Matthew PinkBASE’s brand head honcho is a denizen of the crag. He gorges on adventure culture, hankers for epic treks and grinds his gravel bike round the Bristol orbit.
A middling down jacket with an understated look which will see you through some basic winter adventuring and trekking without major technical demands.
Weight: 490 g (Men’s M)
700 fill power goose down, two way zip, packs into pocket, reinforced areas with synthetic insulation on the shoulders
Fluorocarbon-free impregnation, recycled down
Fjällräven Down is guaranteed to always be 100% traceable, ethically produced
Light, highly packable and packs into self
Relatively roomy and long at that back
Higher collar keeps in heat
Warmth-to-weight ratio of this jacket isn’t super competitive
Aesthetic is a little unadventurous
Low on non-standard features for the category
What I’m Looking For
Winter’s now upon us with our first dusting of the white stuff down south this weekend and I’m scrambling around in the loft trying to find the bag of winter jackets.
When it comes to down I really want lightweight, decent flexibility both in terms of movement and scenarios in which I might wear it. I also have a strong preference for a hooded jacket in winter for those nippy cross-city cycles and weekenders so it can sit under my helmet but also because, well, somehow a hoodie always feels cosier and more relaxed right?
I’ll be up in the Lakes again soon where the average temp is always substantially lower than where I live (in the Bristol orbit) and so I want something that easily works as an outer during winter day-long hikes up to about 900m and where the wind chill factor will probably snip off another 5-10 degrees.
I’ve had Fjällräven winter wear garments in my wardrobe for about 10 years now. I’ve always been thoroughly impressed with their durability and reliability and actually I properly relish getting them out each year for the season. Although one in particular has been gnawed by moths, they do deliver proper warmth when required. All that in mind, I was really looking forward to receiving this jacket and giving it a run out, even if winter took its own sweet time to arrive this year.
Out of the parcel,Fjällräven expedition pack down hoodie looks roomy and is definitely light. I immediately have a crack at packing it into its pocket which I find to be pleasantly fuss-free and not especially bulky once it’s in. The aesthetic is ever so lightly retro but I have the black version and not the red or yellow versions which seem to up the ante a little on that front.
Throwing it on in my shed-come-office it immediately feels like an old friend and I love the fact that the collar is both nice and high and the zipper is two-way.
I’ve taken this jacket on winter hikes at zero degrees in the Wye Valley as well as similarly frosty commutes and 30-mile-ish rides out into the North Somerset countryside and coast. I also took it with me on a city/work trip to Munich (and ISPO where the jacket was coincidentally part of the brand’s display there) where the temperature never really got over 1ºC.
Actually, since the end of November in the UK, I find I’m wearing it most days unless there is drizzle or proper rain. It’s so easy to chuck on and off, goes with most under-layers and the two-way zipper is massively helpful for riding and letting a blast of cooling air in when the exertion gets a bit more frenzied.
Who Is This Jacket For?
This jacket is reasonably warm but not overly so, so if you’re someone who really feels the chills, it’s probably not the best option for you.
It fits a little large and is longer than many of my previous downs, which I like, both for the movement and the options it gives me for layering underneath. I totally appreciate some like the more athletic and more snugly fitting options on the market. I, however, do not.
The shoulder areas and their reinforcement help to keep it slightly more weather resistant and stave off any burn from winter daypacks laden with calorific Christmas cake, mince pies and hot sweet tea. So, in that respect for those out on the hill for long periods in the milder ends of European winters, this would be a pretty decent option.
For those out on the hill for long periods in the milder ends of European winters, this would be a pretty decent option
What Stands out
The pocket-packing ability was super useful for me when jumping between planes, trains and automobiles as well as into conferences and meetings. It tucked nicely into my 24l daypack and I didn’t notice any extra weight in there at all.
A little band of fleece lines the hood’s zipper, making for a soft fit against the face (and stubble) when the jacket needs to be fully closed and high on the neck. It’s a relatively minor touch but it makes a real difference to comfort.
Length and room
The higher collar, slightly longer sleeves and back really seem to help hold the heat better and make for a more loosely comfortable fit.
There is also plenty of room under the arms and chest area for layering flex as I mentioned earlier. Plus the hood is dead easy to adjust and the front and interior pockets are more than ample.
This jacket is just creeping into the upper reaches of the price bracket for its competitive set but not exorbitantly so. I’d actually say, given the relative lack of features and simplistic design, a fairer price would be around £50 lower than the RRP of £300.00.
BASE Bottom Line
This 700-fill down jacket is a pretty solid option for those seeking a reliably warm outer layer or urban wear. If you’re definitely not in need of an ultra-light backcountry jacket or prefer something simpler and not laden with technical features, this jacket might well take your fancy.
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