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Thread: Talkback: 'Lightest Down Top In The World'

  1. #1
    ‹bermensch Moonlight Shadow's Avatar
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    Or, when they are back on sale next autumn, get a Uniqulo ultra-light down jacket (just over 200g) for 50£ and however a fashion item they might be, they are pretty good...

  2. #2
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    Some fairly silly marketing claims there. This can't be their most durable face fabric at that weight. Compared to say the guide jacket

    Not obviously the outright lighest down bit either: Montbell ex light down jacket which seems to be a very similar weight, have much more rational down baffles and (going by BPL) costs a lot less. Or a WM Flash vest/PHD Ultra vest etc. Or a little heavier for a Crux halo or....

    The price on this really does seem to be very silly. More than a hooded ultra pullover for pities sake. Never mind that its made the campaign for rational baffling in down garments give up in despair

    (note how the womens version has a totally different pattern of baffles on it and tell me this isn't mainly fashion.).

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    I thought of the Mont Bell stuff, but it's hard to get in the UK. More generally, super lightweight down, I think, is of limited use over here, more suitable for the Alps. Super lightweight PrimaLoft, like Rab's Quantum GL shelled jacket, is really handy - mine has had a proper thrashing and a lot of use - but those 10D shell fabrics are very expensive because of the amount of yarn that goes into them - not sure what fabric Patagonia uses, but the same will be almost certainly true.

    Shell strength, I suspect there's a missing 'for the weight' thing somewhere in there...

    As for the women's design, from the Patagonia marketing blurb:

    ?In addition to developing an insulated jacket with the absolute minimum weight and volume, I really worked to design the women?s piece with beauty and femininity in mind,? notes Jenny Uehisa, women?s alpine designer. "Our female climbing ambassadors have been asking for insulated jackets with more of a feminine look. Because the fabric is translucent and feather-light, the piece conjured up images of clouds. I designed the quilt lines to highlight the minimal down fill and to help stabilize the down, while looking sophisticated and graceful.?

    It's interesting but quite niche, I think. Rab's PrimaLoft/Quantum GL jacket makes a lot more sense in UK conditions I think, but at £150 isn't cheap.

  4. #4
    Ultra King edh's Avatar
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    There are a few EU retailers who stock some Montbell.

  5. #5
    Goon
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    Even the geese are going lightweight now

  6. #6
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    Umm yes, as I said I think cf the womens version

    If you look at the Mont bell bits or the WM flash vest they're using very similar amounts of down and almost traditional baffling - just a handful of extra stitch lines to produce big squares (link.).

    I really don't think there's any objectively justification for more stitching than that. It could explain the cost a bit mind - if they've stitched it all first then carefully filled each compartment.....

    (there was a BPL heatpad test where the old style crux halo - which had this sort of baffling - suffered nastily in comparison.).

    Quantum is already down ~29g/m2 (before GL) so a plausibly strong 27g/m2 fabric isn't anything especially special.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Hmmm.

    "Because the fabric is translucent and feather-light, the piece conjured up images of clouds. I designed the quilt lines to highlight the minimal down fill and to help stabilize the down, while looking sophisticated and graceful"

    Oh please... I'm not sure if these baffles are better or worse than the 70s cheap anorak style baffles of the blokes.

  8. #8
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    I'd say better for the somewhat accidental reason that there's actually notably less stitching involved I mean take away the daft waviness and its almost a 'standard' microbaffled sweater.

    Well except for whatever they're doing with the cuffs/bottom etc!

  9. #9
    Goon
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    I agree Martin down jackets with small baffles and loads more stitching defeats the object of the jacket keeping you warm, which is what its supposed to do. Forget down migration with larger bafflesas in a decently made jacket its not an issue anyway or shouldn't be.In my experience with both the Rab infinity and Montane North Star they allow a lot more wind through than one with standard baffles, creating cold spots. I got rid of them because of that, although i liked elements of both jackets small baffles should be forgotton if you want to use them on the hill. They are ok in town but thats not what they are for or is it . Hopefully its just and industry fad and will disappear shortly.

