Kit review: Winter down jackets (for him and her)
If you’re looking for a new down jacket for this winter’s snow and chilling temperatures you will be met with a bewildering choice. Every brand offers a choice of down – and man-made insulated – jackets in a range of warmths. This season we have seen a growth in the number of lightweight insulated jackets (see our blog review of six great insulted jackets), which are perfect for winter days that stay above zero or for using as a mid-layer when temperatures drop even further. The best type of jacket for snowy or very cold days is a heavier weight down jacket with a down hill or 800 or more. These jackets are similar to sleeping bags, for example a three or four-season bag, except they are made to be very wearable! So far this year I have been very impressed with two winter down jackets, one for him and one for her.
Berghaus down jacket for himMaking great use of Berghaus’s new “Hydrophobic Goose Down” is the new Ramche jacket for men. It is filled with a toasty warm and water resistant 850- fill down. The second that you put this jacket on, you know it is going to be a treat to go outdoors in cold temperatures. While it is very lightweight for such a high-fill down jacket, it is also immediately warming. In fact, if you have one of these Berghaus Ramche’s jackets you will be hoping for the coldest and snowiest winter conditions just so you can look smug and cosy! The Ramche is created with a “three zone body map principle”. This means that three different areas of the jacket keep your body warm in three varying ways. So the core of the Ramche jacket uses “offset baffles” to keep the core of your own body warm. This is important because it is your vital organs that require extra warmth as temperatures outdoors drop. Then there are square baffles of down in the upper arms area and innovative “stitch through” baffles in the under arms area. The design of these two zones are meant to maximise freedom of movement and prevent the migration of down into other areas of the jacket as it becomes more worn. Additional weather protection comes from an adjustable (and helmet compatible) hood. The jacket outer is made from Pertex Quantum GL fabric, which is created by Berghaus to be lightweight and very packable. The Ramche costs £300 from Berghaus. There is a version for women, too.
Rab down jacket for herRab women’s down jackets, including the Women's Neutrino, are always a good fit. Although they are packed full of warming down, they still look flattering with a slightly nipped in waist, room for hips and nicely fitted around the chest and shoulders. I am quite tall and have long arms. The Women's Neutrino Endurance in a size UK10 is perfect for length of arms and torso keeping enough of me covered in lower temperatures. If you want a longer version there’s the Neutrino Plus. The Neutrino jacket is designed for very cold and snowy days with a Pertex® Endurance® outer fabric to offer protection against storm and spindrift. The 200g of 800-fill power Hydrophobic European goose down keeps body temperature cosy. Yet the jacket is still nice and light to wear. The jacket boasts a stitch-through baffle construction to prevent too much movement of down in the jacket as you wear it. There is also a down-filled hood that can be worn over a climbing helmet. The wired peak is a useful addition. This is a classic down jacket for women (there is a men’s version) with a fairly reasonable prove tag of between £200 to £250. See Rab jacket
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