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.

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30 Comments to “PHD Yukon down pullover – first impressions”

  1. I rather fancy the Ultra but I must stop spending…

  2. James, I sure you will find this a great jacket. I have the Minimus – and I love it. Nothing more to be said !
    Mark

  3. You know, with all of us set for winter, we should meet up and test this stuff out…

  4. For winter it looks superb. In fact it would still be nice in May on a TGO Challenge.

  5. Maz, you have other things to be spending your money on now! A bloggers winter meet would be good, I am often free at weekends so just give me a shout!

    Mark, the minimus gets good reviews too. Can’t wait for a really gold snap to test it out.

    Martin, indeed, any news on the TGO challenge your end yet?

  6. Nice review and looks good too, but how much did it cost?

    Cheers, Paul

  7. thx for the review. still looking for a down hoody and phd has a good quality.which size do you have.

  8. Looks just the job for a good snuggle, James. Good work with the Will Oldham-esque beard. Obviously I don’t mean that you look like Will Oldham. Just the beard…

  9. Nothing on the Challenge yet James. Been soon I expect as the letters where posted out last week.

  10. Paul, it was not cheap, in fact it was a bit outrageous in the cost department. £235 outrageous to be precise.

    Ben?, it was the large size that I got.

    Pete, I am pleased that you have made the distiction between looking like Will Oldham and having a simular beard. He is one of my musical heroes but to be honest I have never envied his ‘good’ looks!

    Martin, the waiting is getting to me now!

  11. Hey Paul. I once camped below Varful Cindrel near Sibiu in -20 degrees. Wasn’t so bad as there was no wind. It’s a different order of cold to Scotland though. Like the explanation for the perishing winter temperatures on your site. Your Yukon thingmy would make a useful supplement to your sleeping bag in those temperatures, James.

    • Yes, it does make a big difference having no wind but at those temps my fingers stick to my gate handle if I’m not wearing my gloves! 🙂 If your not wearing decent clothing the cold penetrates down to the bone. I like to be out a lot during the winter and unfortunately nothing I have keeps me adequately warm for extended periods outside.

    • I could do some proper snuggling then Pete!

  12. Paul, PHD is all mail order. You can even get stuff made to order. I have to say that my down jacket is well made, not sure I would want to use it for working outside though, not sure if it would enjoy being abused (it is a lightweight garment). They also do down jackets with shells. Look at this beast

    http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/product_info.php?cat=110&products_id=55

    I cannot even imagine temperatures that you describe on your website.

  13. I have had a chance to have hands on the PHD Omega Down Jacket and Minimus vest. Killer quality but on a steep price (though hand made in UK, so it is quite understandable). The Omega Jacket is a monster made for people working in the South Pole station or something similar. Really good details and technical bits and massively warm. But needles for most I quess. The Arctic Down Jacket might be a good idea if the jacket has to take some abuse.

  14. Looks like a nice bit of kit, apart from making you look like a conehead. 😉 But if anyone laughs at you, you can have the last laugh when they’re hypothermic and you’re toasty and warm.

    Excellent work on the beard BTW, you can’t be a proper outdoorsman without a beard. 😉

  15. James and Fraser, my wife and I both have PHD Down jackets and we look like cone heads in them as well. So obviously it is the PHD style. Being simple country folk, our solution to this (and to stop the hood from blowing off in the wind) is to tie the hood down with some baler twine 🙂
    Mark

  16. Hi Lightening up, sometimes it is worth paying a little extra to get top notch quality. That Arctic down jacket looks just the job.

    I think that the hood makes me look rather ‘special’ Fraser, anyway I doubt that I will be going out in town in it anyway. The beard ended up getting too beardy and had to go. Its come back again now so feeling like a rufty tufty outdoorsman again!

    Good idea Mark, you use the orange stuff? Good for keeping the trousers up as well 🙂

  17. Ah yes, growing your winter coat, eh? 😉

    Have you heard Will Oldham’s Superwolf album with Matt Sweeney? If not, get it, one of my favourites…

    • It’s a brilliant album, have to admit to owning them all. Went to a gig of his a few months back in a church in Coventry, simply blew me away. Stunning.

  18. I was lucky enough to go to the gig at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh when Is It the Sea? was recorded by the BBC. We were on the balcony and spent most the show marvelling at Alex Neilson’s drumming, which was all the more impressive when you have a bird’s eye view…

  19. Good album that one too Fraser, lucky to see it being recorded.

  20. James, I’m 6ft, 39-40″ chest, 34″ waist, 12.25 stone. PHD have just recommended a large but as I think I’m slightly slimmer than you (or am I?) and the large looks a touch bigger on you than I’d want (or is it simply the loft of the jacket) should I be thinking medium? I want to use this inside my Summerlite so don’t want a baggy fit…

    • Hi Maz, I am about a 38″ chest and wear 34″ inch trousers (don’t want to depress myself by measuring my waist!). I think that the extra bit of weight of mine is sitting on my belly! I feel that the pullover fits pretty well but I have only worn it over a thin baselayer so far. I personally would not want a medium as I think it would be too tight under the arms and the arms themselves may not be long enough. I could get away with the pullover being a little bit smaller but perhaps not a jump down to medium if you get what I mean. Being a pullover it would be a real struggle to get into a smaller size anyway!

  21. hello lovely people, I am hovering over the order button for a Yukon jacket, I wear small and any jacket I buy is small which normally fits well, but when I tried on the Yukon in small the front seems a bit short as in if i lift up slightly the belt area seems a bit spacious, the rest of the jacket is fine, so my question is should I go for a medium or is it possible to get a small with medium length, if I just go for a medium would the shoulder just fall off?

    Thx a million , T

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