Editor's Note: Review by Nina Gallo from the Blue Mountains, Australia. Read more on coveringgroundblog.wordpress.com.
Here's one for your next seriously frosty adventure destination. Whether you're horse riding in Mongolia, penguin spotting in Antarctica or dog sledding in the Yukon, the Mont Icicle down jacket is designed to keep you cosy in extremely cold environments and it's built to last. It's not the lightest or most compact down jacket on the market but in terms of durability, warmth and value for money, it's hard to beat.
Packed with 260g of 750+ loft down (that's more than they put in their entire Hotwire sleeping bag, rated to 4ºC/40F), putting on the Icicle in the morning is like getting out of your sleeping bag and into, well, your sleeping bag.
With 3D box-wall baffles to eliminate cold patches along the stitching and a zip off expedition-style hood, this jacket is packed with features which are sacrificed in many other down jackets to produce a lighter weight product. The outer fabric is hard-wearing Hydronaute XT™, a waterproof breathable membrane which blocks the wind, keeps the down dry and maintains loft. The jacket is not seam sealed so it's not 100% waterproof, but I have worn it in snow showers and drizzle and found that it offers great protection from inclement weather.
Since I bought my Icicle seven years ago it has kept me cosy hiking in Nepal and Ladakh, skiing in Australia's high country and exploring Tasmania in the winter, and it's still going strong. For fast and light trips in moderately cold environments, lightweight down and synthetic jackets take up less space and weight in your pack, but when it comes to genuinely freezing conditions, the Icicle comes out on top.
- The removable hood converts the jacket from a mountain downie to a townie with one zipper motion.
- Pockets close not with zips but with a simple overlap, which means fewer things that can break or freeze.
- Cinch ties around the hips keep the cold breeze out.
- This jacket doesn't compromise on durability to classify as featherweight, which makes it one of the more responsible, sustainable down jacket options.
- There is no women's specific model. It would be nice to see one with a little more room for the hips and chests that many women possess.
- For storage I use a compression bag. It's more durable than the standard stuff sack that comes with the jacket and it also packs down much smaller.