Right before Christmas, we spent some time in the new Eddie Bauer store in downtown San Francisco. Nice spot. And we picked up a new jacket while we were there. An Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Jacket, to be precise. Ours came in the Cinder (silver) with bright blue zippers. It’s a nice color combination, not one you see everyday, and we like it.
The Downlight StormDown employs 800-fill-power down and as the name implies is light weight at 13.5 ounces. The product definitely has that “puffy” jacket feel, similar to the L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 Jacket. But it’s still versatile. You can wear it as both an outer layer or interior layer under a shell when extra weather protection is needed (which was not at all in Northern California this rain-starved January).
Fabric: Recycled ripstop polyester
Insulation: StormDown (DownTek) 800 fill down
Weight: 13.5 oz
What the StormDown does have is the ability to pack into one of those exterior pockets for easy transport. With a little work, you can shove the entire jacket into the left pocket and zipper it into a softball sized package. Nice.
About a little more than a year ago, we conducted a series of tests on the first wave of hydrophobic down jackets, water-resistant products made possible by several down suppliers that figured out how to apply a durable water-repellent (DWR) to their feathers. We conducted two tests on those products. The first was in the lab, the second in real-world rain storms. (See more info here)
With the StormDown, we conducted only the first test in the lab. California just reported the driest January on record and there was not a single rain storm this past month. In the lab, the StormDown performed well. Our ten minute test showed no penetration of water from the exterior to the interior of jacket (although the silver-colored DWR-coated exterior did show signs of discoloration caused by water).
As for the physical fit, the StormDown hues close to the body, trim but not constricting. Sleeve length is good overall, as well.
The Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown is quite well done. The company made solid choices in fabrics and quality is evident throughout. The only downside to the StormDown is the lack of interior pockets. But if you can get over that, the StormDown is a worthy addition to your winter wardrobe.