A puffy jacket might be compressible, it may be heat, and it may be water resistant—however by no means unexpectedly. Name it the iron triangle of insulated outerwear: Enhancements to any two of those properties should come on the expense of the third.
This basic drawback stems from the fabric properties of down and artificial insulation. When down will get soaked, it loses its insulating properties. Synthetics keep heat when moist, however they do not compress in addition to the pure stuff.
A brand new artificial fill from Patagonia confronts this conundrum with admirable outcomes. The insulation, which Patagonia calls PlumaFill, seems like a miniature feather boa, with innumerable polyester tufts emanating from an extended, central backbone. These fluffy offshoots compress like down, however keep heat and lofted when moist. Anchoring them to a single strand retains the artificial plumes from shifting and clumping inside a jacket, maximizing the insulation’s effectivity and serving to forestall the formation of chilly spots.
Patagonia’s Micro Puff Hoody, obtainable beginning as we speak, is the primary product to include the corporate’s fancy new down various—and it is a powerful piece. The windproof, water resistant shell makes use of lighter ripstop supplies that different jackets in Patagonia’s lineup, and quite a bit much less stitching, too. Actually, the Micro Puff utterly abandons the baffle development generally present in puffy jackets. As an alternative of confining its insulation to a bunch of little rectangles, Patagonia’s designers used strains of strategically positioned stitching to information strands of PlumaFill all through the jacket’s inside.
The result’s an eminently packable piece with a better heat-to-weight ratio than any jacket Patagonia’s ever made. A measurement medium Micro Puff compresses right down to the dimensions of a 1-liter Nalgene; weighs simply 9.three ounces; and gives virtually as a lot heat as Patagonia’s widespread Down Sweater Hoody, a 15.1-ounce jacket that makes use of actual goose down for insulation. The brand new Micro Puff Hoody isn’t solely lighter than Patagonia’s Ultralight Down Hoody (the Down Sweater’s lighter, svelter sibling), however considerably hotter—a proven fact that led Patagonia to remove the latter from its Fall 2017 product lineup.
All that lightweight efficiency will value you (we’re speaking about Patagonia, right here), however perhaps not as a lot as you’d assume. The Micro Puff Hoody sells for $299—which, whereas not low cost, is $50 lower than the Ultralight Down Hoody it replaces. An artificial jacket that is hotter, lighter, and cheaper than its down-insulated predecessor? Now there’s an iron triangle we will get behind.
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