Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $270
Pros: Super warm for its light weight, internal chest pocket.
Cons: No hood.
Best Uses: Climbing, skiing, backpacking, all-around
The Feathered Friends Hyperion is a very light down jacket from a company that has proven its quality when it comes to down. However, ordering it is not very convenient, since it is not available from major retailers, and only directly from the small manufacturer in Seattle (often custom-made, involving long delays in delivery). Since it the Hyperion can be incredibly difficult to purchase, consider the Editor's Choice rated jacket, $339, which is the Mountain Hardwear Hooded Ghost Whisperer.
But, if you can get past the idea of ordering a custom-made jacket, you won't be disappointed. The Hyperion does not come with a hood, which is unfortunate, but built into its 9.4oz is a huge amount (5oz) of lofty 850+ fill down, making it a slightly thicker, loftier, and arguably warmer jacket that the other sub-ten ounce jackets.
If you need something soon consider our Best Buy Award winning Rab Neutrino Endurance which is widely available from major online retailers.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Feathered Friends is a small Seattle company that has been at the center of the Pacific Northwest outdoor scene for decades. Their shop – fortunately or unfortunately- is kitty corner to the massive REI flagship store. We've only just recently got our hands on the Hyperion Jacket but we thus far like what we see and feel. In our Backpacking Sleeping Bags review we chose the Feathered Friends Hummingbird as our Top Pick with review author Max Neale writing that Feathered Friends "churns out some of the best winter bags on the planet." We're excited to see how the Hyperion performs are our testing goes on. Stay tuned for updates!
The Hyperion is among the lightest jackets in this review at 9.4oz. That only tells part of the story however because the Hyperion has a little over 5oz of down making it bulkier and warmer than the Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoody which is about the same weight. The major drawback here is that the Hyperion lacks a hood and that certainly accounts for some of the weight savings. Without a hood it's hard to pin down how warm the Hyperion is compared to the other jackets. It does in fact have significantly more down than similar weight jackets, and is noticeably loftier around the body relative to other light jackets. The inability to cover the head and face when it gets cold is a factor, but if you're in a situation where you don't need/want a hood, the Hyperion is defiantly warmer than the closest competitors in terms of weight. The upside to hoodless down jackets is that they tend to layer better. Without a hood, you can layer (generally) hooded outerwear a bit easier since you avoid a tangle of two maybe three hoods, that you'll often simply leave down anyway. Like all of the lighter down jackets in this review the Hyperion features a sewn-through construction.
Weighing only about 9 and a-half ounces the Hyperion is almost as light as they come. Five ounces of that weight is 850+ down making this jacket exceedingly warm for its weight. But again, there is no hood here and that accounts for a bit of weight loss, and a loss in warmth and comfort if it gets really cold. The fact that the Hyperion has a higher down fill weight than similarly weighted jackets makes for a cozier, more "parka" style, comfort when compared to the thinner lightweight jackets we tested.
The primary feature lacking here is a hood - which we wish for because the Hyperion is so promising. There is waist adjustability with cinches on the right and left and two zippered hand pockets. One feature we appreciate is the internal zippered chest pocket for storing small items. This is the only jacket in this review to have this. The shell is made from Pertex Endurance, which is designed to increase water resistance.
By packing in the warmth into a very light, and packable, non-hooded jacket, the Hyperion is an excellent mid layer down piece for climbing, skiing, or backpacking. In addition to that, with 5oz of down in a 9.5oz jacket the Hyperion is very cozy. You may want to wear it all the time.
You certainly would not be disappointed in the quality if you purchased this. It is very warm for it's light weight, and comes from a company known for quality down wear. It does however cost $270. There are several other similar down jackets at a lower price point that offer good warmth-to-weight ratios and good durability. Look to our Best Buy MontBell Frost Smoke Parka for a cheaper alternative.
How to Get It
Feathered Friends jackets are not sold by major commercial retailers.
Shop online at http://featheredfriends.com/
— Chris Simrell
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Most recent review: December 5, 2013
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