A Down Jacket
First Ascent Peak XV Down Jacket
First Ascent’s Peak XV is that rare piece that might only get used once in a lifetime — so it can sting a little to throw down nearly $400 for one piece of clothing. It’s so specialized, in fact, only a few manufacturers even make a jacket like the Peak XV, which is an interesting testament to FA’s commitment to making serious gear. But the Peak XV (named for what surveyors called Everest before it was given a proper name) has been designed for the coldest, harshest places on earth, and it’s almost considered safety equipment more than it is just another layer. This jacket could literally be the difference between life and death if something goes wrong up high on a remote mountain. The Peak XV distinguishes itself from the others in its category for how durable it is, with waterproof Cordura fabric and reinforced shoulders and elbows. It’s as bulky as a sleeping bag, and you feel a little like the Michilen man while you’re wearing it. At 2lbs, 6oz, and with 850 fill down, you’ll cook in it any time you’re working hard. But it serves two crucial purposes during long expeditions: keeping you comfortable in camp when you’re not moving around much, and providing a last line of defense if conditions get dangerous when you’re on the move. It may sit at the bottom of your pack, but when it’s 40-below, a jacket like the Peak VX is as important as your first aid kit. [$399; eddiebauer.com]
TIP: Throw this jacket on the minute you stop moving to retain the heat your body is generating — do not wait until you start cooling down.
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