Monday, 4 October 2010

Lightweight Down Jacket, Uniqlo

I just received a new down jacket today, I hadn't actually intended buying any more down gear as I figured I was already sorted but I found this thanks to a post on Outdoors Magic. The reason I decided to go for it was cost/weight and intended use. I bought a PHD Minim Ultra sleeping bag earlier this year to use as a summer bag, it wasn't new as I simply couldn't have justified the cost but I've been using it since I got it. It's really light at 364g (advertised weight is 345g) and surprisingly warm although I always have the option of adding my PHD Ultra Down vest (150g) if needed. The only downside is that the vest has no sleeves (obviously) and what I really should have bought was the PHD Ultra Down Pullover or the Mont-Bell UL Down inner jacket. Unfortunately I'd already bought the vest.

Given that I wanted something lightweight as extra insulation to wear in camp or to upgrade my sleeping bag if required a 210g down jacket at £49 seemed worth a shot. The jacket is from Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo and is a very simple design, 2 zipped handwarmer pockets, 2 deep inside pockets, lycra bound cuffs and a stand-up collar.

The down is 640FP but there's no mention of whether thats US or EU, the down/feather ratio is 90/10 but theres no mention of fill weight, at 210g there won't be much, finally the shell has been treated to make it water repellant. I was very tempted to go for the green jacket but in the end decided on the more subdued grey.

There's no doubt that this jacket isn't even close to being in the same league as the 230g PHD Ultra Pullover with 900 EU fill power down or the 195g Mont-Bell UL down inner jacket with 800 (US?) fill power down, obviously you get what you pay for and if I'd had £200 odd to spend I'd have gone for the PHD.

The jacket packs down very small into the supplied stuff sack and could compress even further to half the packed size. I find the fit is good, I went for small as I'll probably only wear it over a baselayer or thin fleece but the sleeves are nice and long which is good in my case and it feels warm enough. I'm not sure whether I'd actually recommend it especially when talking about PHD and Mont-Bell although as summer only extra insulation I guess it should do the job, interestingly when I checked the price after mine had shipped it was back up to £59 although someone on Outdoors Magic mentioned that at one point it was on sale at £29 and at that price it really would be hard to pass up.

You can also get a hooded Parka version at the same price and a vest at £29


  1. This is the first time I've heard Uniqlo mentioned in an outdoor blog!.

    I received one of their T-shirts made from, oh, I can't remember the name of the fabric, but it makes for quite a nice light and very comfortable base layer!

  2. They do a baselayer type range called Heatech I think.

  3. I think that's a cracking buy. Cheap, cheerful and easy to replace. It's a great idea. Nice find Mac.

  4. I don't think you can argue against this at the price and the weight. It will be interesting to see what you think of it when the temp starts to fall.
    Nice one.

  5. I've been wearing today and so far it's been fine. I'd normally be wearing my Montane Flux, in fact I was wearing it earlier but the Uniqlo is warm enough even though it's very breezy. Bearing in mind it's mainly for summer evening use I think it's pretty good.

    Don't try to compare with the above mentioned down jackets and don't expect the same performance and I'd now say recommended.

    p.s. the vest is now up to £39.

  6. Mac E - at this price it is certainly worth a go!
    Let us know how you get on with it combined with the sleeping bag

  7. I looked at these back in January, I was after a cheap down jacket for the TGO. In the end I decided that it may not be warm enough so didn't buy one.

    With hindsight it would of been fine.

    I used a heattech t-shirt on the crossing it worked fine and didn't smell to bad either.

  8. To be honest they feel so light thats it's hard to believe thay'll be any insulation value at all. That's the thing about down though, stuff for winter is really puffy and just looks warm, summer weight stuff doesn't.

    Good to know that the Heatech stuff works, I'll have another look at it.

  9. It's just what Sheila has been after. She has a winter ME down jacket but needed a lightweight packaway just for those none winter times when the temp takes a dip. I have a TNF Zephyrus as you know, but at this price she has just ordered one, so thanks for passing it on. I know we would have otherwise missed this.

  10. Good stuff, hope she finds it suitable.

    I can't take credit for 'discovering' it though, I found it thanks to someone posting on the Bargain Alert thread on Outdoors Magic.

    I'll be interested to hear your/her views on it when it arrives.

  11. Richard,
    Sheila says to let you know she is over the moon with the jacket. It fits well, the design is better in the flesh than it is on the web page. It's not bulky so it doesn't have the Michelin man effect. She got the dark brown colour and again it looks better than the web page pic.
    It weighs 230gr. thats size 10/12 or medium as it has inside, no hood. She obviously doesn't have any comment on it's performance as yet but will post in the future. Thanks.

