Due to my limitations in my bag (32 ltrs) I would like to know which one is both the lightest and warmest solution I can pack with me (for the torso area). I do not care about doing sports in it. I just need it after a hike or walk i.e. stationery positions only.

  • 1
    Can you describe the environment and what other layers of clothing you'll be wearing? I'm tempted to suggest a vest but it might not be appropriate if it's your only layer and you're in anything below 5c.
    – furtive
    May 22, 2014 at 18:47
  • Is your limitation mostly about size/volume, or about weight (or both)? Because you quoted the volume of your backpack. That isn´t related to weight. May 23, 2014 at 15:15
  • weight is to be no more than 10kgs (trying to avoid above 8kgs too). 5c would sound like the temperature i´ll be finding.
    – Pixie
    May 29, 2014 at 8:58

2 Answers 2


Down is the lightest and most compressible delivering the best warmth.

Down is the undercoating of water fowl. It provides the greatest amount of dead air space of any insulation material for its weight. A down pod consists of light, fluffy filaments that grow from one quill or point. These filaments intertwine and mesh, forming air pockets which trap air. One ounce of goose down contains 23,000 pods and two million filaments.

It comes in different Fills ranging from 450 to 900, also be mindful that manufacturers may also only put 70% down and 30% other insulation...The best are usually 90/10.

They also come with different weights for example the Patagonia Nano Puff is probably one of the lightest down jackets, then you get into something like a Mountain Hardwear Nilas, and then last but not least an expedition weight parka like the North Face Himalayan Parka.

Here is a Buying Guide that may help you with your decision.

  • i see. thanks a lot. i will wait for some more answers before i check this one as such.
    – Pixie
    May 22, 2014 at 15:50
  • I'll second down. Patagonia's nano-puff and their down sweater (it's a jacket but it probably weighs less than any sweater you own) are extremely light and pack down nicely, and the perfect layer for keeping warmth in at the end of a hike, top of a summit or when it's just cold. I live in mine 9 months of the year, plus camping in the summer.
    – furtive
    May 22, 2014 at 18:49
  • ok thanks again. what about a base/first layer though?
    – Pixie
    May 23, 2014 at 7:13
  • @Pixie not sure of the weather but I only wear Merino Wool for Base Layer
    – AM_Hawk
    May 23, 2014 at 11:02
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    You might reconsider down because of the production process as 50-80% of downs are plucked off living birds. I heard Patagonia acted on this issue, though. But then the birds are getting killed. You might want to consider other materials, if thats something that bothers you. May 23, 2014 at 15:21

Although I agree with AM_Hawk as down being both light and compressible, I'd also suggest layering your clothing. Trapping heat between layers keeps warm air near your body, even without using a specific material.

The first layer is packed tight next to your body and regulates moisture / sweat: It keeps you dry. For example, a tight t-shirt. Next, a layer to keep the heat next to your body. Down is a great material for this. Finally, a layer to stop the wind. This also prevents the layer underneath from cooling down. A windproof jacket, even without down insulation, should do the trick.

Although this sounds like a lot of bulk to carry, I've found it to be quite effective. Because of their combined effect, the individual layers don't have to be that heavy.

  • thanks for the input. i think i will go for: base layer: merino icebreaker second: a tight elastic polar fleece third: a windstopper / windproof jacket i hope it fits! reason for not including a down jacket. PRICEY!
    – Pixie
    May 27, 2014 at 13:44

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