/ Buying a down jacket: Good and bad brands?

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two_tapirs 21 Dec 2018

Decided that I need to get a down jacket, budget is most likely <£200.  Any brands that you really rate, or have found that they're of a low quality?

Cheers!

hbeevers 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I'm happy with my Alpkit Phantac... cheaper than Rab/ Mountain Equipment/ Montane equivalents but nearly matching for quality of construction and you'll get more down than the same price from those brands.

I would avoid a jacket that uses loads of low fill power down or even a miniscule amount of higher quality down but then I wanted something that was packable and still had the snug factor of a  "big" down jacket.

Post edited at 11:40
capoap 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Had my Rab for over 20 years now, even wash it in the washing machine & dry it in the dryer.

Would buy another but they have stopped making them in red and I don't like drab colours

afx22 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I have two Rab ones - different weights - one is 8 years old, the other 4 years old.  I've been really pleased with them both.  Definitely recommended.

I also have a Patagonia vest but that's fairly new.  So far, so good.

1
Euge 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Decathalon...

 

Plus do you really want down!!!

Synthetic jackets are really good these days.

Euge

1
leon 1 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs: Alpkit, beloved by UKC. for reasonable prices and good quality on synthetic and down jackets

https://www.alpkit.com/featured/mens-insulation

and if you`re a small or xl a great price on these

https://www.alpkit.com/products/phantac-mens-18

 

 

Post edited at 14:40
JoeFoster59 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Montane Outlet Store have an eBay account as far as I can recall it’s called mountain kit. Loads of great down jackets for cheaper prices. Alpkits current range of down jackets are a little overpriced for their stats but alpkit do have the best customer service and some really good synthetic jackets. 

shuffle 21 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I have Montane and Alpkit down jackets. I got the Montane in a sale, and it has a generally better finish than the Alpkit one, but it cost more even with the discount.

If you're looking for something that's good value, I don't think you can beat Alpkit really. 

PaulTanton 21 Dec 2018
In reply to Euge:

Good point. I’ve got a rab primaloft jacket that’s absolutely excellent as a on route belay jacket. It’s packs down nice and small so you can clip it on your harness.

also, being primaloft it washes very easily and dries in half an hour.

allarms 22 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

For £200 or less you're wearing goose down that's been live plucked while the birds are force fed for foie gra, simultaneously injected with steroids so they can be killed as slowly as possible to preserve their water filled muscles and bloated livers for meat and pate to maximize profitability and minimise thoughts to their horrible suffering.

I look forward to your contribution to my weekly Lidl shop.

26
FactorXXX 22 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> For £200 or less you're wearing goose down that's been live plucked while the birds are force fed for foie gra, simultaneously injected with steroids so they can be killed as slowly as possible to preserve their water filled muscles and bloated livers for meat and pate to maximize profitability and minimise thoughts to their horrible suffering.

The Alpkit stuff mentioned is below £200 and doesn't fall into your description.
Rab, the same.
Can't be bothered to look at any of the others, but I'm fairly sure that they have a similar policy.
Care to substantiate your claim? 

 

3
Timmd 22 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> For £200 or less you're wearing goose down that's been live plucked while the birds are force fed for foie gra, simultaneously injected with steroids so they can be killed as slowly as possible to preserve their water filled muscles and bloated livers for meat and pate to maximize profitability and minimise thoughts to their horrible suffering.

> I look forward to your contribution to my weekly Lidl shop.

That's rubbish. 

https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/p/mountain-equipment-arete-hooded-jacket-A4215344.html?colour=122

Mountain Equipment make sure all of their down is humanely/ethically sourced, and here's one of their jackets for sale for £170.

Post edited at 02:06
1
asteclaru 22 Dec 2018
ianstevens 22 Dec 2018
In reply to Timmd:

Alpkit however, make no such claims that I can see.

To the OP: I’ve got an 8 year old Rab, and a 5 year old Patagonia (differing constructions) that are both still going strong. If you’ve got £200 to spend I’d suggest buying a more expensive bit of kit - 99% of the time they’re more durable/that little bit lore gucci.

7
In reply to two_tapirs:

Depends what you’re going to do in the jacket. I’ve an ME Lightline which comes in under 200 quid, and is go to for bouldering in and outdoors in the winter, taking it on and off. However if you’re doing stuff while you wear the jacket, then my Arc’teryx Cerium is hard to beat, very packable and turns up in sales sub 200.

