Chris Townsend reviews a down jacket with unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio.

This review is part of our down jackets gear guide, and was first published in the January 2019 issue of The Great Outdoors.

This jacket is astonishing. It’s the weight of a base layer but warmer than a thick fleece. For backpacking it’s ideal. I’ve used it on my last three long-distance walks, and over an ultralight thin synthetic insulated top it’s kept me warm down to -7°C. The low weight and warmth are due to the extremely high fill power down, the ultralight 10 denier shell fabric, the ultralight zips and the minimalist design.

PHD’s down comes from European birds that aren’t live-plucked – PHD visits the producers. Most other materials and components are sourced in Europe too. The garment itself is made in the UK.

The 10 denier shell fabric is surprisingly durable – I haven’t ripped it yet. It’s not designed to be worn under a pack without a shell over it, however. It lacks a hood, but a 35g stud-on one can be added for an extra £32. I recommend it as it makes a big difference to the warmth. The two pockets are roomy and just usable when wearing a hipbelt, though the bottoms are cut off.

The Large size fits me comfortably worn over a thin synthetic insulated jacket or medium-weight fleece.

The cost is high but there’s nothing anywhere near this weight that provides this amount of warmth or packs down so well – it can be squashed into a small ball.

phdesigns.co.uk

Overview

  • Overall: 4 out of 5

Pros: ultralight

Cons: nothing

  • Price: £300
  • Weight: 230g (L)
  • Fill: 1000 fill power down
  • Shell: 10D 10X nylon
  • Hood: optional, stud-fastened, elasticated
  • Cuffs: elasticated
  • Hem: elasticated
  • Pockets: 2 handwarmer
  • Sizes: XS-XL
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