Travelling in the outback can be downright cold so we decided to grab a couple of Mountain Designs jackets and put them to the test.

On this trip we headed up to Birdsville for the Big Red Bash, a rock concert in the middle of, well nowhere. Birdsville is located in the SW of Queensland, just adjacent the corners of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Our trip took us through the Flinder’s Ranges and then up the Strzelecki Track to Innamincka and then onto Birdsville. We returned home via the Plenty/Donahue Highways, aka the Outback Way, into the Northern Territory and then along the Oodnadatta Track to the Riverland in South Australia.

In packing for this trip we knew we were going to need warm clothes. Layers are just as important as you need to be able to rug up or down as the weather changes.

We were supplied with a couple of jackets from Mountain Designs to supplement our wardrobes, Amanda got a Super Dry 16 Fleece Jacket and I got an Innsbruck Coffee Fibre Down Vest, to try out during our travels.

Women’s Mountain Designs Super Dry 16 Fleece Jacket

Amanda is quite petite and active so she says that while the Super Dry16 Fleece Jacket keeps her warm it also allows her to carry out her usual outdoor activities, without restricting what she can and can’t do.

The jacket is unique in that the fabric is Bluesign® approved, this is a process that guarantees the elimination of harmful substances right from the very beginning of the manufacturing process.

I reckon Amanda pretty well wore her Super Dry jacket every day except for when, after weeks in the bush, we managed to wash all our clothes!


Clearly it was extra cosy as she rarely took it off and it also has zippered slimline security pockets to put items in without worrying about losing them.

It is apparently resistant to abrasion and pilling, which should make this jacket durable, and she reckons you can wear it as a mid or outer layer, depending on how cold it is, without excess weight or bulk.

One of the big things with jackets is that they can often creep up your back allowing cold air in so this jacket has been made with extra length at centre back hem to reduce this occurring.

Men’s Mountain Designs Innsbruck Coffee Fibre Down Vest

To say I have a bit of a jacket fetish would be an understatement and I have many, both long sleeved and vests, that have become favourites over the years.

The Innsbruck vest is no exception and from the moment I started wearing it I could feel not only the warmth it provided, but that it was going to get the nod as one of my faves.

As a park ranger I value sustainably produced goods so it was good to see that this vest combines ethically sourced materials in its production and, to boot, it also uses recycled coffee fibres, which absorb odour so you don’t have to wash your coat as often.

In most cases I think I prefer a vest as I still have freedom of movement. My arms don’t seem to suffer as much unless it’s extremely cold and I can just as easily wear a long sleeved layer underneath.

This vest keeps your core warm and because it’s breathable, windproof and water resistant you can maintain that warmth over time.


The vest features diamond quilting, 2 hand pockets and another just inside near your chest which is great for your mobile phone, a hood and soft lining in all the right places.

It also features high quality YKK zippers and something that I thought was brilliant, a stuff sack that is included for travel so you can pack the vest away using a minimal amount of space.

What did we think?

We have no hesitation in giving these jackets the big tick of approval. We’ve reviewed them in real life conditions and as part of our normal travelling in the outback so if they had any shortcomings I’m sure we would have picked up on them.


We are both active people and love our outdoors so this addition to our wardrobes has been most welcome. I’m sure these jackets will feature on our trips into the outback for years to come.

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