Following on from his first impressions, take a look at Oli’s thoughts on Cotopaxi’s lightweight down jacket after a month of solid use.
Over the last few weeks, as you’d expect at this time of year it has undoubtedly gotten a bit chilly. When I first received the Fuego Jacket from Cotopaxi in early October, it certainly left an excellent impression on me. It is very well made and the attention to detail in the stitching and finish is of a very high standard. You can read all about my initial thoughts HERE. This will tell you all about the technical features of the jacket.
It was after very strong first impressions that I decided that over the next month, I would not go easy on this jacket. It has become my go-to jacket for any occasion outdoors. I’ve worn it on countless dog walks and wild camps covering many miles over East Devon, Dartmoor National Park, the South West Coast Path, and South Cornwall in nearly every condition. Obviously, when the rain began to pile in I took out the trusty waterproof as that’s what it’s for but with this in mind, I have dawdled my way through a fair few showers with just the Fuego upon my back, just to test out the water-resistant finish on the outer 20D face fabric and of course the water-resistant down within. But, after a month of solid use, has the jacket held up?
Put simply … YES! Though only a month has gone by, I feel that I have truly put this jacket through its paces and it has performed very admirably. Its water-resistant treatments still work very nicely despite having been caught in some horrific weather giving me more than enough time to reach for my shell jacket or desperately run for the nearest tree cover (near pointless in Autumn as it turns out). This is why they add these treatments, many down jackets today still sadly lack them and it is vital to keep the jacket dry enough for it to work as down quickly loses its performance when wet, leaving you soggy and cold.
The giant ripstop outer fabric has also remained very tough against abrasion having survived several very soggy and slippery bouldering sessions where the fabric has firmly kissed rough granite now several times without showing any marks, I’m certainly not the strongest boulderer in the biz so I’ve been very impressed at the Fuego’s durability up until this point.
As mentioned previously in my last post, as far as fit is concerned, it’s a more athletic, technical fit. It is made for active outdoor activities after all. I am tall and skinny with wide shoulders and am testing a medium. It’s up to you what would be best here, if like me you’re looking for that technical fit that will keep you close to you and fit snuggly under a waterproof jacket on cold wet days, then I recommend keeping to your normal size. If you’re looking instead for a more casual fit for pulling on during cold evenings around the fire, maybe consider a size larger.
Previously unmentioned, to my shame is the stuff pocket which can be found on the inside of the jacket and uses a YKK zip with handles on either side so that the Fuego can be stuffed within and sealed. I’m very impressed with the level of compression this jacket can take, it makes it very nice and compact, perfect for slipping into your bag to be pulled out if necessary, it also features a nice loop which can be fastened nicely using a carabiner to your pack or climbing harness on slow ascents.
The inner fabric is very comfortable against the skin and has not been rubbed or worn during long-distance walks where heavy packs are necessary. As is customary with many down-insulated jackets, the odd feather escapes. I can confirm though that throughout the month of vigorous use and stuffing, I have lost a single feather that I was able to simply push back in, excellent stuff! (Pun intended, not sorry)
When it comes to the warmth and how it has held up as the temperatures have dropped, I am certainly yet to get to a point wearing this jacket where my core has gotten cold. I’ve had some very windy days and nights at reasonably high elevations and the jacket has certainly dealt with nasty, chilly conditions very well. One night’s camp on Dartmoor saw the temperature drop below zero and the jacket was certainly required while in my ancient sleeping bag, once on I felt any concern of getting cold leave. For its weight it does a superb job making it perfect for several days trekking and camping even in colder British conditions as even during hard activity, it still lets the body breathe really nicely due to its high loft down and lower denier (but as mentioned, still tough) fabrics.
To conclude I think that the Cotopaxi Fuego Jacket, a relative newcomer to the premium lines of outdoor insulated jackets stands very strongly amongst its well-established peers such as Rab and Mountain Equipment jackets and certainly should be considered when finding the right insulated jacket for you. Its zips, fabrics, and down have all been very carefully researched and chosen themselves. It is clear to see that Cotopaxi certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to well-made, high-performance outdoor clothing.
Available in men’s and women’s options with or without a hood. All have great colourways. If you like the look of mine, I’m wearing the Dark forest stripes colourway.