TGO Down jackets gear test

A few bonus questions...

16 messages
11/01/2005 at 01:20

I enjoyed the recent TGO review of down jackets as I'm looking to get a new one very soon. I currently have a Rab Expedition down jacket which is overkill for me and weighs just over 1.5kg. I'm looking for a lightweight down jacket for winter backpacking and my homework has led me to the Rab Neutrino Endurance (650g @ £200 and the PHD Minimus (380g @ £151 with Drishell). My questions are:

1) Do you think the PHD would be warm enough in an emergency bivvy on an extremely cold winters night?

2) How much warmer than the PHD is the Rab?

3)When reviewing the American jackets like the Western Mountaineering one, did you take into account their different rating of fill power? Do they really have 800+ fill power or is it 700+ by UK standards?

11/01/2005 at 02:04
Hi Geoffrey,

Here are some hopefully useful answers to your queries.

1) It depends what you mean by extremely cold! The coldest temperature recorded in the Scottish Highlands is -27C. At that temperature or anything below -20 I doubt that any of the garments tested would keep anyone warm. I would expect to be warm in an emergency bivvy in the Minimus down to -10c, presuming I was in a bivvy bag and was also wearing warm dry under layers (base layer, light/medium weight fleece) and perhaps a shell jacket. However I run hot and I know people who would probably be cold in the Minimus at -1. PHD rate the Minimus to -5, though they don't say in what conditions.

2) The Neutrino has 1.5cms of loft more than the Minimus according to my measurements. This is enough to make a noticeable difference in warmth. Some synthetic filled garments only have 1-1.5cms of loft in total. At what temperature anyone would be warmer in the Neutrino than the Minimus I don't know but the former is definitely warmer.

3) I didn't take the fill power ratings into account at all. I based my judgements on the loft, the design and how warm the garments felt. The fill power of the down in the WM Flight is almost certainly an American measurement. However the Flight has the same loft as the Neutrino. The reasons for this are that the Flight is a shorter garment and doesn't have a hood, so the down is in a smaller space, and the Flight has an ultralight Quantum outer that allows the down to loft more than the Endurance outer on the Neutrino does. In a wind the Neutrino will be warmer as the shell fabric is far more wind resistant and of course it is also far more water resistant than the Flight. In a shelter the two garments should provide around the same warmth.

11/01/2005 at 09:35
Hi Geoffrey,

If it helps theoutdoorshop are doing the Rab
Neutrino Endurance for £159 at the moment, sale end on 28th of this month I think.
11/01/2005 at 17:02
Chris - Thanks. I carry a Rab Survival Zone (367g on PO scales) on day walks so the PHD should do me fine for that.

After some thinking, I'm kind of leaning towards two jackets:
1) Rab for Iceland, the Alps and day walks in Scotland.
2) Another lightweight one for backpacking with.

The Rab seems to be an easy choice because (corect me if I'm wrong) it's the warmest jacket around for it's weight and should be warm enough for most things.

My second jacket seems to be a choice between PHD, ME Lightline and WM Flight. Which of these was the warmest? I'm inclined to discount the ME because of it's weight so it really seems to be between the PHD and the WM.

PHD: 800+ fill power down, great reputation, reasonable availability, 15% off (just £116 without Drishell)
WM: Wow, how light? Snow RocK and where else? 750+ fill power down (UK rating)

Nick - The Rab is £160 from Trekmates!
11/01/2005 at 17:16
Hi Geoffrey,

Of the jackets I've tested the Neutrino is the warmest at that weight.

For backpacking my choice is the Flight. It is a little warmer than the PHD. There's not much in it though and both are excellent jackets. As far as I know the Flight is only available from Snow and Rock.
21/01/2005 at 20:07
After much dithering, I've decided to go for the PHD. Now I just need to make my mind up as to what spec I want. Hood? Drilite?

Chris, did that price of £151 in the test include the hood and drilite? The PHD site lists the price as £136 + £15 for drilite and £16 for a hood. I phoned Tower Ridge Direct and the guy there said £116 for the basic jacket (15% discount) but wanted £25 extra for the hood and another £25 for the drilite! The guy had a definate tone of voice so I never questioned him. They also don't have a shop so I can't try it on.

Grrrr. I think I'll just drive down to the factory!
22/01/2005 at 01:06
£151 was the price for the Minimus with Drishell and hood. However it was last October when I confirmed it. I guess it's gone up.

Personally I would choose the Drishell outer over the hood. I prefer a separate hat. However the jacket without hood and Drishell would be the lightest as well as the cheapest option.
23/01/2005 at 12:16
Geoffrey - Have you looked at Feathered Friends Down Stuff, you can even pick which outer you want from Event Fabric (wateproof), Pertex etc .... Click on the Garments then a jacket and you will see the different outers at the bottom of the screen.

02/09/2005 at 17:30
Hello old thread. I thought I'd update this with what I eventually bought.

PHD had a sale a while back and I got myself a factory sample Minimus for £60 delivered! The hood is fixed and it's got an extra outer shell of microfibre so it's a bit unique.

A close eye on the classifieds yielded an unused Rab Neutrino Endurace for £85 delivered which I snapped up.

So, that's me got both now. :-)

PS: Neil, I did check that out and thought it was neat that you could specify an eVent outer. Ordering from the US was not something I was prepared to try though.
08/11/2008 at 15:38

I want to buy an ME Lightline - online...but finding conflicting messages about which chest size to buy, from various sites...

 I'm 38" chest - would the Small be sufficient or do I need to go to a Medium. Simple query but frustrating trying to get a definitive answer!

Thanks to anyone who can advise... 

08/11/2008 at 17:08

I tried an ME Lightline in a shop a few months ago. My chest size is about 36 and a small fits me so I think you'd need a medium. It depends what you want to wear under it though.

The only way to know for sure is to try one on.

08/11/2008 at 18:40
Craig - many thanks, that's all the info I need...
08/11/2008 at 22:24
Might be of interest to some - Lightline jacket, £70
09/11/2008 at 03:14
Welcome to the OM forum there, MD2!
09/11/2008 at 14:24
Trevor D Gamble wrote (see)
Welcome to the OM forum there, MD2!

Trevor, how do you do it!?
22/02/2010 at 23:22
i have a rab neutrino and wore up snowdon when me and a mate stayed the night up there in jan 09 according to my watch it was -12 at night while looking at the stars, underneath i had on two t-shirts and a fleace jumper, the wind was blowing a good un but i didnt feel cold at all so i would reconmend one
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