Montane Featherlite Down Women's Jacket

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Montane Featherlite Down Women's Jacket

Montane Featherlite Down Women's Jacket

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When it comes to cut Arc'teryx really have worked their magic, passing the basic 'lift test' with flying colours - i.e. raise your arms to climb and the hem simply doesn't lift. In this review, that's a rare accolade. Weight aside, this is what we liked most about it: it just fits. This makes climbing in it feel like a dream, simply because it's akin to wearing a warm, fitted fleece. That said, it does size accordingly and a Medium is definitely on the snug side of the spectrum. The Featherlite can either be used as a heavyweight midlayer with a shell over the top in foul conditions, however it works just as effectively as a mid-weight outer layer in cold, dry conditions. Similarly, the 700-fill power down is guaranteed to be 100% traceable and ethically produced. In fact, the Fjällräven Down Promise is recognised as one of the best in the outdoor industry.

Down Jackets 2023 - Outdoors Magic Best Down Jackets 2023 - Outdoors Magic

At 430g (size L) the Microlight Summit is towards the heavier end of this review, but we think this is a fair reflection of its long cut, fill weight and features. This one is warmer than most. The down is ethically sourced and RDS-certified, and it is hydrophobic, being treated with Alpkit's 'Downtek' treatment. Along with the DWR this allows a degree of insurance against damp affecting the insulation. On the ethical front, Alpkit only use RDS-certfied down, which may come as a pleasant surprise in a relatively budget offering. However, this is not a full-on replacement for synthetic insulation, which is easier to deal with damp conditions (from my experience). Constructed from lightweight and wind resistant 20 denier Wind Barrier Dynamic which has stretch properties and excellent breathabilityThere’s a clever baffle construction too including stitched-through baffles on the arms where more articulation and dynamic movement is required and box wall baffles on the body where maximum loft and warmth is wanted. It’s clever stuff and it works excellently. What’s more, the box wall baffles are all offset, further reducing the chance of any cold spots. The outer fabric needs to be light to allow the fill to loft, but also reasonably durable. Crucially, it should be down-proof to ensure your expensive fill stays where it's supposed to. A DWR treatment will help the insulation stay dry for longer, and we've favoured more weather-proof fabrics in this review.

Montane Womens Featherlite Trail Jacket | UK | Ultralight Montane Womens Featherlite Trail Jacket | UK | Ultralight

In very cold conditions around freezing point, I used it wearing while hiking and had no problems with sweat. The Featherlite features Montane's 'regular' fit. Essentially, it isn't baggy, it isn't tight, it sits perfectly in the middle. It's designed to be worn fairly snugly to prevent heat loss, however you can easily fit a midweight fleece underneath if you feel the cold. What was once the Arc’teryx Cerium LT is now the Cerium Hoody. There are a couple of updates, with new colourways, different ingredient fabrics and perhaps most notably a new liner that’s derived from natural materials (castor bean oil). The Transcendant comes out at 433g in a size medium. Whilst that makes it the heaviest of the models on test it is still fairly light for its size, and its overall warmth probably justifies the weight. Still, if you're in an alpine or Scottish winter type situation in which if every gram counts, then its relatively high weight is another count against the Transcendant (along with fill and features). Commendably, Montane use ethically sourced down throughout their down range, and claim to be the first brand in the world to commit to the Responsible Down Standard across their entire catalogue.


Fill power: A higher fill power means that a given weight of down occupies more volume, and thus insulates more effectively. Unfortunately there are two different testing standards, which give non-equivalent values. EU-rated down is superior to US-rated down of the same quoted fill power, but it's not always clear which standard a brand is using. We've assumed parity in this review. The hood is arguably one of the Mylas' best features, being both snug and fitted, with good coverage. That said, it doesn't have any volume adjustment, so if for some reason it doesn't fit there's no way of changing it. You won't be fitting this one over a climbing helmet. Endurance expeditions and athletes are critical in the development of our garment designs ensuring Montane clothing is fit for purpose. They are our reason to be critical within our design processes. From unsupported ventures to the North Pole, smash and grab route attempts on the North Face of the Eiger to high profile scientific work in the high Arctic. All of these athletes help Montane develop clothing that will withstand the harshest of conditions both physiologically and environmentally. We’re particularly impressed by the eco credentials of the Nordic Expedition as it’s made from bluesign approved fabrics, the down fill is certified by the Responsible Down Standard and the DWR treatment is PFC-free. What’s more, Haglöfs as a brand is a leading member of the Fair Wear Foundation and is a certified climate-neutral company. In similar freezing conditions hanging around camp, it kept me warm with a light fleece layer underneath.

GROUP TEST: Lightweight Down Jackets - UKClimbing UKC Gear - GROUP TEST: Lightweight Down Jackets - UKClimbing

The final notes on fit come from the adjustability around the hem and hood, which both have elastication to modify fit according to size, taste, and weather.

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All of these items were used out in the field by our team of testers who you can see in all of the pictures within this round up. The locations we tested them included Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands and we were out using them from early autumn through to late spring. With the elastic snugged up around the bum there is no hem lift at all when the arms are raised, and no pull around the armpits. Even with the elastic not done up at all there is minimal hem lift. That might be the Fowler influence - they must have designed the Ramche very much with climbers in mind. Unisex XXS-XXL / 800 FP RDS-certified, bluesign approved goose down / 20 denier 100% recycled polyamide with shoulder reinforcement Underarm vents which open and close with movement to allow increased airflow across the core body and aid temperature regulation We found that the fit is ‘athletic’ without feeling too tight or restrictive and it’s cosy without feeling bulky when worn under an outer layer. It was true to size. Full Specifications

Montane Sale | Montane Outlet - Nevisport Montane Sale | Montane Outlet - Nevisport

When it comes to cut it's made with walking in mind, not climbing or scrambling, as there's a whole lot of hem lift when moving your arms above your head. This puts it at the less technical end of the spectrum, more for casual recreational use, summit stops on hillwalking days and general hanging out than for anything technical. Bluesign approved fabrics / Responsible Down Standard approved / PFC-free DWR treatment / premium 800 Fill Power goose down / Mimic Platinum insulation / 3-layer zoned waterproof-breathable face fabrics / hydrostatic head: 15,000mm / moisture vapour transmission rate: 10,000g/m2/24hrs / front panel straps / helmet-compatible hood / two-way main zip / ISPO gold winner / Scandinavian Outdoor Award winner / climate neutral-company. Water resistant-treated down is common nowadays, and we think that for UK use in particular it's well worth seeking out since it allows the down to maintain its loft (ie. go on working to insulate) for longer in damp conditions. We've considered the use of hydrophobic down a plus point in this review. The cut of the Transcendant Hoody is fairly regular: it's neither particularly long nor short in the body, coming halfway down your bum, which is great for everyday use as it keeps the wind off without being restrictive. Whilst this might not offer the same protection as the long cut of something like the Rab Microlight Summit it does mean that the Transcendant Hoody is stylish enough to be worn around town without giving away your identity as an outdoors-person.

The Best Down Jackets Tested In 2023

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