Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket
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A classic technical duvet-style jacket that is water resistant, windproof and down insulated, providing excellent protection in all but the most extreme weather. Nylon rip stop shell fabric with reinforced nylon shoulders and lower sleeve panels. 90% pure down filling with 600+ fill power. High fleece lined neck collar. Removable hood with wired visor.
Two hand warmer pockets and large inner chest pocket. Half elasticated cuffs.
Packs into small stuffsac.
Ladies Mountain Equipment Lightline Down Jacket also available.
Official Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket specification from Mountain Equipment
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Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket Reviews
Reviewed by Daniel Gender-Sherry (Reading, England) on 2006-01-14:
General comments: The Mountain Equipment Lightline is quite possibly the best all round down jacket that you can buy. It is more durable than the Rab Quantum jacket, and has a longer back to help keep out the drafts better than Mountain Hardwear jackets. The hood for this jacket is also down filled and provides excellent protection from the elements. There is an internal pocket with two hand warming pockets on the outside which work extremely well. It comes with its own stuff sack for packing into rucksacs which is very useful. On the sleeves there are extra durable patches to protect against rock abrasion as well as on the tops of the shoulders.
Pros: This jacket has a much longer back than other down jackets which keeps out the draft. The handwarming pockets work well. There is a soft chin gaurd to protect against the zip when the jacket is zipped up. Using the provided stuff sac this jacket compresses to a very small size. The visor of the hood is wired which is handy in windy conditions.
Cons: When you buy the jacket make sure the side pockets come with a zipper lease otherwise it is difficult using them with gloves on. The collar to the hood is a little short and doesnt really cover any of the face.
Reviewed by Daniel winter (Bangor) on 2006-01-14:
General comments: This down jacket is rated to keep you warm down to -10c due to the 600+ fill power.
The outer material is made from Drilite which will quite hapily keep light rain and snow away. Compared with some other down jackets on the market, the outer shell of the Mountain Equipment Lightline is very durable and is reinforced in high wear areas like the shoulders and arms. Other features of note: the elastic drawcord around the waist cuts out the draft and stops all the heat from escaping; the removeable hood is great at keeping your head warm as it is also down filled. It is attached using poppers and easily stows in the inside pocket .
The featture that I really like about the lightline is that it comes with its own stuff sack and packs away very small to store.
Pros: Packs away into its own stuff sack . Detachable hood. Reinforced high wear areas.
Cons: The collar is quite low even with the hood fully done up leaving a large area of the face exposed.
Reviewed by Justin Maxwell (Edinburgh) on 2006-01-20:
General comments: I've had this jacket for a couple of British winters, and used it about as often as one would expect in this mild climate. The Mountain Equipment Lightline is very warm indeed, and shower resistant thanks to a DWR coating. I particularly like the length of the jacket, and the reinforcement of high-wear areas, which show it was designed for actual outdoor use (unlike a well-known brand I won't name). The fit is good with a qualification - while the jacket fits me well, with full arm extension, the hood is absolutely too small (I don't have a big head), leaving me very little room for my neck and compressing the down in the hood so it's less effective, and definitely restricting head movement. Maybe they've corrected this obvious design flaw by now. The jacket itself has a toggle drawcord at the hem (not the waist as another reviewer claimed), and a fairly high collar, as well as being windproof, so it keeps the warmth in. However the hood closure - velcroed crossover flaps - is insubstantial and doesn't cover the face. There is a drawcord in the hood to pull it tighter around your head, but if the hood's already too tight that's of little use. The hood has a wire brim for what it's worth. The Lightline (like any down jacket) is really too warm for climbing from near sea level in Britain - unless you plan to spend a week climbing one Munro - the exertion involved soon results in wet down. I've packed mine as a summit jacket, and though 800 grams is a lot to carry in addition to basic winter kit, it's not that bulky while in the stuff sack (provided), and I have been happy I brought it on more than one occasion. I've also worn it walking in the Appalachians during a proper New England cold snap (-15 and colder), over a winter base layer and was quite warm. The tough material proved highly branch-resistant on the forested slopes. I like a lot about the Mountain Equipment Lightline, not least its relative low weight and durability - I plan to bring it winter camping this year. I've just got to sort out that hood!
Pros: Very good weight/warmth ratio, good length, hard wearing, packable in stuff sack provided, inexpensive compared to some.
Cons: Difficult finding a use for down in rainy, mild Britain, little or no face protection, hood way too small!
