Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $199 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, high quality down, large pockets.
Cons: Boxy and big fit, no hang loop in collar.
Best Uses: Alpine climbing, belaying, backpacking.
The MontBell Alpine Light gives you a lot of down jacket for your money. Its inexpensive but not cheap. It comes with large hand pockets with a soft fleece lining and a wind-resistant outer fabric. It is more durable than the more expensive and lighter weight MontBell Mirage. It stuffs into a separate stuff sack rather than a pocket on the jacket. Check out our complete Men's Down Jacket Review to see how this compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The MontBell Alpine Light is a relatively lightweight (14.2 oz.) jacket with high quality down (800 fill) and is on the inexpensive side for such an indispensable piece of gear. The primary fabric is Ballistic Ripstop Nylon, which is fairly wind-resistant and durable. This fabric is slightly heavier than the materials used on the Mountain HardWear Nitrous Jacket and the Patagonia Down Sweater, but is more durable.
It also has some interesting features like a small Velcro adjustment on the hood rather than a cinch cord, very large zippered hand pockets with a cozy fleece lining, and a separate stuff sack rather than a stuff-into-the-pocket feature.
We liked it that the Alpine Light Parka came with a stuff sack and was a nice snug fit. Despite its weight we were pleasantly surprised by the warmth this jacket provided. You can wear this under your shell if you need too.
A very minor complaint is that there is no loop in the inside collar to hang this jacket on a peg. It was most likely left off to save some weight, but even most of the lighter jackets in this review have one. This may not even matter to most people, but it did make storing the jacket noticeably a bit more of a challenge.
This jacket is great to jam into a climbing pack, carry with you on approaches of any length, and pull out when you find yourself belaying in cold and windy conditions. It would also make a decent puffy to bring along on a backpacking trip because it stuffs down but is very warm for its size.
For $185 this jacket is a great deal. For that price you get a warm and very functional 800 fill down jacket that stuffs easily into a stuff sack for less than the price of some popular synthetic insulated jackets. It is much less expensive than some of its close competitors in this review, which is why it gets the Best Buy award. MontBell claims this jacket has a high warmth-to-dollar ratio, and we agree. Other good value down jackets are the MontBell Frost Smoke Parka, and the Outdoor Research Transcendent Sweater.
This jacket comes without a hood for $30 less MontBell Alpine Light Jacket - Men's ($155). We prefer the version with the hood.
There are also women's versions:
MontBell Alpine Light Down Parka – Women's
MontBell Alpine Light Jacket – Women's
— McKenzie Long and Ian Nicholson
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 22, 2014
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