Chris introduces a low-cost lightweight down jacket from Freedom of Sleep, a new brand on the block
Freedom of Sleep (FOS) is a new company offering insulated clothing and sleeping bags. The range is initially quite small – just two sleeping bags with integrated removable sleeping pads and two down jackets, one with a hood and one without.
I’ve been trying the very reasonably priced Hoodie Down Jacket and it’s kept me warm on the freezing snowy summit of Ben Macdui and at a frosty high-level Cairngorms camp. The design is straightforward. It’s a zip-fronted jacket with a hood with elasticated rim, elasticated cuffs, drawstring waist, and handwarmer pockets. The fill is 600 fill power 90/10 duck down/feather. This is at the lower end of down quality but it still lofts well, feels soft and, most importantly, it’s warm. The shell is made from water repellent nylon. As you’d expect with this type of light down jacket the seams are stitched through, a construction that saves weight and which I think is fine for UK use.
The jacket comes in four men’s and four women’s sizes. I tested the Men’s Medium which is a comfortable fit and is large enough to wear over a fleece jacket. It’s lightweight at 414 grams and can be packed down into a tiny bundle. The handwarmer pockets and hood are cosy. The latter isn’t adjustable though so a strong wind can blow it back off your forehead. My only minor dislike is that the sleeves are on the short side. I don’t have long arms but they only just cover my wrists and they ride up when I stretch. Another few centimetres would be useful.
The Hoodie Down Jacket is a good jacket for backpacking and cold weather hillwalking. It’s not an alpine mountaineering garment but walkers don’t really need one of those unless they’re going somewhere bitterly cold.
Freedom of Sleep are not just a gear company though, they’re a gear company with a social conscience. For each sleeping bag sold they say they “give away a sleeping bag to the homeless or displaced people where we’re are able to help”. There’s also a blog on the FOS website with pieces about homelessness and other issues.