Tag Archives: down jacket reviews

Review: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

September 22, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket

Ultralight Down Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
$320, 7 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
mountainhardwear.com

When trying to lighten a backpacking load, besides focusing on the heaviest items you carry (tent, bag, pack), your clothing offers potential for shaving ounces and bulk. Rather than assuming I need the same clothing for every trip, I choose layers based on the forecast and likely range of weather and temperatures—and I don’t pack more than I need. So I’m a big believer in ultralight insulation when the temperature will remain well above freezing. Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket proved perfect on a recent four-day, 85-mile backpacking trip in northern Yosemite National Park in early September: It kept me warm on the coldest morning, around 40° F, while weighing barely more than the wool hat and light gloves I brought. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Big Agnes Hole in the Wall Jacket

November 4, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Big Agnes Hole in the Wall Jacket

Big Agnes Hole in the Wall Jacket

Down Jacket
Big Agnes Hole in the Wall Jacket
$220, 14 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
bigagnes.com

When I unzipped my sleeping bag after a night spent under the stars at nearly 11,000 feet by Columbine Lake in Sequoia National Park in August, I wasn’t thinking about what’s inside the new Hole in the Wall Jacket. Cocooned warmly inside my bag, I had been hammered by strong gusts all night; and with that cold wind still blowing when I woke up, I didn’t want to get out of it. But I pulled on this fat puffy and all but forgot about the wind—reminding me that sometimes the characteristics that make for a good puffy jacket are what you can’t see. Continue reading →

Gear Review: L.L. Bean Ultralite 850 Down Jacket

January 28, 2013  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
LL Bean Ultralite 850 down jacket

LL Bean Ultralite 850 down jacket

Down Jacket
L.L. Bean Ultralite 850
$179, 1 lb. 1 oz. (men’s medium), $189 tall
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, tall M-XXL, women’s XS-XL, petite XS-XL
llbean.com

In heavily falling snow at around 9,000 feet on Copper Mountain in Idaho’s Boise National Forest, I felt the cold touch my bones. We had been climbing uphill on skis, breaking trail, for about 90 minutes; I was wet, and now the wind on the exposed ridge where we had stopped for a bite hit us. I pulled this down jacket on over my shell jacket and kept it on while skiing back downhill—I was that cold—realizing the snow could saturate the feathers and thinking, “Well, we’ll see if this water-resistant down works.” Continue reading →

Gear Review: Westcomb Cayoosh LT Sweater

October 16, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

 

Westcomb Cayoosh LT Sweater

Westcomb Cayoosh LT Sweater
$260, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XS-XL
westcomb.com

From Idaho’s Sawtooths to Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness and Washington’s Olympic Mountains, this full-zip down jacket proved surprisingly warm for its weight in temperatures from the 40s down to a hair below freezing (with only one or two base layers underneath). Continue reading →

Gear Review: MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

August 17, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

Ultralight Puffy
MontBell EX Light Down Jacket
$190, 5 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s S-XL
montbell.us

Don’t ask: How lightweight can a down jacket be and still keep you warm? Instead, reframe the question: How light a puffy do you want and how does it fit into your layering system? With sewn-through construction to prevent down from migrating, elastic cuffs to seal out drafts, and no hand pockets, this jacket stuffed with just 1.8 ounces of premium, 900-fill down feathers is no fat puffy. But it’s a very light stand-alone insulation piece for mild summer temperatures, or a versatile middle layer in a system that you can customize for a variety of outdoor activities in any season. Continue reading →