Down jackets

Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:14 am

You masochist to carry 5kg extra at 5000m altitude. Mad! ;)
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by BNA » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:25 am

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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:25 am

RonK wrote: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.

Yes, it's a decision that's very sensitive to the level of discount and Fx.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:27 am

Hi RonK, I assume it's my highly abrasive personal style that's bothering you. Sorry about that.

Now back to getting advice (which I won't follow) for my next touring trip (which I probably won't take seriously).

What's a soft shell exactly, and how does it differ from a fleece?
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:38 am

snafuspyramid wrote:What's a soft shell exactly, and how does it differ from a fleece?

Suggest that you take a read of all the excellent articles from REI.com, a major US outdoors retailer.
http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/clothing.html

Also articles and product comparisons from Outdoor Gears Lab.
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/clothing-mens

These are the info that most Kathmandu buyers are oblivious to. It's a bit of an eye opener. However, there are also buyer traps on the other side of the fence. Learn, understand and choose wisely. :wink:
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:40 am

snafuspyramid wrote:What's a soft shell exactly, and how does it differ from a fleece?

Nah - some people just need a good shake to get their attention and make sure they are listening.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:24 pm

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.


A few times, mostly for Icebreaker. Postage is free if you spend more than NZ$99 which is not hard with Icebreaker clothes :) I keep an eye on their Icebreaker clearance prices ...

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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:31 pm

Aushiker wrote:A few times, mostly for Icebreaker. Postage is free if you spend more than NZ$99 which is not hard with Icebreaker clothes :) I keep an eye on their Icebreaker clearance prices ...

$99 free P&H? How did I miss that? Ummm... Maybe they are back in contention again. Thanks.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:39 pm

RonK wrote:
Aushiker wrote: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.


Bingo :) My Cascade pack has been sold as I mentioned and long ago stopped wearing my Scarpa Manta boots and now days wear New Balance MO889 trail shoes. I actually looked at Osprey packs a few days ago and if I was back in the market I would differently consider one or one of the latest Granite Gear packs. I have a Granite Gear Stratus Latitude which I got for free when gear testing - bit unusual and really too big for me now but I don't do enough backpacking to warrant replacing it.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby Aushiker » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:41 pm

sogood wrote:
Aushiker wrote:A few times, mostly for Icebreaker. Postage is free if you spend more than NZ$99 which is not hard with Icebreaker clothes :) I keep an eye on their Icebreaker clearance prices ...

$99 free P&H? How did I miss that? Ummm... Maybe they are back in contention again. Thanks.


Details at http://www.bivouac.co.nz/shipping-free-info ... $NZ$10 if you spend less than $99

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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:53 pm

Aushiker wrote:Details at http://www.bivouac.co.nz/shipping-free-info ... $NZ$10 if you spend less than $99

That's a big change since my last look through. I like.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:59 am

Hi Snafu
a bit of online trawling produced this cheapie that "may" be worthy of your consideration due to its reduced pricing.

http://www.mainpeak.com.au/men/jackets- ... ket-men-s/
A claimed 50% price reduction making it $149.50

400g is lightish weight (IMHO) and its down is higher loft grade than the Sundowner being 750+ opposed to 650+

I'm wondering if part of its supplied warmth is its source of Ukrainian goose downs proximity to Chernobyl :lol: :lol: .

No matter, not sure if they are redeemable for a further discount, but you'll likely get some brownie points from Sogood from it not carrying a Macpac logo :wink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhc0ydsUzZk
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Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:25 am

Rifraf, that Montane AntiFreeze model at $150 sale price has already been mentioned earlier in this thread, one that has been used as comparison to Kathmandu's sale offering. And stop twisting other's words! My displeasures has been with K, not MacPac. Very naughty of you!

Do you actually read the posts?
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:48 am

sogood wrote:Rifraf, that Montane AntiFreeze model at $150 sale price has already been mentioned earlier in this thread, one that has been used as comparison to Kathmandu's sale offering. And stop twisting other's words! My displeasures has been with K, not MacPac. Very naughty of you!

Do you actually read the posts?


Perhaps not well enough.... :oops:
I've quoted it below - you did indeed mention it. I missed it I'm afraid - Kudo's to you for spotting it first.
Perhaps followers of the thread thinking about jackets may appreciate my link to your find as well as the link to the Utube review.

sogood wrote: Take my earlier purchase from MainPeak of Montane's AntiFreeze down jacket. It's now $150 with free postage.


