Constructed with 700-fill power down, the Mountain Equipment Lightline has less down than other jackets on our list, and is heavier, at 26oz (70grams).
Despite this, we chose the Lightline as our Best Value Jacket due to the excellent water-resistant Drillite Loft shell, and the fact that the jacket offers excellent value for money.
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Mountain Equipment Lightline Down Jacket
Manufacturer: Mountain Equipment
As with all down jackets, the Lightline provides warmth, insulation, water-resistance and durability. However, this hoody has been constructed to remain warm and insulated in freezing conditions.
The Drillite Loft shell is, on its own, water-resistant. However, it is also coated in durable water repellent (DWR), to ensure that you stay dry in wet conditions.
Another aspect that sets this jacket apart, is the zip-off hood. The hood has three panels that allow it to be adjusted to the head and face, to provide protection, without hampering field of vision. The hood on this jacket is perfect for windy conditions, sealing in the warm and preventing any drafts from entering.
The Lightline is suited for winter hiking and is durable enough for more hands-on activities as well. This hoody is one of the best value for money down jackets. It is a high-quality jacket, with notable features and a reasonable price-tag.
See Other Down Jackets
Finding the correct down jacket for hiking and adventures at altitude for your needs and budget can be a tricky task and sifting through the troves of reviews can be time consuming and confusing. To make things easier, check out our expert review on the five best down jackets for hiking here.
Warmth, Insulation and Draft Prevention
The Mountain Equipment Lightline has less down than most other down jackets, at 700-fill power. However, that does not mean that it is not as warm or well insulated. In fact, the Lightline has been constructed with freezing conditions in mind. The Drilite Loft shell is what ensures that the down stays warm, well insulated and dry.
The Lightline is equipped with adjustable cuffs and a drawcord hem that allows you to adjust the hoody to your likely. These features also have the added benefit of sealing in warmth and preventing drafts from entering up the sleeves or at the waist. The hood is adjustable to prevent coverage without visual impairment.
The zippers are usually a weak point in winter jackets, however, the Lightline is also equipped with a rear baffle for added insulation and draft prevention.
Weight and Water Resistance
Despite the fact the Lightline only has 700-fill power, it is heavier than many other lightweight jackets at 26oz (70grams). While the weight of down jackets usually comes mainly from the filling, in this case, it is the outer shell that is the cause of the excess weight.
The Drilite Loft shell and lining is what makes this such a great winter jacket. This fabric is water-resistant and provides great insulation for the down. It is made from 100% nylon (polyamide), which accounts for the added weight in the jacket.
Durability and Breathability
While the added weight of the Drilite Loft fabric may be a problem with climbing, it shouldn’t hamper experienced hikers in any way, and is great for those cold, wet climates. Mountain Equipment uses this material for most of their products and it has shown no chance of failing to provide excellent quality shells.
The main purpose of this fabric is not the water-resistance, but its ability to provide near perfect insulation for the down, ensuring that it remains lofty, and does not turn clumpy. The Drilite Loft shell is water-resistant, windproof and very durable, which all adds up to a great, high quality product.
Comfort and Ease of Movement
As with any clothing item, fit is extremely important when it comes to choosing the right winter jacket. If the down hoody is constricting, movement will be hampered, which is not only uncomfortable, but could lead to injury on a more challenging hike.
The Mountain Equipment Lightline does run a little small, however, no other problems have arisen as far as fit and comfort were concerned. The adjustable cuffs prevent drafts from entering up the sleeves, and seals in warmth, and the drawcord hem serves the same purpose. The drawcord hem also has the benefit of allowing you to adjust the hem to your body if the fit is a little loose.
The adjustable, zip-off hoody is perfect for those windy days. The hood has three panels, that can be adjusted and moulded to your head, providing excellent protection against the wind and light rain. And for those days when the hood isn’t needed? You could just zip it off and put in your backpack or leave it behind.