What down fill weight does Primaloft compare to?
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Sep 15, 2011 at 7:03 am #1279373Nick LarsenMember
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
…As far as jacket warmth is concerned.
I have a Mountain Hardware hooded Primaloft jacket that has done well enough to keep me warm so far. However, in my quest to go UL, I am looking to replace it with Down. I'm just not sure what fill weight it would compare to in a hooded jacket.
Patagonia UL shirt
Fill weight: 1.99oz Total Weight: 5.9oz
Montbell Ex light
FW: 1.8oz TW: 5.6oz
Montbell UL inner parka —FW: 2.5oz TW: 9oz
Patagonia UL jacket
FW: 3oz TW: 8.3oz
Nunatak Shaka Plus
FW: 4.75oz TW: 9.5
I know some of these are hooded and some aren't, but I believe the hood only adds or subtracts about .25oz of fill weight.
So, which of the above would be most comparable in warmth to Primaloft one? If it's comparable to nunataks 4.75oz of fill, I don't want to get a Patagonia UL shirt or ex-light and freeze my ass off. Conversely, I don't want to take the extra weight penalty of a garment that is twice as warm as I need.
So? Primaloft = 2oz, 2.5oz, 3oz, or 4.5oz of down fill?
P.S. Why isn't there an EN rating for Jackets? It would be nice to have a temperature comfort rating for jackets like they do for bags. It would be nice to see 40F when warn over a T-shirt, 35F over a long sleeve, 25F under a shell, etc…Sep 15, 2011 at 8:32 am #1779778
generally the best synthetics is equivalent to no more than 500-600 fill down
there IS a temp rating for jackets but there is no industry standard … llbean and land ends uses one, you can see the details about it on their sitesSep 15, 2011 at 9:13 am #1779786Steve GaioniBPL Member
This is REI's "expert advice" on the topic, to include an equivalency between Primaloft and down.Sep 15, 2011 at 10:41 am #1779803
Summary: 2x more weight required for Primaloft One versus 800 fill down for the same warmth.
You didn't specify the Mountain Hardwear (MH) jacket model or year of manufacturer. I will make a guess and say it is a MH Compressor pre 2010 model @ 21 oz. This is the most common synthetic MH jacket that I see on backpackers on trips that I have taken.
The older Compressor PL Jacket (OM2734) was produced for the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 season. These jackets used 114.0 g/m2 of Primaloft 1 insulation. The newest Compressor PL Jacket (OM3163) began production in the Fall 2009 and contains 100.0 g/m2 of Primaloft Eco insulation. There is a significant warmth difference between these model years for the same MH jacket model.
If your jacket is performing at the original specified clo value (highly unlikely) is has an average male thermo-neutral while doing camp chores temperature rating of ~28F and wearing a base ensemble of 1 clo.
Both the amount of down and the type of down are both required to approximate an equivalent synthetic jacket warmth down fill amount. None of the options you specified are close equivalent warmth down jackets designed for UL backpacking. These are a couple of jackets that are: Crux Halo (2011 with long baffles) @ 9.5 oz.; The North Face Catalyst (2010 – 2011) @ 10.9 oz. They are both 1/2 half the weight for the same warmth as a theoretical new MH Compressor using PL1. I used the adjective "theoretical" because tests I conducted on a sampling of PL1 jackets showed they averaged at least 30% less warm than the virgin insulation specs would indicate.
There isn’t a mandatory EN rating for jackets sold in the US for the same reason there isn’t a mandatory EN rating for sleeping bags. The US manufacturers don’t want the added expense of testing nor do they want to compete on value. Since there are many more jackets sold than sleeping bags, there is an aversion multiplier.
There are a few manufactures who lab test and publish temperature ratings for their jackets. They don’t tell you the base layer ensemble clo value or the MET value for the tests because they don’t want you to value compare their jackets to other manufacturers; they only want to show you the spectrum of relative jacket warmth that they provide.
For crude estimations you can use the fact that 800 fill down tests an average of about 1.68 clo per oz. and PL1 is specified .840 clo per oz. As a result you expect about a ½ the weight for the same warmth using 800 fill down versus PL1. My tests show that the ratio is even better than that; when PL1 is quilted into a garment it’s clo per oz. is less than the specified value.
Primaloft is a generic brand name and each Primaloft insulation variant has a different clo per oz. Most variants have less clo per oz. than PL1.Sep 15, 2011 at 11:19 am #1779816
Richard – you're depth of knowledge on this is astounding. I'm also looking at getting my first down jacket. When I'm hiking, I typically require very little insulation due to exertion, and it's only in camp that I need something with a bit more fluff. If I'm understanding your post correctly, for a down jacket to keep me warm in camp at the freezing mark, I need about 10oz of 800 fill down?Sep 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm #1779829
The average male, wearing a 1 clo base ensemble, and doing camp chores at the freezing point needs ~3.7 oz. of 800 fill power down to be thermo-neutral.
