I see Macpac are having a sale on down jackets. I've looked at the Mercury Hooded one. Any advice?
I don’t really see standard down jackets as a super technical bit if gear from a tramping perspective as you are only going to be wearing them around the hut/camp. Therefore, they need to be warm and light. To get this combination you need to look at the quality and quantity of the fill. To achieve this you want to look at the loft which is a measure of quality - anything over 600 is alright to me. Over 800 is pretty good. Then you want to look at the % of down to feather as down is the better insulator. Again you really want at least 80/20 to me and 90/10 or up is very good. Goose down is superior to duck. I also like smaller baffles to stop the down migrating. There are other features like DWR or hydrophobic treating of the down to improve water resistance, but, if you are getting it wet you are doing it wrong... Edit: Also should have mentioned you need to check the fill weight of the down. Obviously if you are comparing two jackets with the same down ‘specs’ the one with more down weight will mostly likely be warmer. I looked at the Macpac jacket you mentioned and it looks fine especially given the price. It is not top of the line but at $159 it is also not some gigantic puffy monstrosity. There may be better options at that price but I am unsure as I have not looked closely at the down jacket market since getting a Mountain Hardware Nitros several years ago.
its an ok jacket, mid range spec the icefall has the higher spec down in it, but twice the price
Personally I'm shifting to synthetic. I've decided to build my entire gear around an acceptance that stuff might get wet. Awesome as good down is (weight/warmth ratio-wise), I just don't want to be caught having to dry it out.
The HyperDry down & the Pertex shell material is why I upgraded from the Halo to the Sundowner. Start of the season I give my jackets a wash with Nikwax Down Proof for water repellency, & reviving insulation & breathability. The Mercury of the OP, isn't wet-protected. I would value THAT over a hood. A woolly hat can be worn even without a down jacket. Doesn't obscure as much as a hood either. Macpac regularly have big sales. Like Briscoes, I'd never buy from them at full price.
Like Paul I have kept summer gear synthetic. The result is that my summer sleeping bag is bigger and heavier than my winter bag but I dont do winter river trips. I did find a good synthetic jacket that packs as well as down and so far been too warm to wear
I only use down when i've stopped walking for the day at campsite or hut avoid sweating in it or exposing to rain or rivers
Me too but it's nice knowing it's there for an emergency. Even if something goes wrong on a daywalk. It's never happened though.
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