Ancient Pathways, LLC - School of Primitive Technology and Wilderness Skills Survival Courses [Flagstaff Arizona]

The value of a good down jacket

I was out in the Painted Desert today, north of Flagstaff. Temps were mighty cold as we had a winter storm roll in (yes it snows in Arizona!) and were hovering around 40 degrees with a 20 mph wind. Snow was on the way later in the day.

In addition to wearing 4 upper-body layers and a Carhart coat, I always pack along a down jacket, which I wore underneath the Carhart today. A down jacket is an indispensable piece of gear. My down jacket is something that is kept tucked behind the backseat of my truck for most of the summer and I have another one that I carry with me in my daypack throughout much of the year, even in summer.

A good down jacket can be had for $80 on up. I usually look for ones on clearance in the spring or through Sierra Trading Post. Mine packs down to grapefruit-size. For longer dayhikes in the mountains, I will actually pack along a tiny, sleeping bag like those made by Mountain Hardwear. Such bags have come a long way from those clunky, polyester bags I had as a scout. Mine packs down to the size of a loaf of bread.

How much space are we talking about in the pack in exchange for what a down jacket can provide if stranded in the wilds for a night?

Down has its drawbacks- loses loft when wet or when used in damp weather for extended periods. Not a good choice for primary insulation in a place like the Pacific Northwest or the Tropics. Here in the desert or as a supplement to a vehicle survival kit, it is excellent.

So, keep an eye out for an extra one next Spring when they”re all going to be on sale. I highly recommend getting one for the daypack or vehicle as emergency gear for when the chips are down and the cold night is upon you.

Enjoy the Wilds!
Tony

Contact Information

Ancient Pathways, LLC
2532 N 4th St, PMB #313
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004-3712
info@apathways.com

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