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Touted by Colorado-based GoLite as a parka for all-around use, the Roan Plateau does not disappoint. Filled with lofty 800-fill down, the jacket is exceedingly warm – and shockingly so at a mere 19 ounces. Don a t-shirt underneath and it wouldn't be a stretch to expect the jacket to keep you toasty for evening strolls in blustery mountain towns well into the lower 30s.
Coupled with a winter layering system and it delivers insulated bliss that can easily withstand single digits – or worse. Therein lies a large part of the Roan Plateau's appeal: if warmth is a priority, it's hard to envision conditions when you wouldn't find yourself reaching for it first.
That the jacket delivers this without making you look and feel like a puffy colored blob is a welcomed relief that cannot be understated. While you can't hope to cut a svelte figure with it – it's still an 800-fill down jacket, after all – it is markedly more slim-fitting than a typical insulated jacket, despite the fact that it's billed as having a relaxed fit. As well, with the Roan Plateau your movements mercifully won't be accompanied by an audible synthetic swish, and the jacket's supple and unrestrictive material feels downright lush against the skin.
As you'd expect from weight-shaving pioneers GoLite, the Roan Plateau is devoid of unnecessary frills. The features it includes, though, are all well-conceived and executed, starting with the snug hood with shock cord that tapers to a padded fleece-lined collar; if you're looking to save further ounces, opt for the version without a hood.
The roomy, zippered pockets are also lined with plush-feeling fleece; I frequently found myself leaving my gloves at home just to make use of them. The jacket has two interior pockets: one closed by a button by the waist and another on the other side below the chest suited for a smartphone.
It's somewhat of an odd placement, as to access it you have unzip the jacket nearly to the waist. Sure to be among jacket's most appreciated inclusions are the stretch knit cuff liners, which performed admirably at preventing cold gusts from seeping up my sleeves during a frigid day out in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The Roan Plateau travels well, too. It packs down easily enough into it's own stuff sack, ensuring that you have little reason to leave it behind – not something you'll likely do once the temperatures drop. (MSRP $275)
Steven Horak is a writer, editor and photographer with a particular interest in travel and wildlife. He was the lead editor of Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel and as an author he’s contributed to Rough Guides to the Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Canada. He’s also authored children’s books on animals, created ESL and EFL materials and has written for New York-based publications such as TimeOut New York and NYMag.com.
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