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Gear Review: MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

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

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.

I wore the EX Light comfortably over just a midweight, long-sleeve base layer on mornings in the high 40s Fahrenheit in Idaho’s Smoky Mountains and City of Rocks, and between a rain shell and two base layers when shooting photos outside huts on afternoons and evenings in the 30s and 40s during an eight-day trek in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park. Its trim cut fits a light fleece vest underneath and layers well under heavier insulation or shell jackets. The EX Light sacrifices hand pockets—but they aren’t necessary in mild temps or when you have a shell over it. One warning: Be careful to avoid treating this 7-denier ballistic nylon shell too roughly, or it might tear. But ultralight backpackers or anyone interested in a puffy that weighs less than a long-sleeve jersey, packs down barely larger than your fist (in the included stuff sack), and delivers outstanding warmth for its paltry weight, will love the EX Light.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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