Archive for November 5th, 2010

November 5, 2010

PHD Yukon down pullover – first impressions

by backpackingbongos

I have been wanting to buy a down jacket with a hood for years now.  My ancient Mountain Equipment jacket has done me well since the start of my backpacking days but it is bulky and a boxy fit.  The boxy fit means that there is too much dead air space as it is simply a square with arms!

I am probably every outdoor shops nightmare customer as I will spend an age inspecting all the seams on garments before committing myself to a purchase.  Often these days many items I pick up off the shelf are full of loose thread and dodgy sewing.  Sometimes it feels that as prices of the big names go up, the quality goes down.

That is why when searching for that perfect down jacket replacement I went for PHD.  Last year I purchased a Hispar 500 sleeping bag from them.  The quality of that bag is superb and put together by someone with a black belt in sewing.  I have reservations about the temperature rating that the website gives (how can something that light be that warm?) but I have been pleased with it so far.  So then what jacket out of their range to choose?  I wanted something warm, very warm whilst having a weight that is suitable for backpacking.  I also prefer pullovers as a full length zip for me seems a bit pointless as I would only be wearing it around camp on a hill, not around town.  Pullovers also give kangaroo pockets which I find more efficient for warming hands.

The Yukon pullover appeared to tick all the boxes that I wanted, so my order went in and I settled down to wait the standard 30 days for it to be made for me.  All PHD equipment is made by hand in the UK in a factory in Stalybridge, you order it and then they make it.  No mass production here.

Ordering clothing over the internet can be a bit of a gamble but the website is pretty comprehensive in details of its sizing.  I am 6ft and weigh in at 13 stone, so I chose a large size.  It turned out to a good comfortable fit.

One of the reasons why I chose this jacket is because it is filled with 900 fill power European goose down, pretty much the best that you can buy.  The outer is made from a water-resistant Drishell outer which I feel is essential for down filled products in the UK’s damp climate.  The inner is made out of MX farbic which feels super slinky against the skill.  Hopefully this will remain downproof as it is the same lining that my Hispar is made from.  There occasionally down will work its way through the fabric, usually where a sharper end of the down has pushed its way through.  With the 900 down which is so fine you have to be carefull when trying to remove it as a  few strands can follow the larger piece out.  Fingers crossed all the down will remain in the jacket!

Instead of the usual stitch through construction the Yukon is box wall throughout which should in theory eliminate cold spots.

The hood is simple and does not have any draw cords, just elastic.  This actually works well but would probably be blown off in strong winds.  I would not be walking in this jacket anyway so that would not be an issue.

It makes you look like a bit of a tit but that doesn’t matter as I am not going to go out partying in it!

It weighs in at 446 grammes with the stuffsack being 20 grammes extra on my scales.  This is 26 grammes heavier than advertised but not something I will be loosing sleep over.

So far this jacket has been worn on one backpack, first thing in the morning whilst camping on Bleaklow.  There was a slight frost and the temperature was hovering around freezing.  I was toasty warm and it made standing there with a cuppa very pleasurable.  When the hood is up it makes you pretty much deaf which gives you the opportunity to ignore your companions if you so wish!

A full review in a year or so after being properly abused on the hills, in my tent and if very cold in my sleeping bag.