Everything you ever needed to know about down jackets:

I have Montbell down clothing. At the time of purchase it was about the lightest and most economical I could find – I am also more than happy with the build quality and its durability (considering its extreme lightness) over the years. I carry a ‘Superior Down’  jacket and a vest, weighing approx 200 + 150 grams. I can see that I could have done better than this (now) but they were on sale (A140 + A$105) at Larry Adler (in Oz) at the time and are otherwise very hard to obtain here, so they were a bit of a ‘steal’ really.

My strategy is to use them in a layering system when it is very cold and to supplement my Montbell Spiral Stretch Ultralight Down Hugger sleeping bag (appprox 600 grams) by wearing the jacket on my top and the vest on my lower body (plus down socks) when it is below freezing. This reduces the temperature rating of my sleeping bag from -1C down to more like -10C without having to carry any extra weight. I also prefer a full-zip in both garments (even though it adds to the weight as compared with a pullover) because it helps with the layering. When you want to reduce the warmth it is just so easy to unzip.

I think 6-7 oz (180-200 grams) is enough in Australia for a down jacket (as long as you also have a vest!) as the heavier garments will mostly be far too hot (unless you are always up in the snow). I mostly camp out in the winter months in the mountains of Southern Victoria (as I am also a deer hunter). I have found the above arrangements fine over many years. We also own Montbell Down trousers. which only weigh a couple of hundred grams – lighter than most thermals! Della wears hers all the time in camp when it is cold (she feels it more than I do), and it is a blessing to her. I confess I only take mine when it is going to be like Antarctica, eg walking up to Everest.

I would recommend a winter mat though. For many years I used the Thermarest Neoair Womens – 340 grams (which I found adequate but not toasty) on cold nights. I now have an Exped Synmat HL Winter M – 430 grams which I find even better and more comfortable. At the moment I am using the pillow I cut down here (<50 grams) which cost me less than $10. It is the most comfortable pillow I have ever used and stays put really well too. I usually sleep in my Deer Hunter’s Tent (which I will soon be making a new, lighter, bigger model of) and carry the Ultralight Deer Hunter‘s equipment. Of course I always have a fire out the front which keeps me nice and warm until well after I have gone to bed.

I found the spreadsheet belowon a Google search so I cannot recognise the author’s careful work (or attest to its accuracy) but it gives a very good ground for comparison.

Down jacket (Male size M < 11oz) Hood Zip Price Total weight (oz) Fill weight (oz) Fill % Fill power (US) Total Warmth Warmth per oz Warmth per $ Weighted ranking
Cumulus primelite pullover No Half $155 6,35 3,00 47% 900 2700 425 45 1
Nunatak Shaka UL Sweater hooded Yes Half $400 10,40 5,60 54% 900 5040 485 25 2
Goosefeet Gear jacket (custom) Yes Full $400 7,58 3,50 46% 950 3325 439 19 3
Borah Gear Ultralight Jacket No Half $170 5,15 2,30 45% 850 1955 380 34 4
Malachowski Zion Ultralight Yes Full $260 9,17 4,23 46% 900 3809 415 31 5
Haglofs L.I.M Essens No Full $210 5,64 2,47 44% 850 2099 372 28 6
Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Parka Yes Full $440 8,40 3,40 40% 1000 3400 405 17 7
Crux New Halo Jacket Yes Full $300 10,05 4,23 42% 950 4019 400 27 8
Crux Turbo Jacket No Full $260 8,33 3,30 40% 950 3135 376 27 9
My Trail Co 850 HL Hooded Yes Full $150 11,00 4,58 42% 850 3893 354 50 10
Rab Zero G Yes Full $550 11,00 4,50 41% 1000 4500 409 16 11
My Trail Co 850 HL No Full $100 9,00 3,35 37% 850 2848 316 60 12
Decathlon Trek 500 Yes Full $65 10,22 3,32 32% 850 2818 276 86 13
Cumulus Inverse No Full $165 6,35 2,29 36% 900 2063 325 32 14
Montbell Plasma 1000 No Full $330 4,80 1,60 33% 1000 1600 333 15 15
Cumulus Acomay No Full $180 11,10 4,23 38% 900 3809 343 40 16
Montbell Ex Light Anorak Yes Half $270 6,20 2,30 37% 900 2070 334 20 17
Crux Turbo Top Pullover No Half $245 7,27 2,47 34% 950 2346 323 23 18
Yeti Strato UltraLight No Full $400 5,50 1,87 34% 950 1777 323 13 19
Western Mountaineering Flight Jacket No Full $350 11,00 4,50 41% 850 3825 348 21 20
Stellar EQ Ultralight Jacket No Full $270 9,63 3,10 32% 1000 3100 322 23 21
Stellar EQ Ultralight Hoody Yes Full $300 10,83 3,39 31% 1000 3386 313 22 22
Mammut Broad Peak Light No Full $250 7,34 2,47 34% 850 2099 286 20 23
Feathered Friends Eos Yes Full $340 10,60 3,70 35% 900 3330 314 19 24
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer No Full $325 7,40 2,65 36% 800 2120 286 15 25
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody Yes Full $350 7,80 2,79 36% 800 2229 286 15 26
Stellar EQ Ultralight Sweater No Full $230 5,89 1,52 26% 1000 1516 257 18 27
Haglofs Essens No Full $230 9,38 3,17 34% 800 2539 271 23 28
Macpac Supanova Hooded Yes Full $500 9,88 3,60 36% 800 2878 291 12 29
Yeti Purity No Full $360 9,67 3,42 35% 800 2736 283 15 30
Western Mountaineering Quick Flash Jacket No Full $365 8,00 2,50 31% 850 2125 266 13 31
Montane Starlight Pull-on No Half $160 9,31 2,82 30% 800 2256 242 29 32
Western Mountaineering Flash XR Jacket Yes Full $440 11,00 3,50 32% 850 2975 270 13 33
Patagonia Ultralight Jacket Yes Full $300 9,50 2,99 31% 800 2392 252 16 34
Montbell Superior Down Parka Yes Full $210 8,70 2,50 29% 800 2000 230 20 35
Western Mountaineering Flash Jacket Yes Full $390 10,25 3,00 29% 850 2550 249 13 36
Outdoor Vitals StormLoft Ultralight Yes Full $180 10,00 2,82 28% 800 2256 226 25 37
Montbell Superior Down Jacket No Full $180 7,30 1,90 26% 800 1520 208 20 38
Macpac Uber Light No Full $130 8,47 2,61 31% 650 1697 200 28 39
Outdoor Research Baja Pullover Yes Half $190 9,95 2,72 27% 800 2173 218 23 40
REI Co-op 650 jacket No Full $100 10,50 3,00 29% 650 1950 186 38 41
Montbell Superior Down Round Neck Yes Buttons $150 5,50 1,20 22% 800 960 175 18 42
Outdoor Research Illuminate No Full $220 10,51 2,65 25% 800 2116 201 19 43
Marmot Quasar Nova No Full $275 10,70 2,75 26% 800 2200 206 15 44

The cumulus range certainly is worth considering. Notice they also make very light sleeping bags: http://sleepingbags-cumulus.eu/

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