Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
Gear Guy

What parka is best for Denali?

Is a Patagonia DAS (which I already have) good enough for Denali? Or should I upgrade to Patagonia's Down Parka? Or to First Ascent's new Peak SV? Tom Great Falls, VA


Well, Patagonia's DAS Parka ($275) is a fine piece, a jacket with synthetic insulation that's great for cold, wet climbing. There's also First Ascent, the new Eddie Bauer brand that has Ed Viesturs as a consultant. Its Peak SV ($269) is a down-filled piece that is rated to about -5 degrees. A nice jacket, and I admire Viesturs, so if he is really working this problem, it's a good investment.

The Icefall

But for Denali? It is cold there. Really cold. Really, really cold. Did I say it was cold? Because it is. Twenty below is common at 17,000 feet noon. So if you're going, I really recommend serious insulation.

Marmot's Ama Dablam ($550) is an excellent mid-weight expedition parka. Long cut, full hood, 800-fill down. Weighs three pounds, so you get the sense this is a LOT of jacket. Or go with The North Face's Himalayan Jacket ($498). Overall it's similar to the Marmot, with 800-fill down, full hood, and serious design, but it's hard to track down.

Then there's the Feathered Friends Icefall Jacket ($475). This is what I would get. Super-warm, light at two pounds, and is really well designed. For warmth at all costs, Feathered Friends' Rock & Ice ($725) is to down parkas what Godzilla is to lizards. There is. No. Better. Down. Jacket. On. The. Planet. It's what I wore on Denali 12 years ago. Hardly needed to zip the thing up. Hell, I still have it and can sell it to you. I ain't going back!

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Lead Photo: courtesy, Feathered Friends