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Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka


Updated 02/05/20 (EST)

Best Down Jackets for Backpacking of 2020

Reviewed in February, 2020

Simply put, the Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka is the best down jacket I’ve ever tested. It uses 1,000 fill-power down, which is borderline unheard of, weighing in at just 8.4 ounces. It’s plenty warm for three-season backpacking. And for being made with such ultralight materials, is surprisingly durable. Mine has seen nearly 3,500 miles of trail and still going strong. I’ll say it again; it’s the best down jacket I’ve ever tested. –Zach Davis

from The TREK


Reviewed in June, 2019

Die Plasma 1000 setzt Maßstäbe: Sie verwöhnt bis -12℃ mit kuscheliger Wärme – angesichts des geringen Gewichts ein sensationeller Wert! Ebenso beeindruckt das Mini-Packmaß. Einziger Wermutstropfen: der hohe Preis. Dafür gibt es eine Top-jacke, die kaum Platz im Rucksack raubt.

The Plasma 1000 sets standards: it enables you to indulge in cuddly warmth until -12℃ - considering its low weight it is a sensational value. Equally impressive is the mini packed size. The only downside: the high price. This is a top jacket that hardly takes up any space in your backpack.

from outdoor magazine (July issue)


Reviewed in February, 2018

The MontBell Plasma 1000 has quickly become one of our favorite ultralight backpacking coats. It has a steep price tag, but we find it's quality to be exceptional, and think its cost will be worth it for the ravenous outdoor adventurer looking to get many years of backcountry use. Stuffed with 1000 fill power goose down, the Plasma has one of the best warmth-to-weight ratios on the market. Its puffy, comfortable, fits well, and has great hood and hem adjustments. The biggest downside to the Plasma in our eyes is it's price, which will make it prohibitive for many. However, if you're a thru-hiker or avid backcountry traveler looking for top-of-the-line ultralight warmth, the Plasma 1000 is pretty great.

from CleverHiker


Reviewed in September 2017

If you prefer to not immediately retreat to your sleeping bag at the end of the day, there's a good chance you have considered investing in a feather-filled jacket (more commonly known as a down jacket or puffy).

After starting and finishing the Continental Divide Trail with an intact Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka, I can say that this jacket is worth the (substantial) investment and can certainly hold up to the rigors of the trail.


[THE WARMTH] Down jackets are for keeping you warm, and this jacket does just that. It's filled with 3.4 oz / 96 g of 1000 fill power down – nearly 40% of the jacket's weight (that's a good thing). Sure, some jackets (like the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer) weigh slightly less, but they also have a lower fill weight which translates to less insulation. This jacket has kept me warm in temperatures down to 20°F/-6°C (wearing only a light wool hoodie underneath).

[THE LOFT] I think the technical term is poofiness, and this jacket is probably the poofiest I've ever worn. I've literally had multiple people comment on how poofy this jacket is. Unfortunately, after using it for the entirety of my Continental Divide Trail thru-hike, it lacked some of its original poofiness. However, after washing it (don't worry, I used down detergent), it's nearly returned to its pre-CDT level of poof.

[THE WEIGHT] This jacket weighs 8.4 oz / 237 g, and for the weight is one of the warmest you can buy. Yes, there are other, lighter, down jackets on the market, but they aren't nearly as warm as the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. Montbell also makes the Plasma 1000 Down Jacket and it weighs only 4.8 oz / 135 g – over 40% lighter than the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. Despite the Plasma 1000 Down Jacket appearing to be a hoodless version of the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka, it's not (it has less than half as much down and has no pockets).

[THE POCKETS] Some down jackets don't have pockets to save on weight, but the Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka has two zippered handwarmer pockets. And they're for more than just warming hands. The pockets each measure 8 in / 20 cm wide by 12 in / 30 cm tall and can accommodate a lot (including my oversize camera with a lens). The drawcords for hem adjustment are also in the pockets.

from Halfway Anywhere. com

"Backcountry" Magazine features the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka

Reviewed in January 2017

In the January issue of "Backcountry" magazine in their 2017 apparel guide. Here's what they had to say.

"When Montbell introduced their Plasma 1000 in 2013, they quickly became the standard bearer for lightweight and warm down insulation. Like the name suggest, this jacket relies on 1,000-fill insulation, as opposed to most companies' 500- or 700-fill approach.

Bottom Line: The Plasma changed the limits of puffies, creating a lightweight, packable option for those who run cold."

Thanks for the mention Backcountry!

from Read the review online at Backcountry.com

Bikepacking.com Gear of the Year 2016

Reviewed on December 16, 2016

Bikepacking.com featured the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka in their roundup of the best outdoor apparel for bikepacking. Here's what they had to say.

"Nothing short of the best down jacket out there, the Plasma 1000 Parka weighs only 8.5 ounces and has been worn comfortably in temps below 20°F. We loved their Down Anorak, but this jacket offers beefier performance with hardly any additional weight or space penalty."

from Bikepacking.com

Ultralight Insights

Reviewed on November 7th, 2016

Will Rietveld of Ultralight Insights has reviewed the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka. Find out what he has to say about Montbell's newest edition to our down lineup for Fall/Winter of 2016!

"Montbell is a leader in providing down insulated garments that are cutting edge, very lightweight, and reasonable priced. The new Plasma 1000 Down Parka, introduced in fall 2016, is the latest example. The 1000 indicates 1000 fill-power down, and to my knowledge, no other manufacturer can make that claim. Combined with 7-denier shell fabric, this parka provides a lot of warmth for its weight."

The Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka is an ideal insulated garment for the shoulder seasons, high altitude summer camping, for campers who require extra insulation to stay warm, and for sleeping in a hoodless quilt or sleeping bag.

It’s remarkable how Montbell is able to provide so many useful features in an insulated jacket for so little weight, and provide so many choices. For example, comparing the Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka (8.4 ounces, size Medium) to the hooded Ex Light Down Anorak (6.2 ounces, size Medium), for an extra 2.2 extra ounces you get more down, loftier down, hood adjustment, hand pockets, a full-height zipper, and an adjustable hem drawcord.

A case in point regarding the Parka’s extra features is the adjustable hood; it adjusts in front to seal around your face, and adjusts in back to pull it away from your eyes. It doesn’t balloon or blow off in the wind. In contrast, the non-adjustable hood on the Montbell Ex Light Down Anorak fits loosely and blows off in the wind. My solution is to wear my billed cap over the hood to hold it in place. So, a good case can be made that features matter, especially on a parka, and Montbell has a knack for adding functional features with minimal extra weight.

Overall, I don’t have any issues at all with the Montbell Plasma 1000 Alpine Down Parka; it fills its niche perfectly – an ultralight garment for cool weather and shoulder season activities.

from Ultralightinsights.blogspot.com