Here’s the thing though. Mrs Paul in Sheffield is a strict vegan, so there’s not even honey in the house. As a veggie for the bulk of my life, I’ve gone over to vegan, so my next jacket will be a synthetic. My last Arc’teryx Atom was bomb proof and ticked all the boxes.

leon 1 22 Dec 2018
In reply to ianstevens: You didnt look very hard as its right at the start of Alpkits Down jacket section...

We have always used down from non-force fed and non-live plucked farms. All of our down is Responsible Down certified and hydrophobic which keeps you warmer if the jacket gets wet.

 

 

allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Care to substantiate your claim? 

https://www.lidl.fr/fr/nos-offres.htm?articleId=25616

 

4
FactorXXX 23 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

Why have you posted a Link to a Lidl Foie Gras advert?
What you should be providing is evidence that Alpkit and Rab, etc. are actively using the methods that you imply that they are using.
If you can't do that, please desist with your attacks on them.

1
allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Why have you posted a Link to a Lidl Foie Gras advert?

I work for Lidl

 

8
FactorXXX 23 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> I work for Lidl

So what?
Provide evidence of said Company's not complying to the stipulations that you state or shut up...
Easy as that.

3
allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Provide evidence of said Company's not complying to the stipulations that you state or shut up...

*Companies

> Easy as that.

 

9
FactorXXX 23 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> *Companies

Is that your response?
Can't find evidence to back your claim, so resort to picking out errors in grammar/spelling?
Is that really it?

5
TobyA 23 Dec 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

I never thought about it, but honey isn't vegan?! Is taking the honey cruel to the bees or something?

angry pirate 23 Dec 2018
In reply to asteclaru:

I have the predecessor of this jacket, the Omega, and it's been fantastic for a good bunch of years. Good shout!

To the op: If I were buying another, I'd certainly give Alpkit a look. I tried one of their microrib down jackets recently along with a Rab alpine, very little to differentiate between them tbh. Only a recent house move kept me from buying one (ideal number of down jackets being n+1 and all that)

pass and peak 23 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

With all this talk of ethically sourced down a thought just entered my head. What do they do with all the turkey feathers after Christmas? Are we going going to see a rash of really cheap down jackets in the new year sales?

1
ianstevens 23 Dec 2018
In reply to leon 1:

> You didnt look very hard as its right at the start of Alpkits Down jacket section...

> We have always used down from non-force fed and non-live plucked farms. All of our down is Responsible Down certified and hydrophobic which keeps you warmer if the jacket gets wet.

Your right, I didn’t - I thought it would be shoved in my face (on a phone if that makes any difference). Good to know however

2
Siward 23 Dec 2018
In reply to pass and peak:

Turkey feathers are NOT down,  at all. Maybe for feather beds though? 

In reply to TobyA:

Hi,

theres a subset who eat honey called ‘begans’ (really). 

allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

You are a very angry individual. 

People are becoming more and more aware that labels such as "free range" are essentially lies. Just because your egg box has a picture of a chicken in a field, does not mean those chickens have anything resembling a healthy existence. A Google search on beak trimming would be a good place to start if you are unsure on this.

Increased demand and a need for profit on animal products does not yield ideal conditions for animal welfare.

The down market is set to almost double in the next few years. I would be extremely sceptical of any kind of ethical swing tag on your down jacket in much the same way anyone should be with free range, sustainably fished, or the red tractor logo. I don't want to go off topic into the meat industry as a whole, but down is a product from the same industry so it helps explain my point - just because a company markets themselves as ethical does not mean they are. 

Some companies may genuinely have good intentions, but this in no way differs to consumers with good intentions and dillusional belief in the ethics of the meat industry.

2 years ago down that met the responsible down standard made it's way into Patagonia jackets and was found to be live plucked.

I have little belief in what brands claim, it's just marketing. In my view you shouldn't be wearing down unless you fully accept that the birds used to make your clothing have died after a horrific existence. 

 

 

15
FactorXXX 23 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> You are a very angry individual. 

Angry?
Probably not as 'angry' as Alpkit and Rab would be if they knew what was being said about them on UKC...

