Alpkit Filo

It landed in for test just in time, the Alpkit Filo Down Jacket. Normally I’ll use something for ages before I review it, but given Alpkit’s seasonal stock flow thing and that fact that winter’s looking at the clock thinking it’s nearly time to go home, it looks like a good time to get my thoughts on paper.

I’ve worn it most days, but its first mountain starring role was on the Arrochar trip earlier in the week. I love that Lego Blue colour, looks cracking, and I was pleased with the general fit. I took a size large which is pretty normal for me and in the shot below I’m wearing it over a baselayer and a hooded softshell (that’s the orange thumbloop cuffs sticking out) where the fit was good, there wasn’t lots of extra air between me and the jacket to heat up but there was enough room for another layer, I can sling the Filo on over a shell no problem.

The shaping is right, you can see the drop-tail below which is the way it should be. Straight cut jackets might weigh less, but crawling about at camp give’s you builder’s bum and exposes your kidneys to the cold. Arm articulation is good too, it is a belay jacket at its core so it’s expecting its wearer to be active, again what you want at camp so you’re not pulling the hem up every time you reach for something in the porch. The arms are only just long enough on me though, the soft elasticated cuffs stopping bang on my wrist at my watch strap.

It’s stitch-through construction and the down chambers feel well filled, it certainly lofts well enough with its 700+ 90/10 white goose down fill. The hem is drawcorded, and the main zip is double ended which I like. The main zip has a down filled baffle behind it too with an anti-snag webbing strip, it’s got a neat outer closure too while pretty much seals the opening from wind and hopefully heat loss.
The hood is removable via poppers, I’d rather have a fixed hood, less faff, less weight, why would I ever take the hood off? But folk like this stuff so everybody makes it that way and here the fit is good with captured drawcord adjustment at the face and flap to seal up your chin. The peak is wired so keeps its shape well and the hood is well filled with down and warm. The collar itself is quite tall giving good coverage at the front especially and the zip baffle keeps the zip away from your skin at your chin.

 There’s a big internal zipped pocket on your left and outside there’s two two big zipped hand warmers as well. The pockets bags here are behind the down you get your core warmth on the palms of your hands and you get a nice microfleece on the back of your hand at the same time (the grey bit inside below). A good set of pockets these.
The zips are are chunky YKK’s with sleeping bag style zip pulls for some reason, that is you can slide the (rather nice, easy to grip) pull tag to either side of the zip in case you want to unzip the jacket or pocket from the inside. Not a major issue, but it has meant that I’ve had to fish out hidden zip pullers a few times as they’ve slipped over the other side “by themselves”.

It comes in a 652g for the large which is the middle ground for similar jackets which not bad at all. It has a chunky feel to it, but it packs down well enough, you can compress it to hell if needs be and it’s bouncing back well so far. The fabrics are silky smooth and flexible, nylon too for good durability. The DWR coating has only been mildly tested so far with drizzle and coffee, but I’ll update on that and the rest of its performance in post-trip gear round-ups.
It’s warm that’s for sure, the close fit, that extra coverage at your arse, the good loft, it all adds up and the two hours I spend standing about Cruach nam Miseag in sub zero temperatures on Monday were chill-free.
I’ll be packing the Filo for the rest of the winter at least, hopefully it’ll keep up the good work.

 

9 thoughts on “Alpkit Filo

  1. I’ve eyed this up a few times since it came back but those short arms are the killer for me.

    I had a red one of their earlier models but it ended up leaving on a jet plane with Louise’s Brother back to Australia seeing as it fit him better than me.

  2. Aye, sleeve length is the deal-breaker for me as well. I’ve got an original Filo here and the sleeves stop just shy of my knuckles, ideal length for “shucking” ones’ hands up into the sleeves :o)

    Mine looks a bit rough and ready compared to the version above; heavier shell, dodgy fill and no hood. Still good enough to see action both on the hill and off tho. Great to see Alpkit continuing to up their game and stick with bringing affordable and quality down gear to market.

  3. Alpkit do their thing well, and in some ways it’s both old fashioned and a business model worth looking at today, they make what they can sell. Put that along with improving quality and design and now some UK manufacturing and you’re moving into a happy place.

    The only niggles I have with the Filo are personal, arm length and the hood, the build quality is really no different from big brand jackets I’ve got hanging next to it, the design and finish loses some detailing to keep costs keen, but it’s minor stuff really.

  4. As down jackets go the Filo feels pretty sturdy. I’ve got down jackets with super-thin fabrics to save weight and some with waterproof outers or even reinforcing on high wear areas for belay use.
    The Filo kinda sits in the middle, I’m happy that it’ll last the course okay.

  5. Just ordered a Pipedream 400 about ten minutes ago. It was more out of fear than desire as for the first time ever the website actually said “buy now”. Until it arrives though I’ll continue to believe that Alpkit don’t actually exist.

    Reassuring to hear you still say good things about them though.

  6. Alpkit has steadily improved over the years, I’m quite happy using it.
    I think you’re luck will be in with stock of the bag, I think I’m due one in any minute to review for Trail. I used a first-gen one a few years back, it’ll be good to see the updates.

  7. My PD 400 has just arrived and I’ve been playing for the last half hour. Looks pretty good. No problems with catching zips, the hood’s not perfect but much better than I was expecting and contrary to popular opinion it goes in the stuff sack a doddle. Just give it a quick roll to get the air out. Weight and pack size are perfectly acceptable. I’m 5’8″ and the fit’s about perfect so I wouldn’t like to be over six foot in it though.

    I reckon it’ll be warm with the snug fit and all and without even trying it I’m sure I’d get away with some winter trips in the right clothes.

    Got a climbing trip to Sputan Dearg planned for the end of April so it’s first proper go will be under the Shelter Stone. Roll on.

    £150? Hell yeah.

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