/ Which Down jacket? Actually can you just dress me, thanks.

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r0x0r.wolfo - on 16 Oct 2013
Hey guys, been looking round for my first down jacket. Live in manchester and looking for a warm snazzy jacket for thowing on between boulder problems. Also has to be decent looking for mooching round the christmas markets, pub etc etc.

Was in the shop, still not made my mind up, looking at a montane north star, nice hood, good fit. Was told no no no, its all natural down, I need hydrophobic down for a british climate, which I guess makes sense. What do you guys make of this?

Anyway, I don't actually own any technical climbing clothing so maybe I need to go from base up? Quite like the ME eclipse as a 2nd layer and it has ninja points so maybe deffo getting one of those. Only own a decent marmot hardshell, nothing fancy but quite an active close fit.

Of course the mate who was with me thinks its all too expensive and a waste of money! Any thoughts?

How should I go about being warm in winter whether I am climbing or belaying or between problems the odd time I boulder?

Thanks in advance, sorry for the rambling!
BnB - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Forget down: Primaloft all the way for the UK climate. I have several down items and only wear them indoors!

Good news though, Primaloft doesn't just retain insulating properties when wet, it's often cheaper too.

Check out Rob Xenon and Montana Prism for two top contenders which you can wear to the pub as well as huddle under on belay.
sleavesley on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Support British companies and buy something made in the UK. PHD (Peter Hutchinson Design) is what you want. Have a look at their website and also in their bargain box too to see if something fits the bill or have it made to your custom design.
Not too many people will be walking around in them.
Also Peter Hutchinson founded Mountain Equipment!
They are not cheap though, but you get what you pay for.
marsbar - on 16 Oct 2013
neuromancer - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Down makes sense if you don't plan ever going out in the rain; primaloft makes more sense if there's no way you can avoid getting a bit wet when it's cold.

E.g. if you only ever boulder and go from tent/bnb to crag and back, down is fine. Look at a basic down jacket by rab/me/marmot or even someone like alpkit. You probably in this case could also do without a hood - and save some money there.

If you're more likely to do some cragging over multiple days, walking, trad climbing and/or winter climbing as well, OR you want a jacket you can wear to the pub when it's raining but also very chilly - primaloft makes sense. Look at ME's Fitzroy, Rab's Generator Alpine and so on.

With regards to technical midlayers - again, the question is "what do you want to do".
Father Noel Furlong on 16 Oct 2013
r0x0r.wolfo - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong: Oh god, that is probably the most awful thing I have seen in some time. Thanks, I guess XD.

Yeah been looking through these suggestions!

I mean the thing is, I don't climb in the wet. Doesn't really do it for me but I imagine we can all get caught out. The montane came with a waterproof stuff sack but now maybe I'm leaning towards hydrodown or synthetic only.

With the technical mid layers, I have been looking at these long sleeved skin tight hoody things like this:

So maybe t-shirt > Skin tight hoody thing > down jacket/nice warm thing to slip on and off between climbing/belaying.

I think another layer will be needed in between the last two sometimes for climbing when it is quite cold. Just guessing here, I don't know shit .
Father Noel Furlong on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

It is pretty horrible. Primaloft is def the way to go in the UK as it holds its warmth when wet. I wouldn't be solely constrained by traditional climbing brands if you go with down as there are lots of trendy brands that do down jackets. My missus has a Haglofs Primaloft and loves it.

thin bob on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
maybe think about a paramo hoody or polo-shirt thingy as a midlayer? reversible, worn mine in summer as well as winter, sleeves roll/push up.

For foul winter conditions, the hoods fit ok, could do with a drawstring perhaps (but then, if it's that bad you'll probably have a shell on a well)
Thrudge on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
> I mean the thing is, I don't climb in the wet.

Same here. I've got the Montane North Star, I love it. If it rains, the outer is water resistant enough to keep me dry while we pack up and get back to the car. It's the thinnest down jacket I ever had (others were Mountain Equipment, Mountain Hardwear and Rab). It is also by far the warmest, and the best fitting.

If it fits you OK, I'd say go for it.
Tom French - on 16 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
I can't recommend the ME eclipse hoody enough. Fantastic bit of gear, I wear it all the time.
Ben Sharp - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: I'm gonna buck the trend and say go with down, as a casual snuggle up warm jacket they're idea. We're not talking Scottish winter belay jacket here and down jackets aren't going to die if you get a bit of drizzle on them. (obviously they're not wet weather wear but you won't destroy it by getting it damp).

The fashion at the moment is lightweight, thin fabrics...avoid those if you want to wear it outside of the pub. Choose something with a decent, thickish fabric on the outside. The rab summit has toughened fabric on the shoulders and wear points, it's also filled with hydrophobic down. Not sure how much of a gimmick it is tbh, my feeling is the jacket will probably outlast whatever they do to make the down hydrophobic so I wouldn't worry too much about it. The summit is £200 ish.

Having said all that, personally I wouldn't be seen dead in a new down jacket, £35-70 for a decent second hand one off ebay, got a mountain hardwear one a few years ago for £30 and it's still going strong, had lots of wear and I wont cry myself to sleep if it gets wet or gets a boulder hole or gets food on it etc. I want a jacket I can sit around a camp fire with, if I spent £200 on a down jacket it would be staying in the car (or on the wall at home) and what's the point in that? Life's stressful enough without having to molly coddle your clothes, I just want a jacket I can put on and be warm in.
SidharthaDongre - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

Even with Primaloft, when it gets wet it loses insulative value, I wouldn't bank on being warm when it gets piss-wet-through. If you're really worried about getting wet, go pile & pertex, both Buffalo Systems, (whose gear has the added feature of being made in Sheffield), and Montane make some great kit.
SidharthaDongre - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to SidharthaDongre:

Plus it's super-cheap in comparison to other synthetics and down products.
MikeStuart on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Just don knitwear and a flatcap. 'nough said.
CurlyStevo - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
Down will last a lot longer in terms of keeping the warmth of the garment than primaloft but you do need to make sure it doesn't go mouldy and washing it is more problematic (it must be washed with pure soap and then tumble dried on a low setting with tennis balls in the drier).

