A better puffy
Everyone needs a down jacket for staying warm at rest stops, on chilly summit tops or organizing in parking lots. Down on its own is fine, but the latest crop of puffies is giving the sleeping bags with sleeves a 21st-century upgrade.
Marmot West Rib Parka: Marmot doubles down. First it stuffs 800-fill goose down into cubes, rather than skinny baffles. Wrapped around the body, the cubes lock in heat better. Next it wraps it all with shingles of synthetic insulation. The result is a hug of warmth.
Black Diamond Vision Down Parka: The lightweight shell wrapping most down jackets are fragile and leaky. BD beefs up this belay-style puffer with a ripstop shell fabric coated in a liquid crystal polymer. It gives the jacket a slick armour that’s incredibly tough. $499; blackdiamondequipment.com
Eddie Bauer Stretch Evertherm Down Jacket: Evertherm turns loose clumps of feathery fibres into sheets of insulation. Not needing to trap and contain the fibres means Eddie Bauer can ditch stiff ripstop nylon and create a stretchy down jacket that moves with every reach and pole plant. $499; eddiebauer.com
Outdoor Research Refuge Air Hooded Jacket: Using Pertex Quantum Air fabric on a softshell-like outside, OR’s proprietary VerticalX Air is this puffy’s secret at managing temperature, moisture and breathability better in both active pursuits as well as rest time.. The Refuge Air has better loft-retention over time and is available in men’s and women’s styles and fits. $300; outdoorresearch.comBlack Diamond, Eddie Bauer, Marmot, Outdoor Research, parka