How to choose the perfect insulator for every adventure.
When buying an insulated jacket, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. Choosing the right jacket for you will depend on a variety of factors, so it’s worth asking yourself a few questions to narrow down exactly what you need. How cold will the conditions be? Is there a chance of rain? What type of activity are you planning?
The most important decision you will need to make on your journey to buy an insulated jacket, is whether you need down insulation or synthetic insulation.
Let’s start off by going over the details of each type of insulation, and then we can explore how we use them, and when to choose one over the other.
Down is a natural product that provides an unparalleled level of thermal efficiency. When properly taken care of, down will last a very long time.
Down clusters possess a remarkable ability to trap air due to their intricate structure and composition. Consisting of numerous tiny filaments that radiate outward, down clusters create a three-dimensional network of interconnected air pockets. These pockets function as insulation barriers by effectively trapping air within the jacket, which is the key to keeping warm in low temperatures. If you get caught in a shower or snow starts to set in, the hydrophobic down used in Rohan’s down jackets build upon the natural properties of traditional down, this additional treatment allows the jacket to absorb less water therefore drying out faster, limiting its vulnerability to moisture.
You’ll often see ‘fill power’ when reading about down products. This is the measure of thermal insulation that a down jacket provides.
Fill power typically ranges from 550 (medium insulation level) to 900 (very high insulation level). The number represents the volume in cubic inches per ounce when fully lofted (when it’s fully ‘fluffed up’.)
Essentially, the higher the fill power of a down jacket, the warmer it will be for its weight.
Synthetic Insulated Jackets
Synthetic insulated jackets are filled with man-made fibres and perform well in the cold and in light rain conditions.
At Rohan, we use Insuloft – a synthetic thermal insulator which boasts a better warmth-to-weight ratio than fleece, and better performance when wet than conventional down. It’s an advanced synthetic that’s tough, lightweight, packable, fast drying and easy to wash.
Synthetic insulation replicates the warming effects of down and is an ideal option for more active outdoor pursuits where your body temperature will be high. Plus, it’s better at handling moisture than down so if you’re trekking in variable weather conditions, synthetic insulation is most likely the better choice.
Choosing the right insulation for you
The kinds of weather you frequently find yourself in, and the types of adventures you’re heading on will determine whether down or synthetic insulation is the best choice for you.
Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the most suitable insulated jacket.
For outdoor adventures
For very cold and dry conditions exploring in the hills, the hydrophobic down insulation inside our Eos Jacket will provide the highest warmth to weight ratio.
For cold and damp conditions on the trail, synthetic wadding like the Insuloft insulation inside our Helios Jacket will provide comforting warmth, even when wet.
For everyday exploring
For cold and dry days wandering around town, the hydrophobic down insulation inside our Delta Jacket, and Delta Coat will provide the highest warmth to weight ratio.
For cold days where rain is a possibility, the synthetic Insuloft insulation inside our Rime Jacket will keep you feeling warm and comfortable even when wet.