Announced last winter and just now just coming to market, the new Thermal.Q Elite synthetic insulation from Mountain Hardwear appears in a variety of styles for this upcoming fall and winter season. Over the spring and summer, I have been testing out the Thermostatic Jacket, the perfect lightweight warmth layer to either wear on its own or as a layering piece under a shell.
Thermal.Q Elite synthetic insulation is designed to mimic the structure of down by using stiff, waterproof fibers that create a unique 3D grid structure to trap warmth, with fine fibers to fill in the gaps. The result is a synthetic insulation that the company claims is 20% warmer for its weight than the nearest competitor and with better compression rebound.
Using 50% recycled content, the 60 grams of Thermal.Q Elite synthetic insulation in the Thermostatic Jacket delivers a CLO value of 1.47 (3.0 for 100 grams), roughly the warmth provided from the same amount of 550 fill power down insulation. The insulated jacket weighs only 10.4 oz. (294 grams) and stuffs down small into your pack. Because of the ability for the insulation to rebound, the jacket returns to maximum loft once you pull it out of your pack, helping to keep you warmer.
The Thermostatic Jacket uses a low profile, minimalist design with only two zippered hand warmer pockets and a drawcord hem for features. The thin, slim cut and elastic on the cuffs ensure the jacket is super easy to slip on under a shell. The insulated jacket stows up inside its own pocket, making it simple to clip to your harness if you want an extra warmth layer on that early season alpine climb or throw in your bag.
The Thermostatic fits true to size, with arms long enough for those of us with a slightly larger than normal ape index. The Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket comes in a variety of great colors for both men and women and retails for $200, available now.