Reviewed by D.ten (S.Wales) on 2006-02-08:
General comments: I bought my lightline to replace my aging Cerro Torre synthetic jacket which had provided me with years of service. I felt that it was time to invest in a down jacket as i love the feel and warmth that my down sleeping bag gives, thinking the jacket would be the same. I have always gone for mountain equipment as I like the fit of their clothing and the are a UK company (even if most things are made in the far east and hungary). The jacket is filled with quality 600 fill down which is claimed to keep you warm to -10. i have worn this jacket in Glen Coe in -8 and it worked a treat. The outer fabric is their Drilite fabric and offers a high degree of water resistance although i always tend to head for the tent/car/pub when the rain comes in. there is a nice fleecy collar to keep your neck and chin cosy and warm. The outer has extra fabric patches on the elbows and shoulders for added protection and the hood is wired and comes off from its popper attachment. The hood is a great feature and something mountain equipment is renowned for. finally the jacket comes with its own stuffsac for packing.
Pros: the fit, i agree with the other reviewers that the longer cut is something that should warrent mention, keeps all your lower back warm. Quality
Cons: could come in more colours!! but apart from that not much
Reviewed by Andy Martin (Edinburgh) on 2006-03-31:
General comments: I had an older version of this Mountain Equipment Lightline and used it until the zip came away from the lining and the cuffs were totally scuffed through to the down. I found the jacket to be excellent, although it certainly didn't like getting wet, the down would go all matted. Thought about purchasing a new one but opted for the North Face Nuptse due to the extra down fill and the cheaper price.
Pros: Used the life out of it. Cosy
Cons: The Lightline wasnt functional in the rain. Unacceptable that the zip came away from the lining. Feathers constantly molted from the seams.
Reviewed by Dave Stocks (Todmorden, West Yorkshire) on 2006-04-09:
General comments: This is the lightlite down jacket from Mountain Equipment. It is has a drylite shell which provides a great amount of water residents to stop the down from getting wet the jackets would be 100% waterproof if they had taped seams. They have a hood which is a feature i wouldn't do without when buying a down jacket has you lose a massive amount of heat through your head and its good to get in your hood and go to sleep and get cozy in your jacket. The Lightlite has wear resident areas on the shoulders and arms. If i remeber rightly the temperture rating is -15. The fill power is 600+ and 90% down fill. I have have this jacket for quite some time and it is brillant and warm great for scotland in winter or just wearing down to the pub. There is two internal net pockets which will waterbottles for when is cold to stop them from freezing as well the two outside pockets had big enough to stuff your gloves and hat into while your warm. My mate has one of these jackets two and has been around to world climbing with him in New Zealand the Alps and all over. In my opinion these jackets are very good not quite up to the RAB standard but still really good and i wouldn't buy a rab one as they are a resonable amount more for the same sort of jacket and not as waterproof.
Pros: Hood with wired peak, Fleec lined collar, bottle pockets, Adustable cuffs and hem, highly water resident
Cons: mine has holes in it and need a new one. to be honest i can't realy think of any
Reviewed by Jim Sabiston (Cardiff) on 2006-04-09:
General comments: One of my initial concerns about the Lightline was the durability of the fabric. So far, this concern has proven to be unfounded. As the jacket has been worn primarily on maintained trails, wear and tear should not be a major issue. The few times the jacket was rubbed across exposed rock had no noticeable affect. I still would not be inclined to force my way through a briar patch with the jacket, though!
Water resistance: I have worn the jacket in several light rain falls. In those cases the small water droplets beaded up and did not penetrate the fabric. I have not had an opportunity to get the jacket out in a good downpour yet, so the limits of the materials water resistance are still unknown to me.
Hood: The hood is very easy to use. It releases and reconnects very easily and fits well. To date, I have had no call to use the hood, however.
Zips. Here is where we get to the bad news. The zippers leave a great deal to be desired. I don’t know if it is just me but mine keeps getting stuck, I have found this problem to be accentuated in cold weather when your fingers are quite with it. It seems to take more than a little effort to engage the zip to the slider and get it on that first part of the ladder. Overall a very good and capable jacket.
