On Jan 9, 2013 I posted a comment to Babak’s video review of Patagonia’s Encapsil Belay parka. That same day I posted the comment, the review was hidden at Patagonia’s request. See:
My comment said, “I was in error in my original BPL forum calculations to estimate the amount of 1,000 FP fill and thermo-neutral temperature for your jacket. It now shows the fill amount as being 10.17 oz.; the thermo neutral temperature as -8F; and the best warmth to weight ratio of ANY down parka.
I also estimate that the Encapsil moisture-regain will test about 2% at 100% RH versus 15% for untreated down and 10% the competing fluorocarbon DWR treatments.
I would really like to have this parka. Congrats!”
Fast forward about two months to now. Since the official March 1 release has now taken place and Patagonia has released more information about the jacket, I again reverse engineered the design to ascertain relevant performance values. The fill amount was not published by Patagonia. If you call Customer Service for this information, they will tell you they don’t have it; they will just tell you that the jacket weighs 18.28 oz. in size medium and the cost is $699. At least the BPL forum members will know that the fill amount is approximately 8.7 oz. of 1,000 fill; the iclo value is approximately 5.56; and the thermo-neutral temperature for camp chores is 1F.
For use as a belay parka it is much warmer and lighter than their synthetic Patagonia DAS which costs $299. The DAS weighs 23.6 oz. in size medium; the insulation is comprised of 120 g/m2 Synergy for all of the jacket plus an extra 60 g/m2 PL1 in the torso; the iclo value is approximately 3.78; and the thermo-neutral temperature for camp chores is 19F.
The closest water repellent down competitor to the Encapsil offering is the MEC Storm Degree Jacket which costs $340.30. It weighs 32.8 oz in size medium; it has 10.23 oz. of 800 fill DWR down; the iclo value is approximately 5.93; and the thermo-neutral temperature for camp chores is -3F.
Patagonia is minimizing the possibility of silicone DWR durability issues by providing free bi-annual cleanings in liquid CO2. They publically justify the CO2 washing as being more ecological sensitive than a conventional washing machine wash. I haven’t seen nor tested Encapsil down (silicone plasma coated) but I have studied non UV silnylon shelter degradation. I SUSPECT that the same thing I saw happening with silnylon may be happening with Encapsil when it is wet flexed. The following is a micrograph I took showing extensive silicone coating exfoliation from 3 hours of gentle wet flexing in a Cubix type machine. It creates a lab environment that simulates what happens in the wind after silnylon sags from being wet. I took this micrograph, after the water suspended silicone particles had dried on the slide, with a 150um FOV.