Just in from Lowe Alpine's clothing range and just in time for the bit where autumn practices turning into winter is the new Glacier Point Jacket, just under 600g of seriously warm synthetic insulation in a UK-friendly wind-resistant package.
The first thing we noticed is that it's significantly warmer than the lighter weight synthetics out there. The fill is 200gm in the main body and upper sleeves for really effective core insulation, but 100gm stuff in the side-panels, hood and lower sleeves.
The idea is that you get warmth where you need it most, but don't end up walking round like a body builder with your arms stuck out thanks to over-stuffed side panels and save some overall weight too. Incidentally, Lowe Alpine quotes 415g on the swing-tag, but our medium test jacket is a real-life, digitally measured 580g - thats not insanely heavy and quite portable, but obviously it's more than the spec says it should be.
The pay-off is that it promises to be decently warm, around typical belay-jacket levels in fact and you wouldn't want to wear it for moving around. It's more of a jacket for lunch stops, tent life and hanging around dank climbing huts and bunk-houses where it's synthetic relative indifference to dampness should make it a good call.
3-D Crimped Fibre
The insulation bears some attention too, it is 'a unique 3-D crimped recycled mono-polymer fibre' it says here, which means better warmth relative to its weight.
If you did want to use it as a proper belay jacket you'd probably need to size up as the fit is a sort of medium close - fine for us over a fleece, but a tad small for pulling over much more than that. In addition, the simple, non-adjustable hood, while warm, isn't helmet compatible.
The rest of the spec is unfussy and effective - there are two hand-warmer pockets, an outside and inside zipped chest pocket, elasticated cuffs and an adjustable helm. There's a - slightly narrow - baffle behind the YKK main-zip and it's nice to see Lowe Alpine stressing its 'Designed in the UK' pedigree on the care label. No more Italian fussery here.
Initial impressions are that it's a seriously warm winter insulation jacket that's not ridiculously bulky thanks to careful design. It should be ideal for hill and mountain walkers looking for pull-on warmth for extended stops or for apres-hill wear in tent, hut or pub. It should also do double duty as a sub-zero, around town, bundle of warmth if we get a serious winter.
As well as the red of our test jacket, it's also available in black and 'ink' - a sort of dark blue for men - and in blue, mauve and silvery grey for women. Retail price is £120. In addition, there's a Glacier Point Vest, which has a hood in women's guise (£90) or not for men at £80.
More information at www.lowealpine.com.