The Minimus uses slightly lower quality down compared to PHD’s Ultra Down Pullover, reviewed later in this test. Be aware, though, that it’s still higher than that used by most brands and is one of the best available – yet I reckon provides a comparable degree of warmth.
There’s plenty of loft from the 800 fill-power filling and in the Arla Dairy fridge I felt the benefit as soon as I pulled it on. Weight-wise, though not quite in the same league is the Ultra Down Pullover (what is, frankly?), it’s still a pretty minimalist design, with the added advantage over the pullover of superior elastication in the waist hem, effectively excluding any chilly draughts.
The extra down used to match the insulation offered probably accounts for some of the additional weight, along with the full-length front zip and associated baffle. The fleecy lining in the snug, neck-warming collar is a nice but perhaps unnecessary indulgence.
Other features are fine: spacious hand pockets with elasticated openings allow gloved hands easy access; elasticated cuffs ride easily over base layers and allow the sleeves to be rolled up for venting; and the front zip puller is easy to grab with a mittened hand. There’s no external accessory pocket but my feeling is that that can be overlooked on jackets designed with minimalism in mind.
The Drishell fabric featured in the test sample is an option which adds £20 to the basic £187 price tag and a few grams in weight. Its texture is only slightly less skin-pleasing than the standard M1 Microfibre but it deals with moisture a bit better and, in this country, I reckon that’s an advantage. When I bought my PHD Minim sleeping bag a few years ago, I opted for Drishell fabric as a bolt-on and haven’t regretted the decision, especially during the rain-blighted trip I made through the Forest of Bowland in late summer (TGO, Autumn 11), when my bag had to cope with frequent water incursions through my tent’s mesh inner.