Before this jacket I paid little attention to zippers. Everyone uses the"YKK" brand, big deal. It's a zipper. Zippers are hard to get wrong, right?
Imagine if you will that the main body of a jacket is like a castle and that the zipper is the bridge you take to get to and from it. In most cases the bridge is a four lane highway that's well kept and easy to cross. In the Carbondale's case the bridge is instead a rickety wooden catwalk guarded by man-eating trolls. Each traversal of this serpentine causeway requires dueling with a ferocious, scaled beast, and survival is not guaranteed. Every melee could result in the bridge collapsing, your being sent into the abyss, or both, and regardless of whether or not you attain victory the troll will steal a little piece of your soul. Not a very pleasant experience.
A less severe gripe I have apart from the main zipper are the adjustable cuffs. They couldn't be cinched down tight enough for my liking. Perhaps they were designed for burly troll wrists?
Now, while all that is unfortunate the rest of the jacket is very good quality from what I can tell. It's warm, apparently very waterproof, made of durable material, the hood fits well, and the removable powder skirt is cool. (That zipper is kind-hearted and accommodating compared to the main zipper)
I want to like this jacket. It's not worth more than two-fifty MSRP by my estimation but it's still a good jacket, aside, of course, from having a zipper that would trigger an anger-fueled Hulk transformation in most individuals. I should add too that if the zipper should break, and it well might, it would be the end of the jacket until the zipper were fixed or replaced.
Sorry Orage, like the Conan the Destroyer movie you've taken a good thing and warped it beyond tolerability. I'll likely be sending mine back for a refund.
Yes very helpful. Although I own the Peak XV and feel it is worth pointing out the fill power is 850 and not 800 as with the others (true of both the 2010 and 2011 versions).
First I need to get something out of the way as it's the reason I'm torn between giving it 4 stars instead of 5. I really wouldn't expect this to retail for the full MSRP despite how great a jacket it is. If it had 800+ fill instead of 650, or slightly more fill, [EDIT: Or if the outer fabric were more robust; 20D is just too thin], it would come closer to justifying the price tag. Comparable jackets can be found for a bit cheaper. Marmot, Montbell, Outdoor Research, and even Eddie Bauer (First Ascent Downlight Hoody is a GREAT jacket that is almost as warm despite its much lower weight) come to mind.
OK, on to the good. This thing is a great light-weight hoody-style down jacket. My plan is to use it for layering and it is exactly the right size for that job - not too puffy but puffy enough to give some serious warmth. It will be hard to find a better jacket for this role. I'm 5'6", 140 lbs, 32 in waist and the medium is absolutely perfect in every dimension. A shell fits easily on top and it can accommodate a base and a fleece layered underneath. The hood hugs my head very well with no additional adjustments. At present there is no indication of down leakage however I haven't put it into its stuff sack either so I can't attest to how down proof it is. Overall it's a long way towards being a full jacket on its own yet only so far as to not preclude it from a role as a light-weight layer or stand alone piece.
A final note: This has 4, not 2 pockets as BC seems to indicate as I write this. On the inside there is a small pocket located on the upper-left front as well as a large mesh pocket on the lower right front.
[EDIT 3/26/2012] I just noticed something that irks me incredibly. I already have a problem with the 20D outer fabric, as I worry this jacket will wear out pretty quickly. I just today noticed that the inside of the jacket seems to be lined with a 30D material! It may not be 30D but it looks identical to the 30D MH puts on its Lodown jacket, and it's thicker than the external material. If you're going to put heavier material into your jacket anyway, why not put it on the outside?? Sheesh. Knocking a star off my original review for this.
This jacket is a little weird. I have never owned nor worn a jacket with insulation covering only certain sections before this. That said, it works surprisingly well. The sections covered by the down insulation are fairly well selected with the only exception I can think of being on the arms close to the wrist; it doesn't go far enough around and my arm would probably get cold in a strong mountain breeze.
Other notes: Sierra Designs hoods are slightly awkward in general, however they do fit a helmet fairly well. Also the velcro on the wrists could use some improvement as the tightener strap tends to become unstuck occasionally.
All in all this is a good main jacket if you're planning on being active in a moderately wet environment. I really wanted to give it 5 stars however I felt that while I think it is a pretty awesome jacket it doesn't quite hit that gasmic sweet spot. Pretty close though.
Heat transfer as it relates to sleeping bags happens by two mechanisms, convection and conduction, with convection being the more important of the two. Andrew's point about sleeping bags utilizing only air not being efficient is valid because insulation comprised entirely of a liquid or gas which moves easily will subsequently redistribute heat easily. On the other hand, air does tend to have a lower conductivity value so it is useful in reducing heat loss via conduction. I don't know if the material down and feathers are made of has a high or low conductivity value, but the critical usefulness of these is in allowing air space while simultaneously minimizing air flow. A sleeping bag utilizing only air as an insulator would work much better if the air inside never moved. So, yes you want dead air space, in a sense, its just a bit more complex than that.
I'm interested in knowing about size. I see fit is 'loose.' The size chart doesn't list measurements of the dimensions most other brands do. Medium is 49 inches?? Is that a misprint? I didn't think so since it specifically states, "Numbers on this chart represent measurements of the actual garment and not of the person wearing it." I've never worn a Foursquare garment so I don't know about sizes for the brand.
Help is appreciated.
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