Pros: Superwarm and light, good hood, unlikely to use it
Reviewed by Rich L (Aberdeen) on 2006-04-18:
General comments: I bought a Mountain Equipment Lightline Jacket in late 2002 and the current jacket has been subtly changed with new colours and some features improved. Essentially it remains the same, with a highly water resistant outer, good down fill and keen price. The dri-lite outer although water-resistant does leak noticeably through the stitching and I have noticed after drizzly climbing sessions that it can take a while to dry round the stitching. Also the outer seems to pick up stains and marks really easily, and I am not keen to wash it too often and therefore lose its fluff. Mine looks a bit ragged because of this. The hood is massive and a bit shapeless. It does fit over a helmet, but is pretty useless in bad weather as the wind catches it and rips it down. I have also had strong winds pull the hood attachment poppers loose, and the hood has on occasion come off as I pulled the jacket from my bag. The hood in my opinion needs either more poppers and Velcro or even better…a zip! As for warmth it seems reasonably good but I have had better down jackets in the past such as the RAB Extreme Smock. I think the down quality of the ME stuff is just not as good. However, for the price, mustn’t grumble.
Pros: Warm, light, cheap for what you get
Cons: seams leak, outer picks up dirt, not that warm
Reviewed by George Woods (Co. Down, N. Ireland) on 2007-01-14:
General comments: Have been wanting to buy Mountain Equipment Lightline for few years but could never justify spending that amount of money on it. I have a Sprayway 300weight fleece which I thought was warm, until I bought this down jacket. It is unbelievably warm. When outside in the wind you just zip up and it feels so so warm, absolutely no need for a windproof on top. Was caught in a rain shower once and the water just beaded up and rolled off, when I got indoors the jacket was dry within minutes. It is very comfortable as well and has 4 large pockets. It has 2 handwarmer pockets which are good and big. Also 2 inner pockets 1 of which is a mesh zipped one. It comes with a stud off hood and a stuffsack to put it in when in a rucksack, and it compresses down very well, to approx the size of an iron...sorry its nearest thing to my eye of the same size...
I WOULD ADVISE ANYONE THINKING ABOUT THIS JACKET TO BUY IT NOW!!!!! I bought it from outdooraction.co.uk for £110 + £4 delivery. Also gaynors.co.uk has it for £112 so you have no excuses..
Pros: Very very warm.Super comfortable. Large handwarmer pockets plus 2 large internal pockets.
Cons: NONE WHATSOEVER !!!!
|This review has 1 comment(s):
Big John responded : Once again I can concur with Georges review. I completely agree that for the past few years he has indeed been wanting this jacket. Infact a few years back I actually saw George physically drool in a Cotswolds store whilst trying on this jacket. This was not only distressing for me but for the poor lady who slipped on the puddle of spit! Of course that "trying on" never lead to a purchase at that time, as in his own words Gerorge, "could never justify spending that amount of money on it", ie he is a tight so and so.
When George finally got permission from his wife , sorry, I mean decided to buy this jacket I was more than relieved for a number of reasons. Not only would his moanings of owning a down jacket cease to be but to be frank his sprayway 300weight fleece was beginning to smell a little.
The day George received the jacket it was like a new little arrival into the Woods household. Text messages were sent, phone calls were made all giving the vital information, size, weight, time and yes indeed - name!
George and "MOUNTY" are now inseparable. They make a lovely pair and George is kept cosy and dry. George opts to take the hood off for that more modern "mountain man about town" look but to be honest it would take a lot more than removing a hood for him to achieve this.
Despite Georges love of ironing this review can be trusted. I would recommend anyone to buy this jacket if you to have a friend who is too tight to buy it themselves and waits years for the price to drop.
Excellent jacket not so excellent walking partner. (2007-02-22)
Reviewed by Dave (Leeds) on 2007-04-14:
General comments: A simple down jacket. Very warm, good design and the hood is fantastic. I bought mine from Outdoor Action last November for around £110.
The jacket oozes quality and in blue, looks fantastic! Nice touches include the high abrasion patches on the elbows and shoulders which reassures you that the jacket should last a while in case brushed on rocks and the like. The pockets are a good size and at just the right height for wearing a harness underneath.
However, as always with down if it were to get wet it would be completely useless and possible be ruined! This is not quite as an issue with the Lightline as with other down jackets due to the DWR finish. This gives a decent waterproof coating that is fine if you just get caught in a shower, however, the sewn-through construction means it definitely isn't waterproof! For this reason I also have bought the ME Cirrus jacket as it is synthetic. I also notice that feathers regularly appear all over my room now, obviously they somehow manage to escape from the jacket somehow, I don't have a clue at how much down would be lost through this however.
The jacket is lighter than some others, but doesn't compact down as well others might do - my stuffsack has actually developed a small hole from being repeatedly stuffed, so maybe the bag could be a bit bigger.
