Big Agnes has emerged as a leading manufacturer of down jackets over the past two years, bringing their know-how with down insulation, hood design, and lightweight fabrics to the challenge of designing high performance insulated apparel for front-country and backcountry use.
Big Agnes’ newest down jacket, the Third Pitch Hooded DownTek Jacket, is an ultralight marvel that is warm enough to serve as your warmest puffy layer on belay, on wind-swept mountain summits, or while melting snow in camp, without the weight or bulk of a much heavier down parka. Weighing well under a pound, the Third Pitch is insulated with 6.5 ounces of 850 fill power DownTek water-repellent down, The outer shell is a thin 10 denier ultralight wind and water resistant ripstop nylon, which weighs just 7 ounces, totalling 13.5 ounes on the mens XL jacket that I tested. Despite its ultralight weight, the Third Pitch is a fully featured jacket with a helmet-compatible adjustable hood, thumb-loops, and numerous internal and external pockets providing it with excellent flexibility for climbing, hiking, and winter backpacking adventures.
Big Agnes Third Pitch Hooded DownTek Jacket Features:
- 850 fill power DownTek water-repellent down
- Ultralight 10 denier nylon rip-stop shell is wind and water-resistant
- Insotect Flow vertical baffles keep you warmer
- Flow Gates eliminate down shifting
- Adjustable drawcord hood closure keeps the weather out
- Main zipper includes interior no-draft flap and a zipper garage at chin
- Adjustable drawcord at hem seals out wind
- Thumb holes eliminate the gap between sleeve and glove
- Two zippered hand-warmer pockets
- Two interior mesh pockets
- Interior chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack
- Fill weight size Large – 6.5oz/ 184g
- Jacket weight, size Large – 14oz/ 397g (13.5 oz Men’s XL, tested)
- MSRP: $449.95
The Third Pitch Hooded Jacket exudes warmth as soon as you put on. Part of that is certainly due to the 6.5 ounces of 850 fill down, which is a large amount of very high quality down to include in an athletically cut, body hugging jacket. In fact, I own two much heavier down parkas that have less down in them.
But the warmth of this jacket and its low weight is largely due to its baffle design which uses tubes of down instead of the more popular box baffle construction you find on other down or synthetic winter coats. Called Insotect Flow baffles, this is an innovation that comes out the sleeping bag industry which Big Agnes has applied to lightweight jacket design.
You can see the tube-like Insotect baffles on the Third Pitch, which run vertically up the arms and diagonally across the back and chest. These tubes require less fabric to sew, they keep your body heat closer for better warmth and allow it to flow more evenly throughout the coat. The down in the tubes is held in place by flow gates staggered along the length of the tubes that prevent it from shifting and help eliminate cold spots. The resulting decrease in baffles means less fabric is required to sew the coat, which translates to lighter weight gear.
Fully Featured Hood
There’s a disturbing trend in down jacket design where manufacturers are skimping on hood adjustability by making their hoods one size fits all with an elasticized face opening. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the Third Pitch Hooded Jacket which has draw strings in the hood so you can adjust it to your head size and draw it in tightly to block out the wind and bad weather. The hood is fully helmet compatible, which only makes sense in a jacket named the “Third Pitch”, but the hood isn’t so huge that hikers can’t use it comfortably too (I have a small-sized head and I’ve sensitive to such issues).
There’s a high collar on the hood the provides excellent wind protection for your face while sealing in interior heat and a brim is built into the top of the hood that sticks out about an inch to help cut down on sun glare. The hood adjustment hardware resides inside the hood so it’s not flapping around in your face. There’s an elastic cord that controls the size of the face aperture and two cord locks, both housed in their own garages, that let you control the tension of the fit, so there’s nothing to scratch or rub up against your face.
Pockets and More
The Third Pitch has five pockets that give you a lot of flexibility in different situations. There are two large zippered side pockets along the torso with zipper garages and zipper pulls, in addition to two cavernous, open mesh pockets on the inside of the coat above the hem. There is also a zippered chest pocket on the interior of the coat that can also be used as a stuff sack for the jacket. This pocket has a fabric loop sewn inside that is good for attaching keys to or anything you want to secure and forget.
The main zipper has an interior draft flap with webbing backing to prevent it from catching on the delicate shell fabric (nice!). There are adjustable cord pulls on the hem to block out drafts and seal the jacket’s warmth in, and thumb loops on the sleeves to eliminate cold spots between your hands and gloves.
- Very warm with 6.5 ounces of high quality 850 fill power down
- DownTek treated water-resistent down
- Ultralight fabrics and construction
- Full adjustable hood
- Body hugging shape that still provides lots of room for layering underneath
- Expensive (find yourself a sale)
The Big Agnes Third Pitch Hooded Jacket is an extremely warm but ultralight DownTek water resistent down coat that’s ideal for climbing, winter hiking, and mountaineering. With a body hugging design, it’s sleek enough to be worn as an extra layer inside your sleeping bag, but still provides lots of interior room for layering in cold weather. Fully featured with high quality 850 fill power down insulation, the Third Pitch Hooded jacket is a go-to jacket when pack space is at premium because it can replace a much bulkier down parka without compromising on warmth or camping comfort.
Disclosure: Big Agnes provided Philip Werner (SectionHiker.com) with a Third Pitch Hooded Jacket for this review.
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