  12. That's great, thanks for the update.

  13. Hey. It looks good!
    What do you say- fits it normally? You order a "S" but you look not very small.
    What do you think fit a 190cm and 80kg man and a 160cm 55kg woman?


  14. Hi Jonas, I orderd a small as I want to wear with only a baselayer. I compared my measurements with the Uniqlo size chart and the 'Small' is the recommended size and fit's perfectly.

    I think it would be best to take your measurements and compare with the size chart.

    I guess a 'Small' would be ok for 160cm/55kg woman. maybe even XS depending on what would be worn underneath, a 190cm/80kg man would probably need 'Large'. I'm 175cm/64kg.


  15. I have been catching up on the blogs recently after a bit of an enforced lay-off - what a find this has turned out to be! Great scoop!

  16. Hi Alan, thanks, I keep repeating it but I love the down jacket, so much so that I bought another in Green and have ordered a gilet/vest.

    I've been wearing the jacket over a Heat Tech s/s T-shirt today while out and about and was reasonably comfortable, considering I bought it for summer use it's performing admirably.

  17. Moonlight Shadow1 November 2010 at 00:30

    Well, it's back at 50£ and I got one for meself, you seem very happy with it and I "need" something light (to go with other garments) for backpacking.

    I also ordered some more Heatech socks, was happy with mine last year, coupled with a thicker pair, they kept me warm during my winter hikes. My entire thermal range now is Heatech, does a good job and feels nice on the skin with less of the pong of normal thermal baselayers.

  18. I noticed that it had gone down to £50, I'm pleased with the Heattech t-shirt too, it's very soft almost like bamboo and feels nicer than some synthetics. It's seems to have a soft stretch so it fits cloosely without feeling too tight if you know what I mean.

    I'd be really interested in your opinion of the down jacket once you try it, while I'm delighted with mine it's good to hear the views of others whose expectations/intended use may well be different.


  19. Moonlight Shadow1 November 2010 at 20:45

    Indeed, fitting but not constrictive. Uniqlo adverts do play on that, with combinations of Heatech base layers and flannel shirts (which are lovely btw).

    I'll keep you posted after I tested the jacket. As mentionned on OM, when their post xmas sales is on, there might be some great bargains in their proper down jackets, particularly the +J collection.

    I noticed you mention fleece, got a few as well, micro-fleece hoodie, sheepskin type jacket and some rather too risky red soft fleece (looks furry...) that even my wife find a bit too camp and now living in the car boot for emergencies...

    Bit of a Uniqlo fan but it's decent stuff at a decent price and it looks nice...

  20. I ordered a couple of pairs of jeans myself when I ordered the Green down jacket, 'Regular Fit Straight', I'd say they were skinny, thankfully I didn't order the ones Uniqulo class as 'Skinny' :-)

    But I agree, it looks decent quality and the fit is good IMO.

  21. Well, I tested mine in an urban setting and it is surprisingly warm, the DWR works rather well too. The light brown color I got is a tad flash but I can pull it off, I think... ;-)

  22. Thanks for the update, glad it's doing the job, got to say I'm getting my moneys worth from mine.

  23. hi, that jacket looks so awesome at affordable price :D
    I want to get a down jacket also!
    do u think this will get me thru a snowy weather about -1 or 2 degree celsius?

  24. Would you recommend this jacket for mountain climbing? As in it provides enough insulation? I need a down jacket to wear over several layers of long sleeve shirts..
    thanks :)

  25. i bought the short hooded version and the longer parka with the fur trimming when I was in London for boxing day. Got both for 60 quid. Now I am living in Buffalo, NY where we tend to get 2 m [6 ft 1/2] of snow and the city being by the great lakes gets windy and bitterly cold. Wearing one of the jackets allows me to walk outside comfortably for a couple of miles up to 30F, and with both, down to -10 F. I couldn't have survived winter w/o them, now I am waiting for next winter time so I can buy the whole heattech ranch as well as another set of jackets in grey or black [ i currently own the white ones]. I have tons of friends that have tried the jacket and fell in love with them. As an avid traveler and hiker, this would be a great summer/fall/spring jacket, wish i had this when i did Hadrian's wall trail in late September.

  26. have been thinking about getting one of these as i am travelling to usa on 27th dec going to kansas then california then back to niagara and new york mid jan so really wanted sonething light weight . i am hoping this with thermal base layers and a micro fleece will be warm enough . if not you will spot me the woman with all her clothes on :)