To have fun in frigid temperatures, you need to keep warm. Insulated jackets are available in many styles and weights. Here’s how to choose between the two main types of insulation.
In insulated jackets, sleeping bags, mittens, and other insulated apparel, the overriding principle is the same: air is trapped between the filaments or strands of polyester. This provides warmth in cold environments. Depending on your preference, these materials are loftier (or puffier) and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio. Down insulation is lighter and more compressible than synthetic insulation. It also lasts longer. It is also more costly and won’t insulate well when wet. Synthetic insulation, on the other hand, is slightly heavier and less compressible. It also wears out faster. It’s generally cheaper, and it insulates better when wet. The price of your jacket and the use you intend to make of it will determine which jacket you choose.
Synthetic insulation is made of fine filaments of polyester, which are spun to create air pockets between the fibers. Finer filaments have more air between them, which makes insulation feel softer and of higher quality. Higher-end synthetic insulation can be treated with a water- and smell-resistant agents to improve outdoor performance and for active use. Synthetic insulation is more resilient to wet and humid conditions than down and will dry faster.
What amount of insulation is required for a jacket? Synthetic insulation thickness is often expressed in grams per square meter. This is not a measure of total insulation weight. A coat with 200g insulation will be thicker than one with 100g insulation. For spring and fall, jackets 50-100g are best. Jackets with 100g insulation are better for colder conditions. Jackets with 100-200g insulation are perfect for those who expect to wear multiple layers. These rules do not apply to the latest generation of synthetic insulation, such as The North Face’s Thermoball and Marmot Featherless. These new technologies closely resemble down so that they will be lighter but warmer than other types.
High-tech jackets made of insulated synthetic are starting to appear. They can be used in high-output sports and other activities. This solves the problem of dressing for cold-weather aerobic exercises. You can either go longer without overheating or even avoid it entirely. This includes The North Face Ventrix and Patagonia Nano Air and any jackets that have Polartec Al.
Insulation with Down
Down is the most effective insulation in the world, pound for pound. It has a three-fold warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic insulation. The down used to insulate is made from ducks, geese, and other waterfowl. This is a byproduct of raising these animals for food. Many companies, such as Patagonia and The North Face, have established standards to ensure that down used in their products is free from cruelty.
When looking at down jackets, you should consider their “fill power.” This is a measure of how much down a given weight will occupy. Premium insulation is 800-900 fill down. This gives you that cloud-like feeling and will take more down to provide the same warmth. Down in the 500-600 range will need more down, which makes them heavier and bulkier.
Although down feathers provide powerful heat, they also have a weakness: moisture. Water-resistant down refers to insulation treated with a water-resistant layer at the molecular level. Each feather is coated with a nanomolecular coating to protect it from humidity before being packed into a jacket. This coating is applied on a small scale and doesn’t add much weight to the feathers. It also doesn’t reduce the feathers’ ability to loft so that they won’t lose warmth.
Types Of Insulated Jackets
What does it mean for a jacket that has insulation? It all depends on the coat. Let’s break it down into four main categories.
Lightweight puffies: These jackets contain insulation in a lightweight shell, usually a low-denier nylon, with a DWR (durable waterproof repellent) treatment to shed light precipitation. These jackets can be worn alone or under a standard layer of clothing. A thin layer of synthetic or down insulation can provide more insulation for a fraction of the weight of a fleece. They will only insulate entirely, as well as fiber if they are soaked. However, this is fine if you have a good shell.
‘Hybrid Jackets: Jackets from this category have a combination of quilted insulated panels in key locations, along with fleece or stretch material across the arms, sides, and back. This combination makes it easier to layer the jacket and is more comfortable for high-aerobic activities. You can use synthetic or down insulation to protect your core.
Insulated Snowboard and Ski Jackets: If you regularly ride in freezing weather or don’t want to wear many layers, an insulated skiing or snowboard jacket might be the right choice. There are many insulation options. You can have just enough not to need a second layer or get so much that you won’t be able to wear anything underneath. Depending on the temperature in your area, you can choose which jacket to buy. All jackets have a waterproof, breathable shell that protects the insulation from the elements. This fabric’s quality and effectiveness can vary greatly. It would help if you considered the conditions you would be riding in.