Water Proofing Treatment
We had an exceptionally wet spring and summer season in the Colorado mountains, so I had more opportunities than I would have liked to test the Repeloff Nano Super DWR treatment. Initially I had my reservations, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I have not applied any additional DWR treatment to the jacket (even after a full wet season), and the Cham’s original DWR treatment still causes a light rain to roll right off my shoulders. To be clear, the Cham is not waterproof—in the case of a torrential downpour, this is no substitute for a hard shell. But the Cham gave me the peace of mind to finish an important task at work (or tend to a medical concern) before running to grab my shell or stopping to seek shelter. Even if moisture does leak in (and it inevitably will if you do stay out in a heavy rain for too long), the Cham’s down has a hydrophobic treatment that reduces the loss of loft when wet, and maintains an adequate level of insulation.
The Cham Down Jacket has accompanied me backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering for five months now, and regular bushwhacking through the lower basins of the Holy Cross Range in Colorado exposed it to plenty of snarly trees, rough rocks and constant scrapes. But after all this, the jacket shows no signs of wear (except some dirt), which speaks to the effectiveness of the Cham’s 20D Ripstop fabric. I haven’t had to make use of any seam seal and ripstop tape, and I was more than a little surprised by this.
In short, the Cham Down Jacket has held up much better than the REI Co-Op Down Jacket and many of the Marmot Jackets (like their Zeus Down Jacket or the Mountain Down Jacket) I have used in the past.
The MSRP on the La Sportiva Cham Down Jacket is $299. Despite some excellent features, that’s pretty expensive for a 700-fill down jacket (though you can now find the Cham for much less). The Marmot Zeus Down Jacket goes for $199.95, and The North Face Nuptse Jacket is $220. And both of these jackets are covered by a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, though normal wear and tear generally won’t be repaired or replaced.
Given that, a jacket like the Cham that is built to last, first and foremost, might be the right decision. But if you’re only looking for a down jacket to be used occasionally (and gently), that extra $100 might not be worth the increased durability that the Cham offers.
The La Sportiva Cham Down Jacket has been an impressive addition to my outdoor kit, and I’d be loathe to give it up.
While it might not be the right choice for those on a tighter budget, or someone looking for the lightest option, the Cham has proven to be an excellent, durable, all-around jacket.