Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Mountain Equipment Lightline Down Jacket Review

I've had the Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket for a few months, it's been well used so I thought I'd note my view of the piece of kit.

I previously had a duvet top by means of a buffalo but if did occasionally cause me a touch of hot and sweaty claustrophobic frustration when it came to getting it on and off. Once on the buffalo is a great piece of kit and keeps you toasty to a great degree even when it gets wet, contrary to it's down counterparts. But it is a bit tough to get on and off especially when you don further layers underneath.
This led me to hunt out a duvet jacket at a reasonable price but that would keep me sufficiently warm. There are so many to choose from but I could immediately narrow down the selection as I wanted one with s hood to keep my neck and melon warm. The theory behind them not having hoods is that you can put on a beanie, but there's nothing to stop you putting a beanie on under a hood and be especially balmy. So that said I ended up plumping for the Mountain Equipment Lightline. I tried on a couple and this one is as comfy as I tried. Sadly as it is the first duvet jacket I've owned I can only give a review of it on isolation and not against another similar jacket.
That said I've used it through the winter whilst walking in the Lake District and in the Highlands of Scotland and have not at any point wished for any more. I did in fact use the same jacket during my ascent of Kilimanjaro (although this one was hired) and there too it proved to be more than sufficient in the warmth department. Granted I only used it for actual walking in during the summit day, the rest of the time I only wore it around the camp, but for both sitting and walking in it was a comfortable piece of kit.
It has a wired hood which is a bonus and stops the hood from sagging and impacting on your field of view whilst out on the hill. It also has adjustable velcro cuffs which I feel would be more comfortable and less irritating than their elasticated cousins. The main zip is a touch awkward to do up but there is a knack to it and once you've got this figured it's a doddle.
Another point of note is that there is no flap along the main zip to keep out any icy breeze however whilst I've been out in nothing considered to be a gale I haven't found this to be an issue. There are drawstrings around the gem though to keep the warmth in and stop it
escaping downwards.
The shell of the Lightline jacket appears to be a touch flimsy and you feel conscious that catching it could easily result in a riiiiiiiiiip and a resulting flap that can only be repaired with duct tape leaving you looking like a real Bobby dazzler. Not true, again it is pretty tough and takes a fair amount of hammer with no worries - that said I wouldn't be keen to deliberately go out and put that to the test.
The Mountain Equipment Lighline has a Driloft coating which is windproof and highly waterproof. I've worn it out in damp weather and it held out ok although I'd be concerned if I had to rely on it's waterproofing in the event of a deluge, being down and all, in this department it will never compete with it's synthetic counterpart.
To summise I reckon Mountain Equipment have made a great jacket in this one at a relatively cheap price, I'm really pleased with it, fair play it does have a few shortcomings but on the whole they are negligable and amount to very little.
I got mine for £140 from Go Outdoors however it is currently on sale at Field and Trek for £120. Otherwise still a great price for a good piece of winter kit, don't get me wrong there are more technical jackets on the market but for those you pay the price.


Badabing said...

Absolutely agree with the review. We bought the mens and womens versions for a trip to Ieland in the winter. We already had down jackets but for at camp, tenting and bothying. We scoured the internet for reviews of all down jackets, including RAB, which is one of our favourite brands. However, couldn't be more delighted with the lightline. Wore it in light drizzle in Reykjavik for about 3-4 hours and rain just slid off it. Wore it in really low temperatures and freezing winds and it sure worked a treat. Excellent buy, highly recommended.

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