The Hi-Q Luxe uses Primaloft Gold fill – a billowy synthetic material that comes close to offering the same performance as down, but with the advantage of retaining its loft, and therefore warmth, when wet.
Weighing 574g (w: 440g), the Hi-Q Luxe is the heaviest jacket reviewed and in terms of warmth, it falls short of the pack, despite its 180g of fill.
It’s still a high performance insulated layer, though and one well suited to wet conditions and the rugged treatment jackets receive in New Zealand.
The ripstop outer is tough, windproof and comes with a DWR coating for extra water resistance. The jacket felt snug in strong winds, but the water resistance proved short lived, with the fabric soaking through after about 30 minutes of light rain.
I enjoyed the ‘performance’ fit of the jacket, which was still roomy enough to allow wearing two or three underlayers. The sleeves and back are a good length, providing full coverage even while performing a sun salutation or swinging an ice-axe.
The two-way main zipper is problematic. Feeding it into the zip garage and getting them perfectly aligned is fiddly and frustrating. It’s a shame because a two-way zip is a handy feature for when you need to regulate temperature.
The pockets are a little lower than is ideal for use with a pack on. Recessed elasticated cuffs work well with gloves and allow the sleeves to be pulled up the arm easily.
The pre-elasticated hood is non-adjustable, but fits reasonably tightly. It is designed to be worn under or over a helmet.
The Hi-Q Luxe will suit many trampers and climbers in New Zealand’s mild and wet conditions. Although it is heavier than equivalent down jackets, the extra durability and versatility of the Primaloft fill make it a good choice for those seeking a hard-wearing jacket.