Down jackets

Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:17 pm

rifraf wrote:You appear to be suggesting a lot of stupidity on behalf of the customers which might get a few buyers miffed.


I don't think that is a really what is happening here ... there are, to put it broadly two different markets (or consumers) at play and one consumer group is more in the travel or outdoor travel market (my partner for example) who would go to Kathmandu and happily buy there simply because they don't have in-depth knowledge of the outdoor market or don't need to have an in-depth knowledge. On the other hand is the more experienced cycle tourist, bushwalking, outdoor person looking for a higher quality product. I suspect those are the consumers who are more informed and hence have less respect for Kathmandu. It is not about snobbery, it is about being informed and knowing the value of good quality gear and how important it can be in the field.

Personally I wouldn't buy anything from Kathmandu that I needed to rely on ... I have bushwalking friends, very experienced bushwalkers who brought a tent from Kathmandu (let the "price" drive the decision). Third pole failure in the field and they learnt their lesson and they paid dearly for the "savings" they made in the first instance.

My partner and a couple of friends are heading off to Nepal next year for some walking. They where going to Kathmandu to get the gear they needed, I suggested they go to Mountain Designs instead ... they got really good advice from an experienced walkers at two different Mountain Design shops and brought good quality gear at a good price. They are now better equipped for their adventure and at least shouldn't have the gear negatively impacting on their trip.

Last time I went into Kathmandu I was looking for merino tops and thought I would give them a shot ... found poor quality, poor fitting clothes at prices that I could pay for Icebreaker ex NZ. Guess what I brought?

Each to their own of course and I am sure if I could be bothered I might pick up bits and pieces at Kathmandu for a good price but I don't bother.

Getting back on topic, if I want a down jacket which is to keep me warm and to pack small ... I am not going near Kathmandu. Down is not down, sewing is not sewing, fit is not fit, and I would like gear in that price range to be of decent quality. I am not going to get it from Kathmandu. Personally I am happy with my Outdoor Research jacket for what it is worth and BTW I sold my Macpac Cascade pack a few years back ... good pack for sure (used it for my Bibbulmun Track end to end in 2003) but way to heavy for me and frankly modern fabrics can do a pretty good job at less weight. Now days I play with an innovative Granite Gear pack :)

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by BNA » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:27 pm

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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:27 pm

Kathmandu make some ok stuff but it is simply not designed for serious expeditions, not unless you like to suffer.

I will look more into layering. It worked ok for me over winter but I find it restrictive wearing cycling jackets over my thick fleece. It works fine over my light synthetic hoodie but that is too lightweight
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:36 pm

rifraf wrote:I'll put to you this way.
If its a con, where is the repeat business coming from?

Smart marketing to an inadequately informed consumer base. McDonalds is another good example. Lots of marketing and people will believe it. Works in politics/elections too. We just had one and one candidate stood out here.

When it comes to outdoor gears, there are a lot of technical nuances. For the masses, they are just buying fleece or down or whatever. Fact is, there's a huge variation. Kathmandu has used this to their advantage. Cheaper down in poorer construction listed with a far higher RRP. Then dramatically marked down to their expected price, one that is still way higher than quality brands.

As in the example given by me earlier. Montane AntiFreeze marked down to $150 is called true value. Kathmandu's mark downs to the $200 range are just rubbish in comparison. Compare the material, compare the construction, compare the design, compare the value, there is no comparison!
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:39 pm

rifraf wrote:Back to the jacket, I've bought one but think...

Already sensed that you are a recent customer of their. Sorry to say, but the truth here hurts, if one has only recently coughed up good money. But the earlier one realises the con, the fewer repeat rip-offs one will experience.
Last edited by sogood on Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:40 pm

Merino thermal, under merino cycle jersey, under Frosty Boy medium fleece, all fits nicely under the Showerspass Elite rainjacket. This sort of gear has kept me warm in Victorian winters and even for XC skiing. Much of it is NZ too, but GE rather than Macpac.

