Updated on September 4, 2017
LLBean 850 Ultralight Down Jacket Review
Down is the warmest, most lightweight insulation material on the market today. In the last couple decades, outdoor clothing manufacturer’s have gone ahead and taken advantage of this, and continued to make winter clothing and gear using increasingly better quality and higher fill down. The most recent extra lightweight, super high quality down jacket on the market that tops the list as far as warmth versus weight, quality and features is the LLBean Women’s Ultralight 850 Down Jacket.
Design and Materials
The most notable technology used in this jacket which makes it award winning and top of the line is its DownTek 850-fill goose down. Although LLBean could have packed a little more down in the jacket for warmth, the type of down that they used is water repellent. This water repellent down is cutting edge technology only recently becoming integrated into outerwear.
Prior to Downtek, although down is the warmest insulation available, the main drawback of it was that if it gets wet, it looses its insulation capabilities and takes a while to dry out. That is why in the last decade or so we have seen increasing sales of alternative insulations like Primaloft which do not sacrifice warmth when they get wet. However, with this new DownTek down, you get the best quality insulation material on the market without being concerned about exposing it to the elements.
The fabric on this superlight jacket is made with a water and tear resistant nylon shell that is slightly denser than your standard Marmot Jena or Ama Dablam jackets making it a little more durable without any noticeable added weight. This is a great feature considering that the jacket is intended to be used in rugged mountain trekking and hiking.
The stiching on the jacket however could be a little more robust. After about 4 months of use, I noticed in at least two places (the shoulders where pack straps rub and at one of the wrists) the threads in the jacket stiching falling out. This could be easily remedied however if LLBean just uses a more durable method of stiching the jacket.
The jacket has half elastic cuffs, and a soft fleece-like lined collar that is nice and soft against your chin when it is all zipped up.
The jacket comes with dual cinch cords around the waist, two zippered soft lined outer pockets, one zippered inner pocket that you can stuff the jacket into, and one open stretch inner pocket on the inside right flap.
This jacket has a nice, comfortable fit in the shoulders, arms and chest and doesn’t rise up too much when you are lifting your arms. The rear of the jacket rises a little lower than the front of the jacket which is nice when you are bending over so your backside isn’t exposed to the cold weather.
I found that the front stomach area of the jacket was a little big however and contributed to the jacket not looking very nice appearance wise, from the side. In other words, it makes you look chunky around the waistline when looked at from the side. This could be advantageous however if you want to stuff things in your inside and hand pockets, as there is plenty of room for the jacket to expand there. Of course, in my pics here I had a climbing harness on underneath the jacket, but this ‘chunky’ look could be solved in a situation like this by making the zipper two-way in a similar fashion to the Marmot Ama Dablam to accomodate climbing gear.
The jacket does come in both regular and petite sizing! Whoohoo LLBean, thanks for thinking about us petite folks!
Generally, I really liked how the jacket performed. It does a pretty good job of locking out the wind and a great job of locking in the warmth. When there is a little light rain or some snow, you don’t have to worry about saturating the down because of the Downtek and the jacket is both packable and superlight at less than a pound in weight. Other than the chunky tummy and some stiching coming loose I’d call this a perfectly designed jacket!
On the market today, you’d be hard pressed to find a better quality jacket with all these great features at only $179. This jacket is ultralight, uses the best quality waterproof down insulation available on the market today, has plenty of pockets, is very comfortable and highly recommended!
|Manufacturer Model||Ultralight 850 Down Jacket|
|Model #||Item #:TA276549 , Item #:TA276553|
|Size||XS – XL Misses and Petite|
|Pros||Ultralight, Superwarm 850 fill down, Downtek water resistant insulation, comfortable|
|Cons||Too volumous in stomach area, weak stiching|
|Best Uses||Cold weather hiking, trekking, around town, snow sports|
|Insulated Jacket Specifications|
|Weight||Size Small: 340.7g (0.75 lb)|
|Cut||Shorter in front, longer in back, not super bulky|
|Pockets||Two zippered soft lined outer pockets, one zippered left side inner pocket that you can stuff the jacket into, and one open stretch inner pocket on the inside right flap.|
|Fit Adjustments||Elastic cuffs, two waist drawcord cinches|
|Material||Water- and tear-resistant ripstop nylon, water-repellent DownTek™ 850-fill goose down|
|Additional Features||Soft lined hand pockets and collar, stuffs into own pocket|