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December 2016

Montane Featherlite Down Jacket reviewed

Steve Bereska, working at Valhalla Pure Vernon, and Petra Hekkenberg from Valhalla Pure New Denver have been testing the Montane Featherlite Down Jacket. This is their review!

Montane Featherlite Down Jacket Men's and Women's

Montane Featherlite Down Jacket - Men's Montane Featherlite Down Jacket -Women's

Steve Bereska tested: Men's, size Large, colour Antarctic Blue

I got a men's large and found the fit to be bang on with Montane's size chart. I have a 42" chest, 34" waist, 34" sleeve length and 16.5" neck. Lots of length in the arms, without being overkill. It fits great over a base layer and just as fine over a soft shell or heavy weight fleece. It slides easily under my hard-shells.

The hood fits nicely over a ball cap and has a great little foam piece at the brim to keep the sun out of your eyes if you forget your cap at home. It zips up nice and high and covers the bottom half of the face, which comes in handy in these colder months. 3 point adjustments for the hood, which allows it to get nice and snug to block out the cold winds, and keep the heat in. Also, unlike any other down hoody I have seen, it has a handy little hook on the back cinch cord which allows you to roll up the hood and keep it from flapping around when it is not needed. A very nice feature that I use often on this jacket, it hooks onto the stretch loop at the inside collar to keep the hood rolled up and out of the way. Best down hood I have used on a jacket.

Other features:

  • Two zippered hand warmer pockets and a napoleon chest pocket behind the down and one interior drop pocket which had plenty of room for the iPhone.
  • Nice and easy to grab zipper pulls on all the zippers and a insulated flap behind the main zipper to keep out chill.
  • Two waist cinches help keep drafts out, with a snap at the bottom of the main zip as well
  • Elastic wrists that fit snug even on my skinny wrists, a nice bonus. No issues fitting over lightweight gloves

The jacket has 140 g of RDS, fluorocarbon-free water resistant duck down with 750+ fill power, so it provides loads of warmth, while still maintaining easy packability and being environmentally responsible. My men's large weighs in at under 1lb, and packs nicely into the provided stuff sack to a little bigger than a 1L nalgene bottle. Easily fit in one side of my dog's pack, and can get even smaller in a compression sack. Light enough to always have with you, and the Pertex Quantum outer fabric is tough enough to make this a daily wear jacket as well. It does not look too techie and fits in nicely in town or up the mountain. Not overly glossy like some of my older down sweaters. I am a big fan of Pertex, and found the Quantum to block out the chilly winds at the top of Silver Star Mountain and on the cool morning/evening walks with the dog near Lake Okanagan. No concerns taking this through some single track with branches everywhere and it holds up to the dog jumping up to say good morning.

The inner liner is nice and soft against bare arms, and slides nicely over any base or mid layer I tried underneath. It manages moisture very well, I gave this jacket a good test up and down mountains, sweating more than I care to admit. In the shade there was snow and a thin layer of ice on the ponds and ditches and I was toasty warm and not uncomfortably hot in the Featherlite. No clammy, damp feeling after my morning hikes up the mountains earlier this fall. Just to note, I do run hot and sweaty when I am moving, but I get cold VERY fast when not active. I found the featherlite to perform great both on the uphill and downhill, venting as needed with the main zip, and a perfect piece for stopping to snack or just take in the beautiful views of the Vernon area. Granted, while this jacket performs even better in the Winter, it was not overkill in early Autumn temps. I have this jacket with me now during the colder months for snowshoeing and winter camping.

This late September I was also able to get out camping for a night at Spanish Lake near Falkland, just a little ways outside of Vernon. Temps in the evening were around +5 C, with high humidity and the jacket performed great around camp and as a booster for my summer weight sleeping bag.

I can not comment on the long term durability of the jacket yet, but knowing Pertex like I do, no concerns at all from me on this jacket. I am sure it will be a part of my kit for many many moons. I have abused older versions of Pertex for years now on other pieces and they still look fantastic after a good cleaning.

Now, no piece of gear is perfect, so if I had to nitpick, I would prefer the inner pocket to be fastened without the velcro. I am a fan of merino wool , and it can snag on velcro. Having said that, no issues as of yet, with wool or synthetics, so I have been pleasantly surprised on that, and the way the flap works, I don't really see it being a problem. I would like to see it with a double separating zipper, but again, just me finding something to nitpick about.

To summarize, the Montane Featherlite down hoody is a well made, functional and good looking piece. Not arctic parka warm, great for our winter months here in Vernon and not too warm for Autumn nights and cool mornings. And you do not look like the Michelin man while wearing it. I do like the light blue colour option I have, it is sharp and easy on the eyes. Great fit, handy features and comes in at an affordable price, which is always a bonus.

Montane Featherlite Down Jacket Mens

Find the Montane Featherlite Down Jacket in more colours and other styles on VPO Online.

Petra Hekkenberg tested: Women's, size 8, colour Montbretia Orange

The fit of this Featherlight Down Jacket is true to size. I am pretty tall with my 6' and the length of the back and sleeves is just enough for me, it will be perfect for the average person. The hood fits nice and snug around your head and the collar comes up high too, so it keeps the wind out really well. Nothing is worse then cold air sneaking in at your neck, so this is a big plus for me. Also nice: it has a small hook with which the hood can be rolled down and stowed away when you don't need it. I experienced that this comes in quite handy. Not only when it is windy, but also when it is snowing! An unused hood tempts to collect quite a bit of snow that turns into a small pool of water when you walk inside, which you might only realise when you bent down to undo your boots. You can imagine the result...!

The name already tells you; the jacket really is feather light plus it packs small in the provided stuff sack. This makes the jacket ideal to bring along as an extra layer on hikes, camp trips in the backcountry, ski touring or downhill skiing. Which all of it I have done with the jacket by now.

Mid-September I took the jacket with me on a two day hike in Monkman Provincial Park, North-East of Prince George. We hiked 54 kilometres in two days, a park that offers a variety of rolling hills, snowy mountain peaks, waterfalls and a hiking trail of no less than 63 km one way! We camped at Monkman Lake, 3600 ft. altitude. We had pouring rain most of the day. I wore a shell on top of the Montane jacket, but everything we had on us was moist or wet by the time we had the fire going. I was afraid the down jacket would get moist too and loose it's warming function, but nothing like that happened. It kept me perfectly warm and did not absorb the moist. The PERTEX® Quantum Rip-stop outer with a DWR has proven itself. It also turned out to be serving great as a foot warmer in my sleeping bag. I am the typical woman that gets feet like ice at night...

The last two weeks here have been around -10 celsius during daytime. I have been wearing it around town on windy days without a shell on top and it kept me perfectly warm. When ski-touring. I bring it up in my backpack and during a longer break or when we start to go downhill I will wear it. It fits smoothly under my Gore-tex shell. I have not overheated in it yet but, like always, this also has to do with wise decision-making. There is no need to wear it when you skin up a sunny mountain, but very much appreciated once you are on top!

This fall I also used the jacket in New Denver area at my temporary home in an old unheated school bus partway up a mountain. It kept me warm on the cool mornings and evenings and I was comfortable wearing it during my daily activities because it is formfitting. Did you know New Denver is the town where Valhalla Pure Outfitters first started? And it makes sense that this tiny town is where it all began; nothing is more inspiring then the untouched Slocan Lake that brings you into the wild Valhalla’s, the millions of wild flowers and stunning views you find on Idaho Peak, the beautiful people and the endless amount of hiking and biking trails in the direct surrounding!

Montane Featherlite Down Jacket Womens

Find the Montane Featherlite Down Jacket in more colours and other styles on VPO Online.