Best for active use
At a glance
Plusses: Comfortable, ideal for damp conditions, warm for the weight.
Minuses: No internal glove pockets, bulky.
Weight: 476 (m), 440 (w)
Features: Thinsulate (synthetic) filled and with a hood, this jacket has most of the features you’d look for in an alpine-oriented insulated jacket, including two hand pockets, internal chest pocket and an asymmetric hem cinch-cord. It can be stuffed into the left pocket for compact storage and clipped to a pack or harness.
Fit: Hovering somewhere between an athletic and comfortable fit, the jacket suits active use. The sleeves are on the roomy side, but the length is perfect for climbing and scrambling. The hood is form-fitting and cosy.
Comfort: Thinsulate Featherless insulation is reported to be the latest synthetic iteration and is made from 75 per cent recycled materials. In my unscientific test, it seems to be about as warm as a 700 fill power down jacket, as claimed, and there is no question: this is a cosy jacket for moderately cold conditions.
In use: Taken on an overnight trip in stormy weather and on the cusp of winter, it kept me plenty warm enough. A practical but basic cuff design does the job, but I did miss internal stash pockets for gloves. There isn’t any microfleece on the chin, which is a feature I have come to appreciate in jackets. Symmetrical hem drawcords (i.e. one on each side of the jacket) are more functional for micro-adjustment and look better.
Thinsulate insulation copes better with New Zealand’s highly variable weather conditions than non-waterproof down, and in theory should be more durable in the long term.
Value: This jacket sits at the midpoint of features-for-price and is a highly functional garment.
Verdict: A sensible fit and standard features position this jacket as a great buy for all-around cold-season use. Comfort could be boosted with microfleece-lined pockets and chin guard.