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Down-filled Jackets & Vests

Nothing beats a down-filled jacket for instant comfort and warmth. We are currently featuring jackets from Rab and Marmot, both companies which have a long heritage in the field. Founder of Rab the eponymous Rab Carrington started making sleeping bags over 30 years ago to fund his climbing expeditions and the British based company has developed from there making products for some of the most extreme conditions in the world. Marmot have similarly humble origins on the other side of the Atlantic, where in 1973 climbing students Eric Reynolds and Dave Huntley began constructing down jackets and sleeping bags in their dorm rooms at the University of California. Their commitment to applying fabric and construction technology to enhance the outdoor experience for everyone has remained core to Marmot’s development over the ensuing 35 years. .....
We have selected products from their ranges that really work in a UK winter.

Starting with the Rab Neutrino Vest (£110) which is available in both men’s and women’s fit. Compared to its competitors the Neutrino Vest is fantastically light, with the average men’s garment weighing 350g and women’s weighing 320g. This is achieved through using the lightest available Pertex® Quantum fabric for both the outer and the lining and filling this with 120g (men’s Large) of superior quality European goose down with a fill power of 750.
What is Fill Power? It’s a means of defining the ability of the down to resist compression and how much it can ‘loft’. So manufacturers can balance the quantity (weight) of fill they use and its fill power to achieve their desired insulation level and compactness. Fill power is measured by compressing a sample of down of a standard weight to a standard force and measuring the volume it occupies. The problem is that there is no worldwide standard set of values for these sample sizes and forces so different countries can have different fill power ratings for the same down. This gets particularly confusing when a company’s products are available worldwide. Measured under the US system, fill power ratings appear higher than they do in the European system, meaning that the figures are often most meaningful if you use them to compare products across one company’s range. Unless otherwise stated, the fill power ratings on our jackets are European.
 The Marmot Guides Sweater (£140) is a simple zip-through jacket at an ideal insulation level for general use.

The soft-feel polyester outer has a DWR (outdoor-industry impenetrable acronym standing for “Durable Water Repellent”) finish and the lining is 100% polyester too. The collar and chin-guard are lined with DriClime® fabric which is comfortable and has a good wicking action next to the skin. The whole jacket will zip into its internal pocket for compact, short term storage. The filling is 650 Fill Power Goose Down.
The Rab Ascent Jacket uses goose down sourced in Europe, also with a fill power of 650 (330g in a men’s Large and 300g in a women’s size 12). At £160 it offers some additional features over the Marmot Guides Sweater, not least of which is a detachable, down-filled hood.

The outer fabric is Pertex®Endurance 50D, a coated water resistant, downproof, windproof and breathable with a Hydrostatic head of 1500mm.
More confusing numbers. What is Hydrostatic Head? It’s a way of quantifying the waterproof properties of a fabric by indicating how it can resist water pressure, giving the height of the column of water it can support without leaking. To be classified as waterproof under European Standards that figure must be at least 1500mm. Fabric of this standard will keep out rain but as it’s measured in a laboratory the standard won’t withstand the extra pressures applied to a fabric by moving around, rucksack straps rubbing and just generally doing stuff. In practice, most well known waterproof fabrics have a hydrostatic head of at least 10,000mm, so that gives a useful comparison of the performance of Pertex®Endurance 50D
 The Ascent Jacket is approximately 10cm longer than the Marmot Guides Sweater and has a more contoured fit. The stitched-through baffles are narrower over the shoulders, to stabilise the down-filling. It’s supplied with a stuff-sack too.
These products are currently highlighted in our Peebles branch window displays where they will be on view until 28th December 2009. Prices and data may not be accurate after this time and inclusion on this blog entry does not indicate availability. Please contact our Peebles store directly before travelling in anticipation of a purchase.

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