Columbia just introduced a new way to construct down synthetic-blend jackets that the company says makes its Heatzone 1000 jacket better than the rest. The secret sauce: a new construction technique — TurboDown Wave — that pairs two layers of high quality down separated by a layer of synthetic insulation, lined with reflective material and sewn into wave-like offset baffles.
Traditionally, baffled down jackets have cold spots along the stitch lines where body heat can escape. Baffling — sewing the down into squares, tubes, or other shapes through the inner and outer fabric — keeps feathers evenly distributed for equal warmth through all parts of the jacket. But sewing compresses down and punches holes into the liner and shell wherever a needle passes through the fabric.
To eliminate the cold spots created by sewing, Columbia used two layers of 900-fill down, separated with a 100 gram layer of Omni-Heat Thermal insulation, and then welded baffles. Instead of welding straight through both layers of down and the insulation, Columbia offset layers to further eliminate cold spots. It finished off the jacket with a shell that pairs breathable fabric on the shoulders, hood, and outside of the arms with tightly woven water-resistant fabric in the body, neck, and inner arms for maximum weather protection, but enough breathability that you can be active in this jacket without getting sweaty.
Offset down baffles have been done before, so we were skeptical when Columbia told us that it it’s warmer than any comparable jacket on the market. But third party tests show that in the lab after 31 minutes, the temperature inside the Heatzone 1000 jacket is higher than inside competitors, including Patagonia Fitz Roy Down Parka, Arc’teryx Cerium SV, North Face Super Diez, and Black Diamond Cold Forge Hoody. According to a group of guides from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost city in the world, this jacket is their new top choice for adventuring. The Heatzone 1000 TurboDown Wave Jacket will be available in Fall 2015. [$450; columbia.com]
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