Pros: warm, good hood, DWR finish, pockets well placed, cool colour
Cons: stuff sack not the best, feathers escape somehow, not waterproof. Would possibly consider Alpkit Fantom now.
Reviewed by Andy (Northumberland) on 2007-12-10:
General comments: This is not the most technical down jacket in the world, it hasn't got too many fancy widgets or anything on it. Instead you get a really good 600 fill 90% down jacket. It is far from the cheapest on the market but it can often be found on sale at well below the RRP, I picked mine up this spring for less than £90.
The outer sheel is windproof and will rapidly dry after a light spray. However, this jacket is in no way waterproof. This is not a bad point, it is not designed to be waterproof. this jacket is meant to for altitude and snow where the outer is more than sufficient to keep the down protected.
Here in the UK it is important to get a waterproof shell on asap if you want to use this jacket in the wet. Personally I generally find this jacket a little too warm to wear when active. It is great though to wear in camp or when belaying or similar. Unlike many down jackets, this one packs down really small and even comes with its own stuff sack. Obviously you need to shake it out pretty well after unpacking it to get the loft back into the down.
The hood is great on this jacket. I realise that some people find the face opening too large, however, this has the advantage that it helps to keep the hood well inside the hood of a waterproof shell. In so doing it ensures that you keep warm. If you start to feel the wind on your face then a thin balaclava or buff should solve the issue. To be honest, I find the jacket so warm that I am usually glad of a cool spot on my face to let some heat out! Also the hood fits really well under the stealth hoods on the ME hardshell jackets.
Pros: Good simple jacket that is well made to the usual high ME standard.
Cons: Can be too warm for the UK.
Reviewed by Anthony E (manchester) on 2008-03-29:
General comments: I have had my Mountani Equipment Lightlight jacket for over a year now and everyday I have worn has been a happy one. It is equally suited for sitting in a chilly campsite at night, sat on a belay stance or for walking around town in less than warm temperatures.
I first got to try its warmth out when I went to Cairngorm for a winter skills course in Janurary 07 with -17 windchill, where coupled with my shell over the top was more than adequatley warm. While my friend was shivering in his TNF Nupste stood at the base of Stanage edge in November, I was smug knowing i was almost sweating. It is, however, too warm for any kind of exertion but this fact is a given for any down jacket!
The Drilite fabric is sufficiently waterproof to prevent a good downpour from damaging the delicate down but because of the box stitched design, it is not waterproof enough to wear alone in Scottish winter conditions.
The size of the jacket when in its stuffsack is small enough for it to be carried without taking up too much room and can be used as a camping pillow when its too warm to be worn at night.
If you need a light, windproof, highly water resistant belay jacket, look no further.
compared to other down jackets that are similar, I would choose the Lightline as it beats them all.
Pros: Exceptionally warm for the weight, sufficently waterproof for a good drenching, packs down very small and it has a decent sized removeable hood.
Cons: I can only find fault with a couple things. Firstly, the toggles on the hood are less than useless but i just replaced them with better ones and I have found no need for the double zip provided other than to make it hard to zip up sometimes.
Reviewed by Eduardo Martinez (Settle) on 2009-03-30:
General comments: I've had one for the past 16 years. However in the last year the nylon has got very thin and is starting to tear. There is only one duvet I would choose - another lightline. Its simply the best that you can buy and I know it will last me another 15 years at least.
Pros: Proven quality and track record. I have owned one for 16 years and it is only in the last year that it has started to tear due to UV degradation.
Reviewed by Darren McKean (Dumfries, Scotland) on 2010-01-30:
General comments: First up, the outer pockets. Not good! If I am going to wear a jacket that protects me at -10°c then it’s because I need to wear a jacket that protects me at -10°c. I do not wish to be mucking about trying to free pocket zips that are caught in the material!
Everything else is good, even the main zip, which although it feels a little insignificant, is a YKK and works fine. The water resistance I have not put to the test for 2 reasons.
1: I know these types of jacket are generally poor in the rain; snow is ok, but not rain.
2: These jackets are designed to be worn below 0°c. It doesn’t rain much below that so why would I care about water resistance? And yes, I am aware of wind chill etc but if it’s warm enough to rain, I put a waterproof jacket on and save the down jacket for colder times.
It does keep snow off and the hood works great if you adjust it. I was concerned how well it would work when worn with a rucksack but I can report no cold spots around the mid or shoulders. The jacket comes with a stuff sack which, when “stuffed” resembles a small sleeping bag. When removed it does not take long to expand and even when removed from a cold rucksack it quickly warms up when put on. Add to all this the price and I can forgive the pockets. Would I buy again? Yes.
