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Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket Review


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket Review

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  • #3657645
    Backpacking Light
    Admin

    @backpackinglight

    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket is an ultralight hooded jacket insulated with Climashield Apex (synthetic), weighs 8.4 oz (238 g) in size M, and has an MSRP of $170. It is designed for backpackers looking for an insulating (at-rest or in-camp) layer that is more weather-resistant than a down-fill garment. The Torrid Apex features a minimalist design and low weight, making it especially popular among gram-counting ultralight backpackers and long-distance hikers.

    #3657713
    Brian V
    BPL Member

    @brianvinci

    Major upside to other products such as patagonia and mountain hardware is that you can try it on and if you don’t like it send it back. With EE your gonna wait a long time to get it and if its not everything you wanted, pay to send it back plus eat a 20% restock fee. And that restock fee is applied even if you cancel the order. This is nuanced with their stages of production, you can cancel after you order up until they cut the fabric, which could be weeks before its actually produced.  Why cutting fabric and production are so far apart in time is unknown to me. But it essentially locks you into loosing $40 because they disconnected the cut from production. If radical colors were stockpiling I could see this, but there are few radical colors offered and it would reduce the business burden of reducing losses by scoping down to popular colors and deniers and actually upcharging only for unpopular colors that impact overstock of cut garments.

    The premise that this jacket is custom is big stretch of that term. They offer standard options you can choose and charge you customization charges. Custom would be they ordered a special fabric for you and made non-standard adjustments for the buyer. This if far from that. You have 3 options: Size, hood, color. Most manufactures provide this without the custom up charge, lengthy wait and friendlier return policy.

    #3657718
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    I have a Torrid hooded vest that sees a good deal of use.  It weighs a svelte 5 oz (Large) and packs pretty small.  It’s typically used in conjunction with a light fleece (but not always) and provides enough insulation when stopped on the trail or camp (can always layer a hardshell over the top for more warmth).  The vest also works pretty well as an active insulative layer (better than a jacket in most instances).

    It also gives my sleep system just the right amount of boost when pushing the limits a little.

    I also have a Nunatak hooded Apex jacket that is significantly warmer, but at nearly twice the weight.  It gets the nod in colder conditions.  The fabric I chose on the jacket (7d Robic) is also almost waterproof and very windproof, but clearly not the best choice if used as active insulation.

     

    #3657720
    nunatak
    BPL Member

    @roamer

    @brianvinci Yeah, long wait is par for the course with small domestic makers and a fact I think most consumers browsing these esoteric corners of the gear market have come to accept by now.

    The restock fee, however, is an unfortunate development in the cottage realm, especially a whopping twenty percent. What sort of production hurdle does EE have on their allegedly very limited custom options to warrant this? Their quilts sewn overseas does not have a restock fee, as far as I can see.

    Some payment portals, like PP, are no longer refunding the 3% fee on cancelled transactions.  I can see small companies struggling with what to do here; eat the expense or forward it to the buyer? If the customer is faced with a 3-5% cancellation charge, I think most would be okay with that, especially if they know it’s not going in the owner’s pocket.

     

    #3657745
    Stumphges
    BPL Member

    @stumphges

    No clo/R for unused Torrid, so hard to say for sure, but the Apex appears to have held up to 60 days use pretty well. Nice to see the reputation holding up.

    #3657747
    Tim Marshall
    BPL Member

    @marshlaw303

    Locale: Minnesota

    Our standard products don’t have restocking fees, but if you choose a custom one there is because we don’t stock those so it’s a burden to have to sell off something that we don’t stock. It’s a burden to be half way through building something we don’t stock and have the customer decide to change the color. So yes if you order something custom and decide to cancel after we start building it or return it there will be a fee. Want to avoid that fee, don’t order custom.

    i understand that custom doesn’t mean custom in that you can ask us to add features we don’t currently offer. However  it allows us to offer vastly more colors and fabric styles along with many many more sizes (in quilts/bags) than if we only had the stock/standard offering. We feel, and our customers confirm that this is a good thing.

    overwhelming demand has depleted almost all of our inventory and driven up lead times on our custom made products. This is frustrating for customers and honestly for us too. We are doing everything we can to increase capacity to meet the extremely high demand that we have. We are hiring new sewers every week but it takes about 6 months for them to be highly proficient.

