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Patagonia Encapsil Belay Parka Reverse Engineered
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Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/02/2013 01:13:51 MST Print View

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.


Edited by richard295 on 03/04/2013 13:48:53 MST.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/02/2013 03:08:05 MST Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 11:11:55 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/02/2013 03:56:55 MST Print View

What an amazing amount of intrigue over a *jacket*. I worked in a major pharmaceutical research facility and got an inkling of the paranoia regarding industrial espionage. Clothing seems so mundane.

This little episode has been very educational about the marketing of outdoor equipment and the relationship with the Internet and the review process.

It stikes me as anti First Amandmendment to suppress information, and more so after the product has been announced and obvious that retail versions were circulating, to the point that a salesperson could write an order and have the item shipped to a paying customer. It had to be in the retail sales computer system. Note there were assumably 27 other jackets floating around.

I'm trying to imagine what kind of club Patagoinia had to wield after their sales blunder. Weird.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/02/2013 09:07:57 MST Print View

"They publically justify the CO2 washing as being more ecological sensitive than a conventional washing machine wash"

That's pretty funny Richard - marketing people taking a negative and spinning it as a positive

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/02/2013 09:56:13 MST Print View

So after I pay $700 I have to send it in to have it washed twice a year or it becomes a 'normal" $700 jacket?

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
marketing on 03/02/2013 13:32:57 MST Print View

its generally in the interest of those selling "premium" products to control the message ...

one would expect that for 700 smackaroos you would at least know the amount of down fill ...

the interesting question i have ... is what happens when should you wash the jacket like any other down jacket ;)

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: marketing on 03/02/2013 14:41:31 MST Print View


Silicone coated down (Encapsil) will, theoretically, slowly degrade in loft to the original 800 fill level and water resistance do to microscopic exfoliation of the silicone from wet flex cycles such as movement or stuffing. Avoiding the use of washing machine will dramatically reduce the number of wet flex cycles and extend the garments useful life.

Most of the other down DWR products use fluorocarbons (Downtek, etc). They will, theoretically, more quickly degrade in water resistance do to the chemical spikes getting knocked down from dampness and/or abrasion. You can reactive them a limited number of times by washing without detergent residue and drying via approximately 140F temps and 1/2 hour duration.

The major manufacturers who have chosen not to incorporate DWR down in their products most frequently cite these justifications:

-DWR related loft reduction (initially for fluorocarbon or with use for silicone)
-Unacceptable DWR degradation with use
-Although the treated down is water resistant, it will eventually wet-out, leaving you to ask, "Why don't I just wear a hard shell over it?"

Edited by richard295 on 03/02/2013 14:48:55 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: marketing on 03/02/2013 18:10:29 MST Print View

hmmmmm ...

a jacket that one cant wash normally ... thats "improvement" for you ;)

i wonder if the degradation of regular DWR down is a huge concern ... with how often most people wash their down jackets

i wear and sleep in my down vest and jacket daily in the winter to save on heating costs ... i wonder how fast the down or the "encapsulation" would degrade with daily use

(Joomy) - M
iclo calculations on 10/06/2013 04:46:47 MDT Print View

Hi Richard,

I'm wondering how you're extrapolating these values. Seems that 1000 FP down should be 25% warmer per weight than 800 FP down. 5.56 iclo seems pretty low for this jacket given your other measured values. For example if the MB Permafrost has 255g of 800 FP down and iclo of 5.29 surely the 247g of 1000FP down in the Encapsil should add much more than 5% extra warmth. I would guess that the Encapsil should have an iclo of about 6.4.

Edited by Joomy on 10/06/2013 04:49:11 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: iclo calculations on 10/06/2013 05:27:41 MDT Print View


I am currently in Bali and only occasionally have an Internet connection. I will make this brief; your assumption that iClo improves proportionately with fill power is wrong. The algorithm I use for fill power differences is from actual lab testing of identical items with different fill power down.

Edited by richard295 on 10/06/2013 05:29:57 MDT.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Reverse Engineered Encapsil Belay Parka on 03/05/2014 19:46:35 MST Print View

Is there any new news on Encapsil? Is Patagonia going to make any other products using this technology. Seems strange. If it is so great, why are we not hearing about other new products in the works?

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Is Nikwax down any different? on 03/05/2014 23:35:59 MST Print View

From the ISPO artiocle: "Rab is a launch partner for Nikwax hydrophobic down"
Nikwax built an empire on hydrophobic stuff, do they know anything others don't know?

Babak Sakaki
(persianpunisher) - F
Next year on 03/05/2014 23:58:57 MST Print View

Fall 2015..... you're gonna see the return of Encapsil to the entire down line.

Edited by persianpunisher on 03/06/2014 00:02:09 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Next year on 03/06/2014 06:13:49 MST Print View


I wonder will all these items have to be returned to Patagonia for cleaning.