New down and synthetic clothing from ME including probably the world's warmest technical synthetic jacket.
Following on from part one of our Mountain Equipment autumn 2011 preview, where we focussed on shell clothing, here's a quick look at ME's new insulation options and there's a lot going on from a new, lightweight high mountain down jacket through to arguably the warmest synthetic belay jacket in the world.
New High Altitude Down
ME's classic Annapurna expedition duvet seems to have been around almost as long as the brand itself and has evolved into a proper behemoth of a high-altitude monster – lots of pockets and features and, erm, an overall weight of a massive 1280g, which is fine if a porter or yak is hauling your kit up a 7,000m peak, but not so clever if you have to carry it yourself.
The answer is the new Gasherbrum Jacket, a proper, serious down jacket with roughly as much 750+ fill power down in it as the Annapurna, but a weight of just 800g.
The savings come mostly from using super-lightweight HE30 fabric, the same material used for the brand's lightweight Xero sleeping bags and fewer features, though it still has the EXL elasticated lining. That lightweight fabric isn't as water resistant, but let's face it, at 8,000 metres up, rain isn't really an issue...
'As light as you're going to get for an ultra-warm jacket' says Richard Bailey. 'Spot on for going super alpine style on 700m plus peaks. Cost of all that warmth with less weight is £300 compared to £250 for the Annapurna, but if you need it, you need it...
Xero Jacket Gets A Hood
ME already had the lightweight Xero Jacket in its range, but for this winter, there's a new Hooded Xero version complete with hood to make it more versatile. Like the Gasherbrum, it uses the HE30 fabric, but with stitch-through baffles to save weigh and bulkt. The down again is 750+ fill power stuff.
Details are no frills with that stitch-through construction, zipless pockets and Lycra cuffs. It weighs around 500g and has a price tag of £220. Should be ideal for lightweight use in the Alps or as a Himalayan trekking jacket, when you're hauling your own kit.
Serious Synthetic – Citadel Jacket
ME's synthetically-lined Fitzroy is one of the best-known belay jackets out there, but wasn't warm enough for serious extreme use in places like Alaska and the Arctic, cue the new Citadel Jacket which is reckoned to be a whopping twice as warm as a Fitzroy.
Yep, twice the warmth and possibly the warmest technical synthetic jacket out there and warmer than the famed Patagonia DAS Parka. It has a proper helmet hood, the EXL elasticated lining, thumbloop cuffs and a Drylite Loft outer, which is very weather resistant with a hydrostatic head of 1500mm and totally windproof.
It's lined with PrimaLoft One, 200g in the body and 170g in the sleeves. There are handwarmer pockets, water-resistant zips with an insulated baffle and an internal mesh water-bottle pocket.
The downside is a weight of around 900g and a price tag of £220, but if you're off to Patagonia or Alaska, or simply get cold very easily in damp places, it should be spot on.
More details at www.mountain-equipment.co.uk
See next page for the low down on new Mountain Equuipment soft shell and fleeces for winter.