To test the insulating properties of the garment, we measured the cooling rate of a bladder of warm water placed in the centre of the jacket. We filled plastic bags with 500 millilitres of water at 50ºC and used aquarium thermometers to take in-situ temperature measurements of the water in 15-minute intervals over a two-hour period. Pack size was measured by putting the jackets in a 20cm-diameter stuff sack and compressed with a 5kg weight. The jacket was then weighed with calibrated scales.
This is a short-bodied jacket, providing plenty of flexibility. It utilises a very lofty, loose-fill synthetic fibre for insulation which is trapped between wide 4½in baffles. This lofts and compresses very well (see results), but the wide baffles do mean that the insulation has a tendency to shift, leaving gaps. However, this can easily be worked back into place. It features a high, micro-fleece-lined neck, cuffed sleeves and an elasticated waist, which all help to stop cold draughts. The jacket has two zipped pockets and an additional internal chest pocket.
The Arctic insulated jacket retained 54.2 per cent of the heat over the test period. This was the poorest on test but only lagged behind the next jacket by 1ºC. The insulation beneath the bag had become flattened or separated under the bag. This wouldn’t be a problem when standing, but could happen when lying down. This was a mid-weight jacket (825g, size M) but had by far the best pack size of only 6.9 litres.
PROS – Comfort and flexibility. Small pack size for stowing in your bag. CONS – Wide baffles with loose-fill insulation means cold gaps can develop.
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