Carinthia G-Loft Alpine Jacket
940 g (medium)
Rugged synthetic down jacket, with pit zips, reinforced shoulders and forearms. The Hilleberg of down jackets?
- Water proof
- Wind proof
- Pit zips
- Waterproof zips
- Internal and external pockets
- Wrist warmer "gloves" built into sleeves
- Highly adjustable hood
- The large model could be a tiny bit longer — nitpicking
I have been looking for a tough synthetic down jacket that I wouldn't be afraid to use while climbing rocks or when loaded with a heavy pack. I have been looking for such a jacket for over a decade. Most down jackets are OK around camp but are not tough enough for much else. Also very few down jackets have pit zips so you can't actually use them while hiking or snowshoeing.
In a local (Australian) hiking magazine I saw an ad for just what I was looking for. Designed in Austria and sewn in Slovakia (Europe), the quality of the stitching on this jacket is as near perfect as you are ever likely to see.
The hood is insulated and highly adjustable (at 3 points). It has a soft neck liner and turns nicely with your head. The shoulders and forearms have tough Keprotec anti-abrasion panels sewn over the outer Gore-Windstopper, wind proof and water resistant shell. The front is protected with waterproof zips with storm flaps behind and garages above. There is a chin protector too.
The under arms have large pit zips for moisture control when working hard. There are two large fleece lined outer pockets and one small outer sleeve pocket, for lift passes or small items like torches. All outer pockets have waterproof zips and zip garages. Two medium sized inner pockets for iPhones and such.
There is even a small compression bag that is supplied. At first I couldn't believe this coat would actually compress that far — but it does! The hem has a drawcord adjustment at two points. Finally, the cuffs include two wrist warmer mini gloves to ensure heat does not escape between your gloves and the jacket.
As noted above, I could use a couple of centimetres of extra length in the body, but that is really nitpicking.
3/20/16 Update: Back from my first below zero Celsius, camping trip. This coat is warm! Pretty much everything I said above was in fact true. I am 6ft 2inches with a very long back. The coat could be a little longer for when you bend over to fold tents and bags etc.
My second morning was great for hypothermia. Just about freezing or a little below in a water fog that made everything damp. Later the fog became so heavy you could call it light rain. Siting around camp cooking breakfast I was warm and dry in just my zip T-shirt and this coat.
These conditions persisted for about 3 hours till I returned to the car and I was still completely dry and warm - almost too warm when moving slowly downhill in the cold rain. The pit zips came in very handy. After this performance I changed the "Pros" above from "water resistant" to "water proof".
The pockets inside and out (3 out 2 in) are large and functional while carrying a pack. This jacket is in a class of its own for being a down jacket that resists abrasion - 10/10 for toughness. All my other down jackets have to be "babied" or they will be torn on rock or broken tree branches etc. The hood and neck were very comfortable. All in all a superb down mountain jacket for real world use.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $400 (AUD)