The Mountain Equipment Baltoro Women’s Jacket netted ‘Best Buy’ in Judy Armstrong’s review of the best down jackets for 2022. Here’s how it performed on the hill.
Mountain Equipment are kings of down, through their pioneering Down Codex programme and ongoing innovation in product design. The big shout here, with the fresh-to-the-range Mountain Equipment Baltoro Women’s Jacket, is a new (and unique to ME) construction technique developed specifically for down clothing. It’s a double layer, offset baffle construction with reflective internal scrim, and is more wind resistant and warmer than stitch-through construction but less bulky than box wall, thereby offering a great compromise between the two. The scrim has a coating which reflects body heat and forms part of the baffle structure.
ME team it with their own Drilite Loft, a nylon fabric with water resistant coating on the back (check out their blog on why the brand considers water resistant fabrics are better than treating the down), and recycled downproof nylon as lining. For me, the new construction works: this jacket has more loft and warmth, and a lower weight, than I expected for 148g of 700 fill. Apart from Salomon’s jacket, which has significant quantities of synthetic insulation, this has notably more insulation than the others in the test for less than 100g more pack weight. Yet bulk is surprisingly low: I managed to cram it into its own side pocket to make it rucksack-friendly.
The cut accommodates layers and curves, length just covers my backside, sleeves are well proportioned. Pockets are plentiful: two zipped side, one external chest and an internal mesh stuff pocket which is useful for gloves, beanie, and gear that needs to stay warm. The two-way plastic-coated front zip is chunky and durable; shame there’s no microfibre chin guard at the top against breath condensation. The hood is uber-warm and adjustable, although doesn’t move with the head. The Mountain Equipment Baltoro Women’s Jacket is a top choice for winter rest stops and cold camping and provides plenty of down for your dosh.
Read more: 10 of the best down jackets for 2022