All jackets in this category have features that focus on wind resistance in some areas, promoting breathability in others. Previously known as PrimaLoft ONE, it is made with extremely thin individual fibers and provides insulation by capturing body heat in the countless tiny air pockets that exist between these fibers. Our experts tested 14 of the top rated models out there in a variety of weights As it pertains to winter PrimaLoft is the most common synthetic insulation used among the products in our review.
This is certainly the long sought-after holy grail of down technology. Patagonia , Mountain Hardwear , and Rab have introduced down coats with hydrophobic down, meaning that the feathers have been treated to make them resistant to water. Down's inability to perform when damp or wet is its primary disadvantage and improving its water resistance would be a game-changing development.
The jury is still out on how effective these treatments are performance-wise. Let's take a minute and make the case for choosing synthetic insulation over down. Generally speaking, down is much warmer for its weight than synthetic insulation.
In terms of offering weight-efficient warmth, synthetics have yet to match mother nature, though the gap is closing. Down however, has one major drawback - it is vulnerable to moisture. When used as a mid-layer under a shell, a jacket with synthetic insulation will not lose its warmth by accumulating sweat like down is prone to do. When used as an outer layer, insulated jackets also have extended functionality in snow or light rain. Additionally, they are often more affordable than down, which makes them a great value.
Fleece jackets or pullovers also serve as both mid-layers and outer layers. Although synthetic is warmer for its weight than fleece and offers better weather protection when used as an outer layer, fleece is more breathable and much cozier. The jackets we tested in this review utilize no fewer than seven types of synthetic insulating fibers.
These fibers are mainly polyester - some are super thin and some relatively thicker. Combining multiple thicknesses and lengths of fiber in varying percentages is a popular strategy. Most of these options utilize many short fibers added together to form a dense mat. These dense mats, or batts, are then sandwiched between outer and inner fabrics. To keep the insulation in place, it is either sewn to the outer fabric or the inner fabric, and sometimes both.
Comparing the loft and resultant warmth of synthetic insulation can be quite difficult. Our real world testing in cool to cold conditions proved that some types of insulation, like Primaloft Gold and Fullrange, are warmer than others in practice.
The grams per square meter measurement simply states the weight of the insulation used irrespective of loft and warmth. PrimaLoft is the most common synthetic insulation used among the products in our review. Developed in the mids in response to the US military's request for a down alternative that would remain warm when wet, its varieties continue to expand and improve. Primaloft Gold is widely considered to be the industry best when it comes to synthetic insulation and the standard in terms of warmth-to-weight ratio.
Previously known as PrimaLoft ONE, it is made with extremely thin individual fibers and provides insulation by capturing body heat in the countless tiny air pockets that exist between these fibers. The thinness of the fibers allows not only for more trapped air in a given amount of insulation, but also allows for relatively good compressibility. Primaloft Silver Hi-Loft , seen in the Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody , is a continuous filament insulation made with fibers of differing thicknesses.
Primaloft calls this their loftiest insulation. This insulation is less compressible overall, but more durable in the long run. It also uses a combination of thicker and thinner fibers.
The secret additive in this mix - a trade secret - is claimed to both stabilize the fiber matrix and allow more stretch and breathability than Primaloft Gold. This insulation, combined with stretchy and breathable inner and outer fabrics, makes the Nano Air unmatched for high energy activities.
Polartec Alpha is another relatively new insulation on the market. Polartec Alpha, like FullRange, is a more breathable insulation capable of handling a larger temperature range.
This insulation is unique, as the fibers are knitted into a sheet. When studying overall insulation structure, the most unique technology we reviewed is ThermoBall , developed jointly by The North Face and PrimaLoft. While the fibers used are similar to the other insulation, they are organized as small spheres rather than batts. These small fuzzy balls of fiber fit together much like goose down and need to be captured in pockets of fabric baffles in the same manner.
In addition, some designs focus on breathability and comfort for high energy use, while others focus on maximizing warmth and weather resistance. In this section, we detail the types of jackets available by lumping them in three groups. First, we have two lightly insulated jackets whose insulation and design features are engineered for breathability on high energy efforts.
The Nano-Air Hoody uses a proprietary breathable insulation developed by Patagonia. These insulation types increase your comfort during heavy exertion by improving airflow, wicking moisture, and stretching more than traditional synthetics. The trade-off is less wind resistance and less warmth. The Nano Air is the most breathable and comfortable model tested, but the warmer and heavier Uberlayer is close behind. The Nano Air goes for light and simple design, and the Uberlayer offers great features, like glove warmer pockets and a hood cinch.