    I promise that we are doing everything in our power to meet customer demand and provide the very best products that we can

    -Tim Marshall

    Founder; Enlightened Equipment

    #3657749
    Philip Tschersich
    BPL Member

    @philip-ak

    Locale: Kodiak Alaska

    Great hooded puffy. It’s been my go-to piece for Alaskan summer trips for the past 2 years. I did the custom 7d inside and out. It doesn’t replace all my other puffies (for a wet trip I’d bring a Nano Air, a cooler trip a Macro Puff, etc), but for trips with a good forecast when I mostly want morning and evening warmth in camp, the Torrid fits the bill.

    #3657753
    Brian V
    BPL Member

    @brianvinci

    @marshlaw303 Thanks Tim for providing some insight.

    #3657758
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    The main item this jacket has that gives me hope is that it is made of CLIMASHIELD.   At least by US Army testing CLIMASHIELD has proven to be about the most resilient  synthetic fill when loft is measured after repeated trips through a stuff sack.

    I’ve had it with short staple synthetic insulations!

     

     

    #3657760
    Hanz B
    BPL Member

    @tundra-thrasher-ouch-man-2

    I would be interested to know if the density and weight of the synthetic insulation effects the heat loss at the sewn threw baffles. Case point micro vs macro puff. Would like to see heat loss steady state imaging of like micro vs macro …  if more surround insulation reduces baffle loss or … visa versa that actually more insulation in a synthetic baffle design is even more inefficient since you increase weight faster then warmth due to equivalent baffle loss or even faster due to micro climates perhaps.

    perhaps the study could be apex 60 and 90 gram vs baffled core loft 60 and 90 or something and compare the heat loss?

    thanks for getting me thinking. Nice review.

    #3657768
    Errol F
    Spectator

    @campcatskill

    Hi Hanz, the EE Torrid Apex is a baffle-free design. I’ve owned this jacket for 18 months and I find it as or if not warmer than my baffled down jackets.

    #3657782
    Anne Speck
    BPL Member

    @amspeck

    An addition to “who should consider”: Larger women. The other brands you list top out at a smallish size 18 in their women’s jackets. EE goes up to size 22 before you have to see if something on the men’s side will fit you well enough in the hips to make it manageable.

    #3657785
    Hanz B
    BPL Member

    @tundra-thrasher-ouch-man-2

    @errol , not debating that at all. I also have used a torrid and agree it’s warmer than a baffle design , much like the down based everdown from Eddie Bauer. I’m interested in if the insulation weight on a synthetic impacts baffle heat loss.

    #3657910
    Stephen Seeber
    BPL Member

    @crashedagain

    Hi Hanz:

    I have images that compare the Pat Macro and Micro, along with their calculated thermal resistances.  However, I don’t understand the relationship you are trying to establish. Please try to explain what you are after again and I will see if I have any relevant information. The Macro comes out at an R value of about 1.7, while the Micro comes out at about 1.07.  I own a Macro but not a Micro.

    #3657919
    Tuukka U
    BPL Member

    @spiderbro

    FWIW, EE have apparently tested the Torrid to some standards at Kansas State, claiming a CLO of 1.84. Curious where the difference to these results by Stephen might come from?

    Not that it really matters. Just the measurement relative to the Micro Puff seems more valuable than any absolute number

    #3657972
    Mark Wetherington
    BPL Member

    @markweth

    Locale: Western Montana

    Thanks, Anne — that is a great point about the sizing of the women’s version of this jacket.

    #3659429
    Stumphges
    BPL Member

    @stumphges

    Tim, since you’re here, how small would you stuff a Torrid (in liters, maybe)?

    #3659432
    Tim Marshall
    BPL Member

    @marshlaw303

    Locale: Minnesota

    Oh man, I don’t know that stuff anymore off my head. My customer service would though.

    -Tim

    #3659459
    Hanz B
    BPL Member

    @tundra-thrasher-ouch-man-2

    @stephan s

    I guess I’m interested in if increases in warmth achieved in other weighted insulation in baffle designs reduced heat loss not just due to the amount of insulation obviously, but also does it reduce heat loss through the sewn threw seams. For instance, is there less imaged heat loss at the seams specifically when comparing the macro puff compared to a micro puff.

    I think this is an interesting question to get a second question: if the added weight of insulation in baffle designs is actually less efficient then the the added weight of insulation in non baffle designs.

    example: perhaps added weight of 1oz of insulation in a baffle design provides the equivalent of 1/2 oz of insulation in a non baffle design… my question is more about rates of heat loss as baffle design increases studded insulation.

    #3660278
    Stephen Seeber
    BPL Member

    @crashedagain

    This is getting a off topic for this thread so I suggest we not dwell on this or you can start a new thread.

