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When it comes to warmth-to-weight ratios, you really cannot beat good old down as an insulating material. But it does have one significant drawback – get it wet and it becomes useless. Adding a waterproof shell can help, but it’ll still get wet from the inside, and drying takes an age. Synthetic materials do a pretty good job of staying warm even when wet, and drying quickly, but at the cost of not inconsiderable extra weight and bulk. For this reason, finding a way to make the down itself water repellent has been a bit of a holy grail for outdoor companies for decades. Patagonia have found the holy grail.
Photo Courtesy of Patagonia / Mikey Schaefer
Patagonia, Sep 2013
© Mikey Schafer
Encapsil™ technology uses safe, silicone-based chemistry, free of fluorocarbons. The down is sent through a vacuum and agitated with low-level radio frequency waves until the down’s molecular structure begins to shift. A tiny amount of siloxane is then deposited onto each plumule, adhering to its changed molecular structure in a virtually permanent synthesis to make it not only hydrophobic, but also adding strength to the delicate, complex tree-like structure of the down. What starts off as normal 800 fill-power down ends up repelling moisture and lofting to an incredible 1000 fill-power.
The very best down really needs a shell to match. The Patagonia Encapsil Down Parka features a super-light shell that is differentially cut (the inner is smaller than the outer to allow the down to loft fully) and fully baffled (no stitch-through at all, so no cold spots).
Included in the price is the NexWash™ cleaning service. Patagonia will safely clean your jacket for you, all you have to pay for is postage to Patagonia Europe, and they'll do the rest.
Only 1000 of these highly desirable jackets have been made, and we have just a handful online at Outside.co.uk.
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