Planning another xc ski exped and trying to help my partner build up her layering system. I'm looking for an insulation piece for all day use. Something around or over 100gsm, decent hood and reasonably priced.
Unfortunately it seems like all the companies have gone with stupid stitch through designs for synthetic insulation (trying to copy down for the fashionistas and in turn creating a less thermally efficient jacket), only have their decent jackets in Men's versions, or are very expensive.
Any hot tips appreciated!
I emailed Montane about this specific issue as they no longer do the women's version of the flux or the prism, meaning they have not a single synthetic jacket for women that is not baffled. ME have the shelterstone which is new but looks too beefy for your requirements - they don't seem to do an active synthetic jacket for women any more which is nuts. There is the kinesis but that's a fleece lined insulation I think rather than a fill.
The ME switch pro is probably what you want but surprise surprise they only make these for men now! You might be able to find one left over online somewhere.
The other option is to 'go euro' and look at other brands. Mammut have some good options, a bit more expensive than the UK brands but less than the American brands...
Don't automatically rule out men's models.
Often even in women's technical clothing the designers sacrifice fictionally in favour of aesthetic appearance. It varies by product and manufacturer, but depending on your wife's body shape she might get on ok with a men's jacket.
Glad it's not just me! There are plenty of lightweight jackets around 60gsm, but very little in the mid to heavyweight category for women.
Fjern do an amazing womens belay jacket for currently £75, but it's just too warm as a movement layer.
If you Google Montane Fluxmatic there are various stores that have the odd one left at sale prices. I find Montane are more honest rather than vanity sizing.
There's also the Alpkit 0Hiro, which I looked at when I bought my Fluxmatic, but it's heavier because it's also trying to be semi-waterproof. I decided I'd rather keep separate layers and have a bit more flexibility and packability.
The 0hiro is actually a very interesting suggestion - with 120g of Primaloft in the body. The membrane wouldn't generally be an issue but supposedly its only got 5k breathability, which from what I can see is pretty poor. So you get worse breathability and poor waterproofing, youre unable to take the membrane off but would have awful breathability if you put another membrane over the existing membrane in really wet conditions.
I don't know why they went with such a poor performing membrane, it doesn't seem to excel at anything.
Womans beely pro jacket on offer at keela if you are a size 8 - in clearance section
Looks like a nice jacket but it commits the unforgivable sin of not having a hood. I swear a hood is about 70% of a jackets warmth!
> companies have gone with stupid stitch through designs for synthetic insulation (trying to copy down for the fashionistas and in turn creating a less thermally efficient jacket
Depends on the construction of the insulation material. Some does not have a backing scrim, and therefore tends to fall apart if not sewn through. Wadding with a robust scrim can survive hanging on its own between the shell layers.
Some synthetic insulation isn't even a wadding; it's truly a synthetic down, with synthetic 'clusters' (TNF's 'Thermoball', for instance).
Thermoball has to be one of the most stupid gimmicks in outdoor marketing ever. They took the big natural strength of synthetic insulation (no need for thermally inefficient baffles), and designed a jacket with the maximum amount of baffles they could fit on a jacket.
BTW Keela do alterations (they actually make unique specifications for companies/organisations eg Police, mountain rescue), so you could always ask them to quote for a hood addition. No idea of cost, but if you are struggling to find something suitable would be worthwhile asking.
I have a Keela jacket (with detachable arms to make a gilet) I got for winter mt biking, with 133g insulation, and it is warm for the cold windchill conditions and been well used. Cheapest jacket/gilet of it’s type I’ve ever seen coincidentally. Their products are good and practical if not well known. Certainly not high in the style stakes if that is important!
Edit: I see you live not far away so a visit to their factory showroom in Glenrothes could be worthwhile.?
Totally agree, my whole family gets kitted out from the Keela shop in Glenrothes.
I've sent over a message to Keela, they are very close so that could be a really good idea.
> There are plenty of lightweight jackets around 60gsm, but very little in the mid to heavyweight category for women.
> Fjern do an amazing womens belay jacket...but it's just too warm as a movement layer.
At the risk of seeming critical, isn't this a bit of a contradiction you're trying to circumvent? If the jacket's not too warm for moving in, it's going to be at the lighter end of the insulation scale.
Depending on the vigour of the activity and the temps encountered, might it not be better to have a lighter 'active' insulation piece, then something more beefy to bang on top when stopped? In which case, the less efficient stitch-through designs could still be contenders since there'll be heat generated internally while on the go
I don't have one any more but i was always impressed with the Thermoball, i found them pretty warm.
There is a vast chasm between 60gsm and a monster belay jacket! The Fjern Husly is massive, my partner has one - you could only ski in it in temps well below -20. A very lightweight jacket would just be cold until that point
Arcteryx Atom. Not cheap but does what you want.
This is the 120g version:
Check the outlet for reduced versions of previous season colours or sometimes lucky on sports pursuit.
120gsm body / 80gsm arms & hood
Decent range of sizes!
Patagonia DAS Light
They've taken a 65g Plumafill Micro Puff and added a windproof outer with minimal stitching which adds a tonne of warmth. Probably the best warmth:weight/compressibility I know of.
Wmns version of the long-praised Fitzroy jacket
120g body & sleeves / 80g hood
> Alpkit 0Hiro
Has a really rubbish membrane.
> Patagonia DAS Light
Not warm enough and £££
> ME Alpamayo
So expensive!! The Shelterstone from ME was looking tempting until I read that it has a PU membrane face fabric. So basically making it exclusively a belay jacket.
The latest contender is an as yet unreleased jacket from Keela:
> The latest contender is an as yet unreleased jacket from Keela:
133gsm for xc skiing and I'd cook. Obviously, different people have different physiologies, and your partner may be one who 'runs cold'. And depends where you are planning to use it, and the prevailing temperatures...
> depends where you are planning to use it, and the prevailing temperatures...
Generally pulling a sled between -10 and -30C. Agreed 133gsm is on the warmer side, but with that being said I have an old Arcteryx Fission SV and that's got 200gsm of Primaloft and apart from the hottest sunniest days I don't have any issues with it. Its breathable and you can vent or just take it off ultimately.
When putting together a cold weather clothing system for a woman, it's been my experience that you need to go heavier than you would typically use for a man.
Every woman I've ever done outdoors activities with, whether climbing, skiing, camping, etc. has gotten cold easier than the men I've been with.
So, when looking at an insulated layer for your partner, plan on getting something a bit more insulating than you might choose for yourself.