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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > MontBell EX Lt Down Anorak - 2019 > Test Report by joe schaffer

MontBell Ex Light Down Anorak

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - October 2, 2019
FIELD REPORT - January 7, 2020
LONG TERM REPORT - March 10, 2020
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 71
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.4 kg)
ARM LENGTH:  (shoulder crown-to-wrist) 21 in (53 cm)
CHEST: 41 1/2 in (105 cm)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

stuffedProduct: Ex Light Anorakfront

Manufacturer:  Mont-Bell
        Sizes: S, M, L, XL
        Colors: Red Brick, Charcoal Gray, Primary Blue  
        Features: (from mfr. website) 
    Weight    7.6 oz. (215 g)
    Fill weight    3 oz. (85 g)
    Insulation    900 Fill Power EX Down
    Fabric    7-denier Ballistic Airlight rip-stop nylon shell
    DWR    Standard DWR treatment
    Compressed size    ∅4.7 x 7.9 in. (∅12 x 20 cm)
    Country of origin    VIETNAM
    Center back length    28 in. (71 cm)

Sewn through construction
    13.4 in (34 cm) half zip
    2-way adjustable hood
    Elastic cuffs
    Single non-zippered through-pocket
    Adjustable hem to conserve body heat
    Stuff sack included

WARRANTY: Original owner product lifetime materials and workmanship.

FILL Sourcing: After-slaughter only

CARE: Front-load machine wash, down soap, low-heat tumble dry.

MSRP: $215.20 US (11/2/19 closeout price)

Received: October, 2019
; Men's Medium, Red Brick

My Specs:  M size
        Weight: 7 3/4 oz (216 g)back
        Stuff Sack: 1/8 oz (5 g)
Compressed size: about 9 x 4 1/2 in (23 x 12 cm)
        Sleeve, from shoulder seam: about 26 in (66 cm)
        Back, from neck seam: about 26 1/2 in (67 cm)
        Tail drop: about 1 1/2 in (4 cm)
        Front, from neck seam: about 22 in (56 cm)
        Circumference at waist cuff: about 43 in (109 cm)
        Circumference at chest: about 43 in (109 cm)

My Description:
       The Ex Light is a long sleeve, hooded pullover with down fill and a nylon shell. Sewn-through construction stabilizes the 900-fill down in quilted cells about 2 3/4 in (
7 cm) square. The back has about 67 cells; 58 in front; 60 for each sleeve; and about 30 in various sizes for the hood. Hood has a Velcro adjustment of about 3 in (8 cm) on the back to keep it from falling over the eyes. Hood and waist cuff have elastic draw string closures with cord lock. Sleeves have elastic cuffs. Front side has a pocket tunnel with down fill each side; 6 1/2 in (16.5 cm) opening each end and about 15 in (38 cm) across. Front zipper is about 13 1/2 in (34 cm) with a garage at top. A white company logo of about 2 1/8 x 3/8 in (54 x 95 mm) is sewn on the left breast; and a sewn white fill logo of about 1 1/4 x 1/2 in (32 x 13 mm) near the cuff of the right sleeve.

    The stuff sack comes in what I think is a prudent size. It could be smaller, but I don't like squishing insulated garments to their tiniest possible increment of size. I was able to stuff the garment in under a minute on the first try.

    I wanted the garment as an inner layer, to fit reasonably close over a base layer. I thought the medium ordered might possibly be too small, but trusted the size chart. The fit is perfect. It's not tight; the shoulders are an exact fit; and there's no bulk anywhere. The hood has room for a fat wooly, which is what I wear in my sleeping bag and sometimes outside the tent. Neck has enough room I can zip the anorak all the way up, with the top of the zipper just below my nose. Perfect!

     This ano
rak weighs less than a cotton tee! Yet is has a hood, long sleeves and a two-side-insulated pocket tunnel. I've been wearing it in my 65 F (18 C) downstairs over a tee shirt and it feels wonderfully warm and breathable.

Field Conditions:
    1. Oct 3-9, 2019. Emigrant Wilderness, California. 6 nights. 23 mi (37 km) trail and cross country hiking, 19 hours; leave weight 41 lb (19 kg); 30-70 F (-1 to 21 C), sunny; 7,000-8,000 ft (2,100-2,400 m); 5 camps.
    2. Oct 17-23, 2019.
Emigrant Wilderness, California. 6 nights. 20 mi (32 km) trail and cross country hiking, 11 hours; leave weight 43 lb (20 kg); 25-70 F (-4 to 21 C), sunny; 7,000-8,000 ft (2,100-2,400 m); 4 camps.
    3. Nov 3-7, 2019.Emigrant Wilderness, California. 4 nights. 6 1/2  mi (11 km) trail, 3 hours; leave weight 38 lb (17 kg); 35-60 F (2-16 C), sunny; 7,000-8,000 ft (2,100-2,400 m); 2 camps.
    4<. Nov 12-17, 2019. Emigrant Wilderness, California. 5 nights. 19 mi (30 km) trail & cross country, 12 hours; leave weight 35 lb (16 kg); 30-60 F (-1 to 16 C), sunny; 7,000-9,000 ft (2,100-2,700 m); 4 camps.
    5. Dec 31-Jan 3, 2020: Dodge Ridge, California. 3 nights. 4 mi (6 km) towing sled. 6,600-7,100 ft (2,000-2,200 m). 25-50 F (-4 to 10 C).