Pros: Warm. Comfortable. Stuff sack.
Cons: Just those pocket zips catching outer material.
Reviewed by G. Scott (Northants) on 2011-01-28:
General comments: I bought this jacket not for outdoor pursuits, but instead for coping with the worst of the winter in everyday life.
Sadly I made 2 mistakes with this jacket.
Mistake number 1 was assuming that any down jacket would be warm enough to use as a single outer layer over a shirt and tie. It's not - at this price it's stitch-through construction which leaves cold spots, and the weight of down filling is fairly light. The cold is not kept at bay in the way I had hoped when waiting for a train or sitting at the football. A colleague at work who spotted me wearing the same jacket as him also made the same comment. Personally I do feel the cold badly, someone used to winter sports or hillwalking might not feel it the same way.
Mistake number 2 was trusting the photos on the internet showing the cobalt/midnight blue colour scheme. It looks fairly conservative in the photos but in broad daylight it is quite a vivid royal blue, sticking out like a sore thumb on the high street. I also got half a dozen irritating comments at work which I feel would not have come if I'd been wearing exactly the same item in black. Again, a bad decision on my part.
I understand this type of gear is intended for active outdoor pursuits and I would completely accept that when I am doing anything active - even scraping ice off the car windscreen - the warmth builds quickly. It doesn't get too warm however even after a fast 30 minute walk in temperatures just above zero with a light jumper on underneath. Somehow, I think it should be just a little bit too warm for that even for someone with my metabolism and sensitivity to the cold.
Objectively I could still make some critical points. The zip is rather flimsy and difficult to insert with cold hands (why do you need a double zip anyway on an insulated jacket?), and the collar doesn't go up very high - it stops below the chin. I'd also agree with others who comment on the pocket zips catching the material, they are fiddly to zip up.
After all the reviews praising this jacket, written by outdoor enthusiasts, I wanted to put across a slightly different opinion.
I've now spent a load more money on the Himal jacket by the same brand. That probably sums it up for me - Mountain Equipment gear seems to be well made but I just made a bad decision.
Anyone else thinking of buying it for the same reasons as me, I hope my comments help you make the right decision!
Pros: Very well made, comes with stuff sack, warm when used for active or semi-active pursuits, waterproof outer material makes it good value for money.
Cons: All the zips are problematic. Not massively warm for non-active pursuits. Collar not high enough
Reviewed by R Pierce (North Wales) on 2013-03-11:
General comments: Bought this jacket for general mountain walking as opposed to technical mountaineering. Loved the fit and general feel of the jacket and for the price thought it was hard to fault...until I started using it for real and discovered that almost every time (literally) that I try to close the zips on the hand-warmer pockets, the piece of material covering the zips gets caught in the zip itself. It can be extremely difficult to free and virtually impossible when wearing gloves! I asked friends and family to try the zips and they found exactly the same problem. I therefore contacted Mountain Equipment for their comments and two e mails later still had no response.
After a call to customer services a very concerned lady promised me a return phone call. When it came my comments were dismissed saying that that this was the first they had ever heard of the problem. Out of interest, the next time I was in a well known outdoor shop in Llanberis I tried the pocket zips on every ME Lightline on the rack. All displayed the same problem.
Sorry ME but not good enough. This jacket had clearly not been properly field tested before being put into production. I should have taken it back for a refund immediately and changed brands. Also very poor customer service and I will be extremely reluctant to purchase ME products in future.
For what its worth, the rest of the jacket is very capable and good value for walking etc. Warmth, cut and comfort all good on me....size small for my 5'7" / 40" chest / 32" waist. If you want to wear it over a climbing helmet however, forget it as the hood is way too small if you wish to move your head.
Pros: A good value comfortable down jacket for people who don't want or need pockets and are happy to leave them closed.
Cons: I can't see past the unacceptable pocket zip problem. I'm amazed that only several other reviewers have picked up on what is an unacceptable problem on a jacket of any price. Also, the hood is too small for use with helmets.
Reviewed by Don Thompson (Northumberland) on 2015-02-02:
General comments: Really warm and durable jacket. Mine still looks new after 3 years , admittedly, winter only use.
Seems to shed water from light showers no problem.
Pros: The hood on mine is great, plenty big enough, unlike some of the earlier reviewed jackets.
The long back is great in really cold weather.
Cons: Bulkier than some of the decent alternatives.