The Mountain Equipment Lightline down jacket is one of the best down jackets for women that I have ever tested. Obviously not the most important factor but a contributing factor is the way it looks! Although the outdoor market is getting better in regards to women’s wear, it still has a long way to go and a lot to learn, however, I believe the Lightline is spot on in terms of fit and cut and colour. It’s beautifully cut so that it flatters a female figure as opposed to ignoring the female figure, which is often the case with down jackets for women, and is slim fitting whilst not cutting down on warmth! It comes in a light blue, which is a nice change from the prolific number of pink and purple jackets out. And onto the important stuff – how does it rate? I took the jacket to the Himalayas, where I was crewing for an ultra marathon. The highest we went was up to 5,500m, so well above the snowline, this Lightline was incredibly warm, far warmer than I expected for its weight. The real test came at night when the temperature plummeted even further down to about -8, and yet I was still snug as a bug. The race lasted for 60 hours and my jacket easily doubled as a pillow and sleeping bag when we got our 15minutes naps. The jacket is a bit longer than it’s competitors so covers the bum but with a two way zip it doesn’t get in the way when belaying. The pockets were a lifesaver! They are much bigger than you expect and you can fit a lot into them, as I found out at the airport when I need to reduce the weight of my hand luggage quickly. It comfortably squeezed into the bottom of my 20 litre daypack, leaving me with lots of room for other essentials. The hood moves easily with your head when it’s up and fitted and you can remove it when it’s not needed which means you can cut your weight down even further if this is important to you.
Another factor, which is very important to me is the use of ethically sourced down. If you google the Mountain Equipment Down Codex, you will find out all about the Mountain Equipment pledge in terms to animal welfare. They take it one step further by investigating their down suppliers to ensure their suppliers adhere to their strict commandments, and as from the beginning of 2012, every down sleeping bag product comes with a 12 digit code, which makes it possible for the customer to find out where their down originated from. They hope to be spreading this out to their range of clothing pretty soon.
So in a nutshell, great looking, ethically sound, one of the best warmth to weight ratios i’ve found, all-round awesome winter and below freezing down jackets on the market for women. So good I didn’t want to let it go!