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch El Manana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Doran View Post
    Super lightweight PrimaLoft, like Rab's Quantum GL shelled jacket, is really handy - mine has had a proper thrashing and a lot of use - but those 10D shell fabrics are very expensive because of the amount of yarn that goes into them - not sure what fabric Patagonia uses, but the same will be almost certainly true.

    Shell strength, I suspect there's a missing 'for the weight' thing somewhere in there...

    It's interesting but quite niche, I think. Rab's PrimaLoft/Quantum GL jacket makes a lot more sense in UK conditions I think, but at £150 isn't cheap.
    Can i just ask some opinion on how durable these lightweight shells should be?

    I've got a Quantum GL jacket, walked about 30 minutes the other day with a rucksack which couldnt have weighed more than 3kgs max. When i took it off i was suprised at the marks the rucksack strap had left on the upper chest area in one place, i think it was caused by the plastic chest strap buckle, quite badly indented/stretched like you would expect of something really heavy causing abrasion.

    I bought it as a lightweight warm layer for stops or an active layer in cold temperatures but i doubt i'll risk wearing it now with a rucksack.

  11. #11
    Ultra King Mikel el Bastardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Doran View Post
    . More generally, super lightweight down, I think, is of limited use over here, more suitable for the Alps.

    Sorry Jon. I don't agree. Correct me if i'm wrong, but i think your interests are more overnight or weekend based?

    I've used a Montbell UL Down Inner (200g for a Medium) as my only in tent/bothy insulating spare layer for years. Obviously that's for backpacking, not daywalks or overnighters.

  12. #12
    Mini Goon
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    "Can i just ask some opinion on how durable these lightweight shells should be?"

    They should be durable enough unless subjected to abrasion. Under abrasion, it will depend an awful lot on the other material. They could wear through almost straight away or last months of use.

    I have a Rab Generator in last-generation Quantum. I've put it through some genuine hard use, farm and building work, not to mention a horse trying to eat it, and it looks like new. But I wouldn't want to wear it under a rucksack.

  13. #13
    ‹bermensch El Manana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wee Jimmie View Post
    I have a Rab Generator in last-generation Quantum. I've put it through some genuine hard use, farm and building work, not to mention a horse trying to eat it, and it looks like new. But I wouldn't want to wear it under a rucksack.
    Including a daysack? (i'm not disagreeing i'm just trying to assess its limitations..)

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    If there are any protruding or rough parts on the straps or back that are higher on the Mohs scale than the nylon in the fabric then I expect a 3kg daysack will damage it pretty fast, especially if the pack is shifting around. If not it ought to be fine for quite a while. I *think* my Exos would be OK, but couldn't be confident without testing it.

    Pot luck basically.

  15. #15
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    Sounds fair enough

    If it helps, some figures from Montanes website. For what its worth (nothing to me, beyond it being a standard ) All tested at 12.5k PA (BS EN ISO 12947-2). Anyhow comparative:

    Microlight (@~50g/m2) = 40,000+ ,

    Equilibrium Eco@149g/m2 = 20,000+, Quantum Core @32g/m2 = 20,000+,

    Quantum rip stop @29g/m2 = 10,000+, GL @25g/m2 = Abrasion resistance 10,000+

    So GL does seem to be about the same abrasion strength as the more normal rip stop quantum, but you can see why you might want to protect either a bit. Or conversly why microlight isn't something to especially worry about.....

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch Nigel Healy's Avatar
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    I'm on a road of discovery with down about 3 years long, and my observation with Patagonia is they don't put much of the actual down inside their gear. The net result is a garment which isn't add that much insulation and so as a result significantly risks being encountering the wet stuff.
    I sold my Patagonia and bought a Mont-bell which has a lot more down for the same money.