Some representative jackets optimized for this temperature include: Crux Halo Top @ 7.9 oz.; Camp ED 105 Micro Jacket @ 10.8 oz.; Eddie Bauer First Ascent EB900 @13.4 oz.; or the GoLite Demaree Canyon Jacket @ 13.7 oz.Sep 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm #1779837
Got it. Thanks for demystifying for my noobness!Sep 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm #1779896Bill FornshellBPL Member
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
Isn't the newest PL1 rated at something like .920 clo per ounce? How would this rating effect your discussion or numbers?Sep 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm #1779909
The Primaloft One Convexion specification versus the average 800 fill down still provides a rounded estimation value of 2x (1.68/.92 = 1.83x).Sep 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm #1779912Nick LarsenMember
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
Daaaang Mr. Nisley! That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for, and confirmed what I kind of deduced by using llbean's site to do a rough comparison(thanks for the tip Mr. Chan)
Yeah, sorry I forgot to list the model, but you nailed it as a Compressor jacket.
So it looks like if I went with something like the Nunatak skaha(4.5oz of 875 down), I would be going a bit warmer than my current jacket for about half the weight? That's awesome! I like that CRUX Halo top, too bad they don't have a hooded model…
Since I've got you on the line… Do you know what 1oz of down would add/subtract from the warmth of a garment? Given 3.7oz 800 fill = 32F (i.e. what would 2.7oz = F? or 4.7?)
I'm glad I asked, this has been very educational.Sep 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm #1779919Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'd much prefer the better loft retention of Climashield in a jacket.Sep 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm #1779935
The amount of down and the resulting intrinsic insulation is linear but, the total insulation is not. The boundary layer adds up to ~ .6 clo to the intrinsic insulation to determine the total insulation. This is one of the reasons that low fill down garments, like the Montbell EX Lite, provides such exceptional thermal insulation for the weight.
The average 800 fill down garment with 2.7 oz. of down provides the average male a thermo-neutral temperature of ~ 37F while doing camp chores. The equivalent temp for 4.7 oz. is ~26F.Sep 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm #1779937HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
Why not use down in a water-resistant shell material? A pertex-shelled 2004 EMS 750-fill down bag of mine got wet from condensation (during a monsoon) but simply wiped the droplets off with a cotton bandana and went to sleep again with no problems. But that was sedentary …
Reason I ask I have a Feathered Friends down Hyperion vest (XL – 8 oz) in water-resistant Epic that I've been thinking about replacing with a Patagonia NanoPuff vest (8.5 oz mfrs wt) for cold weather snowsports with high exertion on the move(like snowshoeing) = sweating + compressing insulation due to shoulder straps and pack).Sep 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm #1779939
hk … the problem IME is rarely with down getting wet for an external source, as that you can prevent and DWR tends to be quite good these days …
the real issue is the down getting soaked from sweat in high exertion activities … no garment can stay dry when yr hiking in the snow with a pack with shoes on going up a hill … now the correct approach will be not to wear any insulation in said activities … but every time ive found that by putting on the jacket (down/synth/whatever) right after said exertion on stops, quit a bit of the sweat transfers to the garment while yr metabolism cools off … or in moist conditions moisture has a nasty habit of soaking through from the inside (anyone here NOT sweat or get wet in heavy rain?) … and DWR tends not to be on the inside of garments
for certain activities and in certain situations it can be extremely time consuming or down right dangerous to always put on/off a insulation at high/low exertion levels … also many people dont recognize that they need to take off insulation BEFORE they feel warm … by the time they do its a bit late and the moisture is already soaking through their clothes … there are also times when yr moving slower when you want some insulation, but down would overheat and get soaked with sweat
synths allow you a greater amount of error in that they tend to dry somewhat faster and have some warmth when somewhat damp … note i said a bit damp, not wet, as nothing is good when wet
ironically contrary to popular belief, synths are not all that good for on the move unless its REALLY cold IME … 2 nylon layers inhibit breathability … for on the move you want a lightish fleece insulation layer …
the trick as always when moving … is the be cool, almost cold … to minimize sweat … yr body will be fine short of frostbite when on the move … its when yr stopped or slowed you have to worry
bottom line … dont use down on the move unless its extremely cold and dry …Sep 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm #1779983Paul HatfieldBPL Member
Richard, you say "None of the options you specified are close equivalent warmth down jackets designed for UL backpacking. These are a couple of jackets that are: Crux Halo (2010 – 2011) @ 9.5 oz.;"
But the backpackinglight state-of-the-market report says that the MontBell Ex Light is warmer than the Halo, despite having much less down:
"The unisex Halo Top is an anorak with an 8-inch (20-cm) zipper. This jacket has twice as much down in it than the MontBell Ex Light, but the loft is much less (0.6-inch versus 1.0-inch), apparently due to down compression. Its Rank Order Warmth also indicates that the Halo Top is not as warm as the lighter MontBell Ex Light Jacket. This jacket has extra long sleeves and body, so it would be a good choice for tall hikers. The current jacket leaks down through its numerous seams, but Crux plans to correct the problem for fall 2010 by eliminating the vertical seams and using a more downproof shell fabric."