Layering.

Heavy-weight fleece jackets are a waste of time for cycling. Mostly you'll just overheat. Keep it in the pannier for around camp (although I don't even do that nowadays - it's about 4 years since I've worn the 300 weight fleece).
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:43 pm

Hi Il Padrone,

It's camp clothing I am concerned with, my actual cycling kit is plenty warm
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Re: Down jackets

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:47 pm

Yep, I use it around camp too. If it is really cold conditions I take a set of full-length thermals (top and pants) to wear underneath. I've always found this to be fine, both lighter and much less bulky than a heavy-weight fleece.

And I'm a skinny guy who generally feels the cold a fiair bit.


Oh, and if your feet are cold put on a beanie :wink:
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:53 pm

sogood wrote:
rifraf wrote:Back to the jacket, I've bought one but think...

Already sensed that you are a recent customer of their. Sorry to say, but the truth here hurts, if one have only recently coughed up good money. But the earlier one realises the con, the fewer repeat rip-offs one will experience.

Hi Sogood,
thats incorrect in my opinion.
I"m more than happy with my down jacket purchase.
Please explain for everyone, the con I've suffered.
Be detailed please. :)
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:56 pm

To get a true sense of how much these Kathmandu quality equivalent down jackets cost in China, flip through this site. That's where Kathmandu source the majority of their products from, and they aren't even sourcing the best quality good there.
http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?Sea ... 1101035208

Edit: That's a good one. It's Aliexpress .com. Search for "down jacket" on the site.
Last edited by sogood on Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:58 pm

il padrone wrote: Much of it is NZ too, but GE rather than Macpac.


and mostly made in NZ. Macpac hasn't been "NZ" for years ... it went offshore yonks ago.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:59 pm

As I said, mine is a Macpac jacket, probably made in Asia or China too.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:00 pm

rifraf wrote:thats incorrect in my opinion.
I"m more than happy with my down jacket purchase.
Please explain for everyone, the con I've suffered.
Be detailed please. :)

Don't worry. I've been in your position too until when I've discovered what other products are out there. Without even going to the very top brands, have you seen and heard of Montane, Marmot, Patagonia, MontBell. Just go and have a look at MainPeak.com.au and similar local sites for their sales price comparison.

Ignorance is bliss...
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:09 pm

sogood wrote:[
Don't worry. I've been in your position too until when I've discovered what other products are out there. Without even going to the very top brands, have you seen and heard of Montane, Marmot, Patagonia, MontBell. Just go and have a look at MainPeak.com.au and similar local sites for their sales price comparison.

Ignorance is bliss...

Thats just it.
I'm not worried.
I'm sure all those companies make good product.
However, I'm happy that the product I've bought is fit for purpose and happy with the price.
If your unable..........
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:16 pm

rifraf wrote:Thats just it.
I'm not worried.
I'm sure all those companies make good product.
However, I'm happy that the product I've bought is fit for purpose and happy with the price.
If your unable..........

It's your right to be happy. We are just trying to share our experiences and knowledge in the field.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:35 pm

rifraf wrote:As I said, mine is a Macpac jacket, probably made in Asia or China too.


I just had a look at the Macpac Sundowner XP jacket. Claimed retail price of $429.95, MWC price of $257.97. Outdoor Research 650 loft (so comparable) down jacket and I would suggest a real competitor to Macpac but a US company at Bivouac has a retail price of $243.00 (note the difference - no stupid over-inflating of the price) and is currently on clearance at Bivouac for $175.00.

If you got your Macpac for 50% off MWC then it would be a good buy for sure, otherwise MWC is in the "normal" retail price range I would suggest.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:47 pm

Just poking around a bit at Bivouac, and found one alternative to going with down ... Icebreaker Men's RealFleece260 Sierra Hood at $183. For me at least 260 weight would be sufficient especially if layering.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:32 pm

Aushiker wrote:
rifraf wrote:As I said, mine is a Macpac jacket, probably made in Asia or China too.


