WHAT ARE MY INSULATION OPTIONS?
You can choose between down, synthetic down, Polartec® fleece and Ventrix™.
Down has exceptional insulating properties thanks to its ability to trap air in its structure. When it fills coats and jackets, it has slightly better performance than equivalent synthetic materials, weight for weight. When weight is an issue – as it often is when climbing – down is the preferred material. However, down (unless ProDown™) does not maintain its insulating power if it becomes damp. If you’re going to be exploring in wet or damp conditions, then synthetic insulation is a better option.
Synthetic down is a man-made replacement for natural down. It mimics the structure of natural down but takes up more space to do so. This means that to get the same insulating power as down more synthetic insulation needs to be used, so it becomes heavier and less compressible than natural down. However, synthetic down is also popular in the vegan community.
We should also point out that all The North Face down is certified to Responsible Down Standards (RSD) which means, among other things, we can trace it back to the source and there is absolutely no live-plucking.
Fleece, usually from Polartec®, is another form of insulation. The structure of the fabric traps air, so in a way, it acts like down, though it’s not as efficient. To get the same insulting power the fleece would have to be very thick. However, as fleece is a fabric, not an insulation fibre, it can be blended with other materials and technologies so it can be wicking and stretchy, too. It’s also incredibly lightweight.