You can apply down proof to many down garments after buying them. I did this to one of my sleeping bags. It now has the added bonus that when I wash it (which I have no done once since applying the down proof) it dries much much faster and only needed 80p in the tumble drier!

That said if you think you may get in to winter climbing I'd consider getting a primaloft jacket but bear in mind they loose at lot of warmth after a few years use.
TobyA on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> That said if you think you may get in to winter climbing I'd consider getting a primaloft jacket but bear in mind they loose at lot of warmth after a few years use.

I remember 1990s synth insulation that would loose its loft pretty dramatically in a few years but I think they seem to be lasting much better now. My DAS parka is from 2001 I think and still going strong for instance. Nevertheless down is renowned for last exceedingly well. I've got a North Face jacket from the mid-90s and its still fine now. It gets washed maybe twice a decade with some fancy nikwax stuff and that always seems to perk it back up again to as-new standards.
CurlyStevo - on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:
I've read that primaloft can loose warmth after 3-5 years but as you point out that info could be out of date. I think away from the primaloft website most sourses do still quote down as more durable than primaloft. I must admit my primaloft jacket is still fine at around 4-5 years old and its the only one I've owned. But I always keep it hung up when not in use, rarely compress it and in the grand scheme of things its not been used that much (as I only use it for outdoor stuff and then mainly winter climbing). The OP wants to use his on a more regular basis so I wouldn't think he'd get the same lifespan I would.
TobyA on 17 Oct 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: Yep, my North Face down jacket was my regular everyday winter jacket for years when I first moved to Finland along with being my belay jacket in winter and summer cold night camping jacket etc. Probably for a general jacket to do everything in, the Alpkit one could a be a great value choice - or one of the basic ME or RAB ones - for instance.

The idea that down jackets melt at the first hint of drizzle or that you'll get hypothermia in minutes is over selling it a bit too. Most have a water-resistant treatment on their nylon outers now and it will keep rain off for a bit - long enough to walk back to the car park from many crags for example, and it's a nice feeling pulling on a big puffy down jacket to belay in on chilly days cragging.
Avaunt - on 17 Oct 2013
(Live vid yesterday)
I got an ME Himal in early spring sale. I got it for 3 main reasons 1. Windproof 2. Heavily Rainresistant 3. I heard read a few revues about the like MEs' elasticated back hugging design.

Since then I really wanted to test it in rain, yesterdays 'dog walk' was just right for that, temp down to 9c but in open spaces a strong wind, not sure now which direction, but the rain was constant over around the 2.5 hours & in the open it was lashing.

Anyway heres a vid in a 'picnic' area, butty's were to wet so I thought I make this feedback vid so folks could see for themselves. It had let no rain in by the time I got back to car, MEs' Drilite loft.

Avaunt - on 18 Oct 2013
r0x0r.wolfo - on 19 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Hey cheers for the video. How's the jacket now? Looked a bit damp.

I randomly bought a prana t-shirt (on sale) yesterday and it turned out that she'd bought the exact same one for me for my birthday. I got it for half the price she did so she's returning the one she bought ;). Apparently I have to wait till after sunday to buy anything now, although I am sure she hasn't bought me a downie!

Anyway... thanks for all the feedback! I sort of wish that I titled the thread 'Dress me for 500 quid'. Layering system, skin tight ninja hoody, stretchy diamond crotch pants, the lot. Sort of like when people ask about supplementing their rack ;).
captain paranoia - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

A bit of a curve ball, much lighter than what you've looking at, but a lot cheaper...

(not the trousers...)
r0x0r.wolfo - on 20 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: Let me just have a look. I do like a bargain sometimes. Was my birthday today, no downie I'm afraid! Over t' moors guidebook though, and a cuthroat razor V.nice.
Hay - on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:
All the comments on synthetic and pertex/pile options are sound enough ... but ...
A down jacket is a good thing forgeneral mooching, chilly belaying and bouldering. I have a Rab jacket that I bought in '88 that is stll going strong now. Which obv makes me ancient and tight.
For what youre doing, choose anything with a tough face fabric and decent 750/800 fill. goose down if you want to spend a bit extra. Even a basic Lightline from ME would work well for you. Montane down look great though.
Tbh a down jacket is also a good scottish belay jacket ... new ones deal pretty well with snow and if it is raining then you really should be in the pub anyway.
Oh, and push feathers back in rather than pull out.
gear boy on 21 Oct 2013
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: hydro down is the new trend, is it really needed?

I have a water resist outer down jkt like the North Star, has never got the down wet, yes get caught out in rain, and it came through the seams onto me, but didnt affect the down

If you want a down, get a down, if it gets wet, let it dry out, then tumble dry with a tennis ball to reloft it,

again I have never had to do this in 20 years of down jkts and bags.

So i would suggest if you get a down jkt wet, then you made a mistake, not the end of the world as its more likely to happen stood watching football/rugby etc. not in the high mountains of the world where its cold

all that said i more often where a Primaloft for general use

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