Hands-on Gear Review

Brooks Range Mojave Review

Brooks Range Mojave
By: McKenzie Long and Chris Simrell  ⋅  Feb 14, 2013
Price:  $299 List
Pros:  Very light for its warmth, hydrophobic down technology, box-baffled chest, insulated zipper flap, fleece-lined pockets.
Cons:  Women may dislike unisex fit.
Manufacturer:   Brooks Range
66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 30% 6
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 15% 8
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 7
  • Durability - 5% 5
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Our Verdict

The Brooks Range Mojave is unique in our Parka review in that it is the only product that features hydrophobic down — a new technology. Brooks Range has used a DownTek hydrophobic coating on the 800+ fill power down in the Mojave, meaning that the down insulation is less susceptible to the de-lofting normally caused by water and moisture. The Mojave also features box-baffles in the chest, and a lightweight Pertex Quantum outer fabric. All together the Brooks Range Mojave is a well-rounded, warm for its weight light down parka, complete with cutting edge technology.

While the lab test videos of hydrophobic down coatings are pretty incredible, we are still trying to determine the real-world significance of hydrophobic down. Put simply — How big of a game changer is it? At this point we are still testing and observing, but one thing is clear: hydrophobic coatings do increase the water resistance of your down insulation, but they in no way make your down garment equivalent to a synthetic insulated garment when it comes to retaining warmth in truly wet weather. As more and more manufacturers release products featuring hydrophobic down coatings we will know not only more about hydrophobic down as a feature of down garments, but also the differences between the various hydrophobic technologies. Both Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia are releasing much anticipated products in the their Spring 2013 lines that use hydrophobic down technologies Stay tuned for our findings.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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Performance Comparison


Brooks Range Mohave.  East Fork  Hyalite Canyon  MT.
Brooks Range Mohave. East Fork, Hyalite Canyon, MT.

Warmth


Despite being very light weight, the Brooks Range Mojave is quite warm. There are 9.0 oz. of 800+ fill power DownTek treated down (medium) in the Mojave. 9.0 oz. is a slightly higher fill weight compared to the other lightweight parkas in this review. Additionally, the Mojave is the only lightweight parka we reviewed to have box-baffles. The Mojave is not, however, fully box-baffled, according to Brooks Range, it simply features a "baffled chest construction," and uses more common sewn-through construction methods elsewhere. As the specs show, the Mojave has an amazing fill-weight to total-weight ratio. In other words, it offers an excellent amount of warmth for its weight. It remains, however, a light parka. The cut of the Mojave is short, similar to the other light parkas we reviewed here like the Rab Infinity and the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios but a touch longer. The short cut of these parkas saves a lot of weight, but it also means they tend to be less warm than the longer cut parkas that offer more coverage. The Mojave is no exception here. The hood on the Mojave, like on the Rab Infinity and the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios is also much less protective relative to heavier parkas.

Weight and Compactness


As mentioned above, the big draw here is the warmth-to-weight ratio. At 16 oz. (medium) of total weight, the Mojave is among the lightest down parkas we tested. When compared to the Rab Infinity and the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios, the two other lightest parkas we tested, the Mojave is slightly warmer. Brooks Range has used very light Pertex Quantum fabrics on the Mojave as well, and these contribute to making it a very compact and light down parka. As we mentioned above under warmth, the Mojave saves some weight in the standard ways light parkas do. The Mojave has somewhat of a short cut, and a hood design that leaves your face naked to the elements.
Since the Brooks Range Mohave only comes in a unisex model  it fit is larger and baggier than most women's specific jackets. Our tester normally wears a women's small  and this is size small  which fits more like a women's medium.
Since the Brooks Range Mohave only comes in a unisex model, it fit is larger and baggier than most women's specific jackets. Our tester normally wears a women's small, and this is size small, which fits more like a women's medium.


