There aren’t many garments championed by polar explorers and style-savvy urbanites alike, but the insulated jacket is one of them. Insulated down technology has crossed over into cycle kit with jacket, gilets, and gloves all receiving the puffy treatment.
We give you the low-down on the wonder fill.
Super Fill Insulation
Its power lies in its superior warmth-to-weight ratio. It’s lightweight, yet it delivers exceptional heat retention.
Some insulated clothing is coated with a chemical to increase its repellency to water, making it bead on the surface.
Coffee Stop Packable
Thanks to its lightweight characteristics, insulated items are supremely packable, making them an ideal layer to take the edge off of at an outdoor cake stop.
PEdALED x Primaloft
For over two decades, PolarTec have been leaders in the creation of fleece fabrics. You'll find PolarTec on big name outdoor brands like The North Face and Patagonia.
PolarTec launched an insulation called Alpha and described it as "New territory for 'puffy insulation’ that isn’t actually 'puffy insulation' at all."
Alpha is made from lofted-knit fibres connected to a solid mesh core. When you think of puffy insulation, you automatically associate it with stuff you throw on purely to stay warm and comfortable when you’re stopped. As soon as you move, you take it off because, well, it's no longer comfortable. It's too warm and too sweaty.
The CLO rating of Alpha is 0.38, making it perfect for hard training rides in late winter and early spring.
PolarTec describe Alpha insulation as an active insulation. In the real world, that means the usual build up of steam inside your jacket as you hit the climb is no longer there. The fabric works harder to keep you dry because dry air is a better insulator than damp air. There is almost no weight to the garment, making it feel less restrictive.
Alpha is more breathable than fleece, synthetic or natural down, and it dries really quickly, too. PEdAL ED champion the use PolarTec Alpha within their Odyssey and Essential range of gilets and jackets.
Albion x Pertex
British brand, Albion, work with Pertex. Founded in 1979, Pertex is a blue sign company and their Quantum is a 100% recycled fabric, reducing the carbon impact of the product. Each piece of insulation is tested at low, medium and high activity levels with the aim of creating insulation that is breathable without restricting performance.
Albion Zoa Range
Zoa jackets and trousers use Pertex Quantum. The fabric features a tightly-woven structure to provide a light and soft fabric that allows insulation to fully loft.
The fabric, made from ultra-fine yarn, is given a durable water repellent (DWR) finish that repels light rain and snow to provide additional weather protection.
Albion use Clo Eco Vivo insulation in their Insulated Jacket 2.0 and Insulated Gilet 2.0, which are designed for riding in cooler winter temperatures and are cut for a performance fit. Available in both men's and women's.
3 Tips for Washing Active Insulation and Synthetic Down
Set to delicate
Polartec Alpha fabrics move moisture very efficiently. These items will dry super quickly. Don't put them in the tumble dryer; they will dry naturally in an hour. They also don't need a long spin cycle.
Don't put your items in the washing machine with garments with Velcro. If you must wash them together, put your jacket in a mesh bag to protect it from ripping or tearing the fabric.
Use non-bio liquid detergent
Don't wash your kit as frequently and NEVER with fabric softener. Biological detergent contains fabric softener. The chemicals destroy the insulating properties of the fibres, and block the pores of your clothing, reducing breathability.