The Montbell Superior Down Parka is a serious contender in the hypothetical contest of backpacking puffy rankings. With features like 800 fill power, a hood, hem adjustment with pockets, and a total weight of 7.7 ounces (women’s), this is a versatile three-season down jacket well-suited for many outdoor adventures.
This puffy jacket is a great mid-layer for backpackers who want to reduce weight and bulk without sacrificing warmth on high-altitude excursions in the off-season (or summer). It’s a great addition to the set for anyone who likes to curl up around dinner after a long day in the woods or after a hard-fought feast.
Montbell Superior Down Parka at a glance
- MSRP: $209
- Weight: 7.7 ounces.
- Fill weight: 1.9 oz.
- Insulation: 800 Fill Power EX Down
- Material: 10-denier ballistic airlight nylon (water-repellent finish)
- Compressed size: 4.3 × 7.9 inches.
circumstances of the review
I’ve tested the Superior throughout most of the Colorado portion of the Continental Divide Trail (and intend to take it as far as Canada). More specifically, I picked up this pouf in Pagosa Springs at the end of May. If you’re familiar with the CDT, you know that this is a bit early for hiking through southern Colorado and the San Juan mountains, so this jacket has some cold evenings (and days) above tree line in the early season experienced – including lots of wind, snow and rain.
Down vs. Synthetic Fill
The Montbell Superior Down Parka is filled with down instead of synthetic materials. That means it’s warmer with less weight, compresses easily, and lasts longer with proper care.
The alternative to down is synthetic fill, which is typically cheaper, better insulating when wet, and hypoallergenic (an obvious concern for those allergic to down).
Personally, I prefer down fill over synthetics (to keep it light) and always make sure to keep my poufs dry. Those who are vegan, have a down allergy, or are exposed to very wet conditions can opt for a synthetic fill.
CONTINUE READING –
Fill power refers to the quality of down and is measured by the amount of space an ounce of down takes up. The higher the fill power, the lighter and fluffier your puffy will be. Beginner and budget puffies often feature 650 fill power down. High quality mid layers can use 800, 900 or even 1000 down instead.
Key features of the Montbell Superior down parka
While not a feature you would traditionally emphasize, I find the stuff sack for the Montbell Superior Down Parka to be the perfect dual purpose product. It gives the swollen enough room to crush and becomes the perfect cradle for your weary head and neck after long days of tossing and taking in all the great views.
pocket hem adjuster
The pockets of the Montbell Superior Down Parka have drawstrings that allow you to adjust the waist for maximum warmth. I found this feature particularly helpful as I opted for a larger size in case of layering. If I’m just wearing my thin hiking shirt underneath, I can adjust the hem to keep heat in.
2-way adjustable hood
The hood of the Montbell Superior Down Parka featured the classic “around the face” adjustment cords, as well as a tab that allows you to adjust the depth and height of the hood. Pull it further back for maximum visibility when hiking and further down for maximum comfort when relaxing.
Montbell created chambers to keep the down in place by stitching the outer shell and lining materials together. This means that the Montbell Superior Down Parka’s design is optimized for both warmth and weight.
With an 800 fill power, the Superior Down Parka is described as a “warm sweater weight.” This is the ideal weight-to-warmth ratio for three-season backpacking. Typically this means you can withstand temperatures of up to 20 degrees (usually overnight).
At 7.7 ounces, the Montbell Superior Down Parka is one of the lightest down jackets on the backpacking market.
For those of us looking for a seriously packable puffy, the Superior Down Parka has you covered. The listed compressed size is 4.3×7.9 inches, but I’ve found that once packed with other gear, it can actually be compressed even smaller. It flattens out well and can fill awkward holes in your backpack.
A puffy isn’t just a puffy for lightweight backpackers. If you’re like me, it’s often a pillow too. The Montbell Superior Down Parka gets bonus points for its usefulness as a backpacking pillow when you’re tired of using a lumpy pile of your sweaty hiking gear. The stuff sack is the perfect size for a small pillow and allows the puffy ones to breathe just enough to stay fluffy.
Montbell Superior down parka professionals
- Packable – This puffy packs up nicely in its stuff sack, or can be taken out and slipped between the odd gaps in the rest of your gear to make the most of space.
- Easy – At 7.7 ounces, this jacket is definitely competitively lightweight.
- Affordable (relative) – Compared to similar products in this category, the Montbell Superior Down Parka is one of the most affordable options on the market.
- Versatile – This puffy sweater is great for layering in the off-season and on its own in the summer.
Montbell Superior Down Parka Cons
- Limited variety of colors – The jacket is currently only available in three colors (yellow, black and blue).
- Montbell does not follow RDS (responsible down standard) but their website states that they do not source down from companies that use live plucking methods.
Considering warmth, weight, size and price, the Montbell Superior Down Parka is a great choice for three-season travel. It is much cheaper than other comparable down jackets, withstands high stress on a hike and is comfortable to wear.
Shop the Montbell Superior Down Parka
Comparable puffy jackets
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
- $350 MSRP
- 800 fill down
- 7.8 oz.
Enlightened Gear Hot
- $180 MSRP
- Synthetic filling
- 8.4 oz.
Patagonia down sweater hoody
- $279 MSRP
- 800 fill down
- 13.1 oz.
The Montbell Superior down parka was donated for testing purposes.
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