Guide 101 PAE: Insulators

Insulators are an integral part of the multilayer system so popular in outdoor activities. But, it can be a little difficult at times to navigate and know how to dress according to the ever-changing temperatures of Canadian winters. Here is our little guide to enlighten you on the types of insulation so that you are warm and, above all, dry all winter.

What is a down jacket?

The puffy jacket it is a compressible, light and warm insulating layer. There are two types of down jackets: the synthetic fiber down jacket and the down jacket. We'll walk you through the benefits so you can choose the best one (or both) for your business.

Synthetic fiber jackets

The down jacket in synthetic fiber consists of injections of polyester which will seek to mimic the structure of down. Down will remain the most famous and superior insulation. But we will come back to that! The polyester fiber will be light, compressible and VERY resistant to moisture! This is his greatest quality. In addition, it will keep a lot of heat. Much more than polar wools or merino wools since there is more air in the material.

You will have synthetic down jackets of different heat: always indicated by g / m². You can find a down jacket with 40g / m² which will be ideal for people who practice aerobic activity, but still need a little warmth.

You will also find down jackets of 60 g, 80 g, 100 g / m² of insulation which will be ideal for downtime during your outdoor activities. They will provide instant heat.

Other advantages: They are affordable compared to the down jacket. They are breathable, compressible and easy to maintain.


Synthetic insulated jacket

Mountain Hardwear's Kor Strata Climb jacket insulated in Primaloft Gold


Down jackets

The down jacket has become very popular in the last few years. It is the best insulator! Since it is the one that will retain the most heat in relation to its weight. The down is extremely light, VERY compressible and warm. There are different qualities of down. This is why there is a variation in the price, weight and volume of the different down jackets available on the market.

In addition, depending on the type of down, the nylon chosen will be different. Note that a thinner nylon will be less durable so less bulk versus a thicker nylon will accommodate a larger volume down will be less compressible, but will be more durable. If you don't have to count the grams in your backpack, opting for a down jacket with thicker nylon would be a better choice in the long run.


What is the difference between a 600 or 900 down?

What we calculate to know the quality of a 600,650,700,750,800,850,900 down is its volume. = The number of cubic inches for an ounce of down is therefore 28 g of down. For example, a 600 down will have 600 cubic inches of down per 28g. An 800 down will have 800 cubic inches of down per 28g. This means that in 2 down jackets that will be of equal thickness, 800 down will weigh less than 600 down. It will not necessarily be much warmer, but definitely more compressible than 600 down.

The down / feather ratio:

Another factor to consider is the down / feather ratio. Often, companies will put a little feather through the down to give more volume and obviously lower their production cost. You will find ratios 85/15 90/10 or 100% down. The majority of down jackets will have a 90% down 10% feather ratio.

Down coat 800 Proton from Rab Equipment

The thickness:

The down jackets will vary in thickness. For people who do active outdoor activities in autumn or in mild winter weather, the microdoudoune will be ideal.

For winter camping adventurers, the thick down jacket will be perfect to keep you warm on your journey. You can even find this kind of down jacket with a Windstopper-type windbreaker membrane that will prevent the wind from pushing the heat.

In short, this type of insulation is an essential to carry around in your backpack. It's your turn to evaluate what type of down jacket would be most convenient depending on your favorite activities.

Philippe @Lepromeneur offers you a practical video guide to fully understand the peculiarities of down types and choose the best down jacket for your activities!