> People are becoming more and more aware that labels such as "free range" are essentially lies. Just because your egg box has a picture of a chicken in a field, does not mean those chickens have anything resembling a healthy existence. A Google search on beak trimming would be a good place to start if you are unsure on this.
> Increased demand and a need for profit on animal products does not yield ideal conditions for animal welfare.
> The down market is set to almost double in the next few years. I would be extremely sceptical of any kind of ethical swing tag on your down jacket in much the same way anyone should be with free range, sustainably fished, or the red tractor logo. I don't want to go off topic into the meat industry as a whole, but down is a product from the same industry so it helps explain my point - just because a company markets themselves as ethical does not mean they are. 
> Some companies may genuinely have good intentions, but this in no way differs to consumers with good intentions and dillusional belief in the ethics of the meat industry.
> 2 years ago down that met the responsible down standard made it's way into Patagonia jackets and was found to be live plucked.
> I have little belief in what brands claim, it's just marketing. In my view you shouldn't be wearing down unless you fully accept that the birds used to make your clothing have died after a horrific existence. 

You still haven't provided any actual evidence that Companies are *still* using the techniques that you are accusing them of.
Yes, historically, there was a lot of unpleasantness surrounding how down was resourced.  However, it would appear that the well known 'prestige' brands have got their own house in order by self introduced schemes, etc.  What you also seem to be accusing these Companies of, is intentionally lying about how they resource their down - if you do have evidence of that, then please share that evidence with us and I for one wouldn't buy a down jacket from that Company. 
 

allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Angry?

> Probably not as 'angry' as Alpkit and Rab would be if they knew what was being said about them on UKC...

I'm sure they can post if they would like, but they must be flattered by your loyalty; it's a compliment to their marketing department. 

> You still haven't provided any actual evidence that Companies are *still* using the techniques that you are accusing them of.

There is a history of mistreatment of geese, and you're telling me that you believe the industry is producing more down ethically today than it was unethically very recently?

I'm sorry I'm sceptical, try not to take it personally.

13
Moley 23 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

I don't think it is up to them to post, I think it is up to you not to post inflammatory and accusatory statements about companies on public forums, without direct evidence to back your statements up.

4
ColdWill 23 Dec 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

Normally I'd ignore a virtue signalling vegan twerp but having had a wonder round Go Outdoors and Decathalon and seen the number of down jackets heading out the door, I can't believe that ethical down is anything but a smoke screen for the same old processes.

The sheer volume is staggering and every granny heading to Waitrose has one. I'd say the market  has more than doubled in ten years. 

Post edited at 22:23
TeeBee 23 Dec 2018
In reply to TobyA:

>  I never thought about it, but honey isn't vegan?! Is taking the honey cruel to the bees or something?

It does mean the bees can't eat it. A beekeeper who wants to have hives survive the winter would feed them a sugar solution if their stores run low, so it's not that the bees are directly harmed as a result, but they did put a lot of effort in and their drive to make it is being taken advantage of. A similar argument to that condemning the use of wool, I suppose.

allarms 23 Dec 2018
In reply to ColdWill:

I'm not a vegan. I don't think you have to be vegan to have concerns about where things come from.

I am a twerp though. It's what makes me so many friends here.

FactorXXX 24 Dec 2018
In reply to ColdWill:

> Normally I'd ignore a virtue signalling vegan twerp but having had a wonder round Go Outdoors and Decathalon and seen the number of down jackets heading out the door, I can't believe that ethical down is anything but a smoke screen for the same old processes.
> The sheer volume is staggering and every granny heading to Waitrose has one. I'd say the market  has more than doubled in ten years. 

I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the non big name jackets are using down sourced from whatever source they can get it.
That doesn't mean that Rab, Alpkit and Patagonia, etc. are doing likewise though...

 

FactorXXX 24 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

> I am a twerp though. It's what makes me so many friends here.

A twerp amongst twerps.

 

ColdWill 24 Dec 2018
In reply to allarms:

All in jest and agree absolutely. There are so many alternatives as well. My mum bought me a Rab gillet which I have to wear occasionally. She thought it was down, it's actually 3m insulation and you can hardly tell its not down.  Just doesn't pack quite as small. I'm thinking it's warmer by weight than Primaloft and almost as warm as down. Now if ME do the Fitzroy in that insulation it's job done.

But down, no for the UK. 

LastBoyScout 24 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

My ME Lightline jacket has been brilliant - packs down quite small and is very warm. Originally bought when I went to Canada in the winter, last used in anger in Nepal last year. No hydrophobic down, but has a waterproof DriLite outer fabric.

I've also got a North Face Massif down vest, which is brilliant.