As to your displeasure being with K and not Macpac, that wasnt so obvious to me with your mention of my jacket which I took pains to point out was a Macpac product.
I dont currently own any Kathmando products but I know some people who look favorably on some of their higher end sleeping bags.
Twisted words and naughtiness?
I guess I was just born bad :lol: :lol:
We'll have to put it down to an inability to drink having been led to water perhaps :)

I did manage to follow your links however and an interesting read was had - thank you for those.
I'm sure others following in our tyre prints (reading this thread) will glean some valuable insights
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:13 am

Well it sounds like nobody really uses their down jackets much on tour, so I've scrapped that idea. I like RonK’s (humbly submitted) recommendation of the Marmot, but will keep a look out for the one with the hood: http://marmot.com/products/details/super-gravity-jacket . It seems like a fairly minor increase in weight for a lot of extra versatility.

The reason I’ve been looking at cold weather clothing now is that most of it is on sale at the end of the season, but I can’t find the Marmot on sale anywhere. I’m not in any hurry.

I also like the option of the merino hoodie posted earlier, I’ll follow bivouac.co.nz and the Icebreaker store, which is also very close to my house. For the time being the winter gear is off the radar though, as I spent the money on a pair of Rainlegs and two Macpac merino cycling jerseys (on clearance for $56 each: http://www.macpac.com.au/mens/baselayer ... e-men.html ).

The "cheapie" Montaine jacket looks nice, but the only remaining on is 2XL - rather too large for me.

EDIT: On the subject of whether merino makes a good mid-layer, an interesting thread: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... d_id=45820
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Re: Down jackets

Postby sogood » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:36 am

snafuspyramid wrote:The "cheapie" Montaine jacket looks nice, but the only remaining on is 2XL - rather too large for me.

If you changed colour option, they also have M and L in stock.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:27 pm

sogood wrote:
snafuspyramid wrote:The "cheapie" Montaine jacket looks nice, but the only remaining on is 2XL - rather too large for me.

If you changed colour option, they also have M and L in stock.

Yeah I spotted that last night.
Snafu you need to click that drop menu in the colour option to offer you more size options
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:42 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:Well it sounds like nobody really uses their down jackets much on tour, so I've scrapped that idea. I like RonK’s (humbly submitted) recommendation of the Marmot, but will keep a look out for the one with the hood: http://marmot.com/products/details/super-gravity-jacket . It seems like a fairly minor increase in weight for a lot of extra versatility.


There is a Marmot Super Gravity which has a hood
http://marmot.com/products/details/super-gravity-jacket
You'll likely have to look overseas to purchase though.

As to the down, I'll be taking mine on tour (after summer has ended).
I think the message is to consider how you tour.
Most people are cycling during the daylight hours which keeps them warm and as time for most is limited, theres not a lot of down time to be smelling roses in a down jacket.
I found at the end of the day of riding, I tend to just want to get my camp made up, food prepared, cooked and eaten, hit the hay and sleep like the dead.
Earliest to bed and most hours slept ever, has been on tour. :lol: :lol:
Next tour I want to do less km's, have more down time and take in more sights - course I say that now...... :roll:
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:29 pm

rifraf wrote:
I think the message is to consider how you tour.

Next tour I want to do less km's, have more down time and take in more sights - course I say that now...... :roll:


I might keep an eye out for one then. I will finally have finished my thesis (and six years of law school!) next week, so will finally have the time to do a proper tour :D :D :D :D hopefully the Great Ocean Road first. It's very exciting to have a big block of spare time at last, it's just a bit of a shame it's over summer (looking to be a nasty one too).

I definitely want to take it easy, have plenty of downtime, and spend lots of time sitting around. That is partly my own preference, but it is most definitely my partner's (she doesn't entirely share my fanaticism).

I certainly want something extra I can throw on when it gets cold. As I mentioned somewhere before, the last time I was out alone I ended up having to shift camp in the dark a few times, courtesy of a few charming guests in the campsite screaming, cutting laps and exploding paint cans. It was absolutely freezing up there at 1am, I would have loved a big thick layer I could just throw on for a few minutes to warm up a bit. I'd also like to be able to sit around in a nice spot, have a chat or read a book - that's mainly what we ended up doing on our last little three-day tour together.

I've read quite a few long-distance tourists recommending taking a down jacket, and I like the idea of having down for the awesome weight-to-warmth ratio. But (since I can't resist banging on about my cycling shell) perhaps it would be a good idea to get a down vest instead? It's even lighter and could go over the top of the Sugoi shell comfortably: http://marmot.com/products/details/zeus-vest#

Incidentally, I am getting the subtle impression RonK doesn't agree that down is a good idea. I can see why. But all of my equipment purchases have been directly based upon the advice of experienced touring cyclists or hikers - just not necessarily yours. (Except my Macpac sleeping bag, which I sold, and the eVent jacket, which I love).
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Re: Down jackets

Postby rifraf » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:59 pm

I think it may be a matter of priority.
If I was starting from scratch again, "my" priority would be first a hard shell, then a Marmot Gravity, with a down jacket coming last on the list.

