The Magma is stylish enough to wear out on casual outings after backpacking and is dressy enough to look good on a night out on the town with the girls. And when wearing the jacket, if we unzipped that chest pocket to retrieve our phone or snacks, the stuff sack wouldn't fall out.
Recent Down Insulated Vest Reviews
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With the new polymer instead of wire hood brim, you don't look ridiculous when you forget to bend it into shape. The folks at Rab have also updated the jacket's fit, expanding the chest box and tapering the sides.
This makes the jacket a little less boxy, which helps it flow from mountain to town activities. In this year's round of field tests, we noticed a lot of compliments around town, as well as in the mountains. It is sleek and sharp. This jacket is a bit heavier for its size, but it seals out weather so well we think it's worth the few extra ounces.
Plus, the outer fabric was among the more durable when compared to similarly lightweight jackets in the review. We love the slightly longer arms, and the taper ensures the sleeves stay out of your way, even when rock climbing. The Microlight is light and compressible with fill power hydrophobic down and stands up to light rain and wet snow better than most with its Pertex exterior fabric.
We appreciated the new stuff sack, which makes it easy to travel with, but we would have preferred it if it were girth hitched to the pocket so it won't fall out when we open the pocket like the clever design featured in both the Arc'teryx Cerium LT and SV in this review.
This model will be reliable from town to summit. This great hoody is also available in a jacket! Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket - Women's. The deeper in the woods or the mountains you go, the more important the things you carry with you become and how much those things weigh.
Having the appropriate gear and clothing in the mountains is imperative to having a good time, and an insulated jacket can be the difference between summit and surrender, celebrating and suffering.
Down jackets range broadly from lightweight and packable to heavy-duty expedition parkas. In this review, we focus on the technical lightweight category. The jackets in this review are typically great stand-alone insulation for milder climates, like spring and fall in the desert or brisk mornings on foggy northern beaches. They may also serve as an insulating layer for light aerobic activities in frigid environments, or to wear under a shell jacket in inclement weather.
This review aims to help you find the right jacket for your uses, but also to equip you with the knowledge to evaluate jackets for yourself the next time you're browsing at an outdoor store.
While value isn't taken into account when ranking via our metrics, we consider value to play an important part in the purchasing of a product. While some hunting for a new down jacket may want the cream of the crop, others are more interested in the model that offers a high performance to value ratio.
With that in mind, we have crafted a value chart which pinpoints the models that do just that. Take a look at the chart below; you'll notice that those toward the bottom of the line and to the right offer up a high performance to value. The down versus synthetic question will probably never be an easy one to answer.
Even the best synthetic fibers are no match for the warmth-to-weight ratio of natural down feathers. But when down gets wet, it might as well be a pasta meal when you've run out of white gas--it's pretty much useless. We talk more about synthetic, down, and hydrophobic down in our Buying Advice Article. After years and months of using these jackets, wearing them across continents and for many different activities, we have come up with an evaluation of which jackets are best at what, and we have awarded some for outstanding performance.
Check out the chart above to see where each down competitor in our review ranked in overall performance. Down is measured by the amount of space taken up by an ounce of down feathers. Because down insulates by trapping air and holding it in place for your body heat to warm up, the more loft you can get, the better.
This means a higher numbered fill power is of higher quality. For example, fill power down fills cubic inches for every ounce of down. This also means that a fill jacket, like The North Face Aconcagua can be just as warm as an fill jacket — it'll just be bulkier. But the most common misconception is that a higher number means warmer when in reality a fill jacket can be warmer than a super thin fill ultralight jacket. But the slimmer Rab Microlight Alpine. Most of the jackets in this review are designed to be lightweight, technical insulating layers.
Most of them have down in the fill power range and provide excellent warmth and loft for the weight. These jackets are optimized for the mountains, which is a challenging balancing act of lightweight, durability, and warmth.
Depending on your top priority, you will likely find a good match among our award winners, and we encourage you to view the ranking chart and each review. You will probably always remember your first down sleeping bag; did it revolutionize the way you felt about carrying gear on your back?
For many, the investment in lightweight down products correlates to increased happiness in the backcountry. The Arc'teryx Cerium SV is even more impressive for its warmth to weight ratio.
It weighs 10 ounces and is the warmest in the bunch. If you're looking for a good around-town down jacket, the weight may not be a critical factor in your decision. However, since down is one of the best materials for lightweight, warm jackets and sleeping bags, quilts, booties, etc. The best jackets were those with the highest quality fill power down and above , which also overlaps with our next rating metric. One of the main reasons to buy a down jacket, other than the stellar warmth to weight ratio, is the compressibility.
For many outdoor activities, space is a huge commodity along with weight. This may be because you're carrying all your gear on your back, cramming it into a small bike commute bag, or stuffing it into dry bags. Whatever the adventure, it's pretty nice to have everything you need in a compact and lightweight kit.
The first aspect we look for when searching for a highly compressible down jacket is the down fill power. A higher number means more loft, and that means more warmth to weight, and a higher level of compressibility; this is the best stuff. Generally, anything above fill down is considered high quality, but we rarely consider anything below fill anymore.
Next, the rest of the jacket's materials will factor into the compressibility of the jacket. A sturdier fabric will be bulkier, as will a jacket with other materials, like fleece or soft shell, integrated into it. And last, we also considered the size of the stuff sack or stowable pocket that the jacket stuffs into. This is not a direct reflection of how compressible the jacket actually is, but since it does affect how big the jacket is when stuffed, we thought this was worth at least some consideration.
Excessively large stuff sacks or oblong, large pockets made for annoying carrying when stuffed, while too-small stuff sacks or pockets could be challenging and slow to stuff.
The two end up very different sizes when stuffed, however, because the SV is designed for colder temperatures and therefore has bigger baffles and more down. The LT is designed for more mild temperatures and is, therefore, lighter weight with less down insulation overall.
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer was one of the most compressible. It's thin and light to begin with, like the Cerium LT , and the high quality down allows it to get super small.
A small compressed size is ideal for climbing, backpacking, or even bike commuting where pack space is a commodity. If compressibility is not as important to you as some of the other metrics in our test, we'd suggest taking a look at the Rab Microlight Alpine or Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody. This category is a catch-all for the little things we liked or didn't like about the jackets, from pockets and hoods, to draw cords and well-placed soft fleece patches.
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