'Haglöfs Mimic does just that, emulating the look and feel of down, but with better wet weather performance though it's not quite as light or as warm as the real thing'
Outdoors Magic: Down-like feel and looks, medium warm, distinctive styling, nice fit, Pertex outer, PFC-free DWR, decent wet performance
Outdoors Tragic: Under-arm fleece inserts reduce wind proofing but improve mobility. Micro baffled efficiency questionable. No hood.
Outdoors Grabbit? A synthetic jacket that looks uncannily like a a skinny-baffled down one. It provides light to medium level warmth, has a neat cut and while it's not tiny packing, it's not huge either. The big plus is that if the fill gets damp it retains more of its loft compared to even water-resistant down. A classic synthetic jacket design might actually be more efficient in terms of insulation, but then again, it won't look anything like as cool as the Mimic. This one has no hood, but there's also a hooded version if you prefer. Underarm fleece panels trade a little wind proofing for some added mobility.
Essens Mimic Jacket Ratings
Outright Warmth [rating score="2.5"]
Packability [rating score="2.5"]
Damp-proofing [rating score="4"]
Overall: [rating score="3.5"]
Synthetic micro-baffled insulated jacket / QuadFusion™ Mimic synthetic fill / 30D Pertex Microlight® shell fabric with PFC-free DWR / Polartec® Powerstretch® shoulder inserts / stitch-through construction / twin hand-warmer pockets / single zipped chest-pocket / elasticated hem and cuffs /
Full Review Below
Haglöfs Essens Mimic Jacket - The Fill
The clue's in the name: QuadFusion Mimi is a synthetic insulation that Haglöfs says 'emulates actual goose down but can take far more in the way of wet weather'. Visually - see the video below - it actually reminds us a lot of The North Face's ThermoBall insulation and is designed to trap air not just within the balls of insulation, but also between the balls.
Unlike normal synthetic insulation which is supplied in sheets and needs to be stitched to the jacket fabric, the QuadFusion Mimic just sits in a compartment, like, you guessed it, down. Which is why the jacket has distinctive, down-like, stitch-through baffles.
Finally, the big advantage over natural down in in water resistance and retention of loft if the fill does get wet. See the video below for more details and a demonstration of the fill's wet performance.
Haglöfs Essens Mimic Jacket - Performance
The main plus of the Essens Mimic over more conventional synthetic-filled jackets is its distinctive down-like appearance and feel. If you didn't know what it was, you'd assume it was a down jacket. Of course it's not quite and one give away is that it's still a little heavy.
The similar though slightly warmer down-filled Haglöfs Essens Down III Jacket for example, weighs around 140g less at 282g. Even at 420g though, the Mimic isn't too much of a lump. It packs to a medium/small sort of size, has a neat, fitted cut and sleek styling with stealth pocket-zips and elasticated hem and cuffs, both good for us.
The neck fitted us fine too, just as well as it's not adjustable. One detail the jacket shares with the Essens Down is the use of under-arm stretch fleece panels. These are intended to improve mobility and we did find the jacket unrestrictive search forwards or upwards, but in situations with cold, cutting wind, they do create a cold spot if the wind's coming from behind.
In The Wet
To check out the wet performance, we went out and absolutely soaked the jacket. First, we noticed that even when wet, it retains a fair amount of its loft. There's no collapse into a soggy mess. It's not as warm as it would be when dry as damp air transmits heat more efficiently, but it still works.
Next, we found that if you leave the jacket soaked, the baffles seem to hold the water in place, but if you wring it them out gently, the fill dries reassuringly quickly - a water-resistant down jacket in the same circumstances, retained less loft when actually wet, but dried out significantly faster. More about that shortly.
That aside, the jacket feels like a medium-warm, medium-weight down skinny-baffled one, but with a little more weight than you'd expect.
Haglöfs Essens Mimic Jacket - Verdict
We like the Mimic, it's a neat jacket with a quality Pertex Microlight outer fabric thats' reasonably warm and reasonably small packing with a down like look and feel, but with better wet conditions performance compared to non water-resistant down.
That gives it a knock-about robustness for UK use, but the narrow baffles - as with down equivalents - reduce insulating efficiency thanks to the numerous stitch line cold-spots and mean that it's not as warm as it might be. For reference, the Montane Blue Ice Jacket which uses PrimaLoft Down Blend, has similar weight and wet conditions performance, but is appreciably warmer.
We're also a little dubious about the under-arm Power Stretch fleece panels. In some conditions, they simply let wind through. Otherwise though, the Mimic's a nice all-rounder even if it does trade some performance for looks.