Polartec Alpha In The Real World
So what does that mean in the real outdoors? We found it works a bit like this: you set off in the morning wearing your Alpha Direct over a high-wicking baselayer. The fluffy liner feels, warm, furry and slightly luxurious. Great in the pre-dawn chill.
As you start to warm up, you still feel comfortable. And then you hit the first hard climb, gravity kicks in, your winter pack feels heavy, you work harder, you sweat a little. Your brow is moist. But Alpha works well enough that you never get that horrible, hot, damp, build-up of steam inside your jacket.
And then, as you crest the lip of a hanging cam – or coire or corrie, you decide – your feckless mate comes to a steaming, panting halt. He or she, if it’s a bitch, needs a five-minute breather, a bowl of water and some doggy treats.
It’s breezy and cool, but Alpha’s wind-resistant outer shell keeps you comfortable, the hood protects your sensitive ears and you’re dry enough that you don’t need any additional layers to keep you comfortable.
‘When you start off again, you just flip the hood off and motor on up. A bit later it starts to drizzle a little. No problem again. The Alpha copes nicely, you just carry on.’
When you start off again, you just flip the hood off and motor on up. A bit later it starts to drizzle a little. No problem again. The Alpha copes nicely, you just carry on.
When the rain does get worse though, much worse, you sling on a lightweight waterproof shell and because Alpha is so breathable, it works very like a fleece as a mid layer.
Snow? You just rely on Alpha, it loves the stuff. Wind? Not a problem. You get the idea. It’s not quite magic, it can’t defy the laws of physics, so if you stop for longer, you’ll still need an additional warm insulation layer to throw over the top. And if it really rains, you’ll need that waterproof.
But later, as you sit in the car driving home with a contented doggy snoring coming from the back seat, chances are that you’ll still be wearing your Alpha Direct and you’ll still feel dry and comfortable.
So There You Go…
Hmmm, so it maybe is a little like magic. Not too warm when you’re on the move, not too cool and damp and clammy when you’re stopped. The stuff has been our most-used ‘mid come shell’ layer so far this winter and we don’t see that stopping any time soon.
Is it insulation? Is it soft shell? Is it insulated soft shell? Or mutant fleece? Or a platypus-like crossover combination of all of them? You know what, we don’t know and we don’t really care. All that really matters is that it works. And it works brilliantly.