It wasn’t Sherpa themselves who sent us this jacket, but rather PrimaLoft – the synthetic insulation specialists – who wanted to show off their new flagship insulation, Gold Down Blend. What that is is a mix of 70% premium Goose Down which has been waterproofed, with 30% ultra-fine primaloft insulation fibres. The result, they say, is a guarantee of lightweight thermal insulation in extreme weathers.
So, we waited for some extreme weather to test that out, and today we had some gale-force winds and driving drizzle on top of the Shropshire Hills so the Nangpala came out to play.
And it played really well. I’ve been caught in a few heavy showers over the last few months wearing it, and it’s never lost any of its warmth and cosiness, despite not being a “Waterproof” jacket. It achieves this through 2 ways. Firstly, the shiny outer material is so tightly woven that rain just won’t get through it very easily. And secondly because, when it does eventually get through, the Gold Down Blend doesn’t get waterlogged and lose any of its insulation properties. And because it doesn’t get waterlogged, it dries really quickly too – up to 4x faster than normal down.
Today’s gales were also no match for the Nangpala, which proved to be windproof even in gusts strong enough to hold me up as I leant in to them. I was impressed by that because it’s also not sold as a “Windproof”. In fact, the outer fabric is much tougher than it looks, having resisted me getting stuck in a thorny hedge very well. It does release the odd feather from where it’s been sewn in to baffles, but nothing too serious.
Features wise, the material and insulation is most of the story. Beyond that it’s a fairly uncomplicated affair, with 2 lush, warm hand-pockets and a chest pocket where I keep my keys and phone. Inside are a further 2 non-zippered pockets for carrying stuff that you don’t want to risk getting wet in showers.
The waist is elasticated with a bungee adjuster that seals out those gales, and the wrists are non-adjustable, but fairly snugly elasticated and also do a good job of keeping breezes at bay.
The hood of the Nangpala is a rustly, but warm and cost place to be. It’s too tight to go over a helmet though. And the bungee toggles, whilst really easy to use, do have a habit of popping out of the chin and whacking me in the face, which is deeply unpleasant… so effort needs to be made to tuck them in to the jacket before venturing in to the gales.
And since the Gold Down Blend is part synthetic, it responds OK to being packed down in to one of its own pockets for carriage.
Price wise, it’s £250, which is a lot for a down jacket. But you have to look at that carefully because this really is no ordinary down jacket. It’s British Autumn proof, and probably Winter Proof, with all but some very serious rain being shrugged off, and even if you do get soaked, a wicking outer-layer should work well with the Nangpala to expel that moisture with your retained body heat.