Rated 5 out of 5 by BrooklynNY Very competitive in product category
The ultralight 850 down jacket belongs in the ?packable down jacket? category, and as such, the jacket is not expected to be a stand-alone in temperatures below 25 or 30 degrees, depending on mid-layer and activity level. Therefore, this jacket?s warmth is not competing against the likes of the Baxter State Parka or the Wind Challenger Down jacket. Packable down jackets are designed to be extremely light, packable, and work well with activities like hiking, backpacking, and camping. They are also liked by city folks like me who want to wear a jacket comfortable enough in temps above 30 without the bulk. The jacket can also be great to wear under a parka, in temps below zero.
With respect to the jacket?s ability to keep the down clusters and feathers inside the jacket, where it belongs, this year?s ultralight 850 down jacket is miles ahead of the 2013 model that I owned and quickly returned. My 2013 model had an unacceptable amount of down and feathers leaking through its shell and seams. In fact, my 2013 jacket was delivered to me with significant amount of down already leaking out of both the shell and the seams, and much more leaked each and every day, until I returned it a short time afterwards. My original 2013 model?s jacket?s shell was rip stop nylon, and the liner was polyester taffeta. I learned from an L.L. Bean product specialist that sometime in 20014, the jacket was redesigned, replacing the shell and liner with Pertex Quantum material. That change made a big difference.
In late 2015, I purchased two ultralight 850 down jackets, one for me, and one for my wife. The improvements over the 2013 model are immense, mainly attributable to the shell and liner being made of Pertex Quantum, which claims to be downproof, but also due to the stitching being much tighter.
Although the down in our new jackets do leak from both the seams and the shell (almost exclusively from the seams) the amount is acceptable and in-line with the best of the competition. However, I am hoping that L.L. Bean will further improve the jacket?s ability to keep the down inside the jacket next year, so that L.L. Bean can be the leader, and not just be in-line with the best of the competition. When I see down or a feather coming out of my jacket, which now is relatively rare, I pull it back in from the opposite side of the jacket - doing this has prevented more down from escaping from the same vulnerable spot. My jacket has some loose thread in two different places along the flap located behind the front center zipper. In fact, the thread has been unstitched in about an inch and a half long. Fortunately, the location is not where down can escape. On the other hand, my wife?s jacket?s stitching is nearly perfect, suggesting inconsistent and sometimes sloppy manufacturing of the jackets. At least one other reviewer commented on the loose threads as well.
The ?packable down jacket? category faces fierce competition, and L.L. Bean does very well in it, especially considering its price. The jacket is super light, stuffed with very high quality down with the right amount of it ? not too little, not too much. The down is treated so that if it gets wet, it will do a much better job of staying lofty than down that are not treated. The back of the jacket is longer than the front, which I like. The coverage of the neck and chin is excellent. The hood, however, does not cover the bottom half of my forehead. If you look at the picture on this website, you will see that the same is true for the L.L. Bean model. If the jacket had a pull cord for the hood, as many of L.L. Bean?s competition do in this category, the hood will be far more effective in keeping me warm. I hope that L.L. Bean makes this important change for next year?s model. The benefit of keeping more of the face protected from the cold and wind should easily outweigh the drawback from the added weight ? at least to city folks like me.
The jacket has only one seam running vertically on each of the two sleeves. I am hoping that in future modifications, the sleeves will have two or three vertical seams on their sleeves, so that the down on the sleeves will less likely develop cold spots, since the down would less likely shift, due to smaller quilted baffles. The drawback would be more stitched seams. Most of the jacket?s competition has only one vertical seam as well.
The hem has a pull cord to tighten the bottom of the jacket, which is an excellent feature, as it does a great job of helping to prevent the warmth of my body from escaping. Many competitors do not have this great feature.
The end of the sleeves do not hug my wrists closely enough, and this allows a small amount of the warmth from my arms to escape and for cold air to enter up the sleeves, unless I am wearing gloves that cover the bottom of the sleeves. I noticed that other reviewers have written the same thing, so I hope that L.L. Bean improves the end of the sleeves next year.
Overall, I am happy with the L.L. Bean ultralight 850 down jack, and I recommend it for those who are not expecting to wear it in temps below 25, especially at its current price. However, the jacket could improve significantly if the hood was adjustable, the sleeves had bounded elastic sleeves that hugged the wrists better, fewer down and feathers leaked from the seams, and the manufacturing eliminates loose and unhinged stitches. If L.L. Bean makes these modifications, the L.L. Bean?s ultralight 850 down jacket will be the leader in the category, regardless of price point.
January 28, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by ChrisDves Great jacket
great mid layer for late fall and early winter hikes in the white mountains. Lightweight and pack able, this jacket allows for a midweight layer and two sweaters underneath and yet is thin enough to put a winter shell over and still be comfortable. I brought it along in the early fall as well and it was warm and wind resistant in temps in the 30-40s with wind. Once below 30 though a shell was necessary to be completely comfortable while seated. During activity though, this jacket and wicking t shirt were sometimes all I needed. Only complaint is the toughness of the outer fabric. The fabric definitely seems like it would rip easily which is why I wouldn't where this jacket bush whacking and would pay attention when hiking on narrow trails.
January 25, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by Dane83 Great JACKET
I purchased this jacket a few months ago. I live in the Chicago land area and it can get cold here. The past few weeks it has begun to get colder and I have loved having this jacket around.
