dying because nobody can find you, yadda yadda yadda.

But for Down, I usually get black, because anything else looks MINGING after a year of not washing it. People say there are ways of cleaning these things, but I don't believe than / can't be arsed.
nathan79 - on 03 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Have you looked at the Montane Flux Jacket? Primaloft and the ladies version comes in black, grey, blue and purple.

I've got an Alpkit Filo and a Berghaus ignite hoody to choose from insulation-wise and I'm just looking for an excuse to but the mens version of the Montane Flux.
Tall Clare - on 03 Dec 2013
In reply to nathan79:

I've spent time trying on some jackets today and I think I've made my decision.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Bobbo#1 - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Hello,
Check out the new Outdoor Research Floodlight Jacket.
It just might fit you wishes!

http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/womens/jackets/womens-floodlight-jacket.html
The Lemming - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> Nearest Decathlons are each an hour and a half away - I'd rather buy locally, whatever I end up with.

Don't get too excited with the prospect of a visit to Decathlon. I went last week and was underwelmed by what was on offer. Yes it's a huge shop, with a wide range of sports but sadly it is very limited in insulating jackets.

I went to the Bolton store expecting a healthy selection of garments. Sadly all that was on offer were cheap down jackets filled with 50% chicken feathers and cheap skiing/snowboarding jackets.

On monday I went to the Manchester Christmas Markets and while mooching round the stalls I popped into a Cotswald store for my first ever viewing of Primaloft products. I was not impressed.

All the Primaloft jackets were priced similar to down garments. I was mistakenly under the impression that synthetic was cheaper than down when in fact their prices are comparable. The synthetic jackets also looked exceptionally thin and in my humble oppinion would not cut the mustard as a primary insulating garment, like a down jacket would.

So, I will give up my quest for a synthetic belay jacket and stick with my Alpkit down jacket.

Saying that, I did find a synthetic jobbie for walking the pooch in the pooring rain, from Decathlon. And thankfully the hood can be removed, with or without fur.

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/arpenaz-800-i-reflect-hiking-jacket-brown-id_8283761.html
galpinos - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Pray tell........
mbambi - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Don't know your location so this may be useless, but Nevisport in Kendal has a fantastic reduced rail of down jackets in at the moment, I looked at one reduced from 320 to 128 and almost bought it despite having enough down jackets!
Mark
The New NickB - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

First ever viewing of primaloft, are you sure, it has been in the shops over a decade. My TNF Redpoint must be 10 years old.

Clare, I liked the look of the Black Diamond synthetic jacket when I tried it on, although they just seemed to have men's in Ellis Brighams, I guess it fits or it doesn't. At £200 I thought it was a bit pricey, plus I already have 4 primaloft jackets of various weights.
Tall Clare - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to galpinos:
Having tried a few on and had a lengthy chat with people in local outdoor shops about what I'd be using it for and what the pros and cons of each are, I'm erring towards the theory that you've mentioned, i.e. that down is cosiest and best for my needs - I can always get a synthetic jacket at a later date. The thin down felt a little 'neither use nor ornament' so we're back to the Sigma, especially given that it comes in a *lovely* shade of blue. :-)

(the Outdoor Research one linked just above looks very nice too!)

I have a decent waterproof, I have plenty of fleeces, I have a synthetic belay jacket so water-resistant (caveat emptor etc etc) down it is.
Post edited at 09:57
martinph78 on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Good choice :) You really can't beat a big down jacket for warmth and cozy-ness!
galpinos - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

See, all this blather on the interweb and the answer was to go into the shop and pick the one you like and that fits the best. Who'd have thought it!

Glad you've found somthing you like.
Tall Clare - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to galpinos:

Haha, I'd already been eyeing it up online - just wanted some thoughts from the Hive Mind about pros and cons :-)
Mike Stretford - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Have you got a new car yet?
Tall Clare - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Papillon:

After all the dithering over Mondeos and Volvo V70s, instead we're off to look at a couple of BMW 520 Touring this week :-)
Mike Stretford - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

Thumbs up to that!
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

New cars, new jackets, Xmas around the corner...TC is pulling the country out of recession single handedly ;-)
Tall Clare - on 04 Dec 2013
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Haha! The new jackets will be half christmas presents, half wedding presents - people gave us vouchers so we have a new tent coming too - and the car is because Mr TC currently drives a company car but now that he's taken voluntary redundancy to do something else, he needs a car and wants one that will last... taken out of context it does all seem a bit extravagant.
Wilbur - on 07 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

What about a waterproof down jacket?

I got a rab summit storm reduced to £200 about 5 years ago and it is probably my go to jacket in winter out of about 4 options all roughly the same warmth (down and synthetic)

You def need down for many things in uk. Camping and sitting out for one and as someone else says bouldering in winter!
Siward on 10 Dec 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Eek! Rear wheel drive. Utterly USELESS in snow.

I had much fun a couple of winters back watching an extremely expensive BMW sliding backwards down a very shallow slope outside work, when all other vehicles seems to cope no problem.
Timmd on 11 Dec 2013
In reply to Siward:

Sack of spuds in the boot?

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