Weather Resistance


The weather resistance of the Brooks Range Mojave is almost identical to all the other light parkas in this review except for one significant aspect: hydrophobic down. The Mojave was much talked about in 2012 because of its implementation of DownTek, a hydrophobic coating on the down which increases its water repellency and allows it to dry faster if it does get wet. We performed a couple rudimentary tests comparing jackets with treated down and with regular down and found that the treated down clumped less and took slightly longer to lose its loft, but just barely. We don't think that this hydrophobic coating can replace a synthetic insulation layer in wet conditions, but it does allow the jacket to perform better under a wider range of conditions. In other words, the Mojave is perhaps better able to withstand light moisture and slightly wet conditions better than a similar product like the Rab Infinity, but its use of hydrophobic down does not make it preferable to a synthetic insulated parka if you're recreating in a wet climate. The most significant feature of your down parka concerning weather resistance will be the ability of the outer fabric to repel water in the first place. Like the other light parkas in our review that use a Pertex Quantum fabric, the Mojave does a fine job of repelling light precipitation. It may be that the primary advantage of hydrophobic down is its ability to better resist the moisture you create yourself as the wearer.
The Brooks Range Mohave uses Down-Tek treated down  which adds a hydrophobic coating to the down itself.
The Brooks Range Mohave uses Down-Tek treated down, which adds a hydrophobic coating to the down itself.


Features


Beyond the DownTek insulation, the Mojave is a fairly standard light parka in terms of features. There are two fleece-lined and zippered hand pockets, and a single zippered interior chest pocket for small items. At the bottom hem are two waist cinch cords, and the wrist cuffs are Velcro. The hood is very similar to the Feathered Friends Hooded Helios, helmet compatible, but basic with two cinch points in the front, no brim, and a cut that does not cover the face when zipped, covering only the neck instead. The "baffled chest construction" that Brooks Range refers too means that the chest is box-baffled to prevent cold spots and to let the down fully loft. This increases the warmth. The rest of the Mojave is made with sewn-through baffling, including the back. This hybrid style of construction balances warmth with a desirability for lightness and Brooks Range seem to have done a good job here.
Brooks Range Mojave.  Hyalite Canyon  MT.
Brooks Range Mojave. Hyalite Canyon, MT.

Durability


Brooks Range has used a Pertex Quantum outer fabric on the Mojave. Pertex Quantum is also used on the Rab Infinity and the Outdoor Research Incandescent as well as on several of the Men's Down Jackets we reviewed. It is known for its tight weave and relative durability considering its weight. Although these very light fabrics have a relative durability that is less than the heavier fabrics found on jackets like the Mountain Hardwear Chillwave or the North Face Nuptse 2, we don't have any particular durability concerns with Pertex Quantum fabrics so long as you understand that they are intended to be light.

The other durability concern with the Mohave is this: how durable is the hydrophobic down? Down itself is very durable. As this new down technology emerges we will begin to learn more and more about its advantages as well as its durability. Thus far, we aren't able to comment on the long-term durability of the hydrophobic coating. Keep in mind that this is indeed a newer technology and it may be that these hydrophobic coatings don't last the lifetime of the product. These are questions that are as of yet unanswered.

Best Application


The Mojave is designed to pack warmth into a very light frame. It is well suited for backcountry winter activities where weight and packability are a primary concern. Recommended as belay parka for climbing of all kinds, backcountry skiing, winter camping, etc.
Kevin Racking up in the Brooks Range Mojave.  Hyalite Canyon  MT
Kevin Racking up in the Brooks Range Mojave. Hyalite Canyon, MT


Value


This is a well-designed jacket, and as far as price it is among most of the jackets we tested. Given its warmth-to-weight ratio, and the thrill of new technology, it is certainly worth highly considering if you're in the market for a lighter weight parka. Keep in mind, however, that if warmth is your main concern, your money would be better spent on a parka like the Feathered Friends Volant, or the Rab Neutrino Endurance which has a longer cut, more weather resistance fabric, and offers much better protection to the face.

The Brooks Range Mojave is a unisex jacket. Keep this in mind when choosing a size. The medium fits our author, who is 5'11, male, and of normal build.

McKenzie Long and Chris Simrell

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