Author Topic: Jacket: insulated or down  (Read 1599 times)

NeilC

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Jacket: insulated or down
« on: 13:26:15, 17/12/20 »
I managed to burn my down jacket standing too close to a chiminea.


I've been looking at down jackets but also wondering if maybe this time to go for a synthetic on. Maybe they've come on over the years and pack down better and can compete with down?


Anybody got any experiences with the newer down-mimicking insulation like Thermoball or whatever?

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #1 on: 13:52:57, 17/12/20 »
The great advantage with a synthetic material, is that if the jacket gets wet, then the insulation still retains most of its thermal properties, and it will dry out very quickly.

There is always the ethical issues surrounding down feathers, with a lot of companies claiming to source their down feathers from a reputable source, where no ill treatment of birds has taken place.


Few potential customers would challenge a manufacturer on their claims of using ethically sourced down.


I know its a dangerous thing to claim by a company, that their down comes from a reputable source, and however trustworthy a company may appear, i would still have a slight apprehension in trusting any company who made such a claim.

I own both types of jacket, a Montane down jacket, which i bought second hand and a new Craghoppers Synthetic thermal hooded jacket.

Both jackets are equally warm, but the synthetic jacket dries incredibly quickly, whilst the Down jacket takes a fair bit longer.

If i was going out specifically to buy a top end winter jacket, i think i would go down the synthetic route, as theres never that nagging doubt of what if i get soaked to the skin, and there are some impressive fully synthetic jackets on the market.


Its up to you, but personally i would go synthetic, as both materials provide equal measures of comfort.
« Last Edit: 14:01:07, 17/12/20 by Dyffryn Ardudwy »

gunwharfman

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #2 on: 14:37:36, 17/12/20 »
There's quite a good guide to both types and examples on the 'www.outdoorgearlab.com' site, worth a look.

Personally, I would choose synthetic over down for the stated reasons (works when wet etc) but in my case, my son and daughter in law bought me a down jacket over a year ago so I do make the effort to use it. However, I don't use it when actually hiking, I just put it on when around my tent, its good for standing around in and is especially useful to me when I first get up in the morning. I also wear it inside my sleeping quilt if I get cold at night. I prefer my synthetic jacket when hiking, I believe it's better at dealing with perspiration than my down one and better suited to layering.

NeilC

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #3 on: 15:45:41, 17/12/20 »

Thanks for the replies

I don't think I've ever worn my down jacket whilst actually walking. It's main use is a throw on when I've stopped or in camp. but the ability to do so, or wear it around town when required could come in handy, hence the consideration of synthetic. I do value the light weight and compressibility of my old down jacket.


I now try to avoid Chinese down for ethical reasons but to be completely honest, I'm not vegan, or even a vegetarian. Given I'm responsible for the frankly horrific treatment of farm animals for food, I can't get too worked up about the down. I'll avoid the obviously dodgy stuff but I'm not so bothered as to investigate supply chains and promises. So I'm happy to buy a down jacket (from a responsible supplier) if it better suits my needs.


Talking about waterproofing - has anyone got any hydrophobic down products? I washed a cheap down sleeping bag in the Nikwax Downproof stuff and that does see off tent condensation rather well but never had the proper factory treated stuff in a jacket and been rained on. Would be interested in hearing from anyone who has. Is it for real or a useless gimmick?


I've been given a couple of hundred quid to blow so that would be my top end. My old down jacket was like 30 quid from Decathlon and did the the job.
« Last Edit: 16:27:24, 17/12/20 by NeilC »

Pomster

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #4 on: 17:26:45, 17/12/20 »
Dont want to sound like i'm boasting but I'm fortunate to have four jackets. 3 down and 1 synthetic

An old old Rab down jacket which spends its life in a wardrobe
A ME Annapruna down jacket i use when i know it's not going to rain/snow on skiing hols, evening camp etc
A RAB Alpine microlight down which i take with me when walking
And a ME Lightlight synthetic for day to day use eg walking the dog (a nice warm jacket, recieved plenty of abuse and still looks good)

I prefere the synthetics only for the reason if they get wet they dry quicker
« Last Edit: 17:32:48, 17/12/20 by Pomster »
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gunwharfman

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #5 on: 19:40:33, 17/12/20 »
In my personal experience once I bought a windproof jacket how to keep worm became a whole new thought process. I find that my best combination for most of my walking is baselayer, my walking shirt (not essential, I just like to wear a shirt) a synthetic jacket and my windproof. If it rains my waterproof jacket on top. I have considered buying a softshell as well but I just can't make up my mind about it.

