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MontBell U.L. Down Parka

rated 5 of 5 stars

The U.L. Down Parka has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best down insulated jackets for 2024.

photo: MontBell U.L. Down Parka down insulated jacket

Awesome addition for just about anything outdoors.


  • Warm
  • Light
  • Compact
  • Has a hood


  • Expensive

I bought this parka while in town waiting for a climbing buddy to arrive. I had several friends who raved about theirs, and justifiably so. I could have shopped around and got a better price, but the local merchant (climbing shop owner) was super cool and buying it would mean I could leave my heavier shell in the car for the upcoming climb.

It is super light and compacts down to about the size of a Nalgene 32-oz water bottle with the included stuff sack. It is perfect for throwing in a pack as insurance against the unexpected, be it a cold belay station or a chilly summit.  It works great as an intermediate layer if you buy it on the tight side, like I did.  The fit is fairly straight through the lower torso, so if you are sporting an ample beer gut, this product might not fit right.

The parks does a great job of providing wind resistance, and provides a very warm layer.  If you get too warm, it is easy to regulate it by lowering the zippers some, so it is actually pretty useful in a wide range of temps just as a stand-alone parka.

It really shines as an intermediate insulation layer in cold environments.  The hood has some sort of stiff plastic wire along the brim that keeps it from sagging in my face, and it fits over a climbing helmet. 

If you hike, climb mountains, ski, camp, or climb rock or ice you really need to buy a product of this nature, and I am very happy with the MontBell. It isn't cheap but is worth the money. 

One needs to understand that this product isn't water resistant, nor is it intended to be.  And if it gets really wet it will quickly loose its insulative properties until it dries out. So it needs to be under something to keep it dry if rain is a possibility. I don't consider this a "con" as it really isn't something a product like this should be expected to provide.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $169 US

Light, simple and most of all, warm...and so good I've reviewed it twice!)


  • Yup, light
  • simple
  • warm
  • stashes well and
  • feels like you're wearing nothing.


  • When ordering onlilne, just remember to go a size larger.

The odd thing about the U.L., when I first got it, was the sensation that I wasn't wearing anything and yet, I was protected from the wind and warm—sort of disconcerting, like you feel as though you should put something else on, just to feel like you're wearing something. 

I bought my U.L. a size up and it fits like a good glove, but if I'd bought it, to size, it would have been more like getting into a pair of dish washing gloves. I also bought my girlfriend another Montbell jacket in her size and, yup, we sent it back for a size larger. 

There are no gizmos on Montbell jackets—at least not the U.L. —no cinches, or drawcords and I've never needed them. 

Being that the jacket is of a seemingly delicate nature and filled with down, it will lose efficiency to a degree when wet, but I have used it under a shell, in the middle of snow storms and been just fine. 

Breathability, moisture wicking . . . I've tried wearing the U.L. under a backpack and it just gets too warm when you're active. All to say, I usually have to peel it off before it turns my insides/layers into a sauna. 

The U.L. works best with layers. I've slept many a Sierra night, in a minimalist sleeping bag, up to my waist, while using the U.L. with one or two layers and no complaints. 

While I feel that the U.L. is well made I am also afraid to really thrash it, not that I've ever had the need, but a good bit of abrasion while climbing might be the end of it. Again, this is just a result of it being so light. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $155

For the best investment, include the down pants—the best long-term investment you can make. Throw away your fleece and treat your new down like a best friend!!


  • Lightweight
  • Wind blocking power
  • COST
  • Compactabilty
  • Make it a sleep-system as well



The best bargain you can get in the back country for insulation/weight. Jacket with a hood and a stocking cap,  and the pants can take a summer sleeping bag down to near winter conditions...this can save your life for less than a pound!!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $140

Toasty warm and light weight.


  • durable
  • light weight
  • warm
  • price

My hiking partner first bought one and after a few outings I was convinced to ditch my heavier jacket and could not be happier. It is very durable, but as with any nylon and down I'm very careful around any fire and so far have no spark holes.

Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $140

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Price MSRP: $185.00
Historic Range: $111.97-$185.00
Reviewers Paid: $140.00-$169.00
Weight 9.5 oz (Size M)
Fill Weight 2.5 oz
Center Back Length 27.6 in (Size M)
Fabric 15-denier Ballistic Airlight nylon shell, 100-wash rated POLKATEX DWR treatment
Insulation 800 fill power goose down
Price MSRP: $185.00
Historic Range: $104.97-$185.00
Weight 8.3 oz (Size M)
Fill Weight 2.0 oz
Center Back Length 24.4 in (Size M)
Fabric 15-denier Ballistic Airlight nylon shell, 100-wash rated POLKATEX DWR treatment
Insulation 800 fill power goose down

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