I just had a look at the Macpac Sundowner XP jacket. Claimed retail price of $429.95, MWC price of $257.97. Outdoor Research 650 loft (so comparable) down jacket and I would suggest a real competitor to Macpac but a US company at Bivouac has a retail price of $243.00 (note the difference - no stupid over-inflating of the price) and is currently on clearance at Bivouac for $175.00.

If you got your Macpac for 50% off MWC then it would be a good buy for sure, otherwise MWC is in the "normal" retail price range I would suggest.

Andrew

From memory it was $200.00 plus change on the boxing day sale Andrew.

As I dont buy when the price is inflated, I dont see any problems with what I paid.
A $25 disparity does not equal a con in my book.

Thank you for taking the time to search out the similar product and leave a link. :)
Your point is easy to follow as your reasoning is backed up with an appropriate example and put across in a palatable manner.

I'd believe the Macpac product superior to the Bivoac product in that its got some water repellancy being Pertex® Endurance but I'll concede beyond that its a comparable product.

If the suggestion is the recommended retail price is OTT that may be true for people who price watch (like myself), but the sales are regular enough that even I can participate.

Despite going into all the camping/outdoor shops in that one street in central Perth a multitude of times, only the staff at Macpac and Paddy Pallin have bothered to remember my name which is to me part of the service experience. :)
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:44 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:Hi Il Padrone,

It's camp clothing I am concerned with, my actual cycling kit is plenty warm


Snafu,
if I had to make a down Macpac purchase decision now as opposed to last boxing day, I'd be looking closer at the Stellar due to it being 800 loft as opposed to the Sundowners 650.
Also the very down itself appears to have been treated with DWR with Macpac suggesting "it highly water repellent".
It also appears to be a much lighter jacket for similar money currently (than the Sondowner XP).
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:38 am

I might not buy a down jacket after all - the consensus seems to be that it's not the most useful item.

Instead, I will try and find a warm mid-layer that fits underneath my cycling jackets, and some thermal long-johns. I already carry two synthetic thermal base layers; one for camp and an even lighter one for cycling.

The winter fleece I have is fantastic (it's an old Mont) and has endured much abuse, but it's just too big to fit underneath my jacket. I also have a lightweight synthetic Kathmandu hoodie, and this fits fine (but is not very warm, especially for the weight). The jacket is cut more narrowly than my partner's Showerspass Elite. I do have a wind shell in a larger size but I find it too irritating when it

Does anyone have any suggestions for a suitably close-cut mid layer? The Icebreaker above looks good, especially since it has a hood. Alternatively there is something like this: http://www.mainpeak.com.au/montane-jaguar-jacket-men-s/ . This sort of garment isn't something I know much about, to be honest.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:05 am

rifraf wrote:
Aushiker wrote:From memory it was $200.00 plus change on the boxing day sale Andrew.


$200 would be a reasonable price, a nice discount from what it would be or should be selling for ... for me the issue is the over-inflated "retail price" that they quote. I notice that Bivouac are doing the same with their own brand of jacket.

I'd believe the Macpac product superior to the Bivoac product in that its got some water repellancy being Pertex® Endurance but I'll concede beyond that its a comparable product.


Fair enough. I really didn't look seriously for competitive jackets, just used that one as it was on sale and of similar loft.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:25 am

snafuspyramid wrote:I might not buy a down jacket after all...
Does anyone have any suggestions for a suitably close-cut mid layer? The Icebreaker above looks good, especially since it has a hood. Alternatively there is something like this: http://www.mainpeak.com.au/montane-jaguar-jacket-men-s/ . This sort of garment isn't something I know much about, to be honest.

