Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
While the puffiest jacket may seem like the obvious choice, this is not necessarily always the case. Instead, warmth comes from the type, quantity and quality of insulation underneath the external jacket.
Insulation comes primarily in the form of down or synthetic insulation. Down insulation is derived from feathers and/or plumage of geese and ducks. While it can be both lightweight and warm, it loses its ability to insulate when wet. Synthetic fill, constructed from polyester microfibers, mimics the thermal properties of down fill. However, synthetic fill is quick-drying and maintains insulation powers even while wet. Due to its warmth retention properties, it’s the choice of many apparel companies such as TREQA as well as the navy seals.
Placement of the insulation also comes in two varying forms: loose and sheet. Loose can be either stuffed or blown into sections of jackets, while sheet is stitched into the jacket. When done correctly, displacement of sheet insulation is nearly impossible, eliminating the option of the fill shifting and creating cold spots in the jacket. Because of these reasons, TREQA jackets contain only sheet insulation.
Another important factor to note in terms of insulation is the amount within the jacket. While most manufacturers indicate this in the product description, numbers such as ‘4 ounces’ or ‘10 ounces’ may have little relevance to the average consumer without jacket building experience.
When looking at the number of ounces in a jacket, one must keep in mind the size of the jacket. For example, a short jacket with 10 ounces of top fill insulation will be much warmer than a longer jacket with the same 10 ounces. While more insulation will keep you warmer, the ratio to its jacket size must remain in consideration.
All factors combined, there is a visible difference in insulation. Jargon aside, when a jacket is dissected (left) and the fill is evaluated independently, it is clear which will keep you warmer.
A Solution to Layering
The next aspect of the jacket that must be evaluated is the external layer. A jacket with both reliable insulation and a well-built exterior is one that can be worn alone – through a gentle rainstorm or the harshest winter weather. That’s where the 3-in-1 jacket excels. Three options for three different climates to give you versatility and ease the hassle of layering several jackets that simply don’t fit.
Option 1 – Inner Shell only. This shell can be worn alone for a lightweight, windproof protection against everyday weather. The Inner jacket is Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coated which causes water to bead off in light rain rather than absorbing into the fabric. It also incorporates the features you would expect in a jacket, including zippers and hand warming pockets.
Option 2 – Outer Shell only. The outer shell is made of 3 layer, 100 % waterproof and windproof fabric. Also with the DRW coating, this jacket can be worn alone as a rain jacket through even heavy precipitation. On warmer days, the under-arm vents allow for heat control while still protecting you from wetness. All seams are fully taped, eliminating the opportunity for moisture to enter through the jacket. With style in mind, this also gives you another choice to add variety to your outfit.
Option 3 – Combine the two layers. As you probably guessed, this is the warmest option and gives you the ultimate defense against harsh climates. This is unique from layering due to the fact that the jacket was designed to be combined. The two layers zip together, ensuring protection against both cold and moisture. Whatever outdoor activity you are faced with, this jacket has got you covered!
Each layer should be fully functional, allowing your garment to act as a shield against all forms of harsh weather. Down to each seam taped at the stitch line, extreme attention to detail is a necessity for preventing water from leaking through the jacket.
What’s most important about buying a winter jacket is that you are comfortable in it. Trying to predict how a jacket will withstand freezing climates can be difficult, but with proper knowledge it can be done! At TREQA consumer comfort is at the forefront of our goals, and we hope you will consider us for protecting you against Mother Nature in your next adventure – whether it’s hiking Mount Everest or simply walking your dog!