Down is a natural insulation wonder material that provides an unrivaled warmth-to-weight ratio with one fatal weakness: moisture. Recently, outdoor companies have started to tweak what geese take for granted at the molecular level in hopes of improving on mother nature’s design. DriDown, launched in items by Sierra Designs in 2012, is just one industry-revolutionizing result.
Now, after five years of research and development, Patagonia has entered the feathered fray with its own proprietary material, Encapsil Down, which is water resistant, stronger and 25% loftier than the naturally occurring competition. The additional loft also gives the material a significant advantage over other options like DriDown: an unprecedented 1,000-fill-power, designed to keep even the most stationary of climbing spotters toasty in severe conditions.
That incredible heat-trapping ability of Encapsil is complimented by industry-first 100% independently baffled, differentially cut parka design, which eliminates the cold spots that normally form at each baffle seam with typical “stitch-through” construction techniques. Further smart design elements such as polyurethane dry coated 100% nylon shell, a helmet-compatible hood, independently insulated hand warmer pockets, flexible low-profile cuffs, a mini snowskirt and even a unique pull-system — which allows wearers to adjust the waist draw cord from inside or out — round out this king of the cold’s incredible feature set.
Best of all, Climbers concerned about weight will rest easy knowing the entire package weighs less than 19 ounces — that is, if they’re one of the few mountain scalers lucky enough to blow seven benjamins on one of the 1,000 individually numbered units Patagonia plans to produce.