I''m up to my ears in the latest fleece jargon. I can see Rab is bringing out a nice looking Polartec Wind Pro with Hardface Technology beastie called the Shadow Hoodie..but isn''t it basically a replacement for the Phantom Hoodie?
What''s the difference between the material in these two and something like the Montane Jaguar? Is there anything new about the Shadow''s material and generally, what are the latest developments in the fleece world? It used to be so much easier....
Answer: Hi there,
The name is Gear, Richard ''Fleece'' Gear and you have my sympathy in
your struggle with fleece bio-diversity... It used to be so simple,
there''s was microfleece, mid-weight fleece and great big fat 300-weight
lounging about on your butt fleece.
Well, the bad news is that
Polartec got medieval on the fleece front and invented lots more to
confuse you. There''s some more information on the Rab Shadow Hoodie here,
which explains a little bit about the fabric. In a sense, yes, the
Shadow is a replacement for the Phantom, but the fabrics, though both
Polartec Windpro are subtly different.
The main difference is that the new Shadow uses a version of Windpro
with a much tougher face fabric - the outside - called Hardface. This
should make it significantly tougher, particularly when used with packs
and for climbing and scrambling and in turn makes the garment more
Windpro is a very densely woven fleece which makes it more wind
resistant than standard, old school fleece fabrics, but still with
excellent levels of wicking and breathability. Hardface just makes it
tougher on the outside. It''s not a new technology, Rab used it for
gloves a few years back, but because it''s not a cheap fabric, it isn''t
Subjectively, I also think the cut on the new hoodie is better than the
old version. So it''s a yes, but... on that front.
Just to confuse things, the fabric on the Montane Jaguar is a different
beast again. It uses a fluffy, furry pile inner, which makes it much
warmer, despite lighter stretch side panels, and more of a cold
weather, sitting about fleece.
Latest developments in fleece? Polartec Power Shield is looking
interesting for next year, Polartec has made the membrane slightly less
windproof, but claim the result is a massive increase in breathability.
That should make it a very interesting option in the UK with good wind
and water resistance coupled with much better breathability than, say,
Gore Windstopper fabrics.