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Gear Guy

What jacket should I wear at Everest Base Cp?

I will be spending three months at Everest Base Cp. What jacket would you recommend? I a 5'1" female, and it seems all the jackets targeted for temps at 8,000 meters are only made for men. Torrey Kailua, HI


Well, Torrey, picture this. You will be at Everest Base Camp for three months. During that time you will not shower or wash your hair (at least not much), and you won’t have much of a change of clothes. So I ask, does it really matter if you wear a man’s down jacket or not? I concede, the most efficient jacket would tailor to a woman’s build. But, really, we’re talking a limited market.

Frontpoint Jacket


So I’d invest in woman’s long underwear from Patagonia or another company who “gets" it that women like something different. For that last layer, the down jacket, go with what works. Based on personal experience on Denali, I would buy a Feathered Friends Frontpoint Jacket ($385 with Epic Nextec shell). It isn’t super-heavy (30 ounces) but is very warm—lots of 850-fill down and easily up to base camp conditions. Beautifully made—it will last forever.

Mountain Hardwear does make a woman’s mountain down parka, the Sub Zero Hooded SL ($350). It’s a fine piece, tailored to fit a bit better. But it just isn’t the same quality as the Frontpoint—lesser down, lesser shell.

A down parka? C’mon—everybody looks like a marshmallow. So buy what works.

Check out our annual Winter Buyer Guide to outfit your entire cold-weather kit.

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Filed To: MountaineeringMount Everest
Lead Photo: courtesy, Feathered Friends