As of tomorrow, I've officially got a Rab Microlight Alpine jacket.

My wife has a collection of TNF down jackets, but really loves her Rab Altus jacket.

Timmd 24 Dec 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Here’s the thing though. Mrs Paul in Sheffield is a strict vegan, so there’s not even honey in the house. As a veggie for the bulk of my life, I’ve gone over to vegan, so my next jacket will be a synthetic. My last Arc’teryx Atom was bomb proof and ticked all the boxes.

I find it interesting how people can take different perspectives on things like this. I read something in Summit magazine about down, with Rab Carrington talking about the down they use/d being 'a by product', and talking about how environmentally friendly it is. A fair while later the thing about it being a by product popped into my head and I emailed the company, and he responded that (at the time of responding) the down they used was a by product of the slaughter industry, and commented on it being much greener than synthetic insulation, and having a lifespan of approx 30 years if well looked after.

Ever since, I've found myself wondering about the overall 'kindest' insulation to use in an overall sense, along the lines that if the down is a by product anyway, it would seem to make sense for it to be given a useful purpose, compared to oil being used to make an insulation which can seem to degrade with use faster than down does, and which won't naturally rot or degrade and would need to be recycled or burnt as fuel to stop it from becoming landfill.

If I wanted to eat some duck or goose, I'd want it to be killed in 'small scale farm' way where it's perhaps more likely to be given the time for it to be killed in as stress free way as possible compared to in a mechanical/industrialised setting, but if the down is going to be existing as a by product until people stop eating ducks and geese, it might seem to make sense to use it to keep warm with to be 'animal kind' in a different way, by reducing one's environmental footprint a little bit - to animals like polar bears struggling with climate change and what have you ( while geese and ducks presumably have a footprint similar to that of chickens - which is the meat animal with the smallest footprint [in ascending order it goes chickens, pigs, sheep, cows], the carbon footprint of eating meat isn't unacknowledged).

The sentient nature of animals has been having me pondering going vegetarian as a new year resolution, by the way, I've been coming across some things friends have shared on facebook which has opened my eyes to their emotional and 'inner' lives, but it strikes me it will be a long time (if ever) until nobody eats ducks or geese, keeping the question of whether to use down to keep warm with in my mind.

 

 

Post edited at 13:52
Ramon Marin 24 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Alpkit Phantac all the way. My Neutrino didnt last that long, plus it’s hydrophobic down and responsibly sourced. 

4
leon 1 24 Dec 2018
In reply to Ramon Marin: Whilst I might agree with you about that jacket I do think that you should declare that you're sponsored by them when you make recommendations about their kit

https://www.alpkit.com/alpkiteers/ramon-marin

 

 

Post edited at 21:00
Minneconjou Sioux 24 Dec 2018
In reply to leon 1:

Especially when my Neutrino has lasted me 15 years

Fozzy 25 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I’ve had an ME Lightline for close to 10yrs now that’s still going strong. As long as I give it a wash & proper dry every couple of years it’s fine. 

Minneconjou Sioux 25 Dec 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

The thing is, you haven't really made the grade until you have some duct tape on your down jacket. That's when everyone knows you are a hardcore climber rather than someone who just wears it around Safeways.

ColdWill 25 Dec 2018
In reply to Timmd:

Think it depends if the down was ripped from the gooses ass before or after it was slaughtered. Down used to be well expensive, now not so much. 

Fozzy 25 Dec 2018
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

do I get bonus points for having both black and grey duct tape on it? 

 

Minneconjou Sioux 25 Dec 2018
In reply to Fozzy:

Only if it was from two different incidents

In reply to two_tapirs:

3317 views about which down jacket to buy....Jeez...maybe buy the blue one ;)

FactorXXX 26 Dec 2018
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

> 3317 views about which down jacket to buy....Jeez...maybe buy the blue one ;)

Nondescript matt black is the way to go and with no logo's on the rear shoulder!

Post edited at 01:27
two_tapirs 26 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Thanks all for your feedback, went to GoOutdoors and picked up a Montane anti-freeze as they had plenty I could try on and compare, and the price was good.

*awaits inevitable flaming from UKC*

ColdWill 29 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Nice jacket, good price. No flame

Minneconjou Sioux 30 Dec 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Interestingly, my Christmas present was a new Rab Neutrino and I'm happy as a pig in shit. If it lasts me as long as my 1st one it might even see me out. Well, perhaps one more after that


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