Sunday, 5 December 2010

PHD Yukon Pullover Initial Analysis

This is nice. Everything about the Yukon suggests assiduous, careful hand-crafted to order workmanship. Not a stitch out of place. Each zip runs smoothly. Each press-stud locks firmly into its socket. The Drishell outer feels unexpectedly and gratifyingly durable for a UL fabric. The loft is serious and effective. Everything about the Yukon suggests a step up in standard. It is meant for severe winter weather and no mistakes have been made here. It sits at the top end of my insulation layer range, filling a severe cold lacuna that the Nano Puff and Prism 2.0 do not.




PHD suggest the theatre of operations for the Yukon Pullover is -15C but that some adventure racers use it at much lower temperatures. In the -4C chill of the snow covered Surrey Hills last night, -15C did not seem unrealistic. At 445g (470g in its stuffsack), the Yukon is definitively light for the warmth and protection it provides. By comparison, the Rab Infinity is billed as 510g, although some suggest it is lighter for the smaller sizes and more in keeping with the Yukon. With a box-wall construction (to eliminate 'lines of cold' found in stitched through construction) and filled with exceptional 900 cu.in. fill power down, the Yukon ought to be warm and light. Manufactured with a Drishell exterior and an MX downproof inner, it ought to be protective. Drishell, a superlight windproof and water resistant ripstop nylon, seem tougher to the touch than the satiny Pertex Quantum on the Rab Infinity, for example, and is certainly very water resistant - in fact, as the most water resistant fabric in the PHD range, it is more water resistant that the Ultra which is in MX fabric and which Will Rietveld rated, in his BPL article of 2010 as still significantly water resistant for the weight. The main zip, also YKK, segues into an area of smooth, soft beardguard around the chin which is agreeably snug and comfortable, and runs all the way round the insulated collar.




The zips, high-quality YKK examples, have long cords with thick grips for gloved hands. The pockets are in fact a single pocket going all the way through across the stomach area with an area of down insulation on top of them. I am not as impressed by the MX inner being the only thing between your hands and your body - some insulation there would have been welcome. The fit, despite the enormous loft of the pullover, is snug. Like James Boulter, I opted for a large, after speaking to PHD direct - and very helpful they were too. For your assistance, I am a 39-40" chest, 21" arms, 33-34" waist and 20-21" torso. PHD suggested a large to ensure the pullover did not ride up when bending down and moving around in camp which makes very good practical sense. It is a nice length - unlike the Rab Infinity which I found to be too short on my back - the Yukon, instead, comes down a few inches further. I prefer this, but that is my personal choice.




The hood, attached by a series of press-studs, is also insulated and has an elasticated rim. It feels snug but not over-tight and very comfortable. The fact the hood is removable, rather than part of the jacket/pullover, as with the Rab Infinity, does not affect its performance - no wind sneaks in, uninvited. It does, however, increase the pullover's versatility. There may be few occasions when, if anticipating weather which caused the selection of the Yukon, you'd be using it without the hood, but at least there is the option. I like versatility. The cuffs are the same elasticated rim as the hood and, again, comfortable. They are not adjustable in any way, but I like that - why waste weight on a pointless feature? In an environment where the Yukon would be required, you'll want your cuffs tight against your wrists - adjustability is a pointless feature. I would prefer them to be a little tighter, in fact, and I'll contact PHD about that.




The hem is drawcord-adjustable through two cord-locks either side at the hips. They are easy to operate with a gloved hand and smooth-running. It comes with its own stuffsack which, although PHD suggest it does not pack down very tight, I found to be tight enough and the Yukon does in fact pack down quite small. Nevertheless, I will probably ditch the stuff sack and put it in one of my 13 litre drybags along with other stuff I'll need around camp. Down should be protected at all costs in severely cold weather.





19 comments:

  1. Good to see that your jacket has arrived and that you are happy with it Maz. Looks like getting the large size was the right decision. I have noticed a few differences between yours and mine though. Yours looks like it has got a fleecy collar which mine does not. The main zip on mine is thinner than the ones that close the pocket. I suppose that hand made equipment may vary a little.

