Tried out - First Lite Uncompahgre Puffy

armyjoe

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Messages
1,043
Location
Denver, CO
So i was out today in the mountains and had the chance to try out the new First Lite puffy jacket. I am extremely impressed with this jacket and it will definitely be seeing a spot in my gear list this season.

The weight is still pretty light at 19oz but man is it warm. I was out shed hunting at about 52 degrees and as soon as I starting walking I was warm. Definitely warmer then the spindrift jacket. The DWR material isn't the quietest but it isn't meant for stalking. The DWR worked great and when the wind kicked up I didn't even notice. There wasn't any light rain or snow to truly test out the DWR exterior but from what I could tell it works like it should. The cut was also a big plus in my book. I could freely lift my arms above my head and didn't have a jacket ride up everywhere on me. Freedom of motion was great.

There were a few things I wasn't really happy with but I was told those things will be changing for the actual production jackets. The things I wasn't sure about were,
The backwards zipper - really weird and not natural for a guy.
I wasn't a fan of the camo cuffs and neck strip. They will be a solid color jacket for production though.
Sizing - I'm 5'10" 180 lbs and this larger is large on me. Without a doubt a medium is the way to go for me. The only way I could see (for me) wearing a large is in the dead of winter and having 4 layers on under it.

I'd give it a solid 8.5 out of 10

SAM_0396.jpg
 

UltraBound

Junior Member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
17
Location
N.E. Oregon
This just doesn't seem to fit my gear list. 19 oz? That is really heavy for a puffy layer. I use a puffy layer for insulation while stationary and I sure don't need a DWR finish for it, that is what a soft shell is for. With my soft shell only being 2.5 oz heavier I am just not sure what this piece brings to the table.
 

cmeier117

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
1,552
Location
Salem, OR
This just doesn't seem to fit my gear list. 19 oz? That is really heavy for a puffy layer. I use a puffy layer for insulation while stationary and I sure don't need a DWR finish for it, that is what a soft shell is for. With my soft shell only being 2.5 oz heavier I am just not sure what this piece brings to the table.


A lot of guys don't take a soft shell. I for one will take a puffy this year and a rain jacket and my merino. If it is raining I put on the rain jacket, I could care less about noise when its raining all around me and making noise. If it gets cold I will put the puffy on. This piece I guarantee you is warmer than your softshell. With all that it would be nice if it was a tad lighter, but it sounds warm.
 

BlackBear

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
21
Is it an outerwear piece or an insulation piece? You comare it to the Spindrift which is an insulation piece. At 19 ounces, I have to believe it's outerwear? What is it filled with?
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
It is meant as an outer layer more so than insulating. Love mine and I have worn it multiple times this year. The wind blocking is amazing, I've used mine shooting prone for a few hours in wet nasty snow conditions and it kept me warm the entire time. Didn't get wet but the insulation did soak through mildly. Dried extremely quickly. This will be in my pack for sure this year and will double as my pillow as well. I don't pack a soft shell anymore and will have just the FL rain jacket for really wet conditions.

Mike
 

First Lite

Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
89
This Jacket was ment to be an outer layer when its not raining. At 19 oz for a large, and our sizing is pretty generous, its pretty light. Most companies weigh their size smalls and i have to imagine that this jacket would weigh in the 14-15 oz range for a small. This jacket was built to hunt in so it has reinforced forearms up to the elbows and reinforced shoulders. Realize that most backpacking gear is made to never leave the trail and durability is compromised for the sake of weight, our stuff is designed to spend most of its life off trail and is built accordingly. Armyjoe is correct in that the zippers and the cuffs will be changed for the production run.
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
I also have one of the prototype jackets, and it is really warm. It is much warmer than most ultralight puffys. On the weight, when I would take it it would replace two layers, so it would really cut down on weight.

Not all puffys are really windproof. This one is. The reinforced panels are nice too, because I have snagged my puffys on brush on many occasions. The DWR is better than average also. The pit breathability panels work. I think when guys get past the spec list, and actually use the jacket in the field, they are really going to go for this outer layer ahead of others. I see this layer replacing a fleece AND softshell for a lot of trips. It would also make an awesome sleep system compliment to a quilt.

