TIBS and I (Capt Obvious) wanted to share our reviews of the lightweight down jackets we carried in 2018 and will most likely be carrying on our 2019 continuation of the Appalachian (AT) Trail (Make sure you check out the video at the bottom). Now the reviews… ladies first.
Adidas Terrex Climaheat Agravic by TIBS
There are not many options for women that are hippy (and, yes, I am talking about myself). Now add in hiking the Appalachian Trail and that goes to almost zero. I have to admit that I was frustrated in trying to find a down jacket. They either stop at my waist or they would not make it to my waist. Either way it was frustrating as all hell. Actually, no, it pissed me off. I really, really hate when manufactures have an assumed clientele view that is very narrow. I have sent emails and even called to voice my fluffy view. I have to say that Patagonia is trying. They have expanded their sizes for men, but not women (yet). I spoke to several REI locations and rock climbing is huge right now. Again, there are few sizes for larger people. Large does not always equal fat. I hate short sited views sometimes, frustrating. However, I am here to review my jacket…….
1. Fits my ass
2. Covers my ass
3. Polar fleece vents at pits
4. Packs into its own pocket
5. Seals at cuffs
6. Water repellent
7. Side seam zip pockets, love pockets
How did I find this jacket? I did not find the jacket, but my husband Don did. Don noticed the jacket on Massdrop and purchased it for me. I figured that if I did not like the jacket or if the jacket did not fit I would sell it on one of those backpacking gear sites. Lucky for me, the jacket worked out. I had the opportunity to use it on our first night out of Harper’s Ferry. I wore that jacket in my sleeping bag with my wool cap under the hood. I was as snug as a bug in a rug at 25 degrees, yeah me!! We had several cold nights that week that varied in temperatures and the jacket rocked it!! Funny how things work out for us fluffy girls!!
Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer by Capt Obvious
I picked up my Mountain Hardware (MH) Ghost Whisperer Hooded Down jacket based on multiple reviews and after ensuring it fir well added it to my 2018 AT attempt gear list. MH says this jacket has something called Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ which stops down from absorbing moisture so it maintains insulation properties but honestly my plan was to use the jacket in camp after I got out of the rain, after all I was carrying the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex synthetic jacket (click here for that review) for time there would be moisture and a rain jacket. Honestly, I never wore the jacket during our 450 miles on the trail. It stayed stuffed into its own pocket, great feature, and became my pillow. MH says this jacket has an “Alpine fit” which basically means it’s tight so you can layer under a shell. Elastic cuffs and elastic to adjust the hem should help keep warmth in. And with 800 fill you expect it to be warm. What I found is there is a reason for the “Alpine fit”, you need a shell to stay warm. I decided to take the jacket for a test drive on a 30 degree (+ or -) 4-mile hike just to find out how it would work in a kind of real world hiking scenario (click here if you want to kip the rest and see the video). I loved the fit and feel of the jacket and it looks good. Features are great and the hood fit nicely as well. The But is that during the hike I simply never felt “warm” but I didn’t freeze either. I wore a lightweight base-layer and my arms always felt cool, not chilled but cool. You know that cool you feel from a raincoat that sticks to your arms kind of cool. Maybe the lower comfort limit for the jacket would best be described at 40 degrees. By comparison my Kuhl Spyfire jacket that is 3-4 years old now will still be my daily go to, but I’ll take the Ghost Whisperers 8.2oz weight over the almost 1 lbs weight of the cool on the hike. After all I can always layer and many, and Mountain Hardware, recommend and I can leave my pillow at home.
Pros: Extremely Lightweight, Looks Great, Packs Into Itself, Comfortable Fit, Did I Say Extremely Lightweight?
Cons: Never Felt Warm Enough