For Fall 2013, The North Face will introduce three new insulation technologies throughout their winter apparel line. Using both synthetic and down filling, the new insulation will keep you warmer and give you more options for a wide variety of cold weather outdoor activities.
For situations where you critically need your jacket to retain loft even when wet, The North Face is finally bringing their innovative ThermoBall insulation to market. If you recall, the company had actually hoped to release ThermoBall for this current season but after a run through on Meru with Conrad, Jimmy, and Renan, they realized there was room for improvement. The design team went back to the drawing board and figured out a better way to secure the insulation within the garment, offering improved warmth.
Proprietary to The North Face, ThermoBall is just as compressible as down but continues to insulate even when wet. Unlike traditional synthetic insulation, the small ThermoBall PrimaLoft synthetic-fiber clusters closely mimic down clusters, trapping heat within small air pockets to retain warmth. ThermoBall’s clo value is equivalent to that of a 600-fill down jacket of similar weight. Look for the new insulation in the men’s and women’s ThermoBall Hoodie ($160), ThermoBall Vest ($149), and ThermoBall Full Zip Jacket ($199).
For next season, The North Face will also jump on the water-resistant down bandwagon with ProDown. While regular down will wet-out in six to seven minutes in wet conditions, the company claims ProDown retain its dryness and loft for 100 minutes, giving you enough time to seek shelter or get down the mountain if it starts to pour. ProDown will be added to select styles throughout The North Face line, including the Supernatural Jacket ($449), a 950-fill (!) down jacket.
Finally, The North Face has again teamed up with PrimaLoft for ZLoft, a proprietary technology utilizing PrimaLoft One synthetic insulation constructed with a unique Z-baffle shape to maximize warmth without adding weight or bulk. In order to achieve the baffling shape, strips of insulation are formed into semi-circles and integrated into a Z-baffle construction. This eliminates the holes created by a conventional baffle construction, helping to keep cold air out and warm air in. You can find ZLoft in the men’s and women’s Zephyrus Pro Hoodie ($299).