Hands-on Gear Review

Western Mountaineering QuickFlash Jacket Review

Western Mountaineering QuickFlash Jacket
Price:  $350 List | $350.00 at Backcountry
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Pros:  Super-light, warm for weight, down filled pockets
Cons:  No waist cinch, slightly boxy cut
Editors' Rating:   
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Down Fill:  850
Total Weight:  8 oz / 227g
Main Fabric:  12D Nylon
Manufacturer:   Western Mountaineering

Our Verdict

The QuickFlash from Western Mountaineering is the hoodless jacket sibling to the hooded Flash and Flash XR. With high quality 850 fill power down and a lightweight fabric this jacket is both super-lightweight overall and highly compressible. A superb choice for those looking for light down insulation in the backcountry.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris Simrell

Last Updated:
Friday
November 11, 2016

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New Colors for 2016


While no longer being offered in the red that we tested, the Quickflash can now be found in Black, Clay, and Navy Blue.

Hands-On Review



Warmth


Western Mountaineering Quickflash jacket climbing in chilly Red Rocks  Nevada.
Western Mountaineering Quickflash jacket climbing in chilly Red Rocks, Nevada.
The QuickFlash from Western Mountaineering isn't as warm as the hooded Flash and Flash XR. That being said, the QuickFlash is rather warm for how light it is. Typical of Western Mountaineering the QuickFlash features high quality and high lofting 850 fill power down (71g or about 2.5oz of it), inside a very light shell fabric making the jacket warm for its weight. Keep in mind the lack of a hood does significantly decrease the overall warmth of any jacket. One great feature is a light draft tube behind the zipper.

Weight and Compressibility


Western Mountaineering has built this jacket with a very light (12 denier nylon) shell fabric and high fill power down. That, combined with the lack of a hood, and a no frills design make the QuickFlash a very lightweight and highly compressible jacket overall at an impressive 8oz for the medium.

Features


Featuring is fairly minimal on the QuickFlash. Perhaps the most notable (and our favorite) feature is the pocket design. Although zipperless, the hand pockets have down fill on both sides making them both very warm, and extremely comfortable. This is a small design feature that makes a big difference in overall comfort.

Enduring the cold in lightweight down jackets while climbing in Red Rocks  Nevada.
Enduring the cold in lightweight down jackets while climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada.

The cut on this jacket is a bit on the wide side. Additionally, there is no waist cinch - a combination that may make this jacket a bit drafty up the bottom hem for slimmer folks. Western Mountaineering has included a small draft tube behind the zipper, a small addition that adds some warmth that many manufacturers omit in light down garments.

Durability


Durability is not the QuickFlash's priority. The fabric is an ultralight 12 denier nylon which means that overall, like all very lightweight down jackets, the QuickFlash is susceptible to snags and is designed to be part of a lightweight backcountry kit, rather than a day-in-day-out everyday jacket. That being said, small tears in down jackets are relatively easy to fix with an adhesive patch like Tenacious Tape. For what it's worth our Backpacking Sleeping Bags review author Max Neale thinks that from seeing this fabric used in sleeping bags from Western Mountaineering, he finds it to be one of the best ultralight fabrics around.

Best Application

Western Mountaineering QuickFlash jacket.
Western Mountaineering QuickFlash jacket.
The QuickFlash is an excellent all around light down jacket. Without a hood it is less warm overall than its hooded counterparts from Western Mountaineering and other hooded down jackets. If however you're looking for a very light, highly compressible and warm for its weight down jacket it's hard to go wrong with the QuickFlash. Paired with a hooded fleece like the Patagonia R1 Hoody, the QuickFlash makes for a great summer backpacking jacket, or summer alpine climbing belay jacket. Indeed the QuickFlash would be great around town as well, but keep in mind that Western Mountaineering's use of 12 denier fabric indicates a design preference that leans more towards weight saving than durability. Many jackets in this review however use similarly light, if not lighter fabrics.

Value


This jacket costs about $300 which is similar to many of the jackets we reviewed. If getting the most warmth for your buck is your goal you will be better off getting a jacket with a hood. This is our favorite non-hooded down jacket, and it performs very well as part of a light backcountry kit.
Bouldering in the Buttermilks with the Western Mountaineering Quickflash jacket.
Bouldering in the Buttermilks with the Western Mountaineering Quickflash jacket.
Chris Simrell

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: November 11, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (4.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Feb 10, 2016 - 01:24am
Fenway · Hiker · Salt Lake City, UT
The WM Quickflash performed well when deployed as an insurance policy layer on a multi-week, long distance backpacking trek. Selection was based on positive manufacturing reputation, weight savings, excellent compression, minimal pack space, overall fit and design simplicity.

Essentially the product mission was four fold. First, mid-layer for warmth during nasty weather in a mobile, alpine environment. Second, primary outer layer for daily après hike duties and early morning breaking camp tasks. Third, augment 30° rated sleeping bag on nights below freezing. Fourth, morale booster by creating mental confidence that if needed an effective warmth solution was available.

Have no regrets and pleased with the purchase.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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