Tag Archives: climbing apparel reviews

September 20, 2018 Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

Review: Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

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Down Jacket
Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket
$309, 11 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
featheredfriends.com

From lunch stops at mountain passes buffeted by cold, autumn’s-around-the-corner winds in Glacier National Park in September, to cool mornings and evenings in camp on that six-day Glacier backpacking trip and a four-day August trip in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket persuaded me that it’s hands-down one of the very best puffy jackets on the market—and an incredible value at its price. I don’t offer such praise casually or very often. But there are few pieces of outdoor apparel or gear on which your money would be more wisely spent. Read on to learn why. Continue reading →

September 5, 2018 The Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie.

Review: Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie and Sierra DriDown Jacket

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Down Jackets
Sierra Designs Whitney DriDown Hoodie
$169, 14 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
Moosejaw.com

Sierra Designs Sierra DriDown Jacket
$159, 12 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL

The best, three-season down and synthetic insulated jackets stand out for high-quality construction and materials—which translates to abundant warmth per ounce, low weight, and excellent packability. They also range from over $200 to nearly $400, and while worth every dollar, those prices put them out of reach for some consumers. What do you do? More-affordable puffy jackets generally have lower-quality insulation. That’s why the Sierra Designs Whitney Hoodie and Sierra Jacket, stuffed with 800-fill, water-resistant DriDown, look so enticing. My field testing found some flaws but still demonstrated why they’re a good value. Read on. Continue reading →

June 12, 2018 Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

Review: Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody

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Ultralight Insulated Jacket
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
$299, 9 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s XS-XXL, women’s XXS-XL
moosejaw.com

The wind blew at a steady 30 mph or better and gusted over 40 mph—creating a wind chill around 40° F—on yet another Memorial Day weekend of “mixed” weather at Idaho’s City of Rocks. I zipped into my Micro Puffy Hoody, pulled the hood up under my helmet, and readied to belay for what would stretch into an hour as my partner led a long trad rock-climbing pitch. Fortunately, this featherweight insulated jacket kept me warm while standing idle for that long in those conditions. It did the same in similar temps and light rain later that weekend at the City, and in cool, strong wind while camping at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim and on the Esplanade during a four-day backpacking trip. One of the lightest insulated jackets on the market at a mere nine ounces, the Micro Puff is surprisingly warm. Here’s why. Continue reading →

Review: The 10 Best Down Jackets of 2018

April 10, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments
Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket.

Testing the Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket in Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

There’s a certain irony in looking for an insulated jacket for outdoor activities these days. While many of us use the term “down jacket” generically, some of the best puffy jackets out there have synthetic insulation or combine synthetics with down feathers. And technology has blurred the traditional lines between down and synthetics, with water-resistant down that traps heat even when wet—all but eliminating the weakness that had long been the Achilles heel of down—and synthetic insulation materials that approach the warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility of down.

In this article, I’ll help you figure out what type of jacket you need, and then offer you my recommendations for the best down and synthetic puffy jackets on the market today. Continue reading →

The 5 Best Rain Jackets for Hiking and Backpacking

March 27, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Patagonia Pluma Jacket.

Wearing the Patagonia Pluma Jacket on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

By Michael Lanza

Shop for a rain jacket for dayhiking, backpacking, or climbing in the backcountry and you’ll see shells for adults ranging from under $100 to over $600, and from less than half a pound to over a pound—with just as huge and confusing a range of opinions on them from reviewers and consumers. I’m going to make the choice easy for you.

I’ve tested dozens of rain shells while hiking through soaking rains all over the world over the past two decades, writing reviews for this blog and previously for Backpacker magazine; I’ve learned how to distinguish the mediocre from the excellent. Here are my picks for the five best rain jackets for backcountry adventures that you can buy today. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker