Q:

Is the Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero SL Parka good for Denali?

Is the Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero SL Parka good for Denali? Eduard Burleson, Texas

A: Array

Heck, yeah. The Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero SL ($295) is designed for that kind of thing. It combines an ample amount of 650-fill down with a shell made from Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary waterproof/breathable Conduit laminate. It’s cut long for good coverage and has handy features such as an interior water-bottle pocket. It’s perfectly good for Denali, and probably even for May climbs when it is really cold.

I also like Marmot’s Greenland Baffled Down Jacket ($325). It’s built with a little different design philosophy than the Sub Zero. It uses a higher grade of down (850 fill) and a water-resistant polyester shell, which in my view offers a little better breathability. So overall I think the Greenland may well be better suited for the cold, dry conditions you are apt to find on Denali. It’s also a little bit lighter at 31 ounces, versus 37 ounces for the Sub Zero.

If you really feel like spending some money, it’s very hard to beat Feathered Friends’ Icefall Parka. It combines 850-fill down with an eVent shell, which makes it super-warm, waterproof, and very breathable. Weight is right between the two others I’ve mentioned, 34 ounces. The price is sort of stratospheric, at $475, but it’s a real investment in thermal well-being.

Hope you have a great trip!

The 2009 Winter Outside Buyer’s Guide is now online so you can get prepped for gift-giving season—even if everything you pick is for yourself!

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