A bit of a scoop early taster of two new Mountain Equipment insulated hooded jackets which will be in the shops late this summer - yes, we know, what summer?
One them, the Compressor Jacket uses top-noch PrimaLoft One synthetic fill, while the other, the Arete Hooded Jacket is stuffed with 675 fill power down. Both of them look like providing light, stuffable warmth with extra head insulation.
Compressor Hooded Jacket
Mountain Equipment is hardly a stranger to synthetic insulation, but the new Compressor Jacket - there's also a vest version - is their take on a lightweight all-rounder that should be useable for anything from general walking use up to lightweight belay wear.
It's filled with top-spec PrimaLoft One synthetic insulation with 60g weight in the body and lighter 40g fill in the arms andf has a quilted construction. The outer shell fabric is lightweight and windproof He30 fabric and there's a free-running, plastic-toothed main zip for non-snag ease of use.
It's light rather than ultra light at 370g, but should be warm for the weight. One point is that it has a carefully developed Mountain Hood, which while not as massive as ME's helmet hoods, has been specced to take a helmet if needed, but still work fine with a bare head. We're thinking you could probably also wear it under a hood if needed.
The relatively low weight should make it a no-brainer to chuck in a winter pack - it stuffs into its own pocket for carrying - and synthetic insulation like PrimaLoft works brilliantly in typically damp UK conditions. Apparently retailers like it too, so you can expect to see a fair few of them in the shops come late August.
The jacket will be priced at £140 and the vest version at £90 and there are also women's versions of both vest and jacket. Looks good too.
Arete Hooded Jacket
Also brand new for autumn is the Arete Hooded Jacket, a neat midi-baffled, down-filled insualtion top that looks brilliant. ME's Richard Bailey says that rather than get obsessed with weight savings, they focussed on producing a functional jacket that would be really warm for the weight of 440g.
That means sort of medium rather than micro-baffles to optimise insulation from the 675+ fill power down, a generous length to cover more of the body, a properly constructed and warm hood and a proper high collar to give neck and facial protection.
The hood is a proper HC helmet-compatible one too, making the jacket suitable for technical mountaineering and like the Compressor, it has a plastic-toothed central zip for snag-free, erm, zipping and the outer fabric is again He30 for a balance of wind-proofing and decent breathability.
Once available in late summer / early autumn, the Arete Hooded Jacket will retail for £170. There's also a women's specific version with the same features but a female-friendly cut.
More information at www.mountain-equipment.co.uk.