Down jackets can easily have ludicrous pricetags, but is it worth skimping? The Vigilante Vinson down jacket features 550-loft, responsibly-sourced down and comes from an Australian-owned company. Liam took it out on a pre-sunrise shoot to find out if it was the goods.
I’ve always been a big fan of winter — the smell of smoke from chimneys, frosted landscapes and the vivid sunrises and sunsets are just a few of my favourite things — I am however, not a fan of shivering my tush off. One piece of outdoor kit that I’d never owned until last year was a down jacket, and owning one was a game changer for me considering some of the places I frequent with my camera.
Australian clothing brand Vigilante recently got in touch with We Are Explorers and sent me their Vinson Down Jacket to try out in the field. Seeing as Brisbane is low down on the list of Australia’s cold places, I travelled to Bald Rock National Park in north-east NSW with the hope of a chilly morning the following day.
My first impression of the Vinson Down Jacket was certainly positive. It felt well-made, looked stylish, was fairly lightweight and comfortable to wear. I was keen to hit the road and put it to the test!
Look & Comfort
It’s true that most people these days want to look good wherever they go. Down jackets are just as popular in the city as they are out in the wilderness, and I think the Vinson is right on the money when it comes to style. It has a close fit to the body, minimal branding and the detachable hood is a great option to have. As my grandmother said when she saw me wearing it, “Well it’s quite dressy isn’t it. Very nice!” Thanks, Nan.
The jacket feels snug, but not restrictive to wear, allowing for adequate layering underneath. The adjustable wrist cuffs allow more or less airflow as desired, and the jacket cinches on both sides, to allow tightening around the hips.
The Vinson is filled with 550 power loft, responsibly sourced duck down (80%) and duck feathers (20%). Although 550 is in the lower half of the loft power spectrum, it’s more affordable and is fine for conditions here in Australia. This jacket appears to have a sewn-through construction, meaning the insulation isn’t as good along the stitching compared to more expensive box-baffle construction. This is reasonable considering the $289 price tag.
I ventured out for an overnighter at Bald Rock National Park where the temperature was forecast to hit close to zero overnight. My plan was to get up 4.00am and shoot some astrophotography at the summit of Bald Rock before dawn. I had also managed to choose one of the windiest weekends in months…
The howling wind was ice cold that morning, but the Vinson jacket managed to keep my upper body nice and toasty with a couple of underlayers on and provided much-needed wind resistance. I was able to tighten the wrist cuffs around my gloves and cinch the hood tight around my head, keeping my ears warm. I did find that if I tightened the wrist cuffs too much that they had a tendency to come undone, so don’t go crazy.
Size & Weight
The Vinson down jacket weighs in at 750 grams and packs down into a travel pillow bag that’s pretty handy for travelling. There are much lighter options on the market but you can expect to pay a lot more for those. I’ll definitely be taking this with me on my next overnight hike!
Durability & Waterproofness
Although I didn’t go out of my way to test this jacket to breaking point, I used it as I would any other piece of clothing I’d take out bushwalking on a photography trip. Constantly throwing my camera bag on and off, laying down on grippy granite rock and squeezing through some thick scrub didn’t cause any damage to the jacket. I also tied it around my waist by the sleeves during the day and used it as a cushion while I was sitting up on Bald Rock at midday.
I didn’t experience any rain during my trip but I gave the jacket a shower at home, running it under water for about one minute. The nylon outer with DWR (durable water repellent) coating appeared to work well. The down inside stayed lofty and I couldn’t see any signs of water getting inside, so if you’re caught in a shower you shouldn’t have any issues. As specified on Vigilante’s website, this feature repels ‘light rain and snow’ so I wouldn’t count on it as a waterproof jacket.
The Vinson, Taking Warmth Into Its Own Hands
I’m definitely looking forward to using the Vigilante Vinson down jacket more throughout winter. I think that this is an overall good quality product from Vigilante, despite a couple of minor features that could be improved. With a reasonable price tag of $289, it’s sure to keep you warm and looking great throughout the colder months!
Liam was provided with the Vigilante Vinson down jacket for review purposes and got to keep it afterwards. The views are entirely his own.
Puff or pass?