    Good to see that you look like a conehead with the hood up as well!

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  2. Nice looking jacket! PHD quality should ensure years of trouble-free use.

    Personally I prefer built-in hoods. Lighter and less likely to be missing (either through memory lapse or accident) when you really need it. I feel that if it's cold enough to need an really warm insulation piece like this then it's cold enough to want a hood!

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  3. Problem with elasticated cuffs is they are never tight enough. In the UK it is -10 one day and 0 the next. In camp having adjustable cuffs means you can vent the heat build up wearing your jacket. Also when it is cold tighten the cuff right down unlike your jacket which is not tight enough in the sleeve. I also agree with Joe that fixed hoods are better. Still it is a nice jacket.

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  4. Maz, actually a detachable hood for me is good as I can use this in combination with my Alpkit 400 sleeping bag.
    My PHD Minimus jacket is getting a lot of use at the moment. I would like a hood like the Flux, best hood I have seen in a long time. However PHD make great products, even if they make everyone look like coneheads :)
    Mark

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  5. James: it's a lovely piece of kit at first glance. Large is definitely right but you were a real help - thanks. Odd that there are differences between the two - especially the fleece lining on the collar - I rather like that addition. As for conehead - I tried to avoid it but to no avail!

    Joe: I agree it would be lighter without half a dozen studs to hold the hood, but I prefer the option to remove if I can - that said, as I mentioned in the review, I can foresee few conditions (as you observe) that would require the Yukon and not a hood!

    Martin: it's the only flaw I've found so far - the cuffs could be tighter. Not too fussed about venting as the main zip will achieve that if necessary but tighter cuffs would be good.

    Mark: I think in really cold conditions I'd probably use the hood with a mummy bag but as I said - I like to have options.

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  6. Maz,
    Funny, i actually agree with all the comments on this.
    The elastic cuffs are weak, the hood makes you look alien, the materials, the quality, the warmth are first class.
    It’s as the Minimus, which i am using alot at this time but more serious. It’s excellent. Good choice.

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  7. Alan - I don't want adjustable cuffs but I do think the cuff elastic should be tighter. I have emailed PHD to see what they say about that. I agree - James and I both look like extras from a 60's sci-fi flick better suited to BBC2 at 11pm on a Saturday evening! I like the Yukon and it fills a lacuna. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Peter has responded and said PHD will look at using shorter Lycra for the cuffs. Thanks for the email Peter.

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  9. Maz, actually a detachable hood for me is good as I can use this in combination with my Alpkit 400 sleeping bag.
    My PHD Minimus jacket is getting a lot of use at the moment. I would like a hood like the Flux, best hood I have seen in a long time. However PHD make great products, even if they make everyone look like coneheads :)
    Mark

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  10. seriously people i been reading all this PHD stuff and i really dont need a jacket but i think i might just get one from all these good reviews, i already have 3 items all RAB i love RAB, i got the vest for autumn  the photon for work in the city i just wear a shirt with it in winter, the infinity for outdoor activities, but i thk i might just get the yukon jacket for the sake of it dnt like pullover.

    it looks a bit iffy can we make it look stylish?

    Tien 

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  11. PHD has a sale on 30th nov not sure if i will buy that minimus it doesnt come with a hood emm?

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  12. does the front of the jacket seem a bit short?

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  13. I'd say it sits comfortably in the right place below the waist. I chose a large precisely because I wanted a comfortable fit.

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  14. i'm a weird size, chest size 36.5 but height 5ft 9.5 inch, u reckon a medium will be too roomy? prob have to get a tailored made one.

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  15. Have a chat to PHD and see what they say - they are very approachable.

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  16. Hey Maz, I'm a similar size to you, 41-inch chest and 33-inch waist. The PhD sizing chart says Large fits 42/36, which seems about right except I really dislike having excess clothing around the waist. You reckon the large works OK for those of us who are a bit slimmer than their ideal?

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  17. I think you need a large - it's always hard to say of course but that's my gut reaction. I doubt it will be too loose around the waste for you.

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