This is a good piece of kit, and I am very happy to see the backwards zipper is being fixed for production jackets.
 
OP
armyjoe

armyjoe

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Messages
1,043
Location
Denver, CO
I completely agree with BB that this jacket could replace more then just a "puffy" jacket layer. Its been better in testing then I was first thinking. I think it shares different roles when it comes to the insulation/outwear DWR layers.

I think once people get this jacket they will see that the so called "heavy" weight will be easily justified with the great benefits of the jacket.

One thing else that i like about this jacket is how the hood lays flat when down. I haven't had an issue yet with my head or ears hitting the hood. Large hoods can be a very annoying thing but this jackets hood cut allows for it to flatten out well to avoid that issue.
 

dotman

1
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
8,201
I also have one of the prototype jackets, and it is really warm. It is much warmer than most ultralight puffys. On the weight, when I would take it it would replace two layers, so it would really cut down on weight.

Not all puffys are really windproof. This one is. The reinforced panels are nice too, because I have snagged my puffys on brush on many occasions. The DWR is better than average also. The pit breathability panels work. I think when guys get past the spec list, and actually use the jacket in the field, they are really going to go for this outer layer ahead of others. I see this layer replacing a fleece AND softshell for a lot of trips. It would also make an awesome sleep system compliment to a quilt.

This is a good piece of kit, and I am very happy to see the backwards zipper is being fixed for production jackets.

So it is a step towards reducing layering?

Wouldn't it be warm for the periods when a fleece is perfect? I'm just wondering why you would not take a fleece cause the point of the multiple layers is for extreme temp swings. Maybe I'm not thinking far enough outside the box. I know I have been in weather that started out as perfect fleece weather but then went to puffy with hardshell all in the same day.

How best do you see a system utilized with this jacket that takes out two layers? I like the warmth and wind resistence but I would think I'd still want a warm but not super warm layer like a fleece to have so I'm not either cold or super warm.
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Yeah it is a step towards reduced layering. the breathable pit panels really add to the funcitonality. So the jacket is super warm, but when you are active, you are blowing off steam through the panels at the same time. This makes the jacket pretty temperature-versatile.

I see this jacket as a perfect complement to a merino base layer system in the early season. When you are working hard you are just in your base layer (llano LS?) and you hike up to your glassing spot. There, you cool down and throw on the Uncompahgre for a long, windy glassing session. Then you might take it off for a hike back to camp, and throw it back on to ward off the evening chill before stuffing it into its pocket for a pillow.

Then, in the late season, it becomes an outerlayer over your base and thin insulator for added warmth and wind-resistance. I have a November glassing spot where I can't seem to put enough layers on. I can't wait to try this jacket for that!

It seems with UL down sweaters and such, you end up having to also wear a soft or hard shell for wind protection and abrasion protection for the puffy.
 

UltraBound

Junior Member
Joined
May 25, 2012
Messages
17
Location
N.E. Oregon
Seems to me that everyone who has a test model really likes it, so it must not be a bad piece of gear. If everyone who tries it really likes, then there must be a market for this type of jacket. All I am saying is that it doesn't seem to fit into my kit at all, and people who are given a piece of gear to test and rave about are not going to convince me that it should be in my kit. I have many FL items that I really like, such as the llano tops and the boxer briefs, but I just don't see an application for this jacket in any of my hunting. The only time that I can see using it would be for late season trips when riding stock.
 

HellsCanyon

Senior Member
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
May 29, 2012
Messages
3,474
Location
Lewiston ID
So it is a step towards reducing layering?

Wouldn't it be warm for the periods when a fleece is perfect? I'm just wondering why you would not take a fleece cause the point of the multiple layers is for extreme temp swings. Maybe I'm not thinking far enough outside the box. I know I have been in weather that started out as perfect fleece weather but then went to puffy with hardshell all in the same day.

How best do you see a system utilized with this jacket that takes out two layers? I like the warmth and wind resistence but I would think I'd still want a warm but not super warm layer like a fleece to have so I'm not either cold or super warm.

