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November 4, 2015 Comments (0) Featured, Gear Reviews

Down Review

 

With the impending cold weather, we here at TAUR became a little giddy with the opportunity to test some exciting down products.  Over the course of the past month we have tested some of the cornerstone brands in the down market and some of the pieces they wanted to share with the TAUR community. Enjoy and feel free to give us your feedback on your experiences.

 

 


 

The North Face® QUINCE JACKET

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TNF Logo

NORTHFACE QUINCE JACKET


Constructed of a 15D 100% double rip stop with DWR finish, the North Face Quince jacket is amazing.
The fit and weight of the jacket are great, although one of the testers felt that the sizing was a bit large. It’s thin and light enough to be packable for use with a large pack. The partial cuffs inside the wrist of the sleeves help keep arms warmer. The panels of stretchier material around the sides made for a better fit. Little less than ideal when wet, but this follows with many down jackets. A generally an all-around great down jacket for use as a mid layer, or as a around town jacket.

The 800 fill goose down provided really excellent warmth and we were surprised at how warm it was. Our testers wore the Quince on and off the trail. Generally great performance, and everything you would expect of a down jacket.  We wore this with a hydration vest on while running and were surprised that it did not overheat too quickly. Certainly a jacket that could be used on a 100 miler at night or when the temps drop.

Ratings from our TAUR Testers

Durability  4
Weight 3.5
Fit 3.5
Packability  4
Insulation in the cold 4.5
Price point  3.5
Weight  373g/13 oz
Down Fill  800 fill goose down
Price $249

*Scale of 1-5

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As a mid layer I think that it worked very well keeping me warm. I tested it in a cold rain storm with a shell over the jacket for over three hours and it kept me warm the entire time. I did test it to see how it would do in the rain and it did stay dry longer than I thought it would, but eventually it did get wet and started to soak through but I was surprised at how long it stays dry.

I was very impressed with how small I could compress the jacket and I could easily fit it into most of my running vests without a problem. I took it on a run up to a 12,000 foot peak where it had been snowing and was very cold. It was very nice to pull this jacket out on the summit to stay warm. Most jackets that are this warm are not as compact and light and it was very nice to use this while running.

                    – Scott


 

Eddie Bauer Downlight® Stormdown® Jacket

with DOWNTEK

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Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer Downlight® Stormdown® Jacket

Eddie Bauer DownLight jacket is a great jacket.  Of the jackets tested this was one of the warmest. Constructed of a 20D Ripstop Polyester Shell, the jacket shed water nicely thanks to the DWR finish. The sizing was a bit large and a little boxy, but good looking nonetheless.  The lining of the sleeves and pockets made the jacket very cozy and comfortable to wear. Even though the jacket didn’t have a dedicated pocket to pack it in, it still packed tight into one of the pockets, roughly about the size of a Nalgene bottle. Jacket is definitely not as packable as the competitors.

A specifically unique feature of the 800 fill Stormdown is its ability to retain loft in wet conditions, thanks to the inclusion of DownTek.  Our tester tried soaking it in water and then took it out on a colder night.  He said that it was really hard to get it to absorb any water, and once he finally got it fairly wet, within about 15 minutes, it had fluffed out and was warm again. Generally this is a more daily use jacket for before or after runs, around town or more casual activities. However, check out of review of the MicroTherm StormDown, from our time at Hardrock100. Not only is the MicroTherm a competitive price, but competitive in all regards this competition.

Ratings from our TAUR Testers

Durability  3.5
Weight 3.5
Fit 3.5
Packability  2.5
Insulation in the cold 4.5
Price point  4
Weight  327g/13.44 oz
Down Fill  800 FILL DownTek®
Price $229

*Scale of 1-5

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I didn’t feel damp at all.  Very impressed. Overall, I feel like this is great as a kick around, sit by the campfire on a chilly night, watch the kids soccer game on a blustery day, all around type of down jacket.

                      – Erik – 


 

Patagonia® Down Shirt

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Patagonia Down Shirt

We love the Patagonia Down jacket!  Being Patagonia, of course you get the reliability and confidence of super high quality. This was a jacket built to last decades, not just seasons. With that in mind, Patagonia went with a very traditional look and style. The Down Shirt, is no exception. Constructed of 20D recycled polyester with a DWR finish, the Down Shirt weighs only 9.6oz. This Patagonia down is trimmer all around, but does not lack on function.  It looks good with it’s moderate fitted shape and no elastic wrist or waist and down that isn’t bulky.  It has two great size, tall pockets inside the coat that hold anything securely.  We’ve never feared loosing anything from them.  The outside pockets are smaller and sized to keep the hands warm.  Without any additional zippers besides the main one we think you run less risk of snagging the jacket.

