X-Light Down Jacket – A Fiercely Warm Jacket For Himalayan Treks

Every time I pack my backpack, my padded jacket, the outer-most layer, is most cumbersome to pack. It buffs up like a balloon as soon as I let go of my grip on the folds. Ranger rolling it is another challenge altogether! Especially on a trek, when I’m in a hurry to pack my backpack and start the day’s trek, this is an exhausting exercise!

So when I opened the bag in which Decathlon sent me the X-Light down jacket, I was immediately happy. It was packed in a small cylindrical pouch, no bigger than a 1 litre bottle. I could easily hold it in the palm of my hand. It weighed less than 380 g. Right there I was sold.

I tested it out on the Dayara Bugyal winter trek this month. I’ll get to that in a moment.

The grey-blue colour of the X-Light down jacket makes it look rather sophisticated. Picture by Arpit Khandelwal

First impression of the X-Light Down Jacket

I’ve seen several trekkers using this X-Light jacket — usually the dark blue or orange variant. But I was particularly impressed by the grey-blue one I got. It was suave and sophisticated — not calling for attention, yet appealing. A colour of a jacket usually doesn’t make much of a difference – it’s either nice or not nice – but this light shade added to the experience of the jacket.

The outer shell felt soft and baby-like. It felt good on the skin, even as a first layer.

x-light-down-jacket-review
The X-Light comes with a tight hood that doesn’t allow air to enter. It’s perfect for windy days! Picture by Arpit Khandelwal

Fit

Next, I’ll get to the fit. Being a fairly skinny person, it’s a Herculean task for me to find a padded jacket that fits me right. Most of them, even the small sizes, hang over me making me look like a box. I liked the X-Light Women’s jacket for the fit. It is designed for women, and it made me feel shapely. Frankly, on a trek, when you cannot shower or wash your hair, it won’t do harm to wear something a bit flattering. This jacket did that for me.

Tip: Pick up a size larger than your regular size if you’re using it as an outer layer.

Warmth: X-Light’s Biggest Plus Point

The makers of this jacket swear by the technique the jacket uses to keep its wearer warm. With an impressive ratio of 75% down and 25% feather and a fill power of 540 CUIN (amount of “fluffiness” and insulation), their words are justified too.

But it’s only when you test the jacket you realise that boy! does the jacket live up to their words and how!

To illustrate, last year, when I went on the Kedarkantha winter trek, I wore five warm layers — thermals, a full-sleeved cotton tshirt, a woollen sweater, a fleece jacket and then a padded jacket. It just about kept me warm.

This time, at Dayara Bugyal, the temperature dipped to around -10°C. I just wore my full-sleeved Crosstrek t-shirt, a fleece jacket and the X-Light down jacket. The other layers I had taken lay in my backpack, unused throughout the trek.

The X-Light jacket kept me extremely warm. The material traps your body heat to the T and on a strenuous sport like trekking, it works wonders. It’s the warmest jacket I have used till date. It could easily replace two fleece jackets. I’d say this is the biggest highlight of the X-Light down jacket.

This is one of the warmest jackets we have tried and can easily replace two fleece jackets

Weight and compact size

Down jackets are known to be light. The X-Light jacket ticks this box without question. It hardly weighs 380 g. But what’s impressive is that it’s compact too. Down jackets are usually bulky. But this one fits in a small pouch — I give credit to Quechua for the thoughtful touch of this pouch.

The X-Light comes in a compact pouch

It hardly occupied any space in my backpack. If I use this jacket on all my treks, I could easily do an 8-day-trek with a 40 litre backpack.

Right, with the three main highlights covered, let’s head to other aspects of the jacket.

Water resistance

This was something I was worried about. What if it rained while I was using the X-Light as my outer layer? Down jackets are not water-resistant.

It didn’t rain, but I did spill some water (and unfortunately, some tea) on it. The water rolled off before it could get absorbed by the material. So the jacket is fairly water-repellent.

But it will not survive rain — it isn’t designed for it. So if you’re using this as your outer layer, carry a poncho or some kind of rainwear.

Wash and maintenance

Speaking about the tea I spilt on it, I rubbed it a bit with a wet cloth and dried it. The stain went away. If you’re wondering whether you can wash the jacket, yes you can. Quechua has a specific set of instructions to do so. You’ll find them here.

Pockets

My only complaint, a small one, is about the pocket zip. I found it to be very thin and rather flimsy. It’s difficult to catch hold of, more so while wearing big synthetic gloves. However, the pocket was cosy. And big enough to fit a big smart phone.

