Over the years I have been doing this I have established some relationships with people buried deep within the best companies in this industry. These are not PR or marketing people, these are guys that are responsible for new product design, development, testing, and improvement. Pretty down to earth folks with a fire in the belly for making great gear not because it makes sense from a business point of view but because they are hardcore outdoorsmen and dyed-in-the-wool (sorry for the pun) gear heads. They are pedigreed technical experts with decades of factory to field to whiteboard experience and when they speak I listen, closely.
The Nano-Air Jacket and Vest line from Patagonia uses a new synthetic insulation they call “Fullrange” and I am hearing it described with terms like “revolutionary” and “game changer” from these normally hyperbole averse gear gurus. The idea is to provide an insulation piece that you can put on and leave on regardless of physical exertion level. Meaning, no more or significantly less fine tunning that requires constant donning/doffing or adjusting of layers to regulate heat generation/perspiration when you are working hard so that you stay dry and comfortable. Breathability, which is not something we usually consider at all when we are talking about middle insulating layers, is the key. Here is a Youtube video on it and what they say about it on their website.
“An insulation breakthrough: the Nano-Air™ Jacket featuring FullRange™ Insulation is warm, stretchy and so breathable, you can wear it for the entirety of any highly aerobic start-stop mission in the mountains.
Leave the tent, flick on the headlamp, swing the tools, tag the summit and return—for every moment of an alpine mission, the Nano-Air™ delivers a breakthrough in active insulation. Put it on and leave it on through high-output, stop-and-go alpine missions—its exclusive, stretchy and highly breathable fabric package integrates the qualities of fleece, soft shell and puffy by combining a plain-weave liner, warm-when-wet FullRange™ insulation, and a lightweight-yet-durable, weather-shedding shell with DWR (durable water repellent) finish. The jacket’s incredibly soft, supple feel and full mechanical stretch allows for a close, athletic fit over baselayers and an uninhibited range of motion. At brew stops or in frigid conditions, pull on a lightweight shell and the Nano-Air’s thermal properties skyrocket. The left-chest pocket and two above-harness handwarmer pockets all close with trim, low-bulk zippers. The center-front zipper has a storm flap and zipper garage, while stretch binding at the cuffs and a dual-adjustable drawcord hem seal in warmth.
- Light-yet-durable 100% nylon ripstop shell and plain-weave liner offer generous mechanical stretch and exceptional breathability, with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- Revolutionary 60-g FullRange™ Insulation warms and stretches; combined with the shell and liner, this creates a jacket with generous mechanical stretch and unprecedented air permeability (40CFM)
- Iconic Nano Puff® brick quilting in the side panels, articulated patterning and other quilting details improve shape and durability
- Center-front zipper has wicking interior storm flap and zipper garage at chin for next-to-skin comfort
- Two handwarmer pockets and a left chest pocket are zippered, welted and low-bulk to wear comfortably with a harness or pack
- Stretch binding at the cuffs and a dual-adjustable drawcord hem seal in warmth
Shell: 1.3-oz 20-denier 100% nylon ripstop. Lining: 2-oz 50-denier 100% nylon plain weave. Both shell and lining with
- mechanical stretch and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 60-g FullRange™ 100% polyester stretch insulation
- 354 g (12.5 oz)”
I have just received a Nano-Air Jacket (in feather grey) to use in my own field trials and I will let you know what I think when it is time. First impressions – Very light and I was concerned that it was going to be too trim based on the description but while an XL is cut close it is not too close or restrictive.
By the way, the Fullrange insulation Patgonia is using in the Neo-Air series is actually a Toray product called 3DeFX which you may remember from earlier posts is what Kuiu puts in its new Kenai Jacket. Interesting, huh?