Three great lightweight down jackets
The insulated jacket market has grown to include numerous lightweight down and synthetic-fill jackets that are brilliant for popping into a rucksack during a walking or cycling holiday. These jackets pack away into a small ball for easy carrying yet when they are released from their stuff bags they offer a nicely warming outer layers for times when temperatures drop, such as at higher altitudes, in the wind or in the evenings. The jackets are meant to be neat fitting for maximum heat (the warm air generated by you body is trapped inside the insulated jacket). Many boast features such as stretch fabric panels, water-repellent insulation and hoods. Here I suggest three good lightweight down jackets that I have come across this season. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer The name is perfect for this lighter than light down jacket. Indeed, the Ghost Whisperer is claims as being the “world’s lightest full-featured hooded jacket”. Even when you have this jacket on it feels as though it’s not really there. Yet it’s super warm for its weight. The jacket was designed after 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 a durable ripstop. It stuffs into its own zipped pocket for storage. The Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer comes as a vest or jacket (with or without a hood) and for both men and women. Prices start at £150. See Mountain Hardwear. Buy in the UK from a number of retailers including Cotswold Outdoor. Vaude Tacul PD This innovative jacket has down and stretchy panels for warmth and freedom of movement. The Tacul PD is filled with PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Down Blend fill, which is a blend of water-repellent down and insulating synthetic fibres. This means it will keep you warm even when it gets a bit wet. It also has a Powerstretch fleece integrated into the back, sides and arms of the jacket so the garment stretches with you however you want to move in it. This also aids the evaporation of sweat if you are working hard in the great outdoors. It’s lightweight and packs down into its own pocket (just make sure you find the right pocket with the two-way zip!) . Vaude also prides itself on being green-friendly. The goose down’s water-repellent treatment is fluorocarbon-free and, like the jacket’s primary material, meets the strict Bluesign standard that guarantees eco-friendly manufacturing. In addition there are two front zip pockets, a full front zip with backflap and a stand-up collar. It’s priced around £180. See Women’s Tacul PD and Men’s Tacul PD. Berghaus Scafell HydroDown Stretch Hoody Light-weight (it’s 409g, which is light, but not as light as the Ghost Whisperer), the Scafell Stretch Hoody combines the brand’s own HydroDown Fusion insulation with stretch panels. HydroDown is water-repellent down so you’ll stay warm even when it’s wet. In addition, the jacket has a “body mapping design” to offer more down in the areas where you most need it. The stretch side panels offer good freedom of movement. There are two zipped hand-warmer pockets plus a hood for extra warmth if you need it. See Berghaus women’s Scafell Stretch Hoody jacket (£140) and men’s Scafell jacket (£160. Note this is the non-stretch version.)
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