When you’re at altitude, you want warmth without bulk or weight in your jacket. So we built our Alpini Mountain Anorak series using premium 850-power, hypoallergenic goose down. This insures that the parka compresses into the smallest space possible when packed, but fluffs up as much as possible to keep you warm in the mountains.
- Insulation – 850-fill Goose Down
- Shell Fabric – 15 denier Pertex
- Hook & Loop Closures on Hem & Cuffs
- Front Zip – 32.5 cm (12.8 in)
- One large kangaroo pocket
- Two double zippered side zips – 31 cm (12.2 in)
- Measured size medium
- Weight –378 g (13.3 oz)
- Center Back – 68.5 cm (27 in)
- Pit to Pit –62.4 cm (24.6 in)
- Sleeve length – 92.9 cm (36.6 in)
- Retail – $250
Brooks-Range is a small company of mountaineers creating high quality and innovative equipment for the mountains. Their products are mainly made in the US and thoroughly tested for their quality. I had heard of Brooks-Range on occasion and was interested in their insulated jackets. I was able to set up a review of the Alpini Mountain Anorak for this winter.
Of course, I have this warm insulated jacket to test and what kind of winter are we having in Bend: a mild one. This had made the testing of this jacket a bit more difficult than planned but after sometime I have had enough cold weather to put it through a good test. I generally used this jacket for staying warm after being active; I never got frozen enough to wear while on the move.
The Brooks-Range Alpini Mountain Anorak is part of the Alpini Collection. This collection includes a hoody and a vest as well as this anorak. The Alpini Mountain Anorak uses 850-fill Goose Down for insulation. This down is super-high quality and has excellent warmth to weight characteristics. This down also can be compressed impressively small. If you would like to learn about the characteristics of down insulation, click on the banner below to go to the knowledge base article.
The Alpini Mountain Anorak is made with a 15 denier Pertex outer shell. Pertex is a superlight weight mini-ripstop ballistic nylon that is water and wind resistant. It has excellent strength and is so thin that you can actually see some of the down plumes inside the jacket. The anorak is made with baffled construction, which is what gives it the “Michelin Man” look. These baffles help keep the down in place for more even temperature regulation and less migrating of the down. The pullover is made with a front half zipper for easy on and off and also for venting if needed. There is a wind flap behind the zipper to keep you warmer on windy days. At the sides of the jacket, there are zippers as well that can be used to vent if needed. These are double zippers so you can have more venting options. These zippers also help the anorak work when wearing a climbing harness. You can use your harness without compromising mobility or warmth, which can be extremely important in some situations. Over the bottom of the zippers, there is a snap closure with two options. This snap makes it so the vents don’t accidentally open as well as giving the user options to tighten or loosen the bottom hem of the anorak for best fit.
The Alpini Mountain Anorak has only one pocket, but it is a big one. In the front, there is a large kangaroo style pocket that can be accessed from either side. The pocket is big enough to throw just about anything in there, even a baby kangaroo if it came to that. At the entrances of the pocket, there is elastic trimming to keep the pocket from venting out heat when not in use. This same elastic trim is also used at the bottom hem of the jacket. At the wrist cuffs there is a hook and loop closure Velcro system with elastic. This system makes it possible to tighten up the wrist cuffs while still having some stretch to them.
I really like how Brooks-Range tries to make most of their products in the US. Unfortunately, this is not one of those products. The Alpini Mountain Anorak is made in China. The jacket is made with a nylon shell which I do not have much information on and 850 fill down. One of the great properties of down is that it is a sustainable resource and much greener than synthetic fills. I did try to find out what sort of green policies Brooks-Range has and was not able to find anything. For this reason, I gave this a rating of 2.5 for sustainability.
Arm Length (20%)
Comfort Next to Skin (15%)
Ease of Movement (20%)
Torso Sizing (20%)
The Alpini Mountain Anorak is made to be an insulating piece. This means it is cut to fit under an outer shell if needed and on occasion over everything if you are belaying or taking a break in a drier environment. I tested a size medium in this pullover as that is what normally works best for me. The medium in the Alpini Anorak was a good fit for me. The arms were long enough unless I really reached for something, and then they would pull up my wrist slightly. In the torso, the jacket does run a little on the shorter side. This is to allow it to work better with a climbing harness as well as interface with a shell jacket. I personally like my tops to be slightly longer than this one is but it was not really an issue. I did not find it short rather than just wished it could be longer.
Through the midsection, there is a little of extra room in the anorak. This is so it can fit over the top of your climbing gear if needed as well as having ample room inside the main pocket. If you like the bottom hem to be tighter it is possible to snap it at two different positions. As far as the midsection goes there is not any adjustment that can be made. I really liked the wrist cuffs on this anorak. The Velcro closure system was great for setting the appropriate size, and I have not had to change it since. The elastic in the cuff allows it to easily stretch over your hand making it very easy to take on and off.
Water Resistance (10%)
Wind Resistance (20%)
The Brooks-Range Alpini Mountain Anorak is exceptionally warm for its low weight. It really is a jacket for cold conditions, especially if you are active. The 850-fill down also allows it to be packed up impressively small. It can be stuffed into the smallest places of your pack. One issue that I have had with most of the down jackets I have tested is they tend to lose feathers. Of the jackets I have tested thus far this ranks up there with the least amount of feathers I have lost from a jacket. It will occasionally lose a feather here or there but nothing like some others I have tested. This is a testament to the fabrics and manufacturing processes that Brook-Range has used on this top.
The Pertex fabric does block almost all wind. A little will get through at the zippers and the stitch through points, but this will be minimal unless it is really windy. The fabric has also been very durable thus far. I have not had any issues with the fabrics or zippers in any of my testing. The Pertex shell will also block a light rain if needed but anything more than that, and you need a shell. Remember if down gets wet it loses all heat retention and is slow to dry. In really cold conditions where it is snowing the Pertex will be enough to keep the down dry. Here in Bend and the east side of the Cascades we have, for the most part, very dry snow and the jacket has been great in those conditions. The only thing I have noticed is that there is a bit of down migration, especially near the joints. The down has tended to move away from these areas slightly making it less insulated in these areas. It is relatively easy to move the down around inside the large baffles if needed.
Overall, I have been pleased with the Alpini Mountain Anorak. The warmth for weight is spectacular, and I feel like I am wearing a sleeping bag. In fact, Brooks-Range sells a bottom half bag that is meant to work as a sleep system with the Alpini series. The anorak is a bit different due to the large kangaroo style pocket, and I wish there was a smaller zip pocket on the inside. The half zip and two side zippers are excellent for venting and adding versatility to the pullover. This jacket is made to be warm, and it truly does that. Made for cold temperature alpine environments the Alpini Anorak is a solid choice with very few drawbacks. The anorak retails for $250 which I think is a fair price for the quality that you get. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Lightweight 850-fill down
- Very compressible
- Comfortable & easy to use wrist cuffs
- Good venting options
- Large front pocket
- Very warm
- Torso could be longer
- I wish there was an internal pocket – small chest one
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