A down jacket is unlikely to be ideal riding attire in anything but the most frigid conditions, but it’s perfect for pre- and post-ride car park waits. On longer rides in the mountains, where self-sufficiency is a must, an insulating layer can prove vital too.
Down can provide a great deal of insulation for little weight, and the Baruntse’s small pockets of down strike a great balance of warmth and packability.
Our ‘not-so-slim’ tester finds Medium clothing somewhat svelte, so opted for a Large – and the Baruntse swamped him a bit. This sounds like a negative, but in reality it means it goes over anything, so it’s ideal for mid-ride stops. The other benefit of its size is that the generous hood fits over helmets. The hood has toggled elastic adjustments around the outer, but we’d like to see some volume-reducing adjustment too. The elastic has end tabs sitting inside the collar; their textured plastic feels scratchy.
An elasticated hem helps keep the warmth in, and the hand pockets have a soft lining to keep hands toasty. There’s a chest pocket too, plus an MP3 port.
When down gets wet its insulation is compromised, but Sherpa has tackled this with a DWR coating on the ripstop polyester. It keeps the odd shower off, but in prolonged rain, you should cover up.