Why would you recommend the Crux Halo over the MontBell Ex Light?Sep 16, 2011 at 2:07 am #1780001Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Well the current version of the Halo has 'normal' mini baffles (as per RABs microlight etc) rather than the somewhat extreme quilting that the version tested there had. So a lot of those criticisms/problems, which mostly I think that derived from the quilting, shouldn't apply anymore.Sep 16, 2011 at 2:07 am #1780006Martin RJ CarpenterMember
Apologies for double postSep 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm #1780187HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: The West is (still) the Best
… the problem IME is rarely with down getting wet for an external source, as that you can prevent and DWR tends to be quite good these days …
the real issue is the down getting soaked from sweat in high exertion activities … no garment can stay dry when yr hiking in the snow with a pack with shoes on going up a hill …
That was my thought about down apparel in general. My idea is a NanoPuff vest in an outer pocket primarily for breaks while relying on fleece plus windshell for all-day snowshoeing, yet having the vest for backup as the temps plunge late afternoon… or plan to be back in town by happy hour.Sep 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm #1780239
If its yr only insulation i recommend getting a hooded nanopuff especially for snowshoeing up more exposed hills for the stops
I use the same setup but with a dead bird atom hoody for stops
A vest by itself may not be enough with windchill
A vet would be fine if u r using a down puffy as wellSep 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm #1780416ROBERT TANGENSpectator
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
Re: “the real issue is the down getting soaked from sweat in high exertion activities …” Here is a report from two climbers, one using a synthetic puffy, the other synthetic underwear and fleece. [Personally, I think of fleece as the innards of a synthetic puffy without the encasing slabs of fabric.] This situation is NOT NORMAL for hiking. Hikers almost never generate the amount of sweat that climbers do, and most hikers don’t leave their shelters in this kind of weather: “I went to fleece exclusively after topping out on Shoestring in -10º F (before wind-chill) temps, with 30-40 mph gusts. We were working hard and sweating heavily while moving, and my Capilene 3 and R2 fleece let the sweat out. My partner was wearing a MicroPuff inside his shell, and it was a frozen mess, stuck to his shell and not warm at all any more. It breathes, but not nearly as well as the fleece.”Sep 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm #1780450
i disagree about the situation being uncommon (well it is at least plausible) for hiking in the wintertime
i have personally seen it happen and have it somewhat happen to me snowshoeing up a hill on the wintertime
the amount of exertion going up a steel hill on shoes in a pack causes quite a bit of sweat … i have personally put away down and synth jackets that i have sweated in that turned into a dead bird (or other yuppie) ice scupture
at least with a fleece its cheap, and i can seperate it without damaging it too much
these days i think i know better (i hope) and wear considerably less on the move … even so in cold enough temps any sweat on yr belay jacket and the snow that gets into it somehow has a nasty tendency of freezing upSep 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm #1780451Stephen BarberBPL Member
We spent six years in a Northern native community in Canada. The lowest temp we saw was -59*C. -20 to -40*C was normal. The idea expressed by the native folk there was that in winter, if you sweat, you die. My experience with down, fleece and synthetic puffy up there is that they're basically right. Takes awhile for a southern lad to get used to working at the necessary level to not sweat, but not freeze either, but working hard enough to sweat can put you in a very bad position faster than you'd think.Sep 18, 2011 at 9:13 am #1780536
That's the same that I was taught and practiced for winter hiking – if you sweat, you die, ergo layer to your activity level so that you don't sweat.
Is there a way to dry and recover down in the field if it does get wet, so that it recovers it's insulating powers?Sep 18, 2011 at 9:39 am #1780542
kier … sunlight and wind … or a fire (doesnt work well with UL bags)
if you have none of the above and its the dead of winter … im sorry to say, but yr basically screwed
if its just somewhat damp a hawt nalgene and putting yr synth layers over it can help
more here …Sep 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm #1780590ROBERT TANGENSpectator
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
Re: “The idea expressed by the native folk there was that in winter, if you sweat, you die.” And, “That's the same that I was taught and practiced for winter hiking – if you sweat, you die, ergo layer to your activity level so that you don't sweat.” This may be where climbers are in a different world than hikers and Native Americans. If you are climbing a route where “if you don’t keep sinking your ice tools into the ice so that you quickly reach a resting place, your muscles will lose all strength, you will slip, and you will die,” you have no choice but to sweat. And you can’t wear less clothing because when you have to do a belay while hanging from an ice screw, you have to have enough clothing that you don’t die of hypothermia. Serious ice climbers are on the razor blade edge between falling and freezing, and you have to have gear that deals with extremes that hikers rarely if ever experience. However, I am no expert.
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