MONTBELL UL DOWN INNER JACKET
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
November 04, 2010
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
Manufacturer: MontBell Co., Ltd.
|Photo courtesy of MontBell website|
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.montbell.us
MSRP: $155 US
Listed Weight: 6.1 oz (173 g) for size Medium
Measured Weight: 6.0 oz (170 g)
Stuff Sack Weight (included in measured weight): 0.2 oz (6 g)
Colors Available: Autumn Leaves (gold), Charcoal Black, Dark Mallard (blue) and Rose Gray (pink-beige)
Sizes Available: S/M/L/XL
Compressed Size in stuff sack: 4.3 x 7.7 in (11 x 19.5 cm)
My Jacket is Women's Medium in Charcoal Black
The MontBell UL Down Inner Jacket is a long-sleeved lightweight down jacket without a hood. It has hand-warmer pockets and on the inside has two open-topped inner pockets typically called glove pockets. The jacket material is 15-denier nylon with a DWR treatment. The fabric is very thin and is fairly soft. It doesn't have that crinkly sound of some stiff nylon jackets. The DWR treatment is listed as a 100-wash treatment. That's a lot of washings for a down product!
The fill is 800 power goose down with a fill weight of 1.7 oz (48 g). The construction is single-quilted which means that the inner and outer fabric is sewn directly together without any baffles between. The benefit is weight savings while the downside is not providing as much warmth. The quilting is done in a diamond pattern on the Women's jacket (versus square on the Men's) for a stylish feminine look. The cut is also fitted for a woman.
The hand-warmer pockets are trimmed with a grey binding. There is a MontBell logo near the hem. The hem has no drawcord or elastic. The collar is the same quilted construction as the rest of the jacket with no additional lining. It is fairly short such that it isn't really tall enough to fold over.
The cuffs do not have any binding or elastic but there is a triangular section of a stretchy material going from the cuff partly up the sleeve to allow for stretching. It works well for me to fit the sleeve over my gloves.
My husband and I both bought these jackets for ourselves last winter as lighter weight replacements for our fleece jackets that we carry on backpacking trips. The idea was to get better warmth to weight ratio and have a layer that could be used year-round. I used the jacket last winter for snow camping and have carried this jacket on every backpacking trip since. Overall I've used it on 8 backpacking trips for a total of 28 days.
Some examples include the following trips.
Western States Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 3 days; 1,800 to 4,365 ft (549 to 1,330 m) elevation; 45 to 72 F (7 to 22 C)
Desolation Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California; 3 days; 19.5 mi (31.4 km); 6,560 to 8,220 ft (2,000 to 2,505 m) elevation; 40 to 80 F (4 to 27 C)
Wonderland Trail, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington: 10 days; 100 mi (161 km); 2,600 to 7,200 ft (792 to 2,195 m) elevation; 32 to 62 F (0 to 17 C)
Point Reyes National Seashore, California: 3 days; 0 to 1,407 ft (429 m); 40 to 55 F (4 to 13 C)
Loon Lake, Van Vleck Trail, Sierra Nevada, California; 6 mi (10 km); 6,327 to 7,000 ft (1,928 to 2,134 m); 28 to 35 F (-2 to 2 C)
This jacket has performed as well as I'd hoped and has become a staple in my backpack. I also find myself packing it in my suitcase or daypack to take 'just in case' because it is so small and lightweight. It is warmer than a fleece of the same weight while being much smaller when compressed. It is really versatile since it can be worn as an outer jacket or as an inner layer. I haven't worn the jacket much while doing heavy activity just because I usually get too warm and like to wear light clothing. I wear it while stopped though to keep from getting chilled (like on snowshoe hikes).
I have typically carried it in my backpack in a dry sack along with my other clothes and not in its stuff sack. On some trips and on day hikes I have used the stuff sack. The jacket is great for taking the chill off in the evenings. It isn't bulky and layers well over thermals and light fleece and under my rain jacket. I have worn it for sleeping on cold nights and have found it to be comfortable and to not ride up my back during the night. It is soft enough that it doesn't make noise at night when I turn over. The hand-warmer pockets are convenient and wonderful to have when I don't want to bother with gloves. I've used the inner glove pocket for storing the stuff sack but haven't used it for much else since the top is open and I don't want to lose anything.
The durability has been great so far. The jacket looks new despite traveling and being worn a lot. I have washed it one time by hand using a down wash product.
The MontBell UL Down Inner Jacket is a lightweight versatile jacket that I carry with me for every backpacking trip.
THINGS I LIKE
Great warmth to weight ratio
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Nothing really, but it is somewhat expensive
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Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith