November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
What is Capilene?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
What is Capilene? on 01/09/2014 17:02:07 MST Print View

Capilene is polyester.

What makes it different from any other polyester, beside the fact that it is a name registered by Patagonia?

(I'm looking for a technical answer on what makes it unique...I know You love it, and there is nothing better....)

Edit: The Technical pursuit can be followed Here.

Moral, environmental, and other issues are resolved below.

Edited by greg23 on 01/10/2014 09:43:14 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: What is Capilene? on 01/09/2014 17:16:51 MST Print View

It made from Petroleum thats hand pumped out of the ground by a hippy :-)

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: What is Capilene? on 01/09/2014 17:37:05 MST Print View

The weave of the fabric is different than many others. I don't like the tight weave of cap 1 but prefer the looser mesh like weave of cap 2. They also generally offer great construction quality and a good fit Technichly though the raw material is the same. I like Patagonia stuff but it is over priced.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
cap on 01/09/2014 17:42:56 MST Print View

some cap (cap4) is powerdry, made by polartec

and honestly for those its not really different functionally from any of my MEC T2 versions ... except it costs double the price

thats "branding" and "marketing" for ya


Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: cap on 01/09/2014 17:52:33 MST Print View

Eric, I agree with you but there's also a "convenience" factor hear in the US...namely pat cap4 is the only option without going through some funky group buy thing....Otherwise I'd have a t2 ;)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: cap on 01/09/2014 17:59:10 MST Print View

us folks who loiter around the MEC think that the T2 will drop again in price to a point where "resistance is futile" for another BPL group buy

they arent clearing them out very fast at all ... if the price does go down again, itll be in the next few weeks


Matthew Black
Originally on 01/09/2014 18:14:32 MST Print View

The fibers had channels in them to permit the otherwise hydrophobic polyester to wick moisture away via capillary action.

I don't know that this is how current designs work and there are plenty of alternatives out there compared to the bygone days of only Lifa or Capilene for synthetic underwear.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Capilene is better now. on 01/09/2014 18:14:44 MST Print View

I previously stayed away from capilene because it absorbed/amplified my stank.
However I'm super impressed with the recent changes. It fits me better, it's a little lighter, and that polygene odor treatment really seems to work for me.
2 favorite pieces:
-Cap4 hoody: The power dry HE keeps me warm, yet breathes well. All for 8 oz.
-Cap2 SS: Acts like a T-shirt when it's hot, yet is just thick enough to add some core warmth when worn under layers. My previous T (arcteryx phase sl SS) was just too thin for that.

I echo the others comments about price though...I wish it was cheaper.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: What is Capilene? on 01/09/2014 18:36:42 MST Print View

It's probably not fair just to simply say that it's overpriced. There's more to it than just an expensive shirt with a label. The deeper technical answer is one some don't won't to hear. They will vehemently argue/deny it every time with little to no basis.

Part of that shirt price goes for protection of the very places backpackers enjoy: Natural environments. The company gave $22 million over the course of ~10 yrs to protect the places we claim to love. Some of the money goes to support cotton farmers who don't spray the crap out of the place with various poisons that wreck havoc on that place we claim to love, nature....poisons affecting the places we live...poisons that eventually end up in the bodies of and I, and your daughters and grandsons, and their kids. Some of the money goes to bailing people out of jail who are protesting activities that none of us want in our backyard. Why would we want this stuff in other peoples backyards?

It goes much deeper than that, of course. Perhaps we could be a bigger part of a positive difference in the world if we looked at more than just a small corner of a large picture. And no, I'm not just talking about Patagonia here...

Thurs night soapbox. Sorry to all whom this offends.

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Used to be proprietary ... on 01/09/2014 18:59:39 MST Print View

Now it's just a name for their base layers. Like others have mentioned their Capilene 3 is now PowerDry by Polartec. PowerDry is awesome stuff, works very well for me. MEC [i.e. REI of Canada] sells MEC branded PowerDry base layers for 50% of what Patagonia sells them for [exact same material] ... and they're made locally too. I'm all-over PowerDry, best baselayer material I've ever come across. I'm a huge Patagonia fan btw.

Edited by redpoint on 01/09/2014 19:02:54 MST.

John Hillyer
(TrNameLucky) - MLife
Cap 4 on 01/09/2014 19:21:55 MST