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #6 on: 08:44:42, 18/12/20 »
If it is just for static use then down is the way to go, however we're at the point where hydrophobic down/synth mixed are equitable to 650+ fill power which is pretty good really.   Don't get me wrong, synth isn't bad, but for me if you're only wearing it when static I wouldn't be able to justify the pack space.  If you're serious about wearing it about town a lot then maybe reconsider that.[/size]


I'll throw a 2p in for recommending Sub Zero (a British company) as a solid option for decent jackets.  Have a trekking jacket from them and it was the most fill power (850+ down) for a solid price, and at least for me when I"m carrying gear 90% of the time I want it to be packable and super warm when I actually use it.


https://sub-zero-store.myshopify.com/collections/mens-jackets/products/mens-lightweight-down-hoody




fernman

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #7 on: 09:27:25, 18/12/20 »
Unless I've missed it I haven't seen WEIGHT mentioned in this discussion!

My old Snugpak Sleeka synthetic insulated jacket is 691g. The last time I looked, new ones were 780g.

My Haglofs LIM Essens down jacket is 203g. Quite a difference, eh?

The synthetic one is carried on day walks in the colder months, the down one was bought specifically for backpacking. Both are put on when I'm static, i.e. stopped for a lunch break. I will walk in the first when it is particularly cold but I've never walked wearing the second, which is mostly used while wild camping.

gunwharfman

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #8 on: 09:38:48, 18/12/20 »
A British company but items made in Hungary. I had to buy my sleeping quilt from Cumulus, Poland. Cumulus UK doesn't make or supply them to people in the UK and Cumulus Poland is not 'allowed' to compete with them here in the UK or supply their products here to the UK. I presume is the same today? So my Polish item was supplied to me from a store in Slovenia and delivered to my door by a German company. If I was a real political enthusiast in 2021 would I really buy a product knowing it was made in Poland or made Hungary? This general subject area has interested me since a campaign years ago by the Daily Mirror to 'buy British' (which failed) and from watching the TV series 'The Onedin Line.' It bought home to me issues about Capitalism and the recognition that no matter how something is advertised all may not be what it might appear to be, where do things come from, who makes them and so on, who benefits, who loses and so on.

I've never seen the brand before so I wonder how its products would compare and contrast against the trade names that we know already like Rab, etc?

forgotmyoldpassword

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #9 on: 09:49:15, 18/12/20 »
Cumulus are decent and quite well regarded.  Used to have somewhat poor customer service (presumably the people doing the emails didn't have great english) but they appear to have sorted that.  Their bags are decent at least and they've moved more into the down apparel market over the last 2-3 years more strongly.


Unfortunately I don't know of many British companies which operate in the same price range with British origin products, although at least they're paying their taxes within the UK rather than dropping another few figures to the faceless Amazon corp.


If you're serious about focusing on something UK made I'd look at PHD Designs who make them in the UK and tend to do expedition clothing, maybe Crux (though I believe they're Australian).  However you can expect to pay around twice the price for a similar product.

Davidedgarjones

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #10 on: 15:38:54, 18/12/20 »
I've had a Montane Prism jacket for some years sized to go over my winter layers when I stop for lunch etc. Used last Sunday in cold and wet weather. It weighs 455 gms. More recently, I bought a Decathlon Down jacket which is lighter at  360 in a large size and packs down smaller. (bargain at 50).Too wet to take it out with me unless it's going to be cold and dry. If I could afford only one I'd go for synthetic.
Dave

Thedogsmother

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #11 on: 07:27:52, 21/12/20 »
I use a thermoball synthetic jacket and it is great, very light indeed but warm when needed. I have also washed it several times and nothing went wrong.


I mainly use it as a midlayer if very cold, or to warm up when I stop walking.
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archaeoroutes

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #12 on: 10:19:23, 21/12/20 »
Really depends on expected use, which is why I have a variety.

My go-to down jacket is a Mountain Equipment Lightline I've had for over 15 years. Brilliant in cold dry like Finland or a crisp British winter's day with minimal exertion. Also superb as a throw-on to recover after getting very cold (eg. falling in a river). I've even worn it indoors doing desk work in winter when heating broken.


For cold and wet work, then Buffalo Special Six does the job brilliantly. I have a hood for mine, which adds to the protection. Used it for early 20 years now and still going strong (though they replaced a zip for me after it got broken putting it on a casualty). Got some friendly stick from an instructor at one of my children's birthday parties for it being old-fashioned and how everyone he knew were wearing modern lightweight things - guess which one of us had to keep stopping to drink hot tea...


Finally, as a general purpose extra layer year-round, I go with Paramo Torres. Only had it for about 5 years so far. Not as warm as the Lightline but copes well with heavy rain.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

fernman

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #13 on: 11:37:50, 21/12/20 »
Got some friendly stick from an instructor at one of my children's birthday parties for it being old-fashioned and how everyone he knew were wearing modern lightweight things - guess which one of us had to keep stopping to drink hot tea...

Sounds like a birthday party with a difference!  ???

archaeoroutes

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Re: Jacket: insulated or down
« Reply #14 on: 14:54:27, 22/12/20 »
Sounds like a birthday party with a difference!  ???
It was basically bushcraft. In the pouring rain. In February. With a bunch of 9 year olds.
They loved it. She has a reputation for fun parties - that one was preceded by climbing/caving and succeeded by raft building.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk