One part warmth, two parts lightweight, three parts total functionality; serve on ice.
- 850-Fill down gives you ultimate loft, compression rebound, and a sweet warmth-to-weight ratio
- Down pockets and hood keep you toasty around the edges
- The outer shell’s 0.9oz Dot-Rripstop nylon boosts the jacket’s tear resistance and toughness
- Down-filled zipper tube stops drafts from sneaking in
- Lightweight elastic piping around the hood and waist seal out the cold without cordlocks
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Share your thoughts
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I've used the flash jacket around town in mid 30 degree (f) weather for a couple weeks and took it on a 16 mile hike in the Ouachita Mountains after Christmas. Temperatures were in the 40's (f) during the day and too warm for anything more than a base layer, fleece and shell. However at night the temps dropped into the 20's and teens by early morning. This puffer was the perfect solution for these cold temps. A perfect part of a 4 part system. Base, fleece, puffer, shell. I originally thought I wanted a puffer with no hood, but on my recent trip I really appreciated the hood and wouldn't even consider ordering a puffer for trail use without one.
How is the sleeve length on the Large. I have long arms, normal shirt size 36"
I think they'll be a bit short for you. I had a large (temporarily) that fit me well and I wear a 34" shirt sleeve.
This is a great jacket and a great company but for me it had an issue that couldn't be overcome. I used it a few times this hunting season to stay warm when not moving and found it to be exceptionally warm for the weight - I barely knew it was in my pack.
I returned this however because the light-weight shell fabric used has a propensity to bleed more feathers than I've ever seen before Its up to you, but personally I want my jacket to be a bit more durable than that.
I still like the company a lot and traded up to their XR Flash series which is heavier but more feather-proof. Am very happy with the upgraded version.
So sorry that I've not addressed your questions for such a long time. Let me attempt to do that now as objectively as I can.
The Rab Microlite Alpine is a vastly different animal. It has a W/B outer shell and weighs in at 21 oz. vs. 9 oz. here. The Flash sweater is intended as an outer layer for moderate days and should undoubtedly be layered under a W/B shell when skiing trees or when the wind is howling. Yes, the lightweight fabric will snag on tree branches when cruising by in the steeps. The combination of 850 minimum fill power down and lightweight, completely breathable fabric causes it's comfort range to be extremely versitile. From 65 degrees F to 20 F, I typically feel like I'm at room temp while wearing my Flash. Adding a waterproof/breathable layer to the outer fabric increases its durability (still risky in the trees) and it makes it warmer but will also narrow it's comfort range. Warmer temps will more readily cause overheating. I have both the Flash XR and the regular Flash. Probably if I lived in the Pacific NW, I'd wear my XR more. Here in Colorado, I don't even carry fleece in the backcountry anymore. This jacket with a lightweight Gore layer on top and 1-2 thin wool layers underneath is the most I've ever needed on our coldest -10 degree days. Hailing from Minnesota, these Colorado temps are admittedly pretty moderate.
For the record, the Flash XR is plenty water resistant for any wet weather I've encountered short of a downpour.
I've uploaded a photo of my Flash after 3 years of use. If I'd skied trees with it unprotected, it would have patches all over it. Having said that, I've not babied it either. It is either in my pack or thrown in the back of my car or stuffed into the tankbag of my motorbike whenever the temps are anticipated below 40.
Regarding its durability, as Yvon Chouinard so aptly put it: (paraphrasing) Having the best gear is no replacement for knowing how to use it.
Use this jacket wisely (not over-protectively!) and it will last a very, very long time. It will also become your most used jacket as it has become mine.
This is an incredible jacket! I can actually ski in it and not over-heat as I usually do with other higher loft jackets. The shell of the jacket repels snow well. There is a tradeoff for the extremely light-weight material: It rips easily, so you have to be very careful skiing by trees or bushes. I have patched a few areas because I am not careful. I now wear a light shell to protect the jacket when I am skiing in the trees. Recently I purchased the XR version of the Flash jacket. It has a more waterproof shell, an adjustable hood and zipers on the pockets. For wet snow weather, I will probably use the XR model. The Flash jacket is the warmest jacket for its weight. Westernn Mountaineering uses high quality down and produces high quality products. All their products, including this jacket, are worth the price.
