May 23, 20184098 views

Interest Check: Outdoors & Ultralight Jackets

Hey guys,
We want to hear what Outdoors & Ultralight jackets all of you are into. More specifically, what brands, types, and styles.
What type of qualities do you look for in a jacket? ▶ Are there certain materials or designs that make most sense for you? ▶ What companies do you think make the best products?
We’re always looking at posts and polls for suggestions, and we take them into account when we’re looking for products to put on the site. It doesn’t mean we can secure relationships with every brand or company of course, but we do try, and it gives us a better sense of the interests of the community.
We thought the easiest way to round up and talk about what jackets everyone likes is to make a Talk Post so let us know what you think and what suggestions you might have in the discussion. Myself and the buying team will be here to take everything into consideration.
See our other Interest Checks here: · Backpacks:
· Shoes:

We’ll be posting other Interest Checks for other categories (shoes, tents, canisters, etc.) soon so stay tuned. And feel free to share any polls you’ve created here so we can help more people see them.
bodonnell, Nick Battaglia, and 40 others

Everybody wants a nice down jacket. Warmth to weight ratio just doesn't get better. A good brand to try if you haven't yet would be Cotopaxi, they are up and coming, partner with other companies often, and make some high quality down products.
Out of curiosity, has anyone used, or looked at the Hill City (GAP) ultralight hooded jacket, or their reversible hooded puffer, any of the other primaloft jackets? Price point is pretty decent.
I've got a Patagonia down bubble jacket. It's about 5 years old, been everywhere, done everything, very packable and light. I'd buy another one in a second. If I could add anything, I'd reinforce the shoulders for carrying a pack and add a windproof lining.
I've got the Hilfiger natural down packable-black. I love it. It's so light, you forget you're wearing it, yet it's so warm, you almost never need to zip it up! 90% duck down/10% waterfowl. Comes with little drawstring pouch for packing.
i usually dont see lower than 20s in temps so i just layer a windshell/rainjacket over a hoodie or longsleeve. i primarily look for gore-tex but plenty of good windbreakers dont use it. would love to see a Kuiu partnership or maybe a cool northface collab project. Drawstring at the waist is a plus along with vents in the inner arms.
Heavy-duty Expedition/ Alpine type ,Gore-Tex / Waterproof Jacket with Stretch Panels or Knee Length Parka with Insulation rated for -15 to -25 F, made of Dyneema Composite Laminate Fabric. Under-arm Zip-Vents, Adjustable Cuffs, Helmet compatible Hood, Drawstrings / Cinch - cords for Wrist , waist and hood. Preferably Bright Colors like Red, Yellow or Blue.
The Ultimate Direction Ultra Jacket V2 would be great!
kuiu partnership would be incredible
north face prob removable hood
800+ down helmet compatible hood drawstrings required, with no elastic in the waist/sleeve with cinch sac or zippered pocket
If you want a helmet compatible hood, check out Oros. They use aerogel in their gear (same stuff used to insulate space suits) and I love mine
rip stop nylon that is light weight with under arm zippers. Bright colors along with the darker colors
Gore-tex shell with zippered under arm vents and an external chest pocket for phone, etc. Adjustable cuffs on sleeves. Some of the super-light weight ones are too fragile, so medium-ish weight.
everyone layers. A solid selection from base to shell from a greater selection of vendors would be awesome. Jackets that fit into my layering system are: 1. lightweight high FP down vest, jacket, hooded jacket 2. Lightweight packable hooded waterproof breathable shell 3. Heavy hooded multi layer laminate waterproof breathable shell. Most of all, prices here need to be worth the wait. I let a lot of great gear pass by here because a month or two wait isn’t worth saving a negligible amount of money.
GoreTex or other waterproof / breathable shells. Ideally with chest pockets. Preference would be for a three layer material that can take some abuse as opposed to a gossamer-like fabric that would rip at the first twig.
Marmot, Patagonia, UA, etc. - any reputable brand from a quality perspective. Must be lightweight/down with seamed box compartments (with a strong enough exterior fabric to not tear/rip like my TNF down coat did). Also must be breathable, have monkey-thumb holes, and be full zip.
Soft, lightweight, hooded, stretchy, breathable, thumb holes mid-weight full zip
Light weight, stretchy, breathable, hoody with thumb holes
I ride bikes, both enduro and bikepacking. Just now I can´t find a waterproof jacket made of Polartec Neoshel, that is light and available in Europe. Jottnar is not using Neoshell anymore, and Westcomb impossible to buy in Europe because of some lack of agreement amongst Canada and Europe... Then you can find some Rab or Montane stuff from 2015.... but it´s heavier thant I´d like, so... that´s something interesting and scarce in my opinion. Also a breathable and tough jacket without hood... like tha rab alpha flash but with something on the outside, some pertex air, or something like that I don´t know.
looking for a montbell plasma alpine jacket light, high end, much warmer than other ul jackets.. only drawback is the price
The race face chute team is my favourite jacket of all time, very waterproof, thick sturdy fabric, peak stiffener on the hood, really long arms for on a mountain bike, draw cord elastic waist, Velcro cuffs. The material was the real clincher, their website doesn't let on much more than proprietary 3 ply, but man, I'd but that jacket again in a heartbeat.
