Author / Justin Helvik, Avid Outdoorsman
A few years ago, we launched what soon became one of our most popular apparel layers: the Grumman Down Jacket. With 5.3 oz. of premium 850+ Fill Power Goose Down encased in an ultralight and weather-resistant Pertex® Quantum shell, this insulation piece became a staple in many mountain hunters' arsenals. This puffy will keep you toasty well into the late season while sitting on that windswept knob waiting for a recluse bull to come out and feed.
Weighing only 11.8 ounces (size large), it is easy to see why it is so popular. However, for much of the year, the Grumman Down Jacket is a bit much for early and mid seasons or in areas with a milder climate. Our team is always pushing the envelope and applying the minimalist mindset to everything we make. Kurt Racicot founded Stone Glacier out of necessity on his quest to make hunting equipment both lighter and more functional. The concept is simple: take what you need and nothing more.
With this in mind, we launched the Grumman LITE Down Jacket in 2023. This lightweight puffy features 3.1 oz of 850+ fill HyperDry™ DWR-treated goose down insulation and features the tried and true 15 Denier weather-resistant Pertex® Quantum shell. The down fill equates to about 40% less insulation as compared to the original Grumman. This is more than enough insulation for those summer scouting trips and early season hunts, plus it weighs in at a featherlight 11 ounces (size large).
The sleek design of the LITE enables it to layer incredibly well underneath an outer layer. Typically, puffy jackets should be worn as an outer layer. However when that drizzle turns torrential as the temp plummets, it is best to place the puffy underneath a hardshell. When paired with a M5 or M7 jacket, the result is a dynamic and versatile system. With less volume, the LITE compresses less, losing little of its loft when placed under a hardshell. Loft is ultimately what creates warmth in down insulation pieces. The Grumman LITE acts as an effective mid-layer, sliding easily underneath an outer layer to allow greater freedom of movement and outstanding warmth.
Another added benefit of the streamlined Grumman LITE is its slimmer hood. The LITE is primarily designed for the early season, which is archery season for many hunters. Hearing that distant bugle or snapping of a twig can mean all the difference on a successful setup or stalk with the bow. The hood on the Grumman LITE has less down fill, meaning sound will reach your ears better than through the original Grumman hood.
If you’re counting ounces in your pack, the Grumman LITE is going to be a great fit for your warmer weather hunts. Perhaps even more importantly, the LITE takes up less space in your pack. When used with a small compression sack, this puffy will compress to about the size of a grapefruit. I nearly always carry a hardshell like the M5 in my pack when in the backcountry. Pairing this with the LITE makes for a formidable system that will be more than adequate for the majority of the year in the mountains. From collecting sheds in the spring to archery elk hunting and everything in between, you will find the Grumman LITE does the job without the extra fluff.
While the weight difference between the Grumman and the Grumman LITE is minimal, the space savings, layering, and packability of the LITE make it a highly versatile piece. Odds are, you will find yourself wearing the LITE more than any other insulation piece. While the original Grumman provides superb warmth, it is built for colder conditions. As with any backcountry system, the more you can specialize your kit based on the hunt and conditions, the lighter and more efficient you’ll be throughout your trip.
About the Author: Justin Helvik is a fourth generation Montana native who lives for adventure in the outdoors. He and his family live in Bozeman, MT where he is currently an educator. His passions are his family, working with students, and exploring the great unknown.