I think RonKs equipment list is great and I never fail to get his take on items I'm considering due to his knowledge and experience which is both local and international.
A gravity jacket is very high on my priority list and will be ordered very shortly.

I'm not so sure that he thinks down is a bad idea per say but more that its unnecessary in his style of touring.
RonK has his gear pared down to what for him is the absolute essentials leaving room for a couple of little luxury items.
Theres a lot to learned from his approach.
I wish I'd followed it a bit closer on my last tour as it would have saved me either posting at expense or just throwing away about half of the gear I started out with.
It was likened to Hansel and Gretal but instead of breadcrumbs, it was my non essentials.

The down jacket would definitely fall under personal luxury item and not an essential as Ronks layers, finished with shell, is more than adequate for traveling.
I think the trick is the amount of luxury items you'll have the strength to haul is finite and your enjoyment of the journey is affected by how much effort you've got to maintain pedaling your load of both necessary and luxury.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:03 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:Incidentally, I am getting the subtle impression RonK doesn't agree that down is a good idea. I can see why. But all of my equipment purchases have been directly based upon the advice of experienced touring cyclists or hikers - just not necessarily yours. (Except my Macpac sleeping bag, which I sold, and the eVent jacket, which I love).

I've mentioned that I own and use a down vest - but not on tour.

Let me just ask - you arrive in Launceston, Strahan, Hobart - it's 10C and it's raining (as it so frequently does). You want to spend a few days tourist time off the bike, looking around, taking a few excursions. What are you going to do? Walk around in your down vest ? Your Sugoi cycling jacket?

You did however, address a question to me in the very first post of this thread, and then appeared to ignore my reply. I don't care whose advice you choose to take, but I'm not going to take the time make detailed replies if you can't be bothered to read them.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:38 pm

RonK wrote:
snafuspyramid wrote:Incidentally, I am getting the subtle impression RonK doesn't agree that down is a good idea. I can see why. But all of my equipment purchases have been directly based upon the advice of experienced touring cyclists or hikers - just not necessarily yours. (Except my Macpac sleeping bag, which I sold, and the eVent jacket, which I love).

I've mentioned that I own and use a down vest - but not on tour.

Let me just ask - you arrive in Launceston, Strahan, Hobart - it's 10C and it's raining (as it so frequently does). You want to spend a few days tourist time off the bike, looking around, taking a few excursions. What are you going to do? Walk around in your down vest ? Your Sugoi cycling jacket?

You did however, address a question to me in the very first post of this thread, and then appeared to ignore my reply. I don't care whose advice you choose to take, but I'm not going to take the time make detailed replies if you can't be bothered to read them.


I most certainly do read your posts, recognise your expertise and appreciate that you take the time to answer my questions; else I would not have addressed a question specificially to you. I didn't make further comment on what you'd said, but that doesn't mean I wasn't paying attention. I use the forum because the discussion itself is valuable - I've learnt an enormous amount from this thread. I was just a little surprised by your earlier comments that I choose to ignore the advice given to me.

I don't ignore the advice I am given: my tent is the two-person equivalent of the Vela I which Il Padrone has written so positively about; the filter is the one WarrenH wrote about recently; the sleeping bag was recommended and sold to me by a member of the Bushwalking forums; the new gearing setup on my partner's bike is based upon the discussion we had recently; the Trangia was warmly endorsed by a number of members here, especially Il Padrone; the Washbag was recommended by somebody here (can't remember who); the LHT with Velocity rims, Deore LX hubs, Ortliebs and Tubus is all the result of advice... and so on.

I have to say, all of the equipment I've bought on the advice of the forum has been fantastic. The equipment I bought before rejoining the forum has mostly turned out not to be as suitable as what people have suggested here (i.e. Exped mats, much lighter sleeping bag with higher grade down, roomier tent with big vestibules etc.).

I did ignore your advice to buy the Showers Pass Elite jacket for myself, but only because I couldn't afford it - I bought one for my partner, since they had discounted models in her size, but settled for the Sugoi to save $120, or whatever it was. Even then, that was the closest thing I could find to what has been recommended here (same eVent fabric) and my experience with the brand has been good. Incidentally, I'm very happy with it after a fair bit of use on mini-tours and commuting, although the Showers Pass has better venting.