If you are looking for a mid-layer fleece for our local condition, maybe the model below Jaguar will do ie. Wolf jacket. If you look at their spec, there's around 200g weight difference b/n the two. In other words, Jaguar is likely to be significantly warmer. If you need something that warm, then a down jacket is still the go for its weight saving. The Wolf model looked more reasonable for our local needs I suspect, unless you are going into snow country. Then there's their Vice model which is even thinner. It'll all depend on the weather condition you are expecting and how it'll match with your existing layering pieces.

BTW, these fleeces aren't wind proof. So unless in calm condition, they'll need to be paired.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:30 am

Aushiker wrote:Just poking around a bit at Bivouac...

Andrew, have you used them before? How are you finding their P&H for us Aussies? Last I looked, their P&H aren't that favourable and might as well as order from the US and the UK. Great for NZ locals when there's a sale though.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:07 am

sogood wrote:
Aushiker wrote:Just poking around a bit at Bivouac...

Andrew, have you used them before? How are you finding their P&H for us Aussies? Last I looked, their P&H aren't that favourable and might as well as order from the US and the UK. Great for NZ locals when there's a sale though.

I've bought quite a few items from Bivouac when the price including shipping has been cheaper than either US or UK prices.

Factor in a 20% (at the time) advantage in the exchange rate and they were very competitive.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:36 am

snafuspyramid wrote:I will look more into layering. It worked ok for me over winter but I find it restrictive wearing cycling jackets over my thick fleece.

I don't know why you keep harping about this. I would only wear a hard shell in camp if conditions were extreme. I have many layering combinations to use, so it would take a full-on blizzard before I'd need to use my hard shell.

snafuspyramid wrote:Their stuff tends to be heavy. But it is also indestructible. That is an intelligent design tradeoff, not a flaw. I like it.

Not so intelligent - unless you think you are also indestructible. Must admit that is the fairly common (but often short-lived) belief of many young males I've trekked with.

snafuspyramid wrote:Were you spending much time physically inactive around camp, especially early mornings?

Rarely - we are talking about cycle touring, not a camping weekend. In the morning I want to get up and get going, get to my destination early so I can relax there, do some touristy stuff, do my laundry and have a nice meal, get to bed early - definitely not still be riding into the late evening then going to bed hungry and cold as you have reported. Why would I want to be hanging around camp, unless I'm having a lay day.

snafuspyramid wrote:I will try and find a warm mid-layer that fits underneath my cycling jackets, and some thermal long-johns. I already carry two synthetic thermal base layers; one for camp and an even lighter one for cycling.

Seems to me you have enough under layers - your problem is a poor choice of shell. The best way to address this would be to get a soft shell jacket, as I've already posted. I'm sure the Macpac store will have them on sale at some time.

You have posted threads asking about tents, mats, sleeping bags, jackets, jerseys, kitchenware - you name it. Some very experienced people here have taken the time to give detailed advice and a range of options, most of which you have chosen to ignore. Hardly surprising then, that when you put it all together it doesn't quite work.

I guess when you have finished play touring and get out on a real tour you'll just have to learn from your own mistakes.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:00 am

Aushiker wrote:I sold my Macpac Cascade pack a few years back ... good pack for sure (used it for my Bibbulmun Track end to end in 2003) but way to heavy for me and frankly modern fabrics can do a pretty good job at less weight.

Me too - I had a epiphany one hot exhausting day near Dobang on the Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in Nepal. I was at the point of abandoning some excess gear on the side of the trail, but the Sirdar picked it up and gave it to a porter to carry. When I got back home I got rid of the 80 litre Cascade, full leather Scarpa Manta boots, One Planet Expedition sleeping bag and replaced them with an Osprey Aether 60 litre pack, lighweight Zamberlan boots and a Marmot sleeping bag. Everything else in my pack was replaced with ultralight gear where alternatives were available, even down to ultralight silnylon stuff sacks. Ended up reducing my load by more than 5 kilograms - a massive load off my back at 5000 metres altitude.
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