Rab’s new top-tier Microlight Down Jacket has a secret weapon in the shape of futuristic Pertex Infinity Weave fabric straight out of The Matrix. It eliminates stitch-lines between baffles, which in turn improves wind resistance in bitter arctic gales.
It’s one of the great winter dilemmas – do you need a lightweight, micro-baffled down jacket or something chunkier and warmer? What are the pros and cons of both?
Montane’s Phoenix – and its men’s variant, the Icarus – looks suspiciously like a classic, lightweight, micro-baffled down jacket…
If you’ve climbed, technical water ice, you’ll know that gloves that work ‘just right’ are super hard to come by. They need to be warm enough that your hands don’t freeze and lose dexterity. But also dexterous enough that you can, say, place and ice-screw and clip it, then set up a belay, without taking them off.
This year’s must have is a jacket that looks and feels like down, with baffled construction, but is actually filled with a 100% bird-friendly synthetic that’s designed to mimic the way down works.
Berghaus’s weird tech results in a down-filled jacket that’s designed for use as a mid-layer in really cold conditions. The big surprise is that it works improbably well, though it could be lighter.
So you’re working hard in cold conditions and you need something that’ll keep you warm, but without leaving you sticky, hot and sweaty and – worst of all – cold and clammy as soon as you stop moving. So what’s your best choice?
Should you choose a down or synthetic insulated jacket this winter? It used to be an easy one: down was for cold, dry conditions where pack size and weight mattered and getting it wet was unlikely. It also helped if you had a bulging wallet.
For all the advances in water-resistant down insulation in recent years, synthetic still reigns supreme when you know that you will be experiencing particularly damp conditions – and we British know that better than anyone!
We test out 14 midweight down jackets to find out which are best for all-round use, from hanging around camp to tackling summits on freezing days…