  17. #17
    ‹bermensch El Manana's Avatar
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    Okay thanks Jimmie.

  18. #18
    Goon stove man's Avatar
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    I found Quantum (previous generation) to be very durable.

    I wore a pertex quantum windshell almost every day of a 153 day backpacking trip (not all of every day, but for an hour or 2 most mornings and sometimes a whole day) and it showed hardly any wear at all by the end of the trip. Similarly our sleeping bags have quantum shells, were used almost every day for a year of travelling/backpacking and still look (but don't smell!) like new

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    El Manana wrote (see)Can i just ask some opinion on how durable these lightweight shells should be?

    I've got a Quantum GL jacket, walked about 30 minutes the other day with a rucksack which couldnt have weighed more than 3kgs max. When i took it off i was suprised at the marks the rucksack strap had left on the upper chest area in one place, i think it was caused by the plastic chest strap buckle, quite badly indented/stretched like you would expect of something really heavy causing abrasion.

    I bought it as a lightweight warm layer for stops or an active layer in cold temperatures but i doubt i'll risk wearing it now with a rucksack. [/QUOTE]

    Quantum GL is pretty much the lightest windproof fabric out there and with the best will in the world, it's not going to be as tough as heavier fabrics. I'd happily use it for running, walking, biking without a pack and for short periods with one, but the pay-off for the weight is reduced durability generally.

    I've made a small hole in a Rab Quantum GL-shelled jacket without even knowing when. For pack use, I'd go for something a bit heavier. Not necessarily a lot heavier, the EDZ Pertex Microlight top that just came in is only about 90 grammes or so, but I suspect will be a fair bit tougher.

    I'd tend to view Quantum GL as 'emergency shell' fabric or very light insulation garment material. If you want to generalise, the lighter stuff gets, the less durable it becomes with very few exceptions - some of the Cordura fabrics and kevar or similar-based stuff bucks the trend, but mostly it's the case that it won't last as long as traditional, relatively weighty, alternatives.

    How durable 'should' they be? I guess they should be durable enough for their intended purpose, but the thing with Quantum, I think, is that originally it was developed for use in ultra-lightweight down garments rather than shell clothing, but because it's very light and still windproof, it has obvious attractions for clothing brands.

    Mike Parsons - ex-Karrimor and OMM - did a talk at one of the innov_ex events a few years back where he argued that the lighter and more minimal kit becomes, the more important it is for the user to understand its limitations and strengths and use it accordingly and I think that's broadly the case.

    You simply can't expect a 400g walking boot to last as long as a traditional, full-leather, Vibram-soled, steel-shanked one, which sounds blatantly obvious, but some people's expectations are unrealistic.

    I'm not saying your can't have light and durable, but the lighter you go, the less likely it is and the more careful you have to be. And what's appropriate varies with the individual. In really crude terms, a good climber may be able to wear quite thin, stretchy legwear, for example, because he or she, will rarely put, say, their knee on the rock.

    In contrast, a really poor one might spend a lot of the time thrutching up stuff, kneeling etc and consequently would be better off with heavier, more durable fabrics. A good compromise in that case, might be a lightweight garment, but with strategic 'just in case' reinforcements in vulnerable areas like knee and seat, 'just in case'.

    Worm. Can. Opener please


  20. #20
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stove man View Post

    I found Quantum (previous generation) to be very durable.

    I wore a pertex quantum windshell almost every day of a 153 day backpacking trip (not all of every day, but for an hour or 2 most mornings and sometimes a whole day) and it showed hardly any wear at all by the end of the trip. Similarly our sleeping bags have quantum shells, were used almost every day for a year of travelling/backpacking and still look (but don't smell!) like new
    As far as packs and fabrics go, it's rarely said, but I think a lot depends on the individual pack fabrics and design. Some pack straps are very smooth and easy on garments, others seem to be made with really rough-faced, abrasive fabrics. Fit matters too, the more movement between straps and body there is, the more rubbing.

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