I’ve lived in Colorado for just about six years now, and when the temperatures drop below 60, I’m cold. In the winter there is one piece of gear that I can not live without, a down jacket. I mean, my skis are up there too, but when it comes to clothing, I need down. The only thing that would be better than down? A fully heated body-suit. That’s how cold I get.
First Impressions and Overall Performance: I was impressed with the Icarus right from the start. At 12.8 oz. it’s on the lighter-weight level for jackets. I also approved of the length of this jacket, which doesn’t happen very often. The jacket has a flattering feminine fit, combined with a nice-looking stitching pattern, for an all around good-looking jacket. The material is comfortable and I appreciate the fleece-lined collar located in the inside of the jacket. The zippered hand pockets are always useful and the interior pocket is great for storing your cell phone. Considering the fleece, zippered pockets and pull-tabs, it’s pretty impressive how light this jacket really is.
I mainly tested the Icarus at higher (Colorado) altitudes, because we are still getting fairly warm weather here in the Front Range. It did a great job of keeping me warm at temperatures in the low teens. I was also pretty surprised at how well it blocked the wind above treeline. When it’s really cold, I always appreciate having a hood on my jackets. The Icarus hood cinches down with a pull-tab located on the backside of the hood. The pull-tab tightens the hood around the top of your head pretty well. I do wish it cinched around my face a little more. This jacket easily packs down in the bottom of a backpack or zips into itself, without taking up too much space or weight. When zipped into itself it comes out about the size of a Nalgene (see photo below).
DownTek Technology: DownTek is a newer technology in the outdoor world. Used as a treatment applied to the down feathers, it helps make the down feathers more water-repellant (keep in mind repellant is different from water-proof). After looking into this technology I have a few personal opinions on it. This technology seems best for humid/wet conditions. Here in Colorado, it’s a little more difficult to test how effective DownTek is in a down jacket, because we don’t have a lot of humidity and we don’t get super wet conditions, too often. Long story short, here in Colorado, I don’t seek out down jackets with this technology, but it never hurts to have water-repellant gear on, and it doesn’t affect the performance of the down, so it’s all good.
Bottom Line: The Icarus is not the lightest down jacket on the market, but at 12.8 oz. it runs about average to most of the lighter, high-quality, hooded down jackets on the market, at a lower price. It’s been a pleasure testing the Icarus and it’s quickly becoming my go-to down jacket.
Fill: 850 goose down featuring DownTek
Weight: 12. 8 oz.
Disclaimer: I received the Eastern Mountain Sports Icarus Down Jacket free from EMS for testing purposes. Check out this EMS video of the Icarus for another look at the jacket.