Sierra Designs has a whole lineup of great down and synthetic fill jackets for the 2018 season. We got our hands on the Tuolumne FireBall synthetic down and Whitney 800 fill DriDown jackets for some testing. We took them to Colorado for some front range testing both in the mountains and around town. They both performed very well, especially considering their prices. The Tuolumne is $99 and the Whitney is $169.
The Tuolumne is the entry level jacket that features Sierra Designs’ FireBall synthetic down which kept us warm but regulated temperature well and packed away neatly into its own pocket when we didn’t need it. This was the preferred jacket around town when the temps dropped in the evening. It is a synthetic down jacket that doesn’t have you walking around like an inflatable but still held its own when the impromptu snowball fight erupted outside the bar. For the price, this is an easy piece to pick up and keep handy.
The Whitney DriDown Hoodie is one of my new favorite jackets. It is light, packable, very warm but doesn’t overheat easily, has a dedicated insulated yoke area, two zippered hand pockets, inside kangaroo pocket and also zips into itself. The hood was a little loose without a helmet so didn’t turn with my head, but for non-technical activities, it’s a very cozy place for your melon. One of my favorite features, that Sierra Designs doesn’t push as much as the others are the tighter internal cuffs that go well up your wrist. They keep unwanted gusts of wind and flushes of snow from traveling all the way up your arm. They are also great for creating a tight seal with under the cuff gloves, which I’m partial too. At the end of the day, these two jackets, at either end of the line, are great in their own right and can both earn a spot in your closet.