Time to fill the one remaining hole in my kit list: a very lightweight down jacket for Spring and Autumn. Actually it’s more of a kit optimisation than gap filling.
I already have an excellent Mountain Equipment Lightline jacket, a serious beast for the arctic months that has kept me toasty warm for years, but is overkill for the nights of Spring and Autumn which can be cold enough to demand a good insulation layer but not the real brass monkey temperatures that merit the Lightline. Vivien bought one of these last year and we were impressed by its incredibly light weight and minimalist design for its purpose: no tough outer shell or cords and bobs, just 125g of 650+ down in soft Pertex Microlight. The total weight of this size Large on our postal weighing scales is 320g, exactly the figure stated on the website.
The jacket supposedly packs into its own pocket but I’ll probably use a little nylon stuffsack.
I foresaw an advantage in versatility and overall weight too when used in conjunction with my sleeping bag: I can extend the viable season of my PHD Minim bag, which I regard as a summer-only bag, some distance either side of its previous limits while ensuring I don’t get caught out on unexpectedly cold mornings. It’s a question of optimal distribution of the insulation both for sleeping and sitting up in the tent with my arms and shoulders exposed: if some of the insulation is in the jacket rather than all of it in the sleeping bag, I’m good for both scenarios, and also when popping outside the tent at night. The new arrangement gives a significant weight saving for a worthwhile proportion of the year.
I discovered a mildly interesting thing when buying this online. The lowest price I could find from a normal shop retailer was an offer price of 99.95 at Footprints of Glasgow but there was an eBay shop with a Buy-it-now’ price of 84.95 + delivery. I ordered it from the eBay seller and it arrived today with an enclosed slip from… Footprints of Glasgow!. So… is the eBay shop merely a Footprints web outlet with a different hat on, or is it someone else passing orders through to them?. That’s an increasingly striking trend I’ve noticed nowadays, I often don’t know who I’m really buying from or who is affiliated to who and by what commercial arrangement. When I bought my Berghaus Ortler trousers in Manchester a few weeks ago I literally didn’t know which shop I was in after seeing all the different names and logos outside.