Montbell: Extremely Light Down Jacket

Montbell: Ex Light Down Jacket

When I started the AT in February, I grossly under estimated how cold it was going to be in the south. I was reminded every time we dropped into a town:

"hey, did you know this is the coldest winter we've had in 25 years?" 

"why yes," I replied, "as a matter of fact, I do."

While it was incredibly cold for the first two months, my clothing system kept me from getting in trouble; which was a good thing considering there wasn't anyone on the trail at that time. As my 'warm' jacket, the Montbell Extremely Light jacket was perfect. At a thru-hiker-friendly 5.3 ounces, it stuffed down small, and weighed less than my blackberry! Over my wools, and under my waterproof jacket, I was able to keep warm enough to survive the subzero temperatures and brutal winds. I will admit, I am more warm blooded than most, but none-the-less I was as warm as I could be out there in the frigid temperatures.

The material is very thin (clearly for the weight factor) but the one and only time I ever got a snag or any problem was when a flying ember from the fire hit it and made a pin head sized hole. Since it is definitely an insulation layer rather than an outside jacket, it sits a little short at the waist. My only real complaint about the piece is that it has no pockets! It is very frustrating, but it was still the perfect piece for me. Since it is down, I never wore it hiking. The sweat that would build up would matte down the feathers and prevent it from keeping me warm, and it would take some time for it to dry. So my advice to anyone who plans on wearing it in wet conditions is to wear it under a waterproof jacket and also not do anything highly aerobic in it. The other issue I had with it was it was on the shorter side. I understand it's meant as a layering piece and to be underneath a shell, but it sat a little high for me.

As you can see by the picture, Dave actually ended up getting one. Andy got a step up in terms of weight because he is cold blooded. However, his had pockets. For anyone who needs a super lightweight piece to keep them warm at night or when they aren't hiking around, this is the piece for them.

This would be a 3.5 out of 5. The lack of pockets really bummed me out, but the overall design, quality, and comfort of this piece made it perfect for my trip!

-Ian