Widely known for their ultralight quilts, Katabatic Gear has started filling nylon shells with down (which, in case you didn’t know, is not the same as feathers) in a different configuration – this time meant to be used (primarily) while you’re awake.
The Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket is an insulated jacket made for anyone looking for a lightweight piece of outerwear that, in addition to being lightweight, will keep you warm (unlike some other ultralight jackets that are more like wind shells with a bit of down in them).
Here’s everything you could want to know about the Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket.
Pros and Cons
+ An ultralight jacket that can also keep you warm
+ Elastic (and comfortable) wrist cuffs
+ Holds up well in light rain
+ Adjustable hood and waist
– Sizing is a bit tricky
– No drop pockets
– Nowhere to try locally – no free returns
The following reflects the Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket in a men’s medium. The jacket I used for this review is a men’s large. I also tried on a medium and found it far too small (not just uncomfortable, but unwearable); more on that below.
- Weight: 11.4 oz / 323 g
- Fill Power: 850+ fill power HyperDry goose down
- Fill Weight: 5.5 oz / 156 g
- Pockets: Two hand
- Hem: Adjustable
- Hood: Yes
- Cuffs: Elastic
- Zipper: Full zip #5VS YKK
- Exterior Fabric: Pertex Quantum Eco Ripstop 10D .85 oz/yd
- Interior Fabric: Pertex Quantum Taffeta 20D 1 oz/yd
- Colors: Granite, Navy, Red Rock
- MSRP: $299
- Warranty: “All Katabatic Gear products are guaranteed to the original owner against defects in workmanship or materials for the lifetime of the product.”
The Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket is not meant to be the absolute lightest insulated jacket available; it’s meant to be a lightweight jacket that will keep you warm in cold environments. At 11.4 oz / 323 g (in a men’s medium), the Tincup isn’t the lightest jacket available, but when you consider that most of the weight is down, you really get what you pay for. If the Tincup is too heavy for your taste, Katabatic Gear has a lighter jacket on offer, the Tarn, that weighs 2.1 oz / 60 g less.
The problem with some ultralight insulated jackets is that they do little more than check a box on a gear list. Bringing a piece of gear classified as an insulated jacket won’t automatically mean that said piece of gear will keep you warm. The Katabatic Tincup Down Jacket does not have this problem. Nearly 50% of the Tincup’s weight comes from its down fill – a total of 5.5 oz / 156 g (for a men’s medium).
The Katabatic Tincup is comfortable and has a great skin feel. Skin feel? Yes, the interior of the jacket is lined with Pertex Quantum Taffeta 20D which is silky smooth and not anything like the trash-bag-feely or sticky interior of other lightweight insulated jackets. You can feel the difference between the exterior and interior shell. That, plus the generous amount of down stuffed into the Tincup makes for an excellently comfy combination. And if you use your down jacket as a pillow at night, you may have just found your new favorite sleep accessory.
The Tincup has comfortable elastic cuffs at the end of each arm. Each sleeve’s elastic is located at the end/interior of the arm which means your arm will be down-encircled all the way down to your wrist (and even a little past, depending on your ape index). The elastic band is also quite wide so it won’t dig into your wrist (in case you’ve experienced issues with this in the past). And as a bonus, I haven’t had any trouble fitting the sleeve over my large 1.4″ / 51 mm Garmin watch.
I have the Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket in a large. I am 5’10” (179 cm), 185 lbs (84 kg). Typically, I will fit into either a medium or a large-sized jacket. Initially, I got a large but then tried a medium because I thought the large was too big. However, after trying on the Tincup in both a medium and a large, I am 100% a large; I don’t even fit into the medium (the medium is way too tight around my arms and I felt like I could Hulk out of it if I wanted to). Sizing is always tricky since it’s variable based on brand and/or item, but I thought this was worth pointing out.
The Katabatic Tincup is not cheap, with a price tag of $299. Depending on your kit, that could be as much as a sleeping bag or a backpack. That said, it is a quality piece of gear and you’re not simply paying for a name brand. When compared to similar ultralight insulated jackets, the Tincup finds itself close to the average price. There are plenty of more expensive (and less expensive) options.
The Drop Pockets
The Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket does not have drop pockets. If you’re unfamiliar, these are interior pockets on either side of the zipper that you can drop items into (i.e. they typically don’t have a closure. While I understand drop pockets would add weight, I can’t imagine another two pieces of fabric and stitching would be substantial enough to cancel the benefit of drop pockets. That said, drop pockets aren’t quite as useful if you’re wearing a backpack with a cinched hip belt.
