Great kit: Ultra lightweight insulated jackets
One of the biggest advances in outdoors clothing in recent years has been lightweight insulated jackets. We have written about a number of these before.
See: Six lightweight insulated jackets
and Jottnar Alfar mid-layer jacket
This season, lightweight has been up-dated with “ultra” lightweight. Many brands have been busy bringing out even lighter insulated jackets that they claim will still offer great warmth and protection.
For walkers and cyclists there are a number of reasons why you might want to own a super lightweight insulated jacket.
- To stay warm... but without the bulk when faced with changeable climates. The super lightweight jackets can be worn over a baselayer and beneath an outer jacket with ease.
- To pack light... The jackets scrunch down into the smallest of spaces and weigh very little.
- For an extra warmth... at altitude in spring and summer.
- For peace of mind... When insulated layers are so light there is no point in questioning whether you will take one with you. It would be madness not to!
- To stay on trend... Most of the jackets look good as well as perform well.
3 great ultralight insulated jackets
The North Face Micro ThermoBall jackets
TNF have been busy making good use of their innovative ThermoBall technology. ThermoBall was developed with Primaloft and mimics the clusters more commonly associated with down.
The ThermoBall insulation is synthetic but because of its cluster format it can trap heat and keep you warm just like down. Except ThermoBall is lighter than down and also keeps you warm when it’s wet.
TNF have used ThermoBall in many of their jackets and vests including the ThermoBall Full Zip jacket, ThermoBall vest and ThermoBall Hybrid Hoodie.
The jackets are beautifully deigned for both men and women and fell very light indeed. Yet they still offer great warmth when worn as a mid-layer in winter or an outer layer in spring and summer.
Prices start from around £78. See The North Face
Arc’teryx Cerium SL jackets
Until you pick up one of these jackets you can have no idea how light it actually is. It feels like tissue paper. Yet it is impressively warm and also durable. I don’t really understand how Arc’teryx has managed to create such a lightweight yet insulating jacket but I presume it’s down to their secret technology.
This is what they will tell us: The super compressible jacket is filled with 850 grey goose down. It boasts “Down Composite Mapping and strategically places Coreloft synthetic insulation in areas where moisture may build up, down in the core and further warmth in the hood”. The jacket is also made with super lightweight Thisela face fabric with DWR for light moisture protection.
The jacket is not cheap but the technology and design is very impressive.
See Arc’teryx Cerium SL jacket for men
and Arc’teryx Cerium SL jacket for women
. Priced £250.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jackets
Claimed as “the world’s lightest full-featured hooded jacket”, the Ghost Whisperer comes on the back of a two-year project with top climber Ueli Steck. It weighs just 212g and contains 850-fill Q.Shield Down, which resists moisture to retain loft even in damp conditions. The outer fabric is durable ripstop.
The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer comes as a vest or jacket and for both men and women. Prices start at £150. Buy in the UK from a number of retailers including Cotswold Outdoor.