When I got on this website to write my review I read many of the others that came before me. There are a hand full of people complaining about this jacket not being a stand alone jacket for the winter. I think the name speaks for itself. It is a jacket not a coat. That being said it is and INCREDIBLY warm jacket.
I have worn this jacket out in the cold (8 degrees F) and windy days and was very impressed. Not only with its warmth at such a low temp but also its ability to block the wind. I was out side for about 3 hours in these conditions. I was moving around but not working hard where I was putting off a lot of heat. This Jacket kept me very toasty at 8degrees with the hood up. I had no hat on and only a thicker long sleeve shirt under.
I am 5'11" with an athletic build (wide shoulder and arms). I purchased a Large Tall size. (I love that LL Bean carries tall sizes). This fits me perfectly. Most jackets I get are too tight in the shoulders and too short so when I bend over I get a draft up my back. Since this jacket is cut slightly longer in back and I got a size tall I never have this issue. The hood fits well, you can put a helmet under neath of it if you need to but it also fits great without a helmet. If the jacket is zipped up all the way there is a nice seal around the neck and if you have the hood up there is a nice seal around the face.
I will use this jacket for "jacket" purposes, not coat purposes. I will also use this on my winter snowshoe trips at night when it gets cold, as a layer. I plan to put on thermals, fleece, this jacket and then my shell on top.
January 18, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by PhotoRick Excellent Jacket, odd fit
I bought this jacket based on the description 'Slightly Fitted'. I'm fairly lean and athletic and prefer slim fit shirts and jackets that are more form fitting. The body of this jacket has a lot of extra room so it looks odd on me. The extra space does make it easy to layer with a vest underneath though. The quality appears top notch, although the outer shell doesn't look that durable - but all the lightweight down jackets have the same or similar material - so time will tell. I tested it outside in temps ranging down to -18. Down to about +10, it was warm by itself. Anything below that it needed to be paired with a hard shell and/or a vest. I compared it to the Marmot Quasar hooded jacket - 900 fill goose down - and it keeps me just as warm. The Quasar is more form fitting so looks better on me. Was going to send this one back but discovered that it would zip into a Marmot Gore Tex Shell jacket that I had so will keep it.
January 14, 2016
Rated 1 out of 5 by Coachreed Great Jacket Till I Washed It
Last year I wore this jacket for multiple ski trips and it was fantastic, warmth was good with a long sleeve T. The only short comings were not enough pockets and poor sleeve closures at the wrist.
Just got back from another week of skiing out west and figured it was time to wash it.
The jacket comes with very specific instructions on washing and I followed them exactly. What happened, the down is all gone, it is now thin and virtually unusable. It will be returned today. This was a great jacket till washed.
January 10, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by LLBLovers Great Jacket
After an unusually warm start to winter in Massachusetts, I finally got to wear this jacket recently!
The jacket is very lightweight and comfortable and it is surprisingly warm. For my first test I wore out in sleet/freezing rain (about 35 degrees) with a long sleeve shirt and t-shirt underneath and it kept me warm. One of my favorite qualities is the hood. I am bald and normally will wear a hat in the winter, but I wanted to try out the hood, so I went out without one. The hood is very secure and warm. It stayed on my head the whole time without the need to readjust and it kept my head WARM!
I also wore this jacket out on a frigid evening (20's) with just a t-shirt underneath and it did a good job of keeping me warm. I was just going from my house to the car and from my car to a heated building, and for that it served its purpose.
I agree with some of the other reviewers that it is not a stand-alone jacket for spending a lot of time in very cold temperatures. With layers, this jacket will keep you warm though.
My only complaint is the length. It is a little too short for my taste, however, I think this year's model is a little longer than the previous one (I bought the same jacket last year and returned it because it was too short. I tried it on again this year in the store and then ordered online). I get that it's more of an "active" jacket, but I would prefer it to be a little longer.
Overall I think it's an amazing jacket. I've also received a few compliments on the color (blue)! I think this jacket will last a long time, and if it doesn't, I know it's backed by LL Bean's lifetime guarantee.
January 5, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by CollegeStudent19 Excellent
Perfect fit and very warm. Ordered large tall for 6'-3", 180 lb. man. Excellent product.
December 19, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by MrUltralight Mens Hooded Ultralight Jacket
I just purchased a mans hooded ultra light jacket. It is very warn an fits great. This is my sixth jacket and all are different colors. I was the first to write a review when they first came out. I find that the quality in the older ones were better. The main thing to me was when you removed the cotton out of the pockets and the collar. This has also been mentioned in other reviews by people. I also have some vests that you used to make to match the color of the jackets.
I have an ideas that may be of value to you. Develop a jacket that the sleeves and hood could unzip. Nobody has a jacket like this. You could wear it as a vest, jacket with or without a hood on either. This is very simple to accomplish with the direction that LL Bean wants to take it's business.
December 10, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by saturn1 Best in category
I spent a lot of time comparing down jackets in the two to three hundred dollar range and this jacket won. I've been into Bean's technical jackets since I purchased my pro-shell 4 years ago. This jacket is made with better materials (research the others) than the competition in the price range and came as advertised. You are buying a jacket that is less than a 1 lb. and stuffs into one of the pockets. It is not made to stand alone in extreme conditions. You are not going to get a better down jacket for less than 350. I'm 180 and 6ft even so pretty average build and the med. is just right.
December 4, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by MambaS4 850 down hooded jacket
Nice looking jacket, outer material is thin and cheap, tore easily and had to be returned. is warm with long sleeve underlayer but not warm enough with just short sleeves underneath.
November 29, 2015