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Large or X Large Down Parka?

After an overly exhaustive couple of months trying down jackets and parkas I’ve decided on the Mountain Equipment K7. At least I think so. As with many British companies, M.E. jackets can run small. Another model in large (my usual size) was incredibly small. So I bought a K7 x large. Feels good, not loose or huge, and more than adequate room for layering. Shoulders and sleeves are good. But I was curious and ordered a large for comparison. Certainly more form-fitting, mildly snug but not tight. I could definitely live with it, but just as definitely wouldn’t be able to add a lot underneath without it being tight and compressing the down a bit.  I don’t go ice climbing or winter camping. But I do get cold during winter in New England.  Exactly how should a down jacket/parka/whatever fit? I’d be grateful for advice. As a side note of interest, the M.E. Expedition parka is a heat machine. I cannot imagine many scenarios where it wouldn’t keep a person really warm and comfortable. Just shy of one pound of high goose down, compared to the K7’s 10.5 ounces.  Thank you. 

At lunch stops I often put my down parka over my shell jacket, rather that take the shell off, put that parka on, and put the shell back on, only to reverse the process when it's time to go. For that I want a looser fit. The parka is compressible enough that I can also wear it under the shell if I need to.

For a down jacket, I'd definitely go with the looser of the two fits myself. A snug fit is good for garments that I use for high activity -- I don't want them flapping around when I'm trying to bushwhack or scramble up boulders -- but a down parka is too warm for high activity; it's for lounging. And layering. I want it to fit over a base layer as well as a light fleece. Assuming the jacket cinches at collar (or hood) and hem, a little extra room wont' be any less warm either, even when worn over nothing but a t-shirt.

Thank you so much!

Useful for winter mountainering and high latitudes.  I had a down parka and sold it because it was too hot.  

I had a down parka when I lived in Wyoming and it was -38 below in my yard. 

I am definitely not going to overheat in this coat. I have a lighter Montbell down jacket that’s good for being active. 

as others already observed, it depends on how you plan to use it.  if this is something you throw on over a shirt when you head out, you don't need much extra room. if you're planning to wear some other layer underneath it - a thin sweater, bulky sweater, polartec vest, whatever - you don't want it to be so tight that the down is getting compressed from the inside, not lofting as much as intended, and not keeping you as warm.  

also, you definitely want some interior space if you're using it like a belay jacket, pulling it on over a shell or some combination of layers during a stop on a long, cold hike or climb.  

perhaps even more important, if anyone is climbing and wearing a helmet, make sure the hood fits - it should cover the helmet, zip closed enough to keep you warm, but also give you decent forward and lateral vision.  and be stuffed with enough down to keep you warm for the conditions you expect.  hoods that don't work as intended are incredibly annoying.  

I bought an Eddie Bauer PEAK XV expedition parka this February on a 50% off sale. I got a Large B/C I own EB garments (1st Ascent down vest and down jacket) in Large and they fit well. I'm 5' 10" and 190 lbs. at my current inflated size. (Thyroid medicine adjustment now ongoing.)

The PEAK XV parka fit well over my polyester base layer and heavy Norwegian wool sweater but without leaving any big gaps between me and the parka.  EB says it is good to -30 F. but having experienced -40 F. I know it will comfortably take me to that temperature. 


The PEAK XV parka has an over-the-helmet sized hood which I like B/C I will use it for alpine skiing on bitter, windy days. I'm adding a removable (via Velcro) coyote fur ruff. The one I bought is beautiful and well worth $45. It even came with cloth backing. But I definitely will remove it when skiing.

Eric B.

Large or X Large Down Parka?

I say both, or more.  In this era of not only so much cheap disposable gear, along with the fact that one can on sale gear, previously purchased but still new/never used gear, lightly used gear and or vintage gear.............there is no reason that a person cannot own 3/4/5 different quality down jackets/coats/parkas for the price of a single high-end purchase from one of the "high-end gear manufactures" for the different uses depending on circumstances.   Also, I always buy my down mountaineering gear at the end of winter and into the spring/summer season.  I was just looking at and they have lots of nice gear on their site at the moment.

As for me, I'm 5'8/180lbs and always buy my heavy duty parkas with hoods in L/XL to cover layers.  I buy my vests and thinner down coats/jackets/sweaters more tight fitting.

There is no reason that you cannot have different down outer and inner garments for any all needs and still not have it cost you anymore than buying a single, new, over price high-end garment.

Or, as I did, buy high end gear on sale. I got my Eddie Bauer PEAK XV expedition parka in a 50% off sale. My GTX PacLite rain parka and pants and eVent rain parka and pants were all on 30% to 40% sales. 

Eric B.

Eddie Bauer's expedition weight jacket is my warm layer for hiking in the northeast - i agree, a great value and a great hood.  the only quibble is that it's fairly heavy due to the outer shell, but i really like the durability and the price point. (a comparable feathered friends jacket would cost double what this costs on sale, the feathered friends jacket never goes on sale.  on the flipside, the feathered friends jacket weighs about 10 oz. less).  

Andrew, I said the same thing in my Trailspace review of the EB PEAK XV parka. The Cordura brand shell is heavier than most but extremely tough. 

Eric B.

About 1.5 years ago I bought a Patagonia Fitzroy down parka from REI at a pretty steep discount thanks to gift cards but had to return it because it was just a little too tight. Not too long afterward I found a NWOT Marmot Greenland baffled down jacket on eBay for $260, which is about $200 less than MSRP. Needless to say I jumped on it! I never measured it, but it looks like it has at least a good 3” of loft. The exterior shell isn’t nearly as tough as your EB parka sounds, though. I’ve only worn it a few times, but those times were temps around -20F and wind chills around -50F. Hey, you gotta set off New Year’s Eve fireworks on a frozen lake regardless of the temp! We did it with lifeboat matches since no lighters would work at that temp. 

The colors I got.


As low as $180 at 

October 28, 2020
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