PHD The Worlds Lightest Down Clothing
If you spend any time wandering around the worlds highest mountains you might see a flash of an unfamiliar logo or the same logo seen in a picture of someone stood atop a 8000m Himalayan mountain. In the deserts, hills and mountains the same logo is seen on those competing in the worlds toughest ultra races. At the extreme ends of physical endeavour PHD is the logo seen on the clothing of those who need or want the lightest possible equipment to enable them to perform and to survive in the worlds harshest conditions. PHD makes unassuming but fiercely technical garments.
Looking at the PHD website some particular garments stand out; the Worlds Lightest Down Vest, the Worlds Lightest Down Jacket and at the other end of the scale the innovative designs of the PHD Expedition Down Suits.
Two of the Nepalese climbers who made the first winter ascent of K2 wore PHD down suits.
I knew that PHD produced the lightest down equipment in the world but I didn’t really have an understanding of what that actually meant until I received an invitation from the managing director Peter to to visit the factory.
PHD gear is all hand made in a traditional Victorian mill East of Manchester. Up some stone stairs and then into a room and it’s immediately obvious this is a factory solely dedicated to hand making the highest quality technical clothing. There is a cutting table with patterns hanging on the wall, a sewing room where not only new garments are made but well used and beloved garments are returned for repair.
And then there is the down room. Again nothing sophisticated here just large sacks of the finest goose down in the world. A computer contains every amount of down that goes into every panel in every item. The down is weighed and then hand stuffed into the garment or sleeping bag. PHD use 1000 fill power down in their top end K series of clothing and sleeping bags. The fill power number indicates how much loft is achieved by the down. The higher the fill power number the more warmth for weight. By using the highest quality down PHD can make the lightest down equipment in the world.
Having visited the factory the key thing that stands out for me is the dedication to innovative design and function. A great example of this is the Hispar K jacket. I’ve used various high quality down mountaineering jackets including the Mountain Equipment K7, Rab Batura and Crux Rimo. And they are great jackets but the Hispar K is significantly lighter and has design tweaks such as a waist drawcord that you won’t find on more conventional jackets. The Hispar K is a 575g jacket that will get you up a 7000m mountain!
The vast majority of PHD gear is made to order; go online order your item and then the team make it. This allows a personalisation unavailable with other brands. If you want longer or shorter sleeves or body length just use the drop down box on the order form.
I haven’t mentioned prices and there is no doubt that this is expensive equipment. However what you are getting for your money is the highest down equipment in the world. It’s hand made in the UK and that is definitely something worth celebrating and supporting. Also this is gear that will last a very long time and if it does get damaged you can get it repaired in the factory that made it.
PHD are currently offering a 25% discount on their new range of synthetic jackets and vests – https://www.phdesigns.co.uk/new-range-of-synthetic-insulated-jackets-and-vest-gillets
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in the Peak District, easily reached by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the Peak District National Park which has some of the finest rock climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.