A superlight warm jacket
Ultralight down jackets provide by far the most warmth for weight of any insulated garment. This new model from OEX is an excellent example and unlike most such jackets it’s not that expensive.
The Zenon has a nylon shell with a DWR treatment to shed light rain and snow and is filled with 90 grams of 800 fill power hydrophobic duck down. The last means that if it does get wet it’ll still retain some loft and warmth and will dry quite quickly. The seams are sewn-through, as usual with the lightest down jackets. The baffles are wider across the front back and top of the arms, narrower at the sides and under the arms. There’s a hood, two handwarmer pockets and a full-length front zip with a windproof baffle behind it. The cuffs and the rim of the hood are elasticated and there’s a drawcord at the hem. The jacket can be stuffed, just, into one of the pockets. The weight of the Men’s Large is 225 grams, less than most microfleece tops. The Zenon comes in six men’s and six women’s sizes and in a variety of colours.
The Large size is roomy on me so I can wear several layers under it. It’s hip length with an extended back that just covers my backside. The sleeves are long enough that I can pull them over my hands if necessary and they don’t ride up when I stretch.
Shortly after the Zenon arrived for testing the first real winter weather arrived in the Cairngorms. So on a day of bitter winds and sub-zero temperatures I took the jacket up into the mountains. When I paused for rest and sustenance I donned it over a windshirt, thin fleece top and base layer and was impressed with the warmth provided. I did find the roomy hood, which isn’t adjustable, was easily blown off by the wind – this was easily solved by wearing a hat under it. The jacket kept out the wind and repelled some light wet snow that fell. I’d wondered if such a light jacket would be adequate in such wintry conditions and was a little surprised to find it was. It’s not a full spec winter mountaineering down jacket of course but for the weight it is very warm – at least as warm as the thickest furriest fleece.
For warmth at a minimum weight the Zenon is a great choice, especially given the cost (which is often discounted).