    It is clear that through stitching reduces the insulating value of the garment.  This is most readily seen by comparing  box or other baffle designs that go to increased lengths to eliminate through stitching to support the insulation with through stitched garments with similar insulation content.

    I really have not looked at the nuanced  issues that you raise.

    Rather than speculate, I have attached the raw images of the macro puff and micro puff and you can judge for yourself.  I have not made measurements for  this specific discussion so, you can make some qualitative judgments based on the image colors.

    When looking at these images, remember, the higher the loft at the center of the baffle, the more air is trapped beneath the through stitched surfaces of the garment and the top surface of  the permeation kettle, adding additional insulation to what is imaged at the through stitch area.  In the high loft jacket, compared to a low loft garment, this will produce somewhat reduced heat loss at the through stitched area.

    In the macro puff ( I don’t have a micro puff here to study, but I think the construction is similar) the through stitching is in the horizontal direction.  Each horizontal stitch section terminates with a short area of heavier stitching.  It is heavy enough that you can see light through the stitch holes.  There is no through stitching in the vertical direction.  I think the vertical lines of  high heat that looks like through stitching in the images are due to crimps in the insulation produced by the heavy stitching at the ends of the horizontal through stitch seams.  So with these caveats in mind, you can perhaps draw some conclusions concerning your question.

    FYI, macro puff is upper image.

    MacroPuff

    #3660605
    Hanz B
    BPL Member

    @tundra-thrasher-ouch-man-2

    Cool. Those pics are really great! I’ll draw my own conclusion from them semi-subjectively.

    #3664574
    Craig B
    BPL Member

    @kurogane

    Hey, @stephan s, what kind of thermal camera are you using?  Do you have a calibrated black body source (or something of known temperature in the image) that you’re referencing the temperature scale to?  If this is a FLIR camera, they have about +/- 5°C accuracy, and tend to be very drifty.  Not really intended for radiometric operation.  However if you’re just looking at relative temperature values, they’re fine.  Just don’t do any careful image analysis or computations with the data!  It’s always fun looking at thermal imagery…

    #3664578
    Stephen Seeber
    BPL Member

    @crashedagain

    Thank you for your advice.  By the way, what do you base this advice on?  I have been  using Inframetrics and then Flir instruments for nearly 40 years.  This is the camera that I use for these tests:  https://www.flir.com/products/a655sc/.  What you need to be aware of is that Flir markets a wide array of products to all market segments.  You really get what you pay for and I only pay for SC rated cameras.  Drift occurs in any uncooled imager.  The drift is corrected by performing a NUC.  This camera will do it automatically.  However, before I take the temperature data used for the thermal resistance calculations, I first perform a manual NUC.  In this mode, the impact of any drift is minimized.  I also repeat the measurements several times to ensure that they are in fact, repeatable and therefore not subject to drift from the camera or the test setup.  In any case, this instrument is designed and intended for radiometric operation.  That is not to say this is camera offers the lowest signal to noise available, highest resolution or lowest NETD performance (30 mk for this camera which means it can resolve a temperature difference of .03C) .  However, IMHO,  this camera is suitable for this application.

     

    #3677843
    Stephen Seeber
    BPL Member

    @crashedagain

    Hi Tuuku:

    I never responded to your question, so here it is.  According to Climashield, the clo value of the insulation is .82/0z/yd2.  The jacket contains two inches of insulation.  This means the expected clo of the insulation will be 1.64.  The insulation thickness and therefore clo can vary +/- 10%.  The value in the final jacket will change somewhat because the loft will be impacted. For the jacket, I measured clo=1.02.

    In the thermal image below, you can see two pieces of cork.  The left cork is .22″ and was used as the reference in the article.  The right cork is .55″.  Based on NIST test data for cork, these thicknesses would produce expected Clo values of .75 and 1.87. respectively.

    Here is the actual image from the paper with the cork and jacket.

    When you look at the jacket colors, they would have to be predominately the color of the right cork to approach the value that you write is claimed by EE for the jacket. Its performance is clearly not that high, as evidenced by the presence of the greens and yellows in the test area.  Simple visual observation, suggests that the performance is well between the two cork samples.  So, the insulation value is less than the study value you reference and less than the expected insulation value based on the insulation specification.  If a study  was done (I did not see reference to it on the EE website) I cannot tell you why the numbers don’t agree.  But, due to assembly, aging, or both, the jacket is performing well below expected levels.  It is actually not quite as warm as a new Micro Puff (the one in the report is aged, after substantial use), but very close.

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