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cyborg421

Down Jackets

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I'm not a big fan of down jackets, they're quite pricy, very bulky and really designed for the sort of extreme conditions in which most of us would be indoors reading about astronomy rather than outside. I've used down jackets but I find they only really come into their own when you get down to -20° / -25°. For observing I prefer layering with thinner layers the most important of which is a merino wool base layer. Very light weight so you don't end up waddling around the place like the michelin man.

That depends, the damp cold of the UK can be quite penetrating, it does not need to be any where near to -20 to appreciate a garment such as a down outer layer.Then there is wind chill to factor in. It may also depend on where you go observing from, for example North East England perhaps attracts more of a chill than for example the South West UK. A layer system is still required underneath, I tend to wear at least a long sleeved base and mid layer. As someone has already mentioned, a down outer layer is most effective at conserving / trapping body heat and consequently insulating, when stationary. Even so a flask of something hot is still a welcome addition of course.

I believe that a number of people posting (such as myself) on this have a down jacket,  because they already participate in some other form of outdoor pursuit. If purchasing specifically as an insulation layer for standing around a telescope, then it might be best to consider some of the posted cheaper options perhaps, but good to inform of the choices anyhow.

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Just to add, if I where to consider purchasing one again, though I have had mine for years and they are in great condition so no need, I would look for one with a down hood  :smiley:

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I reckon my down jacket is my best bit of astronomy kit.

Scarp15 is right though - I miss a down hood. I'd also try for a waterproof outer - down loses it's insulation properties when it gets wet. And a good robust zip is a must - my current jacket is slowly failing as the zip goes. It's annoying - the jacket itself is okay, but zip replacement is expensive.

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I have got a RAB down jacket with an insulated hood and it is so well made / such a great fit that there is no heat loss other than from the face. Got to say, I love the feel of the down jacket and do not know how it manages to keep you so warm, without overheating you / getting you all sweaty, which is what my thick fleece jacket does.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Just be aware, these jackets are designed for peak performance in pretty extreme climate. Hence the EXTREME price tag.

Take a look at Karrimore products in Sports Direct. They do an excellent Down Smock i.e. With hood called the KS-750+ Elite. I have used mine Glacier Crossing on the Rocky Mts and its superb. The big plus is it costs only have as much as North Face/Rab etc

Thanks RecceRanger, took your advice and bought one from Sports Direct. Cost me £99. I bought the extra large size even though I'm normally a medium.

Simon

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I tend to go for sythetic fill as i worry about losing thermal performance if it gets wet.

Dont get me wrong, down is a phenominal insulator with low weight and small pack size but when hill walking ive always worried about it wetting out with sweat between my rucksac and my back and synthetic is more tolerant of this.

If its deep in the winter, when snow is more likely than rain and temps are very low then down would have the upper hand, but for the avarage miserable day with rain likely then synthetic is preferable for me.

For astronomy,  under clear skies, down would be very nice though !

cheers

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Is it possible to buy a down onesie from anywhere ? :laugh:

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Thanks RecceRanger, took your advice and bought one from Sports Direct. Cost me £99. I bought the extra large size even though I'm normally a medium.

Simon

It seems no longer available on the Sportsdirect/karrimor websites

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Not sure if they still do then, guess they will, I've got a Mountain Equipment Down filled jacket. Double layer on the body, single on the arms. I can honestly say it's the ONLY top I've never been cold in, rated to -25 celsius, but if you are sitting by a scope it's amazing how much extra you need compared to being active

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The down jacket is of course only the outer shell. Last time I was out, I wore a long sleeved merino wool base layer, a mid layer and fleece jacket underneath my down filled smock. My full attire also included a fleece hat, balaclava, gloves, windstopper soft shell pants, thermal boxer base layer, merino wool ski socks and three season walking boots.

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For standing looking through an eyepiece they are one of the best things around.

Prices vary ALPKIT is probably the best value, slightly bulky but the idea is afterall not to run a marathon in one, but to remain more or less stationary. Like a scope you can never quite get everything.

No use if you get them wet and in honesty everywhere says this. You will likely not be stood looking through a scope if it is raining, anyway (it is I think it one weather complaint I have not read in astronomy) and if rain looks imminent then you put a different coat on - not really difficult. Just read one site that actually says if you re going to be active then use something else (too warm).

I did buy mine for observing, and in effect use it for that purpose more or less solely. Actually wearing it and walking to town or a supermarket and I get too hot.

Couple of reasonable layers underneath and being cold just does not happen.

If you want "a jacket" then down is the best, if you prefer layers then use that method, but 3 "good" layers are likely to match the cost of a down jacket.

For rougher weather I use a shell and fleece liner (zipped in thing), still with 2 layers underneath that. Heavier, not quite as warm but better for slightly rougher conditions.

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