It’s March, it’s 8°C in Paris and it’s raining. Ideal conditions to test my new Uniqlo Ultra Light Down comforter (70€), essential for my icy nights in Patagonia, Nepal and South Africa.
Here is the official description of the product:
This warm parka is incredibly thin and light. It has a high collar and a hood. The outer lining is water resistant, and the water repellent yarn prevents moisture from seeping into the seams. It has a beautiful patina finish in bright colors for a sporty and feminine look with a seductive look. Its edges are reinforced for durability. Elastic cuffs and waistband provide effective protection from cold winds. It’s easy to carry in its compact pouch.
I dressed in layers: cotton, merino wool and then down jacket (yes I know what you think of cotton but I was not in hiking mode in Paris). I went out like that, in the rain, without an umbrella while it was raining ropes.
In spite of its feather weight, the down jacket is warm thanks to its superb composition (90% down, 10% feather). The front pockets with zippers are nice to keep hands warm. I took size S (which is my size), not too tight or too wide, but enough to add a fleece underneath if necessary.
Its water-repellent effect is confirmed (see photo), but the water didn’t slide fast enough, so I had to shake the hood to make the water fall off
It isn’t waterproof (by the way Uniqlo never said it was).
There is no adjustment to the hood so it covers my head badly, my hair is wet. I can see why the girl in the picture is also wearing a hat.
UPDATE March 2019 : The new version of the down jacket, in 2019, now has two mini-elastics to adjust the hood.
The main advantage remains its light weight (250g) and its compactness (a small pocket is provided to store the comforter).
Caution: Hand wash, but it dries quickly
Very good purchase to stay warm. Perfect for backpackers who are frightened but want to travel light. Keep it in the bottom of your bag in case the weather suddenly turns bad. When it drops, it’s perfect.
However, I recommend an extra waterproof jacket in case of heavy rain. For those of you who are frightened like me, if it’s not raining but there is a lot of wind, I also recommend
a small hat & scarf.
Edit August 2016: I took out this comforter for a freezing night in South Africa in June, where it was 2 degrees with a light rain (it was the middle of winter in South Africa). We were all in a jeep, open, driving at 20km/h in search of nocturnal animals. In case of rain, wind and cold like that, this jacket alone was not enough. However, combined with a super cheap fleece (6€ at Decathlon) and a first price waterproof jacket from Decathlon (20€), it kept me warm. The important thing was to have several layers and my down jacket was the warmest layer, well protected by the raincoat. In short, very good purchase! You can find it for less here.
Edit November 2016 : I was able to survive the cold (and especially the wind) of Patagonia in December 2016 with this comforter. I confirm that it protects well against the wind, except for the neck. A scarf or a jacket with a high collar would be a big plus. The hat isn’t necessary, the hood of the jacket is enough. I washed this jacket several times (by hand) and it dries in one night (short night).
Edit February 2017 : this comforter protected me well from the cold in Bolivia and Peru. Even in summer, it was very cold at night in these two countries. I brought it to Machu Picchu, it had protected me well from the small rain there
Edit March 2019: after 3 years of good and loyal service, I found that my down jacket was not as warm as before (a few feathers are gone) and I decided to buy the 2019 version of this same down jacket – which better protects the head and neck. However, the old comforter remains in almost perfect condition: 0 stain, 0 hole, I’m really very happy with my purchase.