interesting ... unfortunately with proprietary insulation, having independent measured tests of the insulation value will be difficult i suspect
In India, where Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk spent 12 days working up the high-altitude route, testing jackets may not have always been front of mind. But two members of the climbing team were there wearing parkas with a new technology, which was previewed for media at the Colorado event. Called ThermoBall, the product is a “revolution in insulation technology,” the company touts. In the hand, the fine filaments of ThermoBall feel like wispy pilled cotton, light and knotted with tiny spheres. Stuffed in a jacket, the new insulation will offer an alternative to synthetic insulations like PrimaLoft and natural down, the current mainstays of insulation for serious outdoor apparel.
Made to mimic the clustering of down, ThermoBall is fabricated as small individual balls of synthetic fibers. More loft, warmth and compressibility are the promised results. In charts delineating ThermoBall’s insulation qualities, the TNF fluff was shown to have a warmth-to-weight ratio not quite as good as down, but 15 percent better than a tested synthetic (we assume that would be PrimaLoft One). Like PrimaLoft, ThermoBall works when wet (down does not work well when wet). I pulled on a prototype puffy ThermoBall jacket, which was knit with a new type of triangular baffle system to cradle the fluff, and immediately I felt the warmth. In an interview, Todd Spaletto, president of The North Face, told me ThermoBall was one of the “biggest innovations in the history of the company.”