Montbell presents the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka, the warmest down jacket in its weight class. It is extremely lightweight, weighing in at only 237g, and ultra warm with a thousand-fill power of goose down. This isn’t just a jacket to keep you warm when a cold snap hits your mountain town, it will also keep you comfortable on mountain peaks when Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. Compress it into the stuff sack provided and keep it in your pack for emergencies, or take it out on a clear and cool night to stay cozy. This parka sports a unique stitch pattern separating it from other down jackets.
The sewn through construction separates the airtight down pockets from shoulder to waist, with vertical stitches breaking up potential down migration and giving the jacket a unique style. The colour options look good, including an all black parka, but the red and pine green parkas are accented with a blue and orange zipper respectively. Two hand warmer pockets are essential for these jackets, but here and the main closure are the only place you will find zippers with pull-tabs.
Front and back views.
Packs down to next to nothing and weighs the same (the glove is there merely for a frame of reference).
To say that Montbell’s Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka is one of the lightest jacket’s I have ever worn would be an understatement. It really could be the lightest thing I have ever lifted! Okay maybe the latter is an exaggeration, but you have to try it on to believe it. And with a fill powder of a thousand, it is more than capable of keeping you warm in sub-zero temperatures. Unfortunately Montbell had to sacrifice some features, and construct this jacket strategically, to make it lightweight. For example, the sewn through construction which keeps the down in place, can also allow body heat to escape or cold air to invade, and there are only two pockets. The 7-denier “ballistic” airtight rip stop nylon seems fragile and I would be cautious around penetrable tree branches, ski poles/edges, etc. Based on my time in this jacket, I am skeptical about how well it will do long term, against abrasion and other general wear and tear. A complaint from people around me is that the fabric makes an awfully loud crinkle noise when you move. That being said, I am happy with the performance of this parka. It comes with a stuff sack and could be kept in your pack for emergencies, but it looks good and fits comfortably otherwise. The ability to seal this parka up around the face, waist and cuffs to keep you warm and protected from blowing snow is a notable mention. I dislike that I have to unzip the jacket to get my head into the hood, but it could be an advantage in a windstorm to keep it around your face. I would recommend wearing this jacket as a mid-layer beneath a hard shell that would break the wind, protect from the elements, and provide you with the pockets you require. For mountaineers who are looking to shed some weight and stay warm on the ridgeline, and for anyone trying to avoid the chills of sub-zero temperatures, the goose down provides ample warmth and great loft as well.
Despite the serious look, this is one happy/warm camper.
Price: $379 US
Colours: Red Brick, Black, Pine Green
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight: 8.4 oz / 237 g
Insulation: 1000 Fill Power Down
Fabric: 7 Denier Ballistic Airtight
Stuff Sack: 14 x 19cm / 5.3x 7.6”
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