We’re returning from the Outdoor Retailer, SIA and ISPO trade shows where we launched Polartec® Alpha®, the first-ever breathable puffy fabric, to media. It’s an entirely new class of fabric technology that rounds out Polartec’s offering of over 300 performance fabrics – from lightweight next-to-skin, to insulation, to extreme weather protection fabrics.
Essentially, Polartec Alpha is a puffy fabric that’s not a vapor barrier – a lightweight, quick-drying insulation that allows air exchange for breathability and comfort in more dynamic situations. Unlike down or existing synthetic insulation bating, Polartec Alpha is a highly stable layer allowing for the use of more open and breathable fabrics on the outer and inner layers of puffy-style garments. Classic puffy garments require “down-proof” or high-density woven layers that create a vapor barrier. Although they work well in static conditions, these classic puffy garments trap moisture inside the garment during even minimal activity.
In addition to unprecedented levels of breathability and moisture vapor transport in a puffy, Polartec Alpha maintains insulation values while wet and offers dramatically faster dry times than existing puffy-style fabrics on the market. Highly compressible, it also provides inherent wind resistance and warmth without weight.
Polartec Alpha was developed to meet the performance requirements of the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). SOF required something that was warm, wind resistant, highly durable, quick drying, and more breathable than existing insulation products. Polartec Alpha received the highest testing results of any Polartec product ever tested by the SOF evaluation team. The SOF garment made of Polartec Alpha (by Patagonia) will replace two to three layers, reducing costs, saving weight in the field, and improving combat effectiveness.
Polartec Alpha jackets, vests and hoodies will become available to consumers fall 2013 in the collections of Polartec partner brands 66º North, Eddie Bauer, Eider, Mammut, Marmot, Montane, Mountain Equipment, Rab, Ternua, Terry Cycle, The North Face, Trangoworld, Vaude and Westcomb.
Check out these recent awards and recognition given to Polartec Alpha, as well as other innovative products coming out fall 2013: