Flight Lite Jacket

The Flight Lite down jacket is ideal for cooler temps or if you’re going to be on the move and you need protection from inclement weather. Functional, affordable, and streamlined, it’s now Melissa Love’s go-to puffy.

The Flight Lite down jacket is ideal for cooler temps or if you’re going to be on the move and you need protection from inclement weather. Functional, affordable, and streamlined, it’s now Melissa Love’s go-to puffy. Photo by Brad Clement.

Despite the plethora of outdoor clothing companies in the United States, finding outdoor gear that’s functional, fashionable, and affordable isn’t always easy. But Red Fox’s Flight Lite down jacket meets all these requirements. It’s obvious this Russian company’s leaders, most of whom are mountaineers, have a wealth of experience in the high peaks and they consider their fellow adventurers when designing their products.

I took the Flight Lite jacket on its first adventure to the Indian Peaks Glacier Trail. The jacket was light to carry, but also really warm, secure, and cozy despite the lack of sunlight and the high country winds that blew in early afternoon. Though it appears high volume when I’m wearing it, it packed down into my day pack easily, leaving plenty of room for snacks, water, and other necessities. Since then I’ve taken it to the crags on numerous rock climbing and scrambling adventures in the mountains.

I appreciate the slightly oversized hood; it covered my head and ears and had a bit of overlap with my forehead; it doubled as a sunshade and was useful against the bright reflection off of Isabel Glacier Lake. It has a tube and a two-way adjustment. I loved various other aspects of the design, including the color panels along the sides and tapers along the waist. The tapering satisfied my fashion consciousness, and kept me from feeling like I was walking in a potato sack. Even with the volume of the jacket, I never felt like the “Michelin Tire Man.”

The form of the jacket is also superb. They call it an “alpine fit.” I found this to mean I could move unencumbered in the mountains, whether scrambling, rock climbing, or hiking. Plus, it works very well for belaying, as it was designed with a “shorter silhouette” and “trim-cut lower sleeves/cuffs” to be compatible with a harness. In fact, the sleeves fit well, were not too short when I lifted my arms up while climbing, and there was plenty of room under the armpits, so that I could put on various layers underneath without feeling too bunched up. As a long-time rock climber, I’ve developed a large set of lats, which makes most jackets feel tight in the underarms. As I mentioned earlier, the designers clearly had climbers in mind when they made this jacket; it fits comfortably.

The Flight Lite down jacket is ideal for cooler temps or if you’re going to be on the move and you need protection from inclement weather. Functional, affordable, and streamlined, it’s now Melissa Love’s go-to puffy.

Photo by Brad Clement.

Other features of this jacket include zippers that can be easily unzipped even with gloves. I always wear gloves while belaying, especially when temps drop. Few jackets that I’ve worn have had such easy-to-use zips. The elastic sleeve cuffs keep the wind out. Either the exterior chest pocket or the interior, zippered chest pockets are in easy-to-access locations; both are great places to store the car keys, credit card, lip balm, a phone, or even an energy bar. And the two lower hand pockets are well placed for a quick hand warming. Plus, the 100 percent ripstop nylon and reinforced areas on the shoulders, outer, and lower sleeves appear to be durable, though I’ll have to wear it another year to really give you the lowdown on this.

Finally, the jacket is affordable. Red Fox offers a quality product for about 30% below the cost of well known brand brands that have comparable products made in Asia. For those who have an active outdoor lifestyle, and are looking for high quality and solid design, this jacket is an excellent choice. It’s ideal for cooler temperatures, such as any season in Colorado, hanging out at Denali’s basecamp, or if you’re going to be on the move and you need protection from inclement weather. You might want to go with the Karakoram Jacket if you’re headed up Mt. Everest or if you’re planning on bivying on the Diamond of Longs Peak. But for most purposes, this jacket will keep you warm and toasty.

Melissa Love is a Great Trango Holding athlete

© 2015
 

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