For 2012, Polartec has created new high loft version of their Power Shield fabric, adding 25% more warmth while taking away 25% of the weight. Two North American brands, The North Face and Outdoor Research, have picked up the fabric, creating hybrid jackets purpose built for your future cold weather ice or alpine climbing adventures.
The Polartec Power Shield High Loft fabric combines the best qualities of insulation (warmth), softshell (weather protection), and fleece (moisture wicking) into a single highly functional layer. With a nylon softshell face and high loft fleece backing, Power Shield High Loft is the warmest, lightest, and most compressible softshell fabric on the market.
The North Face's Polar Hooded Jacket (pictured above) combines Power Shield High Loft in the core with a new version of Polartec's Thermal Pro in the arms and hood for extra warmth and breathability. As Thermal Pro fibers won't migrate like down or synthetic fill, The North Face was able to pair a woven face fabric with an open knit fabric lining to allow for better moisture vapor transport than a normal closed fabric lining. With this body mapped design, you are able to cut down on layers, increasing mobility without scrimping on performance. The Polar Hooded Jacket weighs 1 lb 7 oz. and retails for $299.
Outdoor Research's Lodestar Jacket and Pant blend Power Shield High Loft with Power Shield Pro softshell laminate fabric in critical weather exposed areas such as the shoulders, hood, knees, and backside. The Lodestar Jacket uses Power Shield High Loft in the core for added warmth without the bulk. The lightweight jacket and pants dry quickly like fleece if you should happen to get wet.
The Outdoor Research Lodestar Jacket will retail for $450 and the Lodestar Pant for $399.