Polartec Power Grid Fabric | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Mid and Base Layers

Polartec Power Grid Fabric | Review

Polartec’s innovative fabric that brings warmth-without-bulk thanks to its patented grid construction

Why We Chose It: Sustainable, warm, sweat-lifting, fast-drying

Our Outdoor 100 series isn’t just a thoughtless roll call of new items released for the season, it’s a round-up of stuff that deserve to be shouted about – tech that turns heads. And that’s why we decided Polartec’s Power Grid was worthy of inclusion, even despite the fact it’s not a product per se, but an ingredient that goes into other products.

More specifically, Polartec Power Grid is a patented fabric construction that, in the simplest terms, makes for garments that can keep you nice and warm and without the need for masses of bulky, heavy fibres. 

There are a whole host of other benefits to it as well…

Materials and Construction

Like your outdoor gear to be made sustainably? You’ll like Polartec Power Grid then. A high proportion of the fibres used for its yarns are made from a recycled polyester that’s derived from plastic bottles. In the case of the Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight in focus in the video within this review, as much as 92% of the synthetics are recycled.

Hundreds of tiny squares of fabric trap heat, while the channels between them allow air to circulate.

Polartec actually pioneered the process of using bottles for technical garments and over the last 25 years they’ve diverted over 1.8 billion plastic bottles from landfill. 

These synthetic yarns are then formed into a bi-component knit, with the outer side being tightly woven and smooth and the inside featuring that patented grid with hundreds of tiny insulating squares and then open air channels between them that allow air to circulate, thus increasing the thermal warmth and temperature regulation. 

“It’s the kind of stuff that I’ve found I can hike all day in and then keep on overnight.”

What’s more, the fibres that sit against your skin are hydrophilic and that means they’re as thirsty as the Outdoors Magic office at 5 o’clock on a Friday. Any sweat is lifted right off the skin and is then spread out in a thin layer throughout the weave to make for a super fast drying time. That’s exactly what you want from a technical baselayer or midlayer. 

OM editor Will wearing Power Grid on a scramble up Moel Siabod. Photo: Jordan Tiernan
The smooth, tightly woven face fabric.
Polartec Power Grid can be found in garments from brands including Patagonia, Rab and Montane.
Over the last 25 years Polartec have diverted over 1.8 billion plastic bottles from landfill.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“I’m a born and bred Welshman. First of all that means I have a tendency to shoehorn my nationality into any opportunity that arises. Secondly, it means that I’m used to hiking in wet weather – and the kit I like to wear reflects that. The insulation I prefer to go for, for instance, is usually synthetic based, because warmth-when-wet is pretty much essential for me.

“And that’s why I really like the application of Polartec Power Grid in base or mid layers. It means that even in super wet conditions, I’ve got that guarantee of at least some warmth and then also a fast drying time if the rain eventually ceases. It’s the kind of stuff that I’ve found I can hike all day in and then keep on overnight without that icky feeling. 

“What’s more, Polartec Power Grid has an impressive durability to it as well, which is surprising given its comfort and softness. From what I’ve seen, it doesn’t wear out quickly by any means, no matter how rigorously you use it. “

Polartec Power Grid Fabric

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