In the spring we were contacted by the British company Dark Peak which specializes in outerwear. Dark Peak is a newly established company and currently they only produce insulated jackets. They asked us if they could send us one of their jackets for test and review. I checked their website and as their jackets seemed high-quality and the team professional, I agreed to cooperation. Dark Peak also sets itself apart from other brands by contributing to society in a socially conscious way. For each jacket they sell, they donate another to a charity that supports homeless people. One would expect that their products are pricier because of that. However, as Dark Peak sells only directly to its customers and thus eliminates retailer margins, their products have very reasonable prices. They might be even slightly cheaper than competitive products.
I asked them for a sample of their Nessh down jacket because I was impressed with the jacket’s technical specifications. The Nessh jacket weighs merely 340 grams (12 oz.) and utilizes 850 fill power goose down for insulation. Therefore, I anticipated that the jacket will be perfect for lightweight hiking, mountaineering and backpacking in cold to very cold conditions. I tested the jacket on our hiking holidays in Norway. As the temperatures weren’t particularly low in the past months, I will update this review in the winter and write more about jacket’s thermal efficiency. Below is what I learned about the jacket so far.
The Dark Peak Nessh Down Jacket is suitable for:
- Everyday use
The Dark Peak Nessh jacket utilizes 850 fill power goose down for insulation and when I unwrapped it, I was really impressed over its loft. The jacket is incredibly fluffy which means that it provides a good warmth to weight ratio. Before getting the Dark Peak Nessh jacket I had never had a down jacket with so high a fill power and I must say that I was surprised how much air a high-quality down jacket can retain. It’s important that insulation wear retains air because body-warmed air is ultimately what insulates and keeps you warm. If you want to learn more about this, do check out my Guide to Mid-Layer Materials. The jacket uses 90 grams of down per square meter which makes it best for cold to very cold conditions. I compared the jacket to the CimAlp Primaloft jacket which I typically wear for temperatures down to 0 C, and the Dark Peak Nessh jacket is indeed warmer, although both garments weigh approximately the same.
The inner layer and the shell of the jacket are made of 10-denier ripstop nylon. The material is very thin and thus the jacket should be worn with care in dense woods and on rocky terrain. Nevertheless, this is the case with just about every lightweight insulated jacket. The shell is also treated with DWR to provide basic protection against rain and wind. However, the down insulation is not hydrophobic and thus the jacket quickly loses loft/insulation if exposed to rain. I was a bit disappointed about this because nowadays many down jackets utilize hydrophobic down. On the other hand, I would anyway rather use a jacket with synthetic insulation in humid conditions.
The Dark Peak Nessh jacket really impressed me with its pockets. It has two zippered hand pockets, a zippered inner pocket and two deep multi-purpose inner pockets. These multi-purpose inner pockets are perfect for storing bulky items such as a map. The hand pockets are located a bit higher than on casual jackets so that you can easily use them when you are wearing backpack’s hip belt or a climbing harness. I was really happy about this as I hate unbuckling the hip belt every time I need something from a pocket. The hand pockets are also big and the left one doubles as a stuff sack for the jacket. However, packing the jacket into this pocket requires quite some dexterity and a bit of luck. It fits really tightly and thus it’s a hassle to compress the jacket into the pocket.
The Dark Peak jacket is equipped with a 2-way front zipper, drawcord hem, extendable wrist gaiters and a helmet-compatible hood. The 2-way front zipper works perfectly and is useful for climbing as it allows you to unzip the jacket from the bottom up. The wrist gaiters are an interesting feature. They help keeping the hands warm but if not needed they can be tucked away under the elastic cuffs (see photos). The hood is adjustable, and I was positively surprised how well it fits both over a helmet as well as directly on the head. It is insulated to keep the head warm, but still follows its movements nicely while you are on the go. The collar comes relatively high and provides good warmth together with the hood. The jacket is also longer at the back which is good for climbing and other technical activities where you often reach high with your arms because it protects your lower back against the cold.
I got the jacket in size M (UK sizing) but I think I could also go for size L. My chest diameter is 98 cm (38.5 in.) and I’m 180 cm tall (5 ft. 11 in.). In general, the jacket fits me well, but over the chest I find it to a bit too tight. So, if you have a fuller chest than me, I do recommend going for size L. Lengthwise the jacket is perfect.
Washing and Drying
The Dark Peak Nessh jacket is machine washable at 30 C and can be tumble dried at low heat. Dark Peak recommends drying it with two clean tennis balls in the tumble dryer. Tennis balls help break up wet clumps of down and re-establish the perfect loft.
The Dark Peak Nessh down jacket utilizes high-quality down insulation (850 fill power) and is thus very warm for its weight. Therefore, it is perfect for hiking, backpacking, mountaineering and other outdoor sports, although it can also be worn for everyday use as it will look equally good in the city. As the down is not hydrophobic, the jacket is best for dry weather. I was very happy with the pockets and the hood. The hood fits perfectly and the pockets allow you to easily organize your accessories. All in all, I’m very satisfied with the Nessh jacket and if you are looking for a good down jacket, I do recommend it.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.