Down has it’s downsides but the luxurious and lightweight L.I.M. Essens Jacket from Haglöfs is definitely a nice piece of kit…
Overall Rating: ****
Although it has it’s shortcomings when the going gets damp and wet, you really can’t beat that luxurious feeling of down insulation. We’ve reviewed a couple of the Haglöfs L.I.M. (Less Is More) products on the site including the L.I.M. Barrier Pro Hood which is a top notch synthetic insulation jacket. The L.I.M. Essens jacket takes this less is more philosophy into a super light, hoodless down jacket.
Haglöfs say: “The L.I.M Essens Jacket is our premier down jacket when each gram counts. Every detail is attended to: the shell is extremely lightweight and tough, with articulated sleeves for movement. 800-fill goose down offers a warm embrace.”
For UK only users I think it’s impossible to get the full benefit of a down jacket, it’s just too wet, too much of the time. Down excels in cold dry climates so that is why I would never take a down jacket as my sole insulation in the UK. There are rare days where this is not the case but as a generalisation, I’d rather have something in my pack that would keep me warm regardless of whether it is wet or dry. However if you participate in outdoor pursuits in cool, dry weather, then the L.I.M. Essens may just be the thing you need!
I’m not overdoing it when I say that the L.I.M. Essens is one of the most luxurious feeling things I have ever worn. When I went to meet Bruce Duncan at the Haglöfs UK HQ and he showed me all the products, and let me try some of the on, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make myself take the L.I.M. Essens Jacket back off again. In your hand it feels almost weightless (don’t leave it unattended on the hill as it WILL blow away!) and when you put it on it is super comfortable, soft and luxurious. It is so light that you could forget you are wearing it, but packs a massive warming punch too, considering it is only 180g (size Large).
The down is super high quality, premium 800 fill power goose down. Haglöfs measure down fill using “Euro Fill” as the down weight they use, rather than the US version which most other brands use. They therefore claim to have more down in their jackets than a lot of other specialist down brands who use the US system but claim the same fill power. It is encased within a “Extreme lightweight face fabric and lining in a 7 Denier construction with PFOA-free DWR treated surface” via a mini box quilted construction that stabilises the down and stops it all moving around. The face fabric is reasonably tough considering it’s low weight but I wouldn’t want to go thrashing up a granite chimney in this as I think it would quite quickly leave it, spewing feathers.
In terms of features, there aren’t actually very many at all. This I like a lot! Here is what you get:
- Full-length main zipper, with wind baffle behind and integrated chin guard
- Two handwarmer pockets
- Elasticated sleeve and bottom hems to give comfortable closure without adding weight
- Articulated sleeves
- Rear hanging loop
It’s a pretty spartan feature set, but basically it is all you really need on a minimalist piece like this. (I would love a hooded one though!) I think this jacket is best suited as a cold weather midlayer or an outer layer to throw on at belays when multipitch rock climbing or for brew stops etc. It is so light and compact that there is no excuse for not taking it along. I packed mine on just about every alpine route I did this summer and autumn and have also carried it a lot as an emergency extra layer when skiing. Even when I’ve had a super full pack with bivi and climbing kit, I’ve managed to squash the L.I.M. Essens in. There were a few colder than expected bivis this summer, where I was glad I had it to make up for the limitations of my paper thin sleeping bag!
So, the Haglöfs L.I.M. Essens is a beautifully constructed, high quality and exceptionally luxurious feeling piece of kit. It is great for a wide variety of activities, but most suited to cold dry days as down tends to lose it’s insulating properties pretty quickly when it gets wet. What I love about all the L.I.M. products that I’ve used so far is that they are so light, simple and versatile. I’ve used all of mine way beyond what they were specifically designed for but the simplicity and lightweight just seems to allow them to work. At £200 it’s not cheap and it’s not the toughest jacket but if you can afford the luxury, I’d say go for it!
- RRP: £200
- Find out more at the Haglöfs website.