Patagonia's been mixing up the fabrics with new for winter 2012 warm jackets in the pipeline.
No sooner do we preview one hybrid insulated jacket in the form of the Marmot Alpinist Hybrid, than another two turn up from the guys at Patagonia in the shape of the new for winter 2012 Nano Puff Hybrid jacket which is new along with the Piton Hybrid Hoody technical fleece.
Nano Puff Hybrid Jacket
The new Nano Puff Hybrid mixes the PrimaLoft insulation used in Patagonia's iconic Nano Puff range of lightweight, synthetic-filled jackets with R2 Polartec Thermal Pro high-loft fleece panels. As with the Marmot jacket, the idea is to give a balance of increased warmth from the PrimaLoft and increased wicking and breathability from the fleece, so the jacket should be suitable for active use without causing terminal meltdown...
In the new jacket's case, the top half of the front of the jacket and the upper sleeves use PrimaLoft fill, with quilt-pattern stitching holding the insulation in place, while the rest of the jacket is fluffy R2 fleece. There's a microfleece-lined collar and two big harness-friendly pockets.
We know both fabrics work well used on their own, but we've not used them in combination. The theory seems sound though with crucial torso areas getting added insulation, but the air permeable fleece allowing you to lose heat when needed. It'll sell for £170 in the UK and be in the shops shortly, it's light too with a claimed weight of just 360g.
Piton Hybrid Hoody
The new Piton Hybrid Hoody is a different bag of goldfish altogether. It uses Polartec's vastly under-rated WindPro fleece with Hardface Technology combined with Polartec's high-wicking PowerDry. WindPro is, for those of you who remember it, based on similar principles to the legendary Ultrafleece, which means a tighter weave gives approximately three times more wind resistance than conventional fleece.
That means you can wear it in conditions where normal fleece would be crying out for a windproof shell over it. The clever bit is that Patagonia has combined that wind resistance with Polartec's Hardface Technology, which gives a tough, smooth outside surface which is far more resistant to abrasion and pilling than conventional fleece so you can use it with packs or for climbing without trashing it... The WindPro panels cover the front torso and elbows.
It's not a completely new fabric, Rab's excellent Shadow Hoodie uses a similar combination to good effect, but the Patagonia jacket combines the stretch WindPro with back and side panels made from Polartec PowerDry fabric which makes it really light at 318g claimed.
It also has a balaclava-style hood - looks like it should sit nicely under a helmet - a check pocket and seam-free shoulders for comfortable pack use. Strategic warmth with low weight, bulk and wicking? Looks interesting if a tad pricey at £160 in the UK. There's also a version without the hood at £20 less.
Both jackets out this autumn and in the shops shortly. More information at www.patagonia.com.