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