Dark Peak Women’s NESSH Down Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Down and Insulated Jackets

Dark Peak Women’s NESSH Down Jacket | Review

A high-spec, lightweight and warm down jacket at an affordable price. Maybe it's time to take a look at this emerging outdoor brand?

Words: Holly Burns

I’m going to be honest; I’d never heard of Dark Peak before trying out the NESSH (‘Nesh’ is a word Yorkshire folk use to describe someone who feels the cold more than others) Down Jacket, so I was going out into the hills with a clean slate and open mind.

You see a lot of outdoor clothing brands emerging in the market these days via crowdfunding platforms and for a while it seemed like every man and his dog were making base layers, t-shirts and accessories, all of a similar standard. However, while Dark Peak have similar Kickstarter origins, I wouldn’t tar them with the same brush.

“As a business, they have a responsibility to improve society and give back”

Founded in Sheffield, Dark Peak specialise in insulation, producing men’s and women’s synthetic and down jackets.

I really respect the brand’s mission, firstly setting out to design the best outerwear they can (obviously), but also realising that as a business, they have a responsibility to improve society and give back. They promise that for every item of clothing sold, they’ll donate another (more suitable) jacket to a person who is homeless – One Sold One Given.

Back to the jacket then. I took it out for a spin on several splitboard trips around the Alps and Scotland this winter and have been left pretty impressed. I wore the NESSH in a UK medium because I prefer a slightly baggy fit (small / 10 is my regular size), giving me the option to wear it on top of a few layers when it’s really cold out.

The jacket is slightly longer in the back than the front which I really like as it stops the weather getting up underneath your jacket especially if you’re sat down. Sometimes jackets can start to ride up, however I never experienced this issue. 

I wore the jacket as a midlayer under the Patagonia Snowdrifter shell jacket. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

The jacket is stuffed full of 90g/m2 850 fill power and responsibly-sourced goose down and weighs only 322g, giving it a fantastic warmth to weight ratio – particularly impressive given the fairly reasonable price tag (£175).

It packs away into its own hand warmer pocket, so you can stash it neatly in the bottom of a rucksack and whip it out as your warm layer, say, when you stop for lunch. I loved the hood as the elasticated drawcord (cinched at the back) allows the design to hug your head – great for keeping the heat in on windy mountain tops – I was very thankful for this on a few occasions! When necessary, it accommodated a pair of goggles well. I used this combo quite a few times during a few stormy splitboard trips, but it would be equally useful for winter walking or climbing.

Wrist gaiters help keep the chill out. Photo: Jordan Tiernan

In addition there are two internal stash pockets at waist level and an internal chest pocket that’ll fit your phone, money and/or snacks. I liked the added extra of having wrist gaiters / thumb loops on the cuffs as my hands get quite cold very quickly. It’s a nice added bit of comfort inside a pair of gloves.

Related: Best Down Jackets 2020

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the NESSH jack from Dark Peak. That extremely lofty 850 fill power insulation keeps the weight down but warmth high and it’s packed full of features that make your life in the mountains that bit more comfortable. Finally, another comforting feature is the knowledge that you’re also giving back to someone in need when purchasing a Dark Peak jacket. Winner.

Price: £175
Weight: 322g
Info: darkpeakgear.com

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