Anybody know how this compares to say Montbell UL Down Inner Parka? I know it should be slightly warmer but anything else?
How about temp rating?
I have both, and they're both great jackets but differ a lot in the details.
The WM jacket is warmer because it has more down. The WM has down on both sides of the pockets; Mont-bell just has has nylon on the inner side. The WM has their great no-snag dacron along the zipper, just like their sleeping bags; Mont-bell doesn't. WM uses beefy "American" sizing, so the chest on my Large is probably 46 inches where I'd guess Mont-bell is more like 42. The WM arms are much bigger around too. WM isn't adjustable at the waist but the Mont-bell parka is, with a shock cord that runs into the pockets. The WM hood is not adjustable either but the Mont-bell is, both to tighten around the face and to adjust overall volume with a velcro tab at the back of the head.
The nylon fabrics and down quality are nearly identical between them.
The Mont-bell has a little more attention to style with different angles to the baffles under the arms, and some interesting contouring to vertical seams on the front and back baffles. The WM doesn't bother.
Thanks. Which do you find yourself using most often and why.
does anyone have a photo front/side or description of how this jacket fits around your head, does it come over your chin or below, how well does it seal out the wind around your head etc. the silver colour looks blueish, is that photo realistic, anything else to mention? a photo in its stuff sack next to something would be cool... to see the packed size, if anyone could be bothered, thanks in advance... rich
I find the fit around my head to be flawless. It does come up over my chin comfortably so it seals out the wind beautifully.
To my eye, the photo of the silver is accurate.
Here's a photo of my size large jacket stuffed. I prefer not to "over-stuff" it. It will easily compress to 2/3 of the size shown.
You need to know right off the bat that I'm the sales rep in the Rockies for Western Mountaineering. I'm unabashed about extolling the virtues of Western down bags, jackets, pants and booties.
I've owned many down sweaters in the course of my work in this business. This is the best I've ever used. It's lighter, more compact, warmer and more comfortable than any other. Here is my experience: The jacket with stuff sack weighs 9oz. on my postal scale. The fit is generous with a very comfortable hood design. Don't look for fashion here. You won't find it. Instead, decide if you're looking for the lightest, most compressible, warmest down sweater on the market. If it is, you'll keep it in your pack at all times like I do, waiting for the next opportunity to put it to the test. You'll love it too!
what is the sizing chart for this coat
Hi there! Tom here. I'm the Western Mountaineering rep here in the Rockies. I've been bugging Western to put some kind of sizing chart together but they're busy sewing jackets and bags. Sorry 'bout that.
The jackets run quite full. Most folks I know wear their normal size. If in between sizes, going down will usually work. I prefer to size up for comfort and ease of layering. The fabrics are so light and the down so "drapy" that sizing up will usually yield an acceptable fit.
Sorry to be so vague but without specs, that's all I can do. Next step will be to request a sizing chart once again. Let's see what happens!
Is this jacket the same weight and feel as a down sweater ?
I tried this jacket on in a specialty shop recently & it is not as heavy and over filled as say an expedition parka, but it definitely packs more in than say, Patagonia's Down Sweater or something along that line. You can definitely use it for layering under a shell if thats what you were thinking about. I'm 5'10 170 and the large fit great, plenty of room for base layers underneath and mobility while wearing it was fluid. Now I wish I bought it!
One of the answers above lists the down fill weight of this jacket at 85 grams, which is the same as the Patagonia Down Sweater, although this is an 850-fill vs the 800-fill in the Patagonia. Since this is hooded, I'm guessing the down is distributed a bit more sparsely throughout the jacket. Maybe Tom can weigh in on this, but it looks like he hasn't checked in since October of last year.
The overall weight of the piece is very impressive, though, especially for a hooded jacket. I would say that the new Patagonia Down Special Edition Sweater is a closer competitor to this.