Dubbing it Performance Enhanced Down, yesterday Columbia Sportswear announced a new insulation technology for Fall 2014. Called TurboDown, the insulation is said to be warmer than any similarly priced down or synthetic jacket out there today.
To create TurboDown, Columbia invented a layered insulation system that combines Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation with premium down fill. To further up the heat retaining quotient, the company added an Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective lining to help reflect your own body heat back at you. The level and fill power of down, as well as the amount of Thermal Insulation to be included in the TurboDown, will vary across three different categories of jackets: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
Columbia is so confident in the heat retaining power of TurboDown that they enlisted a third party to test the insulation against similarly priced commercially available jackets. According to Columbia, the TurboDown jackets came up triumphant against the Marmot Zeus, North Face ThermoBall, Patagonia Down Sweater, and Patagonia Nano Puff, with margins ranging from 8% to 22% warmer.
I would be interested to see how TurboDown compares to the current Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation + Omni-Heat Thermal Reflective and Omni-Heat Thermal Insulation on its own. The latter has been around for many years now and even though Columbia never advertised the fact, claimed that the synthetic insulation by itself achieves a 20% higher Clo value (a measure of insulating value) than PrimaLoft One.
Look for the new Columbia TurboDown jackets to hit shelves around the second half of 2014. The collection will include 14 jacket and vest styles ranging in price from $130 to $325.