montbell alpine light down parka
Adventure sports, Camping

Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka Review

August 16, 2021
Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka
Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

FULL REVIEW OF Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

Montbell alpine light down parka provides the warmth it is famous for with its Alpine Light and features a 20D ballistic nylon with 800 fill power.

The individual nylons are passed through a heating and stretching process, making the Ballistic nylon stronger than standard nylon. Consequently, the shell is 1.5 times more abrasion-resistant and three times more tear-resistant than a non-ballistic alternative. What makes ballistic nylon great is that it is as durable as higher denier fabrics without the additional weight.

Montbell’s fill comes from birds that survive in regions that observe fluctuating temperatures. Montbell claims that these birds produce bundles of down. Alpine Light uses a sewn-through construction, and hence, the down is held in place.

Weatherproofing of Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

One tester said that the Alpine Light Down Parka kept the wind at bay throughout substantial immobile periods of racecourse monitoring and preparation during a season of ski coaching. In this regard, the tester said that he has never worn a jacket that beats the wind as effectively as the Alpine Light, saying, “The wind was howling at the top of A-Basin, and I felt nothing.” Another tester put the garment to the test on a cold hike along California’s Lost Coast, where it performed well against wet marine layer fog.

While the shell and zipper are coated with a normal DWR coating, the down remains untreated and, when coupled with the sewn-through design, may move to impact insulation when exposed to direct dampness.

Montbell has positioned the Alpine Light as a mid-layer. They acknowledge the fact that it’s not a stand-alone exterior layer.

Montbell Alpine Jacket

Temperature Control OF Montbell Alpine Light Down Parka

The Alpine Light Down Parka avoids features such as a two way zipper or pit zip. It solely focuses on providing warmth and excels at it. The construction is sewn-through which means that the down is held in place. However, there are increased chances of cold spots being developed. On the other hand, a baffled construction incurs additional cost, and the jackets are more expensive.

The high collar and adjustable hood kept the heat in around ski helmets and beanies, although it did create goggle fogging and moisture buildup on facemasks when it pulled down around the cheekbones.

Spindrifts were avoided since the hem adjustment cords were hidden within the hand pockets. During a few thigh-deep resort laps on Donner Summit, the modification remained in place. When the gloves are removed, the big, fleece-lined pockets are positioned against the vertical stitch junction of the torso and side panels, enabling the hands to be completely buried beneath the insulated core.


The first tester was 5’9″ and 170 lbs, and the second tester was 6 feet tall and 180 lbs. The medium size was a bit large for the former and a bit small for the latter. However, both testers were impressed with the comfort and how well the Parka sat with other layers. The elastic cuffs are a bit problematic with gloves, but they hold the wrists well. The hem is pulled up if arms are stretched out, hanging just outside the hips. Ideally, light base layers should be worn underneath the jacket.


Despite weighing less than a pound, The Alpine Light Down Parka provides amazing warmth with its 800 fill power down. That’s a great warmth-to-weight ratio. Although the testers didn’t find the hood helmet-friendly, the hood still cinched well and wasn’t much bulky. You could carry phones, headlamps, or other belongings with the Parka’s adequate pockets. The fact that hem drawcords are inside the hand pockets makes them difficult to adjust, especially with gloves on.

The coat has great compactness, and the zippers are never torn down like those on my other jackets did. The collar is a little fleeced from the inside, which feels comfortable against the skin, and the hood was compatible with sunglasses or goggles.


  • Great warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Compactness
  • Robust shell fabric
  • Wind blocking


  • Water resistance
  • Helmet-friendly hood
  • Exterior chest pocket zipper pull



There are very few alternatives in the market which could provide the same comfort and warmth while being this light. The hood is also very well designed. This Parka is a great option both as backpacking gear and as a casual winter jacket.

Alpine Light is an elegant parka with great features. The pockets are fleece-lined (though, oddly, the fleece is only on one side). The hood is very effective and warm.

I walked in the Alpine light last night, and the temperature was 10° F. Wore a wool sweater and a MontBell Thermawrap beneath the Alpine Light. I wasn’t cold at all. If you’re involved in an exerting activity, you might even need to unzip the Parka a little. However, you need a few layers with the Parka if you’re static in very cold weather. Mountain hardwear nilas is better suited for such conditions.

The Parka is comfortable, and it does not restrict arm movement. However, I think it could keep me a little more warm if it was a few inches longer.

The jacket is very light and easy to wear. It’s not designed to withhold bushwhacking, but it’s strong nonetheless. The hood blocks a little snow, but I haven’t really tested it in rain or snow in real terms yet.

I got the Parka from Montbell’s website at a great price. This jacket provides good value for money, and the 800 fill power provides adequate warmth.

Tenacious Tape has been released after it’s zipper broke last year. It is super comfortable and provides amazing warmth considering its weight. The downside is the zipper gave in last year, leaving you wearing extra layers below 30°F 30C for a few days.


  • Fill power is perfect at 800 and not too bulky.
  • The hood provides more warmth and comfort than any other hoods I’ve experienced.


  • Not seam sealed or waterproof, but the outer fabric is rated at 25 washes.
  • Inadequate size- could do better with a few more inches.


There are a lot of options for summer, which provides a little less warmth. This jacket provides much warmth with its 800 fill power. This is my go-to down jacket for the shoulder season; it’s generally too hot for summer, and there are lots of lighter alternatives.

I’m not sure where the initial review came from, but my Large is 12.8 oz, which is quite light for such a thick jacket.

I’m not sure where the initial review came from, but my Large is 12.8 oz, which is quite light for such a thick jacket. The neighborhood works great, and it is adjustable. The fleece lined zippered pockets are also amazing. The pockets on the insides are very helpful, and I lowkey hope more jackets would incorporate pockets like that. A stuff sack comes with the Parka, and it’s very compact.

This is a medium insulator. Therefore, I use a jacket with more fill power when temperatures drop down to single digits. I have a lighter and a heavier jacket for both summer and winter use, respectively. This jacket is used for the rest of the days. I like the fit, and it really keeps you warm. This is a light jacket with an awesome hood. If it’s really cold out, I’ll wear this under my shell for ice climbing, and it works great.

I’m a fanboy of Montbell’s Alpine Light, and I think it’s probably one of the best jackets out there in terms of value for money. The retail price is around $200 and could be less if you grab it in a sale.

Fabric: I guess it’s 30D Pertex

Fill power: 800


Montbell’s Alpine Light Down Parka sits at the middle of the continuum and is supposed to be used for cold season trips. It is an excellent wind-blocking jacket. Its 800 fill power insulation is kept in place by a sewn-through construction. The feathers chosen are also very effective while cost is also kept low. It’s very durable thanks to its Ballistic 20D nylon. The Alpine Light is too warm for summer use and cannot be used as a stand-alone layer in winter. Hence, it has a lot of competitors in the medium insulation category. There are only a few alternatives that weigh under a pound and provide as much warmth as this Parka.