Magma 850 2.0 vs. Magma 850
REI unveiled the 2.0 version of the Magma 850 Hoody, which appears quite similar to the version we tested. It's available in some new colors, and the outer material has changed from Pertex Diamond Fuse to Pertex Mini, but otherwise, the technical specs, weight, and fit seem to be the same for both jackets. Compare the 2.0 in the first photo to the original we tested last year (right).
We are linking to the Magma 850 2.0, but as we haven't actually tested that model yet, the review below still refers to its predecessor.
Hands-On Review of the Magma 850 Hoody
This jacket isn't the warmest, the lightest or the most compressible, but by modern standards, it has a good warmth to weight ratio, and its design is worthy of its high-quality insulation and Pertex fabrics. If you need some extra weather resistance check out something with hydrophobic down or a more weather resistant shell fabric.
Suprisingly warm for the weight (and the price), we were comfortable in this jacket down to 40 degrees. For blowing snow, our tester would've appreciated a hardshell.
The Magma is a warm jacket for its weight. We wear it alone for temps down to 40F. Below that temperature, it's more of a layering piece, a very good layering piece at that. While not as warm as the thicker jackets in our test, it competes well and is less expensive than much of the competition.
The addition of a hood earns the Magma some extra points in the Warmth metric, keeping our ears a neck toasty and the hemline is longer than a few key competitors' which helps to trap in warmth. This is one of the only jackets we tested to use 850 fill-power down.
850 fill power down makes this one of the loftier models we reviewed.
When we reviewed the non-hooded version of this jacket, it was the second lightest jacket in its category. The hood adds a few ounces, bringing the total weight up to 13.75 oz for a size large. The Magma isn't ultralight, but we wouldn't hesitate to bring it along on a long backpacking trip or ski tour, and we hardly notice it when it's stuffed down into our packs. For folks who count ounces, there are lighter coats out there, but for the price, it's unmatched.
Like most modern DWR coatings, we felt well protected in a light mist. Water beaded well and keep the shell material from soaking through but remember, DWR treatments wear out, and the Magma's shell fabric isn't waterproof. In a heavy downpour, the down will eventually take on water if you don't put on a waterproof shell. This jacket doesn't feature hydrophobic down, so be careful how you use it. Keep in mind that the Magma is a decent mid-layer, and you can always throw on a waterproof layer to save your down from becoming soggy and useless.
This jacket fits a little on the bulky size, especially in the midsection, a fact that can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your body type and how you want to layer it. A bulkier jacket like the Magma is harder to were comfortably under a hardshell along with other layers, but if you want to use your down jacket on top of your other layers, it has an accommodating fit. The sleeves are long and have a little articulation, and this jacket doesn't ride up when you put your arms over your head. There's also plenty of room in the shoulders, making this a good choice for bigger folks. As we mentioned previously, this jacket has a hemline the extends below the waist.
We liked the low hemline that made this jacket feel warmer. Some of us don't like having our photo taken.
This jacket packs into its own small pocket, but this is no easy task. The zippered pocket opening is much smaller than the total size of the stowaway pocket, requiring several minutes of stuffing and cramming before you can close the zipper.
While the Magma isn't the most stuffable, we use this jacket for commuting and find it compresses well into the odd pockets in a laptop backpack.
The Magma comes with nifty clip-in loop, but with its long shape, we feel it hangs a little too low.
After being compressed, the high-quality 850 down pops right back out. Down is much more resilient than synthetic insulation, but make sure you always store your jacket uncompressed, ensuring long-lasting loft.
This jacket stuffs away into its own pocket, but it takes some finagling. Note the all-important clip-in loop.
The Magma possesses many of the same features as its top dollar competitors. A cord with a small cord lock tightens the hemline to seal in the warmth.
Two roomy zippered handwarmer pockets are there to warm your clammy mitts or hold some energy bars or a cell phone. The elastic cuffs are comfortable, but a little loose for our discerning testers. On its own, the hood has a good fit and can be secured with a cinch cord, but is too small to fit over a helmet.
This jacket has two zippered handwarmer pockets and a zippered chest pocket.
The Magma is at least $100 less than its top competitors. You can wrap yourself in a warm swath of goose feathers for a great price, maybe less if you can find it on sale, or if you're an REI member and you cash in your dividends. Even without sales and dividends, it packs a ton of value.
The hood fits well and is secured by a cinch cord in the back. It's a little small to fit comfortably under a climbing helmet.
This hoody easily has one of the best bangs for your buck or down for the dollar. If you need the best and are willing to shell out the big bucks, there are better choices out there, but for a great coat at a great cost, this should not be overlooked.