Both are able to handle exertion by allowing warm, moist air to escape. Lightweight jackets that use traditional synthetic insulation and shell fabrics don't usually breathe well, but these hybrids add thin, stretchy, and breathable fabric in key areas. All jackets in this category have features that focus on wind resistance in some areas, promoting breathability in others.
The Outdoor Research Cathode and the Arc'teryx Atom LT incorporate breathable softshell panels under the arms, and insulated, wind-resistant construction on the chest and back.
We find this style of construction comfortable and versatile for various activities. The low bulk under the arms is comfortable and increases mobility. When worn as an outer layer, these jackets dump heat and moisture from the breathable panels while protecting your core from cold. The Arc'teryx Atom SL, the lightest model reviewed , takes the hybrid design up a step, featuring a lightly insulated torso, softshell side panels, and a soft mesh lining in the arms. Continuing along the jacket continuum, lightly to heavily insulated models appear that are less breathable and focus instead on protecting from wind and light rain or snow.
These jackets use wind-resistant ripstop nylon for the entire shell and some incorporate nearly continuous liners or shell fabric to block the wind. The Rab Xenon X uses a nearly continuous outer shell fabric to block wind and resist water. It is warmer than similar models and is our favorite lightweight insulated jacket used as an outer layer.
The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody balances breathability and wind resistance. It has a sewn-through exterior fabric, but also a continuous inner liner that blocks airflow from the outside and wicks sweat. The North Face ThermoBall Hoodie also falls into this category - both jackets use quilted construction. Their stitching is sewn through the shell and liner fabric, which promotes airflow in wind and creates thousands of small holes for warm air to move through when worn under a shell.
Finally, we have the tried-and-true Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody. The heaviest contender in our review, the Hyper Puff employs a windproof polyurethane coated shell with effective DWR finish. It is designed to be worn as the ultimate outer layer. An incredible belay parka for cold weather climbing on ice or rock, it is our Top Pick for Warmth two years in a row. To determine how much insulation and warmth you need, first consider what kind of weather you usually play in and what your typical layering system usually looks like.
Most folks, whether hiking, backpacking, skiing, or alpine climbing will pair one of the light or medium insulated jackets with a hardshell or rain jacket for cold weather. If you're the type of person who hikes slowly and stops frequently to take photos, then a medium weight insulator like the Nano Air Hoody or the Nano Puff Hoody will serve you well as that mid-layer. A fast hiker who takes few breaks would probably overheat with more insulation, and instead should opt for a lightly insulated model like the Outdoor Research Cathode Hooded Jacket or the Arc'teryx Atom SL.
Long backpacking trips and big alpine missions place a premium on weight and space. Lightly insulated jackets are appreciated, like the Rab Xenon X Hoodie, which delivers great warmth for the weight , or the super light Patagonia Micropuff Hoody.
If you primarily want an insulated jacket to keep you warm in camp or while belaying in below freezing conditions, the heavyweight Patagonia Hyper Puff Hoody is the warmest model we tested. Layer it right over the top of everything you're wearing. When you want to wear your jacket as an outer layer, the type that will work best for you largely depends on what you expect out of it. Very breathable models like the Nano Air Hoody and Uberlayer work great for folks that push hard and generate a lot of sweat.
No more taking your warm layer on and off to manage overheating. However, you'll need to break out a light wind breaker jacket if the wind starts ripping though. They won't handle high output activity as well, but do a better job blocking the wind. Their useful range as a terminal layer extends much further into windy and wet conditions. Do you want a hood on your jacket? When we asked our friends and fellow testers, we heard mostly "Yes. Primaloft outerwear features plush filling, made with recycled fibers that are soft, lightweight, and offer superior insulation in extreme cold.
Choose from an assortment of boy's Primaloft designs including puff overalls and jackets in handsome colors and patterns. Dress them in Primaloft overalls featuring adjustable elasticized straps with buckle closures, reinforced knee panels and two-way zip inseam plackets with zipper guard. Make sure you are protected with the quality insulated designs of Primaloft clothing from Gap. The Gap Disney Collection. Her Shop by Size 0 to 24m.
His Shop by Size 0 to 24m. Bundle Up For Her. Bundle Up For Him. Her Shop by Size 12m to 5y. His Shop by Size 12m to 5y.
The primaloft home page. Includes basic information about the site. Find great deals on eBay for primaloft jacket. Shop with confidence. PrimaLoft® Insulation. Stay warmer in cold conditions with the proven warmth of PrimaLoft® insulation.