User Review: Eddie Bauer Men's First Ascent Peak XV Down Jacket
Fabric: Ripstop Nyon
Fill: 850 Fill Down
Price Paid: $265
This is the parka in First Ascent's new line of outerwear. I use this type of jacket for warm protection in really cold weather during rest breaks, in camp, and also (yes) to sleep in.
The jacket is a well constructed 850 fill down jacket that features an attached hood and a heavier ripstop nylon outer shell. It's a pretty straightforward simple design -- there's no turtle collar, just a straight up hood that can fit over a helmet. The hood has a back pull adjustment and two drawcord side pulls for the front - - pretty standard - - and they are easy to get to with heavy gloves on.
There's adjustable elastic around the wrists. There are three pockets on the outside - - two sides and one chest - - and one smaller pocket on the inside.
The jacket is extremely warm. I wore it in high camp at night and in the morning and found I could regulate temperature pretty well by zipping or unzipping the jacket. The warm weight was great help for comfort breaks at night when I didn't want to layer up for a quick trip out !!
I also find it a very useful piece for winter camping. I generally try to avoid carrying a zero degree or subzero degree rated sleeping bag - - just too heavy. I usually bring a 20 degree bag and make up the difference with clothing to keep the weight down. I've done a couple of trips bringing this jacket and my 20 degree bag - together they weight less than a 0 degree sleeping bag and the parka and the bag have kept me warm down to minus 5 degrees on a very cold night this past month in the White Mountains.
The major feature of this jacket is the value. It's 850 fill down and baffled construction (very important with this type of parka) with quality materials - - for $265. I shopped around and compared this to similar parkas from Marmot (more expensive) and Mountain Hardwear (less fill rating) and think it's the best value on the market if you are looking for a warm parka.
One minor thing that keeps it from being a 5 rating is the relative bulk it has when stored in the stuff sack - - it stuffs into a pancake shaped stuff sack that 's about 12 inches by 7 inches - - a little large for a jacket but pretty standard for this class of parka.
The other minor thing is the lack of a larger inside pocket for accommodating a water bottle or gloves. If I was climbing in the Himalaya I'd worry more about this.
Overall, this jacket is a great value and I'd highly recommend it.