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MontBell EX Light Down Jacket

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: MontBell EX Light Down Jacket down insulated jacket

Great for summer backpacking in Sierras, Rockies, Cascades. Works well as lightweight warmth on backcountry ski days.


  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Great for summer and shoulder seasons in mountains
  • Snug fit, great as warmth layer


  • No pockets
  • Be careful not to lose stuff bag


I have primarily used the jacket on backpacking trips — on chilly nights in the summer above 10,000 ft. and most every night in late September to October above 10,000 ft. So lightweight and compactable, hardly know it is in the pack. Far better than carrying a heavier down jacket, vest, heavy polypro. Oh, and it was plenty warm too.

I have spent many a night at 15 - 20 degrees in September and October and this jacket kept me warm. Keep in mind I also had a few light layers and raincoat and hat and gloves on for the coldest mornings, but this was my main insulation layer and it performed as desired. I also carry a medium weight polypro (also in pic) on summer mountain backpacks - the polypro is heavier and bulkier but I bring the polypro for versatility and another layer.

As a down jacket, you must be careful not to get it wet, but with proper rain gear that is not an issue. Much better than carrying an insulating heavy-weight bulky polypro for main insulation. 

Have also used this jacket as main insulation layer when backcountry and alpine skiing. On extra cold days at the resort, 0 - 10 degrees, I use it as one of my layers under the shell. Slightly chilly at first but when I get moving the temp is just right. In the backcountry, have used it layered under outer shell but typically take it off after a while because I get too warm, but then it is good to have when taking a break.

Summary: I don't go backpacking without it. And it is an alternative when needed in the winter.

Downside: No pockets, which eliminates carrying small items and also no place to put the stuff bag. The advantage is lighter weight for backpacking, but a simple pocket would be nice.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $155

This jacket is great! The 7 denier shell is very soft yet actually appears to be strong. The jacket is very warm too. I just wore it by itself this morning with temps in the upper twenties and was warm. The material seems to have a rip-stop pattern to it which is something you can't tell in the pictures. The stitching is flawless and I have not seen any down leaking out.

Fabric: 7 deneir ballistic airlight nylon
Fill: 900
Price Paid: $128

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Product Details from MontBell »