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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

a private conversation?....Mont Bell Mirage

The first bit of our alaska kit is on the way.
Mont Bell Mirage down jacket, 15 oz in a large
fully box baffled...
Nelson was right, nothing like it on the market at that weight and warmth..we save  1/2 # easy in the pack and a good bit of space with comparable warmth to the Mtn H. Nilas and 150 less coin.

Be sure to remind me of all that when we are freezing our nuts off as the sun goes down @18K feet."

MB Mirage Large 14.7 oz/420g on my scale
3.5" loft at the shoulder
900 fill down


I will eventually be doing a full review of the Mont Bell, Mirage and Permafrost.   But I wanted to add this picture first.  Shown are the Mirage, Permafrost and the Mtn H. Nilas.  The MB jackets both retail for $350.  The Nilas $500.  Lots of info that will need to go into the full review but leave the basics at this.  The Permafrost has almost and extra inch of loft at the shoulder, the Mirage virtually identical loft at the shoulder by comparison to the Nilas.  Permafrost is within 90g of the Nilas with hood and 12g less than the Nilas with out a hood. The Mirage?  Yes?..almost a  full 1/2 pound less (210g) in weight than the Nilas.   Just say'in, looks to me like Ueli went to work at the wrong company ;)

More here:


Dersu said...

fully boxed baffles and 420g? no f***ing way.

Dane said...

Yep, Same thing I said. Jim Nelson @ Pro Mtn Sports turned me on to the Mirage. Glad he did.

Puts some serious hurt on the Nilas which I think is a very good jacket as well for the weight.

I really like the Mont Bell Synthetics I tested and wrote about but this one was a total surprise.

Kevin Senefeld said...

Nilas adds quite a bit of extra weight for the AirShield Elite membrane and backer. Have to remember the Nilas has a basically waterproof shell and DWR down.

MontBell makes great stuff, but the Nilas--on paper--is clearly the more featured jacket here. Quality and fit are more ephemeral and require review.

Nilas would be my #1 jacket recommendation for West Butt/West Rib parties again this year. I think by next Spring, Patagonia, Westcomb and Arc'Teryx will have some worthy products too… For a value pick, First Ascent Peak XV is still the leader under $200 on sale.

Dane said...

Hi Kevin, thanks for commenting.

Nilas is a good jacket. Certainly so on paper. If the price tag means anything an even better jacket. I have all the jackets you have mentioned. The Nilas and Mirage @ my desk right now. The Nilas uses standard 850 down, with no additional treatment. The Mirage uses 900 down with no treatment. The Nilas has more fill but not more loft than the Mirage. The actual differnece in the field of the Nilas shell in comparison to the Mirage shell is certainly up to question. Both use a DWR to great effect. The shell material on the Mirage is much better in the field than first impression might lead you believe. Nilas obviously has a very good shell and better colors :)

The Mirage is really in a catagory of its own from what I have seen. Very light weight and exceptionally warm. Might not be my first choice for a client on the butt. But no question it is my first choice for a Denali trip if both weight and warmth are a concern. Likely something clients should be more concerned about than us. I have seen and used a lot of jackets over the last 3 years....lots of jackets.

My opinion isn't based on paper, or just the numbers or paid advertising. But it is just another opinion.

The XV is exceptional in every way but way more jacket than either the Nilas o the loft and in weight. Nice to lay over the bag at 14 and 17 though for a bit of added warmth.

Kevin Senefeld said...

Your version of the Nilas is now last-generation. AFAIK the only change is the use of their water-resistant down. Fill weight, generally speaking, is more important than loft (despite the marketing). It looks like the Mirage has a niche, maybe the first really warm jacket to also be really light from a mainstream manufacturer. I haven't played with the Mirage, but my hunch is the Nilas will be a bit warmer, between the totally windproof shell, the extra fill, and the use of water resistant down. With that said, the sheer amount of weight MontBell dropped is great - both offer something different, with MontBell being out of category and first in its class.

Totally on the mark about the XV. More jacket, but also a lower price, and some "just in case warmth" for those who run cold.

Dane said...

Hey Kevin, I missed the newest version. Thanks for pointing it out. And now $550 retail for the Nilas as the Mirage goes down almost $50 and now closer to $300.

I would disagree on your assumption of fill weight however. It depends too much on the jackets's pattern and how the down is used. In the case of the Mirage the pattern is minimalist to the extreme. I'll eventually detail all that in a review. Most will want to inspect the Mirage quite carefully before deciding what jacket might work for them best. One needs to make their own decision as to what jacket is appropriate for them and their use of course.

Even I am questioning and looking very critically at the Mirage before I take it north for a month.

None of the med to heavy jackets I have reviewed or listed on the blog are bad choices. Even the lightest RAB would do yoeman's service on Denali. Or some of the jackets I wasn't very kindly to in the earlier reviews, they all have bdtd previous. As noted (or missed on the Nilas) all have changed almost every season in detailing. Some are just warmer than others and weights very slightly. It is only ounces. No bad choices here iMO. Thanks again for adding to the conversation Kevin. You made some good points.

Some interesting comments on the newest 'water proof" down worth sharing. At least two of the best companies have decided not to use the newest treated down products. Turning 750down into 1000 fill down is a little hard to believe. And some of the best designers don't believe (after beta testing) it can be done at all when it comes to durability over time. Good down garments will last decades like new if taken care of. Their loft only changing when the garment is dirty. And they can be cleaned. The newest down has proven a good bit less than durable so far by the two different designer's comments I've heard.

I trust their judgement.

Wilson said...

I am eagerly awaiting your full review of the Mirage!! Thank you for all the information you put out it has helped me on many occasions!

Jim said...

Dane, For Cold Thistle readers in the NW that want to check out this unique product and support a small local shop; Pro Mtn. Sports stocks the Mirage. The down may not be waterproof, but the Mirage shell fabric performs like gore-tex. Just sayin... they're pretty nice for cold weather missions!

bleed said...

How do you feel mont-bell Mirage Parka or mont-bell Permafrost Down Parka which one is warmer ?
If I take the rest (no activity), how many temperature do you think wearing the jacket will feel warm?


Dane said...

Take a look at the stats on both here:

Permafrost is twice the weight. You can bet it will be the warmer of two.
And cost you 25% more. But you are trying to make an apple to oranges comparison IMO.