Examining The Quintessential Outdoor Jacket
Mountain Designs Adventure Ambassador Harrison Candlin and his partner Madison continue their grand journey across the western part of the US, this time testing the quintessential outdoor garment - the down jacket. Read on for their gear reviews of our men's Forge 600 and women's Ascend 600 down jackets.
Classic & Understated
If you're a true outdoor adventurer, you'll know that in order to survive cold temps and most importantly look the part on the trail, you'll need to get yourself a down jacket. It's essential. We've been putting the Forge 600 and Ascend 600 down jackets to the test in some really incredible places over the last two months, and from California to Wyoming these jackets have been lifesavers when the temperature has dropped. Both of these jackets are understated and classic looking, which we both really like. With one standard block colour and a simple logo on the front, they can even be worn out in the streets and you won't feel like you're out of place.
Men's Forge 600 Down Jacket: Words By Harrison
I have been using the Forge 600 down jacket mainly in the evenings and early mornings when the temps are around 0 degrees. This is when the 600-loft down insulation really comes to the fore - it keeps me warm and comfortable despite the chilly outside setting. The jacket also has a durable outer shell that's water resistant, but also won't easily rip or scratch on branches and rocks. Another feature I admire on the jacket is the elasticated cuffs that wrap tightly around my wrists, ensuring no warm air can escape. The neck collar sits high and feels soft on my skin - another nice touch - and it also features a chin guard to prevent irritation, which is a common annoyance on other jackets I've worn. The hood is removable, but I haven't taken it off due to the warmth it is providing in the windy conditions. The jacket fits snug inside a separate carry bag, which I just slip into my pocket when I'm wearing it. It compresses to about the size of a rolled-up sleeping mat, which is impressive considering the thickness of the duck down insulation within.
Women's Ascend 600 Down Jacket: Words By Madison
I have been using the lightweight and warm Ascend 600 down jacket quite regularly on this trip. It has been with me everywhere and has been an essential piece of kit in particular for the colder mornings. It packs down to about half the size of Harrison's Forge due to its thinner and lighter construction, however, lighter doesn't necessarily mean a drop in performance. There have been some occasions when I've had to put my fleece and thermals on underneath to provide extra warmth, but this has only been when the cold really bites. To pack the jacket away, instead of using an additional stuff sack, the jacket packs down into the left-side hand pocket, which is easy and quick. I love that the jacket has room for me to move around in, whether that is on rock scrambles, climbs, or squeezing through trees.