Montbell Ex Light Jacket


Lightest down jacket

At first sight it’s a nice-looking puffy jacket. Then someone picks up said puffy jacket and throws it at you. You put your hand out ready to catch a pound or so of duck-filled garment and then – nothing. Not what you expected. It’ as though a helium balloon just brushed against your hand. It’s thick and puffy and warm, but it doesn’t weigh anything.

And so began my love affair with the Montbell Ex Light Jacket. Not to be confused with its heavier cousin, the Montbell UL Jacket, the Ex Light weighs in at a scant 5.7 oz for a medium. Don’t expect frills such as pockets or hemmed waists, or the insulation and more durable exterior of a thicker down coat.

I wore this jacket whenever I had a chance on the Wonderland Trail. Rest stops, camp, heck I even slept in it on most nights. It’s a perfect complement to my lightweight summer bag when things get a little chilly at night.

Granted, I’ve spent more time in this jacket off the mountain at this point. It’s so snug, so cozy that I’ve been living in it for most of the winter. It replaces my Bozeman Cocoon Vest, and for 0.4 oz more it packs a whole lot more warmth. The downside is that I’m more vulnerable to rain as the Cocoon was synthetic and this is down, but I’ve found it to be a worthwhile tradeoff.

-- Brett Marl 03/1/10