Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

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Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby davidmorr » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 6:58 pm

Mostly I walk in shorts, cotton singlet, and long sleeve shirt. I sweat easily and this way I am comfortable, even in fairly cold conditions. If it is particularly cold, I add an old (thick) woollen jumper.

I am off to Scotland in May next year to do some long day walks. The weather could be anything from snow and sleet with gales to maybe just overcast and drizzle. Oh, I suppose there might be some sun, but reports I have read never mention it :-) Somewhat like central Tasmania I suppose on a bad day.

I am thinking I will need something more than shorts, shirt and jumper, but do not want to be so warm that I sweat. A 150gsm merino top under a shirt this week has had me sweating in temps that have only got up to 17, without actually doing anything physical. So I think layering will be the way to tackle this.

I have been thinking of getting a lightweight down jacket as an outer layer to replace the jumper. This would be warmer and cope with wind better, but not rain, although I could use it under a goretex coat if it is raining. My concern is that I will swelter in it while walking. I will probably also use it in the evening on the way to the pub for dinner.

There are lots of brands, but for comparison I have been looking at Macpac Uber jacket: nylon inner and outer, 74g 650 loft duck down, water resistant (C6), weight 240g. "An ultra-light down jacket designed for winter layering." as the web site says. Currently $114.

https://www.macpac.com.au/mens/jackets- ... 14097.html

For comparison, the Icefall jacket uses: Pertex fabric, 95g 800 loft goose down plus 80g Primaloft synthetic fill, Durable Water Resistant (C6 - same stuff as Uber?), water-resistant down, weight 320g. The synthetic fill is used in wet areas like shoulders and cuffs. The web site says "Designed for weight-conscious climbers, this down jacket is engineered for an exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio and improved moisture management." Currently $300.

https://www.macpac.com.au/mens/jackets- ... 15580.html

My feeling is that the Icefall is a great jacket, but will be overkill for what I want. I even suspect the Uber jacket will be more than I need.

Maybe I do not need down, and a fleece jacket would be sufficient? But it would be poor in wind which I will see a lot of in Scotland, especially on the islands.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby johnw » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 8:35 pm

I've yet to field test it but I bought the Macpac Uberlight when on sale around Christmas for about $80 from memory.
We are headed to Alaska and Canada Aug/Sep so I recently got my wife one as well, on sale for $94.
Mainly for general travel as they are so light and should cope with some reasonably cold conditions.

I plan to do some day hikes and most likely will put it in the pack. That said I don't think I'd wear it during any serious walking - as you suggest would probably sweat too much. I am similar - even deep winter in the Blueys I often end up stripping off most upper body layers after moving around for a while. I just get too hot. But you may need something if stationary/cooled down.

We have visited Scotland in May, including the highlands, but it was along time ago. I don't remember much (any?) sunlight :) but there was drizzle and some snow lying about at higher elevations. I think the Uberlight is probably a good investment for travel even if you only use it to walk to the pub for dinner etc. Apart from lightweight it's also very compact stowed in its stuff sack. Seems nice quality too. If you decide to get one I suggest waiting until they're on sale again rather than pay $114.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby davidmorr » Fri 12 Jul, 2019 9:52 pm

johnw wrote:If you decide to get one I suggest waiting until they're on sale again rather than pay $114.

Hehe $114 is the current sale price. Normally $199. When will their next sale be? End of winter?

I have been researching weather for May:
Average temp for Fort William in May is 7-14 degrees, 40mm rain, 18 rainy days
Average temp for Orkney in May is 5-12 degrees, 50mm rain, 25 rainy days
Average temp for Skye in May is 5-13 degrees, 75mm rain, 59% chance of rain

Bear in mind this is coming into summer....
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby north-north-west » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 9:20 am

I don't think walking in down is a good idea, particularly if it's likely to rain. Woouldn't a lightweight fleece and wind shirt be better?
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby Petew » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 9:26 am

I'd recommend a powergrid thermal ( such as Macpac pro thermals) with a windshirt (EE or similar). A puffy is terrible to walk in.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 9:30 am

north-north-west wrote:I don't think walking in down is a good idea, particularly if it's likely to rain. Woouldn't a lightweight fleece and wind shirt be better?


Synthetics rule in that part of the world most of the time, it isn't cold as such but is is or can be bone-chillingly miserable, if I was going back again I'd be taking a proper full length raincoat like my Driza-Bone light as well as a decent ski parka
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby johnw » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 10:56 am

davidmorr wrote:
johnw wrote:If you decide to get one I suggest waiting until they're on sale again rather than pay $114.

Hehe $114 is the current sale price. Normally $199. When will their next sale be? End of winter?

