Unusual hybrid insulated jacket from Marmot drops in for a flying visit - what's it's all about Alfie?
Just popping through for a quick flying visit is Marmot's Alpinist Hybrid Jacket, an unusual insulated top that mixes PrimaLoft synthetic insulation in the front panel with Polartec Power Stretch Pro elsewhere with under-arm 'thermo-regulating panels' to reduce bulk, erm, under your arms.
Best Of Both Worlds?
Why? Well, PrimaLoft is is warmer than fleece for its weight and the shell fabric is also windproof, plus it's more water-resistant. It has downsides though, the double layer of windproof fabric that sandwiches the filling means that it's not particularly breathable, so you get sweaty fast if you get active.
Fleece on the other hand is less warm, but can be stretchy, breathable, fast drying and good at wicking. It's not particularly wind resistant though and less warm for its weight.
The idea of the Alpinist Hybrid and the rest of Marmot's Variant range - the others use less warm Thermal R insulation rather than PrimaLoft - is to mix the positive qualities of both, so you get a jacket with increased warmth thanks to the synthetic-filled front, but breathability and stretch from the fleece Power Stretch Pro panels.
In addition, the jacket has what Marmot calls a 'Scuba-style hood', a thin, form-fitting noggin cover that'll sit under a helmet or shell hood - fits closely, makes you look like a sperm - two hand-warmer pockets, a neat sleeve pocket - all zipped - and discrete thumb-loops.
August, even a British August, isn't really the ideal environment for testing insulated clothing, but what we can tell you is that it's light at 450g on the nose for a medium, cut reasonably closely and feels to give instant warmth and more of it than you'd get from a standard fleece jacket thanks to the plush-lined fleece and that PrimaLoft front panel.
Extra Localised Warmth
You can feel the extra warmth of the PrimaLoft front over your torso area too, even in mild August conditions, so we don't think it's just hype. An educated guess, of course, is that it's not as warm as a full PrimaLoft-filled jacket, but then again you won't boil in the bag if you're moving fast in the hills. Oh, that said, it'd have to be pretty cold before you wanted to wear this actively, but the point is that in proper cold conditions, you could and it would be warmer than a pure fleece top.
An interesting albeit specialist bit of active cold weather kit. For less warm options, see the Variant Jacket, Vest and Hoody which use Thermal R fill instead along with Power Stretch fleece.
Bottom Line Perfect compromise option for anyone who can't choose between synthetic fill and fleece for active cold conditions use mixing the best bits of both in a lightweight package.
More information at marmot.com/products/alpinist_hybrid_jacket.