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Thin and still keeps you warm

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Thin and still keeps you warm

For some time now, the Mountain Equipment Baltoro has been providing us with cozy warmth in the cold and protection against the elements. In terms of volume alone, the down jacket looks like a midlayer, can also be worn as such, but is definitely designed as a full-fledged upper layer of warmth. This is made possible by a clever yet simple design, which the English call the offset chamber. Instead of sewing the chambers together and filling them with down, they are placed on an intermediate layer and the inside and outside are offset from one another. This prevents cold bridges. The chambers can be proportioned narrower without losing thermal performance. There is also the insulation booster: a reflective coating on this intermediate layer.

What initially reads like a marketing coup is actually quite understandable in practice. The jacket keeps you warm without being too bulky. With a weight of 470 grams and a minimal pack size, the Baltoro is equally comfortable to wear on the body and in your luggage as insurance against the cold. Theoretically, the jacket can be stored in its own pocket. When pulled inside out, it even has small strap loops to attach the bundle to a carabiner. Unfortunately, the storage space is a little too small for the compressed volume. The zipper can only be closed with difficulty, even after ambitious darning. We usually transport the Baltoro in its own hood or a separate pack sack.

The collar reaches below the nose

The recycled outer material has a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, which is intended to make the jacket windproof and water-repellent. Initially, water rolled off easily, but over time the effect has lost its effectiveness and the material initially absorbs moisture on the surface, and after a while the shoulder area becomes damp on the inside. Since such a down jacket primarily serves as insulation and not as rain protection, we don’t want to overestimate water ingress. Because of the small volume, you can simply put a hardshell jacket over it in bad weather – this combination is a bulwark against the elements.

The Baltoro’s collar extends below the nose, the hood is fully adjustable and keeps the head warm without severely restricting the field of vision. The hood is generally suitable for helmet use. Both bicycle and climbing helmets fit underneath, at least that applies to narrow-sized models.

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The workmanship is at the highest level. Mountain Equipment uses robust ripstop fabric on the outside, and high-quality 700 fill down down in a 90-to-10 ratio is used on the inside. The Cuin dimension expresses the filling power of an insulating material. All zippers run smoothly. The front zipper has large teeth that ensure durability and do not eat away at the inner lining. The elastic bands on the hem and hood can be operated with one hand and even with gloves. So you can definitely see the concentrated expertise of the British sleeping bag experts. Despite constant use, the jacket still looks good and will probably have a long life. Against this background, the price of more than 330 euros is justifiable for both the women’s and men’s models.

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