A:Theres a good reason why you cant find the Moonstone Lucid down jacket. Moonstonewell, Moonstone has folded its tent. Which is too bad. That was a fine brand that dated back many years. And their newer stuff was quite good.
The Patagonia Micro Puff is available, though, in the Pullover model ($148; patagonia.com). I think this is a great piecevery trim, layers well, and packs lots of warmth with its synthetic-fill insulation. During the winter months you can find the same thing in a zip jacket with a hood called the Micro Puff Hooded Jacket ($180). Its not on the Patagonia web site right now; however, some online sleuthing might uncover one for you now, if you are interested in doing so.
There are several other excellent choices in a light non-fleece insulating piece. A new item in the Montbell womens lineup, the Alpine Light Down Jacket ($150; montbell.com) weighs less than ten ounces and stuffs down to the size of a softball, yet packs lots of warmth due to its 800-fill down. This might be the piece you should get, as its going to be a little warmer than the Micro Puff, and slightly lighter. It wont perform quite as well in wet weather due to its down fill, but to me thats a secondary issue. Worn under a Gore-Tex or similar jacket it would be fine, even in cold rain.
Another choice is Mountain Hardwears Compressor PL Jacket ($165; mountainhardwear.com). Its a full-zip, hoodless pieceavailable in womens cutthat uses PrimaLoft One insulation. Like the Micro Puff or Alpine Light Down Jacket, its a great layering piece. It also works well as a standalone, as it has a nearly windproof nylon shell. I like PrimaLoft because its soft, warm, and works very well when wet.
Have a great trip!
The Gear Guy reports from 2007 Winter Outdoor Retailer, the bi-annual gearapalooza in Salt Lake City. Check out his top picks for gear to watch in 2007.