The verdict

Having used it for a good week in Himalayan winter, I now think this is a must-have jacket for a regular trekker. I easily give it a 4.5 on 5. At Rs 2499, it’s a steal. Go for it if you’re signing up for a Himalayan trek — whether in summer or winter!

Here’s where you can buy the down jacket for women.
Here’s the link to the men’s jacket.

A quick note for those worried about the origin of the feathers:
I spoke to the team over at Quechua and they confirmed to me that the feathers used in the jackets are a by-product of the meat industry. The ducks are not harmed in this process. Their feathers are used after they have been consumed in the meat industry.

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Komal Shivdasani

Komal Shivdasani

Komal Shivdasani heads the Finance team at Indiahikes. Being a photography enthusiast, she also manages the Indiahikes Instagram account. She believes that trekking is one of the best ways to nurture her desire to lead a simple life. Get in touch with her on komal@indiahikes.in

14 thoughts on “X-Light Down Jacket – A Fiercely Warm Jacket For Himalayan Treks

  1. Though this jacket is comfortable and warm, but it looses a lot of down, and not just from the stitches but also from the middle of the fabric. The folks at decathlon say that this happens with all down jackets, but I haven’t seen any such thing in woodland down jackets.

  2. I have the dark blue one (it too doesn’t beg for any attention according to me :p ).

    I loved it when i bought it and it performed superbly on my first trek but of late the down has become displaced. I can feel clear gaps in the insulation which don’t help with the cold at all. I blame it either on my improper packing skills or some water (snow…) which might have seeped through.

    I’ll follow the washing technique mentioned in the link you posted to see if it helps. Let me know if anybody knows any other ideas.

  3. I will be going for the Chadar Trek in late Jan this year. I’m planning to wear thermals, a full sleeve Crosstek shirt and two layers of fleece. As a final layer, I’m planning to buy a down jacket. Will this one do?

    1. Hi Kabir,
      This jacket will do. However, the layers you have mentioned will not be sufficient at Chadar. You will need another wind proof layer on top of this jacket.

    2. hello kabir,
      go for a down jacket with 800 fill power on chadar. Chadar is in altogether another league. You even need a weatherproof soft shell jacket. While walking 3-4 layers will be good and you won`t even need a down during trekking as body generates heat and sweating will start which is not good, but as soon as you pitch tent or end your day trek you need a good down jacket. At campsite you will need 4-5 layers (including down) during trekking 3-4 layers with a weatherproof jacket(wind and water resistant) as your outershell.

  4. It feels really good to see your product being endorsed by the best. The jacket has a comfort temp limit of -5℃ and a limit temp of -10℃ with 2 layers i.e. a thermal (Ideally merino wool) and a fleece.

    Also saw someone posting a commentwith loss of down from the jacket. I have myself used The North Face and Columbia duck down jackets and they too showed a loss of duck down from the jacket. It’s a natural characteristic of a down jacket. If the down jacket doesn’t loss down that indicates it’s not duck down and it’s more of a polyester down.

  5. Hi ,
    It will be my first trek in Himalyas (Kuari Pass) trek in March end.
    How many layers of clothes should I pack and what kind of bag to buy.
    Also pls let me know the type of trekking pants that I need to buy.
    I don’t want to invest much as I am not a frequent trekker but what is necessary , will buy that.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Ronak,
      You will require 3 layers of warm clothes on this trek in end March. A 40-60 ltr backpack will suffice for Kuari Pass as well as any longer trek you might do in the future. Make sure it provides good lower and upper back support. Regular trekking pants like a Forclaz 50 by Quechua will be fine.

    1. Hi Subhu,
      Down jackets are never really worn while trekking. Your body generates a lot of heat as it is. You’d rather wear a thin sweater or a fleece to brave the cold. Also, these kind of jackets are very delicate. They’re only to be worn at campsites when temperatures dip post sunset. I would strongly advise you not to wear it while trekking.

  6. Hi,
    I’m going for a hike to Kilimanjaro this year and planning some Himalayan hikes next year, maybe involving Everest Base camp.
    I am hesitating between this X light jacket and a Top warm one from Decathlon, which has better parameters and 660 CUIN. It’s also more expensive and I am not sure if I need that warm jacket – I think it might be too warm for my needs? Also, X light jacket looks a bit short…
    What would you recommend?

    1. Hi Aga!
      The X light jacket is warm enough. Very warm in fact. Even for treks like Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp. You needn’t spend on something more expensive. You won’t be wearing the down jacket while trekking. Only when temperatures drop after sundown. So make sure you also carry a fleece jacket along with you. Both these put together will give you that added warmth you need.
      As for the length, that can be solved by getting one size bigger than what fits perfectly.

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