I so, so, so, so want one! An awesome duck down jacket
I get cold, as I’ve said before. And another Scottish winter is coming. Last year I discovered a total love of the winter mountains, but that meant I was faced with even greater challenges for keeping warm. I get cold sitting in the house, for goodness sakes. As well as getting cold I also hate being over-hot and damp when I’m on the move. I am always looking for great products that offer lightweight kit with masses of warmth but that also wick away sweat and moisture. You’ll see that I am impressed by Woolpower socks.
Now I’ve spotted another porduct that I so, so, so, want – but, sadly, that is too pricey for my limited budget. This came about because the G-Force managed to get himself a “bargain” a couple of weeks ago. He’d had his eye on Mountain Equipment Down jacket. last winter this was around £200 to £230. But throughout the summer he’d occasionally check on-line to see if any of the jackets were on sale. As luck would have it he found a “large” Mountain Equipment jacket being sold in a sale.
He let me try it on and I didn’t want to take it off again. Ever. Having wrestled it off me the G-Force checked on-line to see if he could find me one in a medium size but no luck. Last season’s version is sold out and the new version isn’t quite the same and comes in at more than £200. Boo hoo!
Then the man who sent me the Woolpower socks mentioned a company called Valandre. They are French and they make amazing down-filled jackets and sleeping bags. Really, these are for people who are heading off to very cold places indeed. But I just love the look and the behind-the-scenes production of these items.
At the heart of every Valandré product is a material that can only be produced by the French Fat Grey Goose in only one region of the world. Apparently, this goose, sometimes based in Toulouse in the french Pyrenees, is the only breed in the world that produces “the highest quality down”. Twice a year, geese produce fresh down in preparation for flying their traditional migration routes. This is down that allows them to fly up to 33,000 ft (10,000m) in temperatures as low as -58°F (-50°C) for days at a time. Wow! Are you starting to see why I want one of these jackets?
And then Valandre has come up with a unique design for their products that best utilises this very special duck down. Their website says: “Imagine a down gear construction technique that is based on pure geometry, leaving nothing to chance. Using the human form as a guide, fabric is formed into shapes that surround every part of your body, minimising excess weight while keeping consistent levels of insulation at every point of your body. This is the foundation of Tubular Bell construction.”
Oh, I bet you want one now, too. Ah, but the price! If you want the best for the most arduous conditions then you do need to pay. The “basic” women’s S-Spit jacket retails at more than £351. Eek! I might start saving up now for next winter! This kind of jacket would be the business on a cold winter’s day in Scotland – and would most likely last a lifetime.
As one Valandre jacket owner told me: “The quality of these jackets is outstanding. Absolutely superb. You just have to put one on to feel that. I didn’t want to take it off again.”
* Maybe you’re a retailer who wants to stock these jackets? If so, give Donald Aitken a call on 07967 291216 or [email protected] (I’m not being paid to work for him or anything like that. We have just befriended each other on Twitter @fitscot and got talking about Scotland’s outdoors, adventures and great products!)