/ NEW REVIEW: Synthetic Insulated Jackets

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Running on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, 5 kbA synthetic insulated jacket is an incredibly versatile piece of kit, says Sarah Stirling, morphing seamlessly from well-fitting mid layer to outer layer as the temperature/weather/speed/activity requires.

Here follows a look at a few popular ones currently available in the circa 150 price bracket...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3251

stevev on 04 Apr 2011
Only for girlies
Monk - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to stevev:
> Only for girlies

Really? All those jackets have male equivalents don't they? Colour and fit are pretty irrelevant parts of a review (we all have different body shapes and preferences) so what counts is how well the jacket works.
Sarah Stirling - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to Monk: Thanks - yes all the jackets come in both male and female versions.

Cheers, Sarah
garethMottram - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to Monk: and the review focusses on synthetics that replace a mid layer fleece too so it's pretty limited in the range to choose from, arguably the redpoint should be reviewed along side things like the Fitzroy and Torres not the nano-puff. But still 'tis a respectable run down.
In reply to UKC Gear: One of the best minimalist synthetic insulated tops I've used is the Haglofs LIM Barrier pullover, at 265g. Done a lot of cold-weather trail running in it this Winter.

Unfortunately they seem to have stopped making it :( Replaced with the Barrier pullover which looks similar, but is a different beast at 370g.
a13x - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

I use one from Alpkit it was a colab project when I got it, did it ever go production? Its an awesome jacket and only cost me about 40!
galpinos - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

I use a North Face Zephyrus, which seems to fall into a similar catagory, but slightly lighter.

http://uk.thenorthface.com/tnf-uk-en/men-s-zephyrus-pullover.html?colour=592#item=men's_zephyru...

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/reviews/jackets/shell-jackets---windproof/the-north-face-mens-zephyrus-...

Really nice, if expensive, top. Wear it a lot on the mountain bike in winter and climbing when it's breezy. Packs into it's own pocket so will come in handy for multi pitch belays.

A general point though, is that these garments are significantly less breathable than a standard fleece and don't work as well when layering. If you intennd to have a shell on top, then stick with a fleece.
Stuzz - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

I use a combination of a Outdoor Research Fraction hoody and a haglofs Barrier vest.

Together they're warm enough for all my Scottish Winter needs and offer a lot more versatility than a standard belay jacket but weigh pretty much the same if not less than most.
Stuzz - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to Stuzz:

Really good review by the way Sarah. Keep up the good work!
jameshiggins - on 04 Apr 2011
In reply to UKC Gear:

Odd timing for this review, as winter nears its end... Surely it would have been more useful several months ago?

Jim
Frank Thompson on 04 Apr 2011 - cpc1-aztw24-2-0-cust228.aztw.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to UKC Gear:
> A synthetic insulated jacket is an incredibly versatile piece of kit, says Sarah Stirling
>
> Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3251

I bought a Mountain Equipment Primaloft belay jacket this winter and it seems to do a perfectly adequate job.
However the most important factor in buying synthetic jackets is that no animals are abused in their production which is more that can be said for down clothing. Apparently plucking of live birds is practiced by some down suppliers, which as one can imagine is extremely painful and stressful for the birds. Wouldn't it be great to end the abuse and slaughter of all factory farmed ducks and geese. Choose synthetic over down clothing !
Sounds like the subject would make an informative and worthwhile article Sarah ?
Sarah Stirling - on 05 Apr 2011
In reply to Frank Thompson: Thanks, an interesting point. This video of live plucking made me wince (poor quality but you get the gist): http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/video-plucking.html . 'Mulesing' of Merino sheep is similarly unpleasant and still practiced by some suppliers also I believe - mentioned that in this base layer review http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3250.

Sarah
Etak - on 05 Apr 2011
In reply to Sarah Stirling-Assistant Editor: that is the first review in years i have been able to read to the end of - actually interesting to read and gave an opinion as opposed to the usual "its all good please keep sending us nice free stuff" type reviewing (not exclusive to UKC)

thanks sarah
Sarah Stirling - on 06 Apr 2011
In reply to Etak: Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :)
SGD - on 06 Apr 2011
In reply to UKC Gear: Thanx for this Sarah. Perfect timing. It just so happens my g/f has just started looking for a primaloft so this review was spot on. She's tried all but the Rab and really likes the redpoint optimus but doesn't seem to be able to get it in any colour other than black in a medium?? Any suggestions as to where to find a blue one in medium would be greatly appreciated?? :)
Sarah Stirling - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to SGD: I'm sorry you can't find it in blue/medium ... I guess you've searched around online, not sure if this TNF store locator is any help ... http://uk.thenorthface.com/tnf-uk-en/storelocator/location/results/

Sarah
SGD - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Sarah Stirling-Assistant Editor: Hiya Sarah. Yeh we have - nevermind we will keep on searching. Once again thanx for a very informative review :)
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nufkin - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Frank Thompson:
> (In reply to UKC Gear)
> [...]

> However the most important factor in buying synthetic jackets is that no animals are abused in their production which is more that can be said for down clothing. Apparently plucking of live birds is practiced by some down suppliers, which as one can imagine is extremely painful and stressful for the birds. Wouldn't it be great to end the abuse and slaughter of all factory farmed ducks and geese. Choose synthetic over down clothing !

I don't wish to trivialise the abuse of down-providing birds, but it seems to be possible to favour brands that at least proscribe the use of live-plucked down (Rab and PHD, for example, both state that they don't use 'abusive' down) rather than having to avoid down altogether. It's still a better insulator than the synthetic alternatives, after all, and there's arguably an ethical case against using petroleum-derived materials.

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