Who knows. Sadly their marketing/pricing approach is now much like Kathmandu. The sale price is the real price but even that's all over the place.
I've never seen those at the supposed normal price of $199.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby emma_melbourne » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 11:04 am

I have the Macpac Supanova which was the predecessor of the news Icefall. I find it excellent and couldn't recommend it more highly. It's super warm for weight. Although I bought it for hiking, I wear it constantly - anytime I want a lightweight compressible cosy warm puffie.

I take a lightweight polar fleece hoodie with me as a warm layer hiking, and keep the puffie for camp when I arrive and night night when it's cold. And with the option to wear it overnight as part of a sleep system if the temperature really drops. (My quilt is a Revelation 20, but realistically I need to add puffie if it drops below -2 degrees or so, as a woman.)

The new Icefall has synthetic swapped out in patches where water can get in such as at wrists or where you sweat under armpits.

I feel mixed about that because I prefer down and feel the synthetic may degrade quicker than down and so I'm s bit of a purist.

Depending on if someone is looking to use their puffie as an active layer or only around camp - Enlightened Equipment do a Prima loft jacket as active layer and it has good reviews. Montbell do good down options that are high down fill and very lightweight.

There are a few other brands who do these as well.
Last edited by emma_melbourne on Sat 13 Jul, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby Lamont » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 11:30 am

Whatever down jacket you buy get one that's light (and packs small) because likely you'll be carrying it. As folk have said, way too hot for moving more than likely. (But then again if you stroll or walk slowly?) But that is good for when you stop for a cuppa or a pint or three-I'll have Marstens Bitter if you are offering :lol: Slip it on to keep warm and then you have it for casual wear. I think Macpac is nice quality. I would go with the Uberlite one, perhaps better for layering active and travelling/casual purposes?
Long day walks won't trouble you -how long is long, how far from a pub or shop, village? Stoppimg often to take in the sights? Get a good very light rain coat about 300 grams max or use what you already have (again casual wear double duty also) or even better a 200 grams non DWR jobbie (or a Frogg Togger if you wont snag it on trees-dirt cheap!) that is where I would spend if you are spending -and a good perhaps full zip fleece jacket (for venting) around 250 odd grams total -choose a colour you like for double pub duty.
Have a squiz at this blokes choices for that area-https://www.thehikinglife.com/2018/11/cape-wrath-trail-backpacking-guide/ He is covered down to beyond zero very easy with his kit.
Strong frequent winds there apparently. Macpac will sell an equivalent fleece to the Montbell one Cam wears.
Walk in the fleece (and beanie and light gloves if needed) over your baselayer- laughing to about 7-8 degrees easy I would reckon if not beyond a bit-gets cold, slip on the rain coat. Too warm ( :lol:-you never know!) use the full zip roll up the sleeves take off the gloves and beanie etc.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby Watertank » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 5:48 pm

I’ve done some walking in Scotland at around that time of year, I suggest primaloft for when you are stopped, a light fleece, merino base layer and a proper water proof rain coat. Pay attention to the advice of locals and weather forecasts- such as https://www.mwis.org.uk/scottish-forecast
The weather can turn very nasty and dangerous - and walkers are rescued .. you may have fabulous weather or not... my primaloft Patagonia works well, I wouldn’t take down because of the worry of it wetting out.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby wildwanderer » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 5:56 pm

Watertank wrote:I’ve done some walking in Scotland at around that time of year, I suggest primaloft for when you are stopped, a light fleece, merino base layer and a proper water proof rain coat.


Agree. If the rain really starts falling, your not going to keep that down dry unless your in your tent or the jacket is in a waterproof liner in your pack. Light fleece for walking when its cold and primaloft around camp/town is good advice. Id suggest a nylon base layer though. Merino takes longer to dry in my experience. (its often sweat that will get it wet, not rain)

When wearing a rain jacket and walking in physically challenging terrain be wary of wetting out from the inside due to sweat.

For wind protection use your rain jacket.
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Re: Macpac Uber and Icefall down jackets

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 13 Jul, 2019 6:41 pm

Just a warning on windchill in that part of the world and my experience. Don't attempt to walk in shorts, not even shorts over long johns. At the very minimum I'd advise UL windpants over warm winter weight base layers plus some good water proofs in the pack. Also possibly some Ultra Lite insulated shorts or full zip trousers or even a pair of cheap ski pants.
My recollections are over 40 years old but I had some very long very cold nights stuck out on the hills when a climb or extended hill walk when slowly/badly and we propped to stay safe. In those days it was plastic survival bags cagoules and wet wool all too often [ OK it was 3 times but that was 2 too many] and Goretex and good LW synthetics were only starting to become common
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