I need socks, I value a good pair of pants, but I LOVE a good puffy. Its the thing I treat like an egg, wear as frequently as possible, and its perhaps the only piece of clothing I don't skimp on. Cold winter days or chilly spring/fall nights, I want to experience warmth, comfort, and a full range of motion. After playing around with the Altocumulus Down Jacket by Himali, here are my thoughts!
While I was provided a sample for this review, my opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.
General Impressions of the Altocumulus Down Jacket:
The Altocumulus Down Jacket by Himali was designed to be light, warm, and uncomplicated. Its minimalistic design features 800 fill down, and a men's small weighs just 11oz. It packs down small (it self stuffs into a pocket), is more of an athletic fit, and features 2 outside and 1 inside pockets. While Himali does make a hoodless version, the Altocumulus Down Jacket reviewed in this post does come with a hood.
Pros of the Altocumulus Down Jacket:
While my experience with the Altocumulus Down Jacket by Himali has been limited to a overnight trip, snowshoeing, general winter shenanigans (snowball fights, body sledding, fort making...), and around town winter use (in temps ranging from -2 through 51), the wonderful simplicity of the jacket is what makes it quality. Let me be perfectly clear about this prior to having you read further... this jacket is wonderful. Wonderful to the point where I feel tangibly happier when wearing it. That being said, i'll be focusing my pros on the jacket's versatility, fit, and weight.
1. Versatility: When living in Minnesota in February the weather can fluctuate from 0 to 40 in a matter of days. These turbulent changes in weather can be a shock to the system, but the Altocumulus Down Jacket handled it all with grace! While I found the jacket most comfortable in the teens, 20's, and 30's, it was great in the 40's (with just a t-shirt) and doable at 0 (with some added laying pieces). I found it great for everything from shoveling a foot of snow to snowshoeing across frozen lakes to standing and waiting for the bus. Active or standing still, its keeps you warm. In terms of really quality winter jackets, its top notch.
While i've only had the opportunity to test it out for winter use, its weight/packability (which will be discussed later), make me excited to try it for spring and fall backpacking/canoeing trips as well. There is nothing better than snuggling up in a warm puffy on a colder night, and if i'm not wearing it to sleep, it would also make an INCREDIBLE pillow.
2. Fit: I love roasting marshmallows (guilty as charged), but while wearing a puffy, I don't want to look or feel like a marshmallow. I want my movements to be graceful(ish) and unencumbered, and I don't want to slog along the weight of needless fabric or material. The Altocumulus Down Jacket is minimalist, and in its effort to create a appropriately designed product, Himali created a jacket with an active fit that enables the wearer a wide range of motion. No tightness in the arms or chest, and no needless features whose utility you'll question. The sleeves are the right length, the jacket falls right below my waist, and it comes with an adjustable waist and hood synch.
If you are a hood person, you'll love this hood. No scuba diver look, just a comfortable and very warm head hug.
3. Weight/Packability - For being able to handle such cold weather, the Altocumulus Down Jacket compresses small. Real small. Able to be crammed in any nook or cranny, it's light enough to justify inclusion on any trip you think will get chilly. Its also just 11oz. Thats a lot of safety and comfort for not a lot of weight.
Cons of the Altocumulus Down Jacket:
While I love puffies, my love is not indiscriminate. In fact, i think my general attachment to puffies makes me hyper critical. Fortunately for this particular puffy, I don't have many negative things to say!
Pocket Stuff Sack: The jacket comes with an attached stuff sack in the left front pocket. While it's just attached by a piece of elastic webbing (and could easily be cut) It's slightly annoying when you have other things in your pocket (or you occasionally think you do because there is a stuff sack there). Maybe this is just a personal preference, but if i'm carrying my puffy in my pack, its just getting crammed in any nook or cranny I can find. No stuff sack needed!
A couple feathers: Since getting the jacket i've seen a couple spare feathers fly. Not a ton, but a couple more than expected. I haven't used it enough to determine if this is an actual issue or not, but I'll keep you posted in the comment section if it becomes more than just occasional.
Sure the jacket isn't cheap, but thats because its a really nice jacket. It feels like the price, performs like the price, and you will adamantly resist taking it off from October - May. Questions about it? Comment below or email me directly at: [email protected]