Location of Test:
Pacific Northwest - Oregon
Hooded Down Sweater
Technical outdoor adventure and casual wear
The Full Review:
Quite simply, the Wilderness Technology Hooded Down Sweater is the best down jacket available at an affordable price point. The jacket is extremely lightweight and packable; it easily stuffs into its own side pocket and can be secured with the pocket zipper. The 600-fill 9/10 Duck down performs admirably across cold temperatures. Its measurements are loose fitting for the men’s version, but forms well to the body, allowing one to layer effectively. This becomes most effective when traveling over backcountry terrain when technical layers are imperative to comfort in the outdoors.
At first, I was concerned that the lower price point might be an indication of flimsy construction. However, after climbing, hiking, biking, and casually wearing the Wilderness Technology Hooded Down Sweater, I knew my fears were in vain. The fabric and stitching held up impressively, showing no signs of wear-and-tear. The down maintains its loft and insulates phenomenally. The hood is large enough to accommodate a climbing helmet or a small biking helmet with no trouble at all. Wilderness Technology coated the jacket with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish that has proven to be surprisingly effective against the rain. However, I do not recommend this jacket for anything more than short exposure to light precipitation, as the down will not insulate when wet.
Cleaning the jacket sounds tricky but is actually quite easy. Using down-safe detergent, wash the jacket in a washing machine (avoid top-loading machines, as they can be too harsh on sensitive fabrics). After the cycle, throw your jacket into the dryer at low heat (hang drying the jacket will ruin the loft of the down). Before starting the dryer, toss in a clean shoe or a couple of tennis balls to help loft the down back to its original state. Be patient! This can take some time. After cleaning your jacket, go outside and dirty it up again!
The Wilderness Technology Hooded Down Sweater is a phenomenal down jacket that soars above its competitors by price, loft, fill, DWR-finish, and more. Frankly, it might be one of the best deals the Wilderness Technology brand has to offer.
It's much more affordable than any other comparable jacket!
The jacket boasts impressive fill, superior insulation, and spacious dimensions, making it an impressive addition to any outdoor folk's arsenal.
The hood is large enough to accommodate a climbing helmet.
The DWR finish is effective enough at an affordable price.
The stitching looks like it might not last as long as some other brands, but a jacket at this quality would normally cost at least double of what the Wilderness Technology Hooded Down Jacket does.
The Bottom Line:
This is the best, most effective, and affordable down jacket at this price level, bar none.