The Mountain Equipment Vega Jacket is a seriously warm yet lightweight down jacket ideal as a winter belay jacket. For warmth the Vega has 229g (size L) of 800 fill power goose down which is contained in a stitched through baffle construction. The outer fabric is Mountain Equipment's own Drilite Loft II fabric which has been specially designed for use in their down jackets and provides complete windproofing and a high level of water resistance.
The Vega has a protective Half Dome helmet compatible hood so you can really hunker down when on those windy belays. Adjustable cuffs and dual tether hem drawcords ensure you can prevent draughts along with the offset insulated rear baffle on the zipper. If you're after a properly warm belay jacket for fast and light missions then the Vega has a great option.
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I was hunting for a frigid-weather down parka for southern Canada, -20C. I did my research, and the Vega seemed right, in spite of some negative points on some reviews.
The parka is indeed very light and very confortable. It is incredibly warm. The secret: all the down in the hood. Protect your head first, remember? The hood looks like you are wearing a helmet underneath! But who cares when it's -20C, right?!
The four stars is primarily because of the terrible main zipper. It catches all the time, so you have to be ... v e r y ... patient ... all the time. A slightly sturdier zipper would help so much.
There should also be at least one internal mesh stuff pocket. That too would not add that much weight, and again, would help so much. Overall, however, it is a joy to wear and at no moment so far this winter have I felt I should have added another layer before wandering outdoors. Highly recommended.
p.s. perhaps I am amongst the few who ended up with a bad zipper.
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