The Katabatic Tincup is available in three colors, red (red rock), gray (granite), and navy (navy). Nothing wrong with three colors and nothing wrong with any jacket in particular, but it would be awesome to have a bright color (brighter than the red on offer) as well. I’m a big fan of bright gear (for photos and search and rescue) and Katabatic Gear does not appear to share my enthusiasm (their quilts aren’t too colorful either – but they’re still excellent).
Who is it for?
- Beginner Backpackers: If you live somewhere where you’re going to be using this jacket frequently both on and off the trail (and are hoping to get into some colder backpacking eventually), the Tincup may be a good option. But you’re still paying a premium for a piece of ultralight gear.
- Weekend Warriors: For anyone getting outdoors in cooler temperatures regularly – especially if you’ll be hanging around camp or sitting still for extended periods – the Tincup is an excellent choice if the price isn’t too off-putting.
- Thru-Hikers: If you’re worried about colder temperatures on a thru-hike and need an insulated jacket that will keep you warm, the Tincup is a great option. Too heavy? Check out the Tarn (Men’s/Women’s) instead.
|Arc'teryx Cerium Hoody (M/W)||$400||10.2 oz | 290 g||Yes||2 hand||4 oz | 113 g|
|Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100 (M/W)||$90||10 oz | 284 g||Yes||2 hand||3.1 oz | 88 g|
|Enlightened Equipment Torrid (M/W)||$185||8.4 oz | 238 g||Yes||2 hand||N/A|
|Feathered Friends EOS (M/W)||$409||10.8 oz | 306 g||Yes||2 hand | 1 chest||4 oz | 112 g|
|Katabatic Gear Tarn (M/W)||$269||9.3 oz | 264 g||Yes||2 hand||3.3 oz | 94 g|
|Katabatic Gear Tincup (M/W)||$300||11.4 oz | 323 g||Yes||2 hand||5.5 oz | 156 g|
|Montbell Plasma 1000 Jacket (M/W)||$369||4.9 oz | 138 g||No||2 hand||1.6 oz | 45 g|
|Montbell Superior Down Jacket (M/W)||$219||7.1 oz | 201 g||No||2 hand | 2 drop||1.9 oz | 55 g|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 (M/W)||$300||8.3 oz | 235 g||No||2 hand||N/A|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 Hoody (M/W)||$325||8.8 oz | 249 g||Yes||2 hand||N/A|
|Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL (M/W)||$375||6.7 oz | 189 g||Yes||2 hand||2.5 oz | 70 g|
|Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody (M/W)||$299||10.7 oz | 303 g||Yes||2 hand | 2 drop||N/A|
|Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket (M/W)||$279||10.5 oz | 298 g||No||2 hand | 2 drop||N/A|
|Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody (M/W)||$279||12.8 oz | 363 g||Yes||2 hand | 1 internal chest||N/A|
|Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket (M/W)||$229||11.9 oz | 337 g||No||2 hand | 1 internal chest||N/A|
|Rab Microlight Down Jacket (M/W)||$250||14 oz | 403 g||Yes||2 hand | 1 chest||4.7 oz | 134 g|
|REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0 (M/W)||$100||11 oz | 312 g||Yes||2 hand||3.2 oz | 91 g|
|Zpacks Goose Down Jacket||$375||6.8 oz | 192 g||Yes||2 hand | 1 internal chest||3.4 oz | 96 g|
The Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an ultralight insulated jacket for colder temperatures or shoulder season outdoor fun. The slightly warmer, slightly, lighter, slightly less expensive Katabatic Gear Tarn is an alternative for those looking for a little less cold resistance.
Overall, I’ve been happy with it and I’m looking forward to beating it up on the Hayduke starting next month. Questions, comments, or personal experience with the Katabatic Tincup? Leave a comment below or get in touch!
Rating + Recommendation
The Katabatic Gear Tincup Down Jacket is an ultralight insulated jacket with two hand-warmer pockets, an adjustable hood, and an adjustable waist, for when you need a little extra warmth. It’s meant to do more than check the “insulated jacket” box on your packing list. Despite its seemingly high price tag, it costs about the same (or less) as comparable insulated jackets.
This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive small commissions for purchases made via these links at no additional cost to you. This helps to pay the bills and keep the site up and running. Thank you for your support!