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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Lofted wool jackets? on 02/09/2012 18:53:11 MST Print View

For those of you who don't get Gossamer Gear's excellent e-newsletter, here's a link to a Gear Junkie story about new gear coming out, including lofted wool-filled jackets from Ibex and Smartwool that claim to be as warm as down, but retains warmth when wet! Pretty cool. Some other neat things on the way as well.

Sorry, tried to put in a clickable link, but once again the POS software on this site wouldn't allow it. So, the link:

Edited by idester on 02/09/2012 18:54:56 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
devil's advocate on 02/09/2012 19:05:24 MST Print View

Not to be rude, but isn't the amount of wool that is needed to keep you warm when wet a pretty high weight even when you consider fleece? Or at least that is my experience in that I need something at least 260 to really feel the warmth when wet.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: devil's advocate on 02/09/2012 19:16:23 MST Print View

You're not being rude to me, I just pointed out the article. You'd have to ask one of the resident scientists or the companies making the claim. But, if you read the article, this is lofted wool, not the 'regular' wool you wear as a shirt. Perhaps that makes a difference.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
clumping? on 02/09/2012 19:25:50 MST Print View

Wouldn't lofted down still clump when wet unless you are doing some really high tech and very small chambering?

Phillip Colelli

Locale: AT, follow@
curious on 02/09/2012 19:47:57 MST Print View

Maybe they make it into some sort of material similar to synthetic insulation like climashield apex or something. Like a giant nappy dread lock of wool or something. If they could keep the weight down it would spark my interest. It sure looks light in the pictures, similarly to a down or synthetic jacket.

I really like the way they describe that H2 flow jacket with the swiss cheese cut holes all over. If it works as advertised it will have the ability to seriously tune it to how warm or cool you want it to be.

Edited by pdcolelli42 on 02/09/2012 19:52:24 MST.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Ibex wool lofted jacket on 02/09/2012 20:14:47 MST Print View

I saw this at the OR Winter Show. It looks to be about the same size as fleece, probably a bit heavier. Uses merino wool for the loft. Don't know how well it compresses for pack storage. Looked quite interesting.


Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Re: Lofted wool jackets? on 02/10/2012 03:36:56 MST Print View

To keep warm when wet a filling needs to keep as much as possible its structure. The more stable the structure, the heavier and less compressible. I'm sure it will work fine but I wouldn't expect miracles. Shelled wool is an interesting concept anyway.

Edited by inaki on 02/10/2012 08:41:15 MST.

Paul Wozniak

Locale: Midwest
sweater coupled with wind jacket on 02/10/2012 06:52:12 MST Print View

I've worn an old cashmere sweater packing for a couple of years now. I was going to toss it when it lost its tight knit. Now, the more "fuzzy" it gets, the better. Pretty effective under my Ion wind jacket. Comfortable hanging around camp into the 40's F. Plus it gives you the option of wearing just the sweater or just the wind jacket depending on the need.

At 291 grams for the sweater there are more effective warmth-to-weight options but all in all it's not a bad setup. I wonder if a "lofted" merino or alpaca sweater would be even more efficient.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Marketing Spin on 02/10/2012 09:16:48 MST Print View

I hate marketers. Take enough concrete or lead shot and it will be "as warm as down" too, but no where near as comfortable to wear ;). This is like the old trick question "which weighs more, a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?"

"Lofted" wool is basically the same thing as unspun wool, ie it hasn't been made into a yarn. Think about it, when on a sheep (or any other wooly animal) the hair is raised and filled with tiny air chambers. That's exactly what we call "lofted".

I'm guessing they're just taking raw wool and putting it into chambers.

It won't beat down. To survive freezing conditions there are three strategies: up your metabolism (not so great when food is scarce), increase your insulation (blubber or feathers/fur), or decrease your surface area to volume ratio (ie get bigger).

We get wool from animals that are usually large in size and from more temperate climates which means they need less efficient insulation. Down comes from geese which are comparatively small and travel to the arctic so they need even more efficient insulation than sheep. Maybe if we looked at musk ox, wolverine, or snowshoe hare furs we'd be able to claim "as warm as down"

Now with the supposedly hydrophobic coating they've developed for down the moisture problem may become less of an issue.

Ben R
(snowfiend131) - MLife

Locale: Western PA
Lofted Wool on 02/10/2012 09:48:04 MST Print View

One potentially relevant data point:

I've been using a woolmark comforter/duvet (sweet deal at Costco) on my bed at home for 6 months now, which is basically fluffed up wool inside a cotton shell. I'd say its nearly equal to down from a warmth per thickness (inches of loft) perspective, but it is much, much heavier than down.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: sweater coupled with wind jacket on 02/10/2012 11:41:51 MST Print View

"I've worn an old cashmere sweater packing for a couple of years now. I was going to toss it when it lost its tight knit. Now, the more "fuzzy" it gets, the better"

This matches my experience with an old orlon sweater that I have. It is warmer than my polypro pullovers of similar weight.

Daryl Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Clickable Link? on 02/10/2012 11:49:24 MST Print View


Let's see if this works. Tried to make a clickable link out of first url Douglas posted.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: devil's advocate on 02/10/2012 17:05:24 MST Print View

Wool is great to work in where you can go inside and let a FIRE or a heater dry it out. When hiking, one generally does not have these options. Therefore it will retain the water UNLIKE FLEECE(inherently hydroscopic) which can simply be wrung dry and shaken and put back on and one will be "instantly" warm.

The whole put nylon over wool or fleece is baffling to me. The whole danged point of fleece/wool is that it BREATHES big time. Let that vapor out baby! If it is windy you put a shell over it. Otherwise you DO NOT want said shell layer as nylon does NOT breathe worth a tinkers dam compared to no nylon wind shirt. Yes, I always take a wind shirt, but only wear it if I have to. Yes, a nylon'd fleece or wool is lighter than fleece + windshirt. Of course you move slower as you are sweating more and likewise more miserable.

If one IMO wants light weight and maximum usability go with bare fleece/wool and a wind shirt + DWR. If all you want is to bum around camp or home pretending to be backpacking, then by all means go with the combo.

PS. Yes, I own a Montbell UL thermalwrap. I stupidly bought it as I wanted to cut weight. Problem is that it doesn't allow vapor to pass through like fleece requiring slow walking so one doesn't sweat it out. Likewise it also can't be "wrung-out" like fleece can. It is also not as tough as fleece. I will never buy a nylon covered anything again unless I plan to only use it around home carrying firewood which it is far superior to fleece in as it does not collect dust/dirt/twigs like your house vacuum cleaner! Then again Cotton canvas beats nylon in this department as well so... I think I will stick to my first statement, never again anything nylon covered.