This was the only 600 fill down we tested. Due to the price point, weight and fill we thought it competed nicely with the other jackets in this lineup. The down seems to stay in place well.  The jacket has always been warm enough for my needs and is so comfortable.  We’ve seen a few pieces of down come out here and there, but from no obvious hole and not enough to be concerned about.  While we haven’t exposed the jacket to a lot of moisture, when it has been rained on or sweated in from a run, it performed great! We find ourselves reaching for this jacket more than any other jacket. It just seems to be perfect for any occasion and temperature so far. Patagonia, does have other down products, such as the Ultralight (800 fill, 9.5 oz & $299), and the Down Sweater (800 fill, 13.1 oz & $229).

Ratings from our TAUR Testers

Durability  5
Weight 5
Fit 4
Packability  4
Insulation in the cold 4.5
Price point  5
Weight  272 g /9.6 oz
Down Fill  600-fill-power 100% Traceable Down
Price $199

*Scale of 1-5

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That ripstop is pretty impressive. Despite snagging the jacket on a branch from time to time, I’m happy to say there have been no tears! I am 100% happy with the Patagonia Down Shirt!

                    – Leslie

The jacket itself was perfect for me. It was a lighter weight down but it’s warm enough that I felt comfortable wearing it during the ice cold Bear 100 when temps dropped into the 30’s and there was quite the chill in the air. It’s also been a perfect wear around post race and walking jacket with the crisp mornings and nights so far this fall. Because of the lighter weight, it actually packs down really well.

I imagine it will take over as my go to jacket, especially post run at the coffee shop. Light enough to be comfy, but warm enough to keep the chills out. It’s obvious Patagonia built this with the purpose of making and all around jacket that could be worn through all three seasons of cooler temps and last for decades.

                    – Zac 


 

Outdoor Research® Filament Jacket

outdoor research

 

OR Filament

Outdoor Research Filament Jacket

 

The Outdoor Research Filament is one of lightest 800 fill down jackets available. Constructed of DWR treated 10D Pertex® Quantum GL, the jacket is lightweight, packable and functional. The OR down sweater is light, packable, and cozy. Our testers kept it in their running bag or in the car.-

The Filament is an 800 fill down jacket that packed up very nicely. However, our testers did feel that it was not as warm as the others in the test. In some situtations, we needed to add a wool layer or shell to help with warmth. For such a light and packable jacket, we were not surprised.  Certainly, a very light piece that tucks in nicely into a running vest for those cold summits, or while waiting for friends.

Ratings from our TAUR Testers

Durability  4
Weight 5
Fit 4
Packability  5
Insulation in the cold 3
Price point  3.5
Weight  249 g /8.8 oz – Lightest on the market
Down Fill  800+ fill power goose down-insulate
Price $265

*Scale of 1-5

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It’s my go-to on the drive to/from the trailhead, and if it’s cold enough, the jacket is small and light enough to take in my vest.

– Jennilyn 


 

Montane® Featherlite Down Jacket

Montane

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Montane Featherlite Down Jacket

Toughly built with PERTEX® Quantum Rip-stop and a DWR finish, the Featherlite is designed for movement. Although Montane is based in Europe, the jacket fits pretty true to size. The pockets and features of the jacket are very well deisgned and work as intended. For the most part the jacket is bulkier then the others in the review, but our testers did not feel like Stay Puft Marshmellow Men. Even the zippers are well designed for easy use with gloves on.

We were happy to include this jacket in the review despite its heavy weight. At 750 fill, the HyperDRY down is the warmest jacket we tested. What you get in warmth is offset by the size and weight of the jacket. Making this the least likely to be thrown in a pack for fast ascents, but the first to be grabbed after or before a run to stay warm on those chilly days. Not only will it keep your body warm but the RESPONSIBLE DOWN SOURCING can be verified using Track my Down™.

Ratings from our TAUR Testers 

Durability  4.5
Weight 3
Fit 4
Packability  2.5
Insulation in the cold 5
Price point  4
Weight  419g/15oz
Down Fill  Allied Feather & Down Titanium HyperDRY™ Down 750+
Price $240

*Scale of 1-5

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Overall Comparison

Durability Weight Fit Packability Insulation Price Point Weight Down Fill Price
the_north_face_logo 4 3.5 3.5 4 4.5 3.5 373g / 13oz 800 goose  $249.00
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3.5 3.5 3.5 2.5 4.5 4 327g/ 13.44oz 800 Stormdown  $229.00
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5 5 4 4 4.5 5 272g / 9.6oz 600 Traceable  $199.00
outdoor research

 

4 5 4 5 3 3.5 249g / 8.8oz 800 goose  $265.00
Montane 4.5 3 4 2.5 5 4 419g / 15oz 750 Allied Feather  $240.00

 

 



 

In all cases we strongly advise our readers to use Nikwax Down Wash

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Nikwax Down Wash

 

 

 

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