I do tend to agonise and debate over purchasing decisions like this, but this is an equipment forum and that's what it's for. Above all, I followed your (early) advice about planning meticulously, especially since I'll be touring with my partner.

Most importantly, I suppose, is that I've evidently annoyed you by giving you the impression that I ignore your advice and don't read your posts. I'm sorry if I've produced that effect, I certainly don't mean to. As I said, I definitely do pay close attention, and on those fairly rare occasions that I don't end up following your advice, it's only because I feel we prefer slightly different styles of touring, as many here do. I have learned an enormous amount from your advice, carefully read many of your travel blogs and will hopefully continue to do both.

Anyway, you make a good point about a down jacket being useless when it's raining for off-bike activities; I hadn't considered that. I reasoned that when it's raining I'll either be staying dry in my tent, cycling in a shell, or only popping out for a minute. (But I've never been to Tasmania...).

Returning to softshells, do you think it makes sense to purchase the hard shell with the hood? And does anyone have any thoughts on the Macpac 6S Sabre softshell? How might this compare with the Marmot?
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Re: Down jackets

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:40 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:I certainly want something extra I can throw on when it gets cold. As I mentioned somewhere before, the last time I was out alone I ended up having to shift camp in the dark a few times, courtesy of a few charming guests in the campsite screaming, cutting laps and exploding paint cans. It was absolutely freezing up there at 1am, I would have loved a big thick layer I could just throw on for a few minutes to warm up a bit


I reckon you'd do well to take more time over campsite choices and less time on down jacket choices. Best bush camps are well out of the range and access of feral hoons. I've only had such 'hoon issues' on a small handful of tours, in 35+ years of touring.

snafuspyramid wrote:I'd also like to be able to sit around in a nice spot, have a chat or read a book - that's mainly what we ended up doing on our last little three-day tour together.

That's what a good campfire is for :idea:

snafuspyramid wrote:I've read quite a few long-distance tourists recommending taking a down jacket, and I like the idea of having down for the awesome weight-to-warmth ratio. But (since I can't resist banging on about my cycling shell) perhaps it would be a good idea to get a down vest instead? It's even lighter and could go over the top of the Sugoi shell comfortably: http://marmot.com/products/details/zeus-vest#

None of the people I usually tour with take a down vest with them. Limited advantage over well chosen layers, and one big disadvantage (doesn't take well to water at all)

The weight advantage of down over fleeces or merino is a big plus for bushwalkers. A minor matter for cycle-touring, where you put the load on the bike rather than your back.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:51 pm

Hoods are useless when cycling (adversely limits your peripheral vision). Use a $2.50 shower cap over your helmet instead. When around camp I have a waxed-cotton brim hat (Watership Trading) that is excellent for keeping my head dry.

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Re: Down jackets

Postby snafuspyramid » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:55 pm

il padrone wrote:
I reckon you'd do weell to spend more time on campsite choices and less time on down jacket choices. Best bush camps are well out of the range and access of feral hoons.


Aye I agree with you there. This was the Upper Yarra Reservoir campground, it's a nice end stop after riding the Lilydale-Warburton rail trail. It is an enclosed ground with an entrance fee and (until recently, apparently) a very good reputation for being a 'safe' camp ground. I don't know of much else around that area, except Kurth Kiln, which gets lots of trail bikers, or bush camping (which I ended up doing). Hopefully I'll get a little further away from a major city next time...

I also agree about the campfire, although I usually prefer not to light campfires in the bush.
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Re: Down jackets

Postby RonK » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:12 pm

snafuspyramid wrote:Returning to softshells, do you think it makes sense to purchase the hard shell with the hood? And does anyone have any thoughts on the Macpac 6S Sabre softshell? How might this compare with the Marmot?


Personally I really dislike hoods of any kind. I did buy the hood with my Showers Pass and wore it once. Anyone who wants it can have it. I don't like the close, claustrophobic feeling it gives me. I'd rather wear a hat, which allows plenty of air circulation whilst keeping me dry. I've used cheap disposable shower caps - they are quite good but let the rain down my neck. So now I have a Taiga helmet hat, which has a neck flap. And a Goretex hat for off the bike.

"The Sabre is a classic mid-weight softshell jacket that provides warmth while being windproof and water resistant."That what you are looking for. These jackets have a smart casual look and can be worn anywhere, not just touring - it will soon become your favourite streetwear, as I've just been discussing with Aidan. It's hard to tell how well it compares - the Marmot Gravity attracts reams of favourable reviews, but softshells are probably made from the same or similar fabrics so the the difference is likely to be in the design and the quality of manufacture.
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