The Difference Between Our Down Jackets
A down jacket is a timeless clothing piece that anyone heading outdoors should own. Whether exploring backcountry, camping out overnight, or travelling abroad, they're perfect for cooler climates as they provide excellent thermal insulation through the natural duck or goose down fill. This also makes them lightweight and compressible, so they're an easy-to-pack outer shell. But as with all outdoor clothing, there are plenty of options to choose from, so how do you pick the right style? Read through our selection guide and comparison charts to ensure you kit yourself out in the most suitable down jacket for your adventure.
Choosing Your Down Jacket
To keep it simple when choosing your down jacket, think about what activity you are doing, then the following factors:
Warmth - What time of year is it, what climate are you in, and what is the weather doing? An afternoon at the park with friends won't require the same warmth as an alpine trek in the middle of winter. Look at the loft rating (also known as fill power) - this numerical measure refers to the amount that down expands and traps air within its clusters, for example '600 Loft'. It's an indicator of the jacket's thermal efficiency, and generally the higher the value the less amount of down required to achieve specific temperature ratings, therefore giving a better warmth-to-weight ratio.
Weight - Like with most outdoor apparel, the lighter the better. But you don't want to compromise on insulative performance, otherwise you'll just end up being cold. A lightweight option will generally be good for season transitions, or layering; the heavier weights are designed for winter or very cold alpine climates.
Packability - All down is compressible but you may want a jacket that is highly packable if storage space is an issue for your adventure.
Durability - If you're activity is rugged, you'll want a jacket with a durable outer and a DWR finish. If you're just getting around town, something a little less technical will suffice.
To learn more about the benefits of down, check out our down guide in Field Notes, but read on below to get to know our current men's and women's down ranges.
Men's Down Jackets Range
The men's range features a number of versatile down jackets that will keep you covered on hikes, snow trips, travel or just your everyday outdoor pursuits. At the top of the range is the aptly-named Peak, which features premium, 700 loft rating, goose down. A hooded style with a V-shaped baffle design and a slim fit, it is the perfect jacket for cold adventures from city to trail. Next is the iconic Resurge jacket, a popular Mountain Designs heritage piece, which also uses 700 loft rating goose down for insulation. The biggest difference though lies in the outer fabric, with the Resurge's 100% ripstop nylon making it super rugged and ready for any vigorous outdoor activity. Wear this classic jacket in the snow, on the backcountry trails or when you're travelling. Note that the Resurge also comes in a vest style. The other three jackets are the Forge, the Advance and the newly released Navigator, all 600 loft duck down styles that have an urban flavour. The former features a chevron baffle construction and removable hood, while the ultra-lightweight Advance is a cool minimalist design that works well for layering. The Navigator has a contemporary look with horizontal baffles and snap button chest pockets. All jackets in the men's range are highly compressible, have a DWR finish, and have RDS-certified down.
Women's Down Jackets Range
Mountain Designs has a great women's range of down jackets too, starting with the famous longline Liberty jacket. Whether you're heading to Après ski, commuting to work or exploring the city on a chilly day, the longer length and 700 fill power goose down insulation of this sophisticated, slim-fit design will give you ultimate cover from day to night. Another flattering longer-length style is the recently launched Zephyr. It has an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio with 750 loft goose down, which itself has a DownTek™ treatment to shield it from moisture and prevent clumping. The adjustable hood, elasticated wrist cuffs and adjustable hem further allow you to seal in the warmth. Like the boys, women can also zip on the Peak or Resurge, depending on style and protection needs. Both have 700 loft rating goose down, and both will keep you super warm. Next choice is the Freedom 600 duck down jacket (this has a vest option too), with curved baffles, a detachable faux fur hood, and its sleek matte shell finish giving it a contemporary urban feel. Finally, at the ultra-light end of the scale is the Ascend 600, with its bright pop colours, thinner horizontal baffles, and slim fit making it a great choice for beating the cold in more temperate, everyday conditions. Again, all the down in the women's range is RDS-certified.
RDS? 100% it is
It's great to benefit from the amazing qualities of down, but we know how important sustainable, ethical practices in clothing manufacture are too. That's why all the down we use in our clothing and equipment is RDS-certified, meaning it adheres to the Responsible Down Standard. Introduced in 2014, this is an independent, voluntary global standard that safeguards the welfare of the animals - it guarantees that down and feathers come from ducks and geese where no live plucking or force feeding has been conducted. This means you can zip on your Mountain Designs down jacket or vest knowing you have the best material when it comes to warmth and weight, as well as ethical practices.
Caring For Down
Our down jackets and vests are up for the most testing cold-weather adventures, and if you care for them, they will go the journey many years over. To get the best performance out of your down wear, you need to follow some simple care instructions, which explain the proper way to wash, dry and store your down jacket.