Dotman,
Here's what my "system" will look like when incorporating the FL Puffy.
FL Llano merino base layer (Would swap with their Chama if later in year) 8.3 oz
Russel L2 Tundra pullover: 12.1 oz As much as I try, I just can't get away from this shirt. To me it's warm to weight ratio is better than the heavier merino layers, and has the windblocking panels in the right places. Plus it's relatively cheap! Been wearing it for 2 seasons now and love it, very durable too!
FL Puffy: 19 oz
FL Rain jacket: 20.4 oz

Last year I was running the same first two layers, but had the Kuiu Spindrift + C4E Element jacket (softshell). Combined those two pieces weighed in at 37.9 oz (13.9 oz for spindrift, 24 oz for C4E Softshell). So I'm shaving a bit of weight off here.

I could see this combination getting me down into the 20's EASILY and is still plenty versatile for temps swinging from hot september 70's-80's down to 20's...

Honestly as long as I have a quality merino base layer, and am not relying on fleece or heavy wool garmets as my insulating layers, I'll pack a few more ounces here and there for durability and quality (don't like fleece personally, holds moisture, collects burrs...etc). One thing I can say about the FL puffy and rain jacket, they appear to be bomb-proof as mentioned. For not being hunting season I've worn the puffy a LOT in all sorts of conditions and really have kind of thrown it around and it shows no signs of wear. My Spindrift has insulation coming out of various seams and last year was the first year with it.

Mike
 
Last edited:

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
Seems to me that everyone who has a test model really likes it, so it must not be a bad piece of gear. If everyone who tries it really likes, then there must be a market for this type of jacket. All I am saying is that it doesn't seem to fit into my kit at all, and people who are given a piece of gear to test and rave about are not going to convince me that it should be in my kit. I have many FL items that I really like, such as the llano tops and the boxer briefs, but I just don't see an application for this jacket in any of my hunting. The only time that I can see using it would be for late season trips when riding stock.

UB,

I actually felt about it like you did. I just didn't see it fitting in. Then I actually used it, and now I see the utility. Maybe you won't.

I see the wisdom Kenton has in getting the prototypes out. Many guys are going to think about it like you do (and I did). Then they will get them out and in the field and see the utility in action.

I guess it may sound like I am "raving" about it, but the above is my genuine impressions from using the jacket, and not some quid-pro-quo for receiving a prototype.

BTW,

I hunt late season elk off horseback, and you are right, this jacket is well-suited for it.
 

dotman

1
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
8,201
Thanks Matt and Mike, that is one versital jacket then. Mike my setup is close to yours:

FL SS shirt
FL llano LS
Russel fleece pullover (used this for years and recently updated to the kryptek sherpa which I'm not sold on yet for warmth)
Kuiu spindrift (sold and will just take a down vest and maybe my FL labrador)
OR rain jacket as final item

I like to have a fleece for stalking when chilly. Thejacket sounds sweet but I don't know if I'm ready to get rid of some quiet materials thathave warmth. I could easily replace the vest and Labrador layers withthis jacket but I like the labrador for the thick brush. I could easily drop a few items and save weigh but that stupid personal pref thing gets in the way :)

Looking forward to more reviews on this.
 

aaron14

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2013
Messages
129
Location
Southeast MN
Any other comments on noise? I'm looking for a puffy layer for next season and am thinking about the Uncompahgre.
 

robby denning

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
11,354
Location
SE Idaho
Aaron14, I found mine suprisingly quite. Now I'm not going archery hunting on purpose in it, but it was quiet enough that I could bowhunt in it if temp really dropped and I needed to. If you didn't see the Rok Blog, check it out as I did a video on that same puffy.
 

Sboada

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2013
Messages
75
Aaron14, I found mine suprisingly quite. Now I'm not going archery hunting on purpose in it, but it was quiet enough that I could bowhunt in it if temp really dropped and I needed to. If you didn't see the Rok Blog, check it out as I did a video on that same puffy.

Interested in picking one of these up but none local and will have to order online. I am 5'11" and 185lbs. Based on your experience should I go with a Medium or Large? Haven't worn a medium since 7th grade but have heard that they may run big.
 

Matt Cashell

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,174
Location
Western MT
I am 5-9 175 and the Medium still has room. I was swimming in the Large. I think a Medium would be better for you.
 
Top