Mammut Ambler Hooded Jacket
Fill: 800 Fill Goose Down
Price Paid: $299
The Mammut Ambler Hooded Jacket is an excellent cold weather jacket with a ridiculously cheap price tag. Other comparable down jackets can be as much as 2.5 times the price, and yes, they are also made in China!
I've used this jacket in temperatures down to -42c and I couldn't fault it in any way in terms of both performance, and quality of construction. The Ambler has an 800 fill-power (900 being the highest at present and 500-700 being the norm) and a box-wall construction through-out to maintain a consistent depth of insulation around the user.
Materials are well thought out with tough but light (to maximise loft) fabric in areas of potential high abrasion; forearms, shoulders and seat, whilst the remainder of the jacket is furnished in a light ripstop fabric to reduce weight and pack-size whilst again maximising loft.
The inside of the jacket has a soft lining which both increases insulation and protects the jacket from potential snagging and wear. The inner also has two large, cargo sized, stretch mesh pockets for insulating water bottles, batteries and snacks, or carefully thawing out clogged ice-screws. The hood has a volume adjuster and no other drawcords around the face, but the fit is snug and protective, and there is a stiffened peak to improve visibility.
I haven't had the same problems with build quality as other users and I work in the warranty department for a leading outdoor clothing/gear manufacturer. However, I have to agree that the main zipper can be slightly temperamental. All said and done I undoubtedly give the Ambler five stars!
Fabric: Schoeller FTC, ripstop Nylon
Fill: 750+ Down
This jacket pulls me in polar opposites. I give in 5 stars for the fit, design and warmth. The sleeves in an XL are about 40", perfect for a Down jacket.... too many companies leave the sleeves too short on down jackets. The hood is wonderful, it offers full face protection while maintaining good visibility. The sleeves are are a little tight to layer much underneath, but thankfully it's packed with 300+ grams of down, and it's been good to -10F so far. The zipper is a little fickle to get started much of the time.
However, I give it 1 star for the quality of the stitching and the thread itself. Mine started coming apart as soon as I bought it and after the initial wash. The stitching looks like it was done by an amateur in many places, it's crooked and irregular in pattern.
It's made in China, for what it's worth.... but that shouldn't matter..... Quality Control is QC, no matter what country it's made in. Mammut appears woefully lacking here. So far I have 3 places where the stitching has broken.... remember this is a brand new jacket! I simply do not trust this jacket to last without breaking down more.
Mammut customer service gave me a RA for Rainy Pass to repair it. Two weeks for travel back and forth (from the east), three weeks minimum for the work.... so minimum 5 weeks. I didn't buy a brand new jacket to have it sent away for 5 weeks(at my expense) in the middle of winter. Time to call Mammut back because that is not acceptable terms for me.
I give it 5 stars for the design, fit and it's potential to be a top notch jacket... but what good is any apparel if I cannot trust its stitching? It's worthless. Zero stars for this.