Polartec announced it’s new ‘puffy insulation alternative’ around a year ago, but it’s only now that it’s starting to appear in the shops and we’ve just reviewed jackets from Rab and Marmot using the new Alpha material.
What’s it all about? In simple terms, it’s something a bit like a traditional synthetic insulation technology – PrimaLoft is probably the best known – but designed to be breathable enough to be worn on the move when you’re kicking out lots of heat, sweat and steam…
If you look at the image above, you can see it’s a sort of sandwich of fabrics rather than a jumble of fibres trying to imitate down and as a result, says Polartec, Alpha is no less than twice as breathable and 60% quicker drying. In addition, it gives brands the choice of using more breathable face and liner fabrics to up breathability.
The downside is that it’s less outright warm than synthetics of similar weight and bulk, but that’s missing the point. You’re supposed to wear this stuff on the move, in the cold, not carry it around to just wear when stopped or on belay. Simple huh?
To look at the jackets just scroll down the page or follow the links below and jump straight to each product.