Thursday, September 3, 2009

Montbell U.L. Inner down parka update

Montbell just released specs for their updated U.L. Inner down parka, my current go-to 3-season insulation layer.

In short, the parka looks much improved. The down content is ramped up, the fit is tapered and and drawcord has been added to the hood - all good things. The cost is an additional 1.6 oz, but for more warmth, a tighter fit and desirable features (the lack of a hood drawcord on my model is a major objection), the weight is worth it.

However, Will Rietveld's objection to the parka still stands. Compared to the WM Flash jacket (3 oz down fill) and the Nunatak Skaha Plus (5 oz down fill), MB's 2.5 oz of fill (men's medium) looks puny.


mackie said...

for .5 oz less down you pay $260 for the Flash, whereas the Montbell can easily be found for less than $125 (with the frequent 15-25% discounts available online).
So, for the price of 1 Flash jacket you can have TWO of the Montbell's. I'd say that is definitely worth the half ounce difference in down fill!

Matt Lutz said...

Duly noted, and it's not the first time I've heard that argument when it is Montbell v. Feathered Friends, Western Mountaineering or Nunatak. I have three insulated Montbell pieces and they are great, cheap and reasonably light.

But are you going to carry two Montbell jackets out there at the same time. The issue is really that if you need the warmth of a puffier parka with X.X ounces more down, then you need it.

Like sleeping bags, insulated clothing follows the same general rule. You get to pick two of the following three options: light, warm, cheap. Montbell likely has the best balance, but they may lose to other higher-quality garments in the warmth category. But I digress.