    The Ex Light works perfectly over two base layer shirts in temps of 35 F (2 C) to cut the chill of evening before campfire. It slips on and off quite easily. Though it fits me perfectly, it is thin enough to accommodate a wool shirt over the anorak. Cinder gods rarely trouble my thrift store woolies, and any effort they put forth is much more poorly rewarded than offering them a garment the nature of this one being tested.

    I haven't lost the stuff sack, but I find myself not using it. Seems I prefer to stash the garment in the same stuff sack as my sleeping bag, where it won't be squished quite as much and takes much less time to get it in.

    Except for feeling a glow of warmth, the anorak is barely noticeable. The hood does not flop over my eyes. The garment does not make me feel 'humid'. The elastic sleeve cuffs don't make my wrists itch.

    October and November Nights were cool enough I needed a little initial extra insulation in the footbox of my sleeping bag. Getting my cold feet to warm up proves quite the challenge. Turning the sleeves and hood inside the Ex Light made the perfect wrap to get my feet toasty. After a couple hours in the anorak, the feet were back to life and the wrap was no longer needed. For the year-end outing, nights were cold enough I put a water bottle in the footbox of my bag and wore the anorak as an extra layer on top.


Field Conditions:
    1. Feb 6-9, 2020
. Dodge Ridge, California. 3 nights. 4 mi (6 km) towing sled. 6,600-7,100 ft (2,000-2,200 m). 25-50 F (-4 to 10 C). Clear, breezy.
   2. Feb 25-27, 2020. Pt. Reyes National Sea Shore, California. 2 nights. 13 mi (21 km). Camping at 20 ft (6 m) and 1,025 ft (310 m). 40-70 F (4-21 C). Sunny, very humid first night.

    My product rep camp buddy on the first trip expended great effort to persuade me to trade the anorak for something in his highly esteemed repertoire. (Of course the serious tester cannot be dissuaded from his duty no matter the compelling nature of offers.) He was astonished that I could be so comfortable with such a light garment over a single base layer. Performance of the Ex Light has proven extremely satisfactory.
This impression develops from relatively staid campsite activity as hiking temperatures have been too mild for a warmth layer; and I wouldn't risk the stress of pulled seams wearing the anorak under backpack straps. For sitting around in camp, it adds a terrific amount of warmth without bulk.

    I've slept in it a dozen nights and like how the slick finish lets me flop around inside the sleeping bag. The seams have not stretched from this activity. I wear the hood over a sherpa woolie and don't need to use the sleeping bag's hood to keep my head warm even in sub-freezing temps.

    That the anorak's pocket tunnel has no secure closure suits me. I don't use the pocket for storage and don't put anything in it that might fall out. With the pocket always open I don't have to fuss over whether my cold/gloved hands have to find a zipper or keep looking for the opening. A Nalgene bottle fits nicely, which feels supremely wonderful in there when filled with hot water. I've used the anorak's pocket to get my hands warmed up when I first get in the sleeping bag, when the feet have won the battle for who gets the bottle.

    Hood adjustment evidently works great as I have no issues at all with it falling over my eyes or headlamp or slipping off the head. Though it does not have an adjustment cord to pull the hood closed, it fits closely enough that I haven't noticed an undue amount of breeze slipping in.

    The first evening at Coast Camp was rather chilly, with very heavy dew. Sleeves are long enough to cover my hands, which worked great when I didn't want them in pockets. The air got so wet I wore a breathable waterproof jacket over the Ex Light. The combination proved plenty warm and with two base layers I got to feeling a little stuffy even sitting inert at the table. Second night at Sky Camp was dry and warm, with a slight breeze. In the morning I wore the Ex Light for another hour or so until, swilling hot chocolate and tea I became too hot and had to strip to the single base layer under the anorak. It does a great job of blocking wind, serving as an almost unnoticeable shell. Of course when temps are rising above cool, the anorak begins to get too warm. At higher temps or under a waterproof breathable jacket it doesn't vent well enough to pass all of the interior humidity.

Nights out: 29.

Summation: Feather-light anorak insulates well; and stuffs a little bigger than a liter (qt) bottle.

Quick shots:
a) light
    b) comfortable
    c) great fit
    d) stuffs small
Thank you MontBell and for the opportunity to test this product. This test report is complete.

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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > MontBell EX Lt Down Anorak - 2019 > Test Report by joe schaffer

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