1 Jul 2013

Montbell EX Ultra Light Jacket

It's arrived - my new Montbell Ultra Light, 800 fill power, goose down jacket. It weighs in at just 225grams.
When I say new, I am a little disappointed as I thought this was the newer EX version (that has no pockets or inner zip insulation flap and is 158grams). Note to self read, instruction carefully!

I was tossing up waiting for the new 'Plasma" model to be released this month (1000 down fill - same weight as the EX), but at $US225 plus around $US45 shipping it is a bit steep. The EX on Montbell's US website is $US199 (plus shipping), so lets say around $US240. I got this jacket from the NZ online gear company, iClimb for $NZ255 plus $NZ10 shipping. It's 67grams heavier than the EX or plasma, but cheaper.

This jacket is specially designed to replace heavy and bulky fleece garments carried by most hikers. I love the way Montbell positions this jacket - "It's what you need when warmth is critical, minimal weight is paramount, and space in your pack is at a premium."

Montbell gets the weight down in three critical areas:

Fill - This is the volume that 1oz of down can occupy. The higher the fill power the more insulating value per weight. When using 800 instead of 650 down you get the same thermal capability with an overall lighter garment.

Shell - Montbell uses Ballistic Airlight Nylon. One and a half times more abrasion resistant than fabrics of similar weight, while boasting three times the tear strength. They also use Polkatex, an elite water-repellent technology retaining 90% of its water repellency after 100 washes. Ballistic is ultra light and ultra thin and offers high wind resistance performance but feels smooth and silky.

Single Quilt Construction - Sew through construction reduces weight while keeping down from migrating  (clumping).

The jacket packs to the size of a soda bottle (pump bottle for us Kiwis).

I have included some pictures so you can see fit. I was tossing up between medium and large. I am pleased I went for the latter. This jacket has a fitting style. But in large you can see I have plenty of room to layer underneath. I expect to only need my 200 Icebreaker Merino top (worn under jacket for these shots) under this for 3 season use.