Barbour wax jacket with gear pockets and hand warmer pockets, ideal configuration, specific pocket for pipe and tobacco as well. with a wipe clean wax or leather lining.
I'm going to echo a lot of what others have said here, but for outdoors and ultralight jackets, what I'm usually looking at is the quality of the material, the design, and the weight. There are many types of jackets that get used outside for the myriad of activities that we're all interested in, and each one needs to be slightly different. For hardshell jackets, I look for Goretex Pro and at least a 40D Nylon Face Fabric. Some of the newer 3L membranes are looking appealing, but Goretex Pro is still the best for overall protection. NeoShell and AscentShell are good examples of newer membranes that trade a little protection for more breathability. For my uses, Hardshells are an emergency piece to be used if the weather turns really foul and you're miles from any permanent shelter, so they should be light! Pockets that are climbing harness/backpack compatible and a helmet compatible hood that seals up well are a must. I use softshell jackets as my shell layer most of the time in the backcountry of CO because it's relatively dry and I need something breathable that still provides some protection. All of the design features, pockets and good hood, mirror the hardshell above, but I generally go for some kind of 3-way stretch fabric. Schoeler is a good example. Breathable insulation that vents well, but still keeps you warm, is a must for active use in the backcountry. Hybrid garments that use materials like PrimaLoft Gold, Polartech Alpha, or Polartech Alpha Direct, usually supplemented by lighter fleece under the arms, are great for this. Most of the time, a hood is a must for these as well. For none active use in dry environments, down is king! I look for 800+ fillpower ethically sourced goose down housed in a lightweight shell fabric, usually something like 10D Pertex. Hoods are a must, as are insulated pockets for giving your digits a little extra warmth. These should really take advantage of the properties of down and be super light while still providing enough warmth. A high fill weight to jacket weight ratio is usually good, as long as you don't sacrifice too much in durability or features. As far as makers go, my general preferences are: Arc'Teryx, Rab, Montane, Montbell, Mammut, Outdoor Research Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear, and the North Face Summit Series also have some good pieces. La Sportiva and Salewa are relatively unknown for apparel here in the states, but I like some of their new stuff as well.
Like a few others have said, there's not one jacket for every activity. I like running and hiking jackets as I'm on the trails often. But I also need a lightweight insulation layer in case I have to stop, get hurt, or can't keep running to keep myself warm. So, 1. waterproof/breathable 2. warm insulative but light 3. all with hoods, taped seams, venting. I like Patagonia, North Face, ArcTeryx, and OR, but also like what Ultimate Direction is doing with their jackets.
i have several, but my go to is always Rab. Seems the warmest and has held up for years.
Thats what I got..., Mix and Match according to activity and weather...
I am mostly into Rab, Mountain Equipment, Mammut, Black Diamond, and some pieces by OR and Patagonia... sadly Arcteryx is a too narrow fit for me on some items... I am always looking for freedom of movement and comfort on the stuff I bought (been already covered the technical aspects the garments ). I love technical stretch panels on some garments that allow confort and movement not restricting your body on the go.
Jackets, irrespective of brand, that incorporate Goretex Pro (or an equivalent) or Primaloft Gold. Examples would be Arc'teryx and Patagonia. As someone else mentioned, a hood is a must on all jackets, pitzips a must on shells.
Brooks range Alpini
I'm an outerwear junkie who understands that there is no one jacket that is a universal solution to all conditions. Starting with lightest: I own Patagonia Houdinis, a Massdrop Wind Veil, and an Arc'teryx Squamish. These are all great in windy dry conditions when you don't want the wind cutting straight through to your skin. The Houdini is my favorite but I would highly recommend the Wind Veil if they can improve the bad zipper set and sewing. When the weather is cooler I wear beneath the wind jacket either a Patagonia fleece, a down or synthetic vest, or, in cooler weather, a Patagonia Nano Air (or hoody) or Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer Hoody (or my ancient MH Zeus or any number of heavier down jackets I own). If it is not too cold my Rab Xenon X is a great ultralight one layer solution to windy and cool with a minor chance of light and variable precip. If it is going to be rainy and cold, for an outer layer I go with an Arc'teryx Alpha FL (great shell but no pockets or pit zips), an OR Helium II (great ultralight but no pit zip or hand pockets) or my goto OR Foray, which has incredible pit zips and hand pockets. If there is bushwhacking involved I use a Marmot Precip as a shell since I can replace them on sale for only slightly more that the cost (and pain) of having to patch and renew dwr finish on a more expensive jacket. If it is very cold and snowy I use something like my Rab Neutrino Endurance with a Patagonia fleece beneath (I own all the R1 variations as well as the R2 and R3). The Neutrino is super warm and allows you several options to dump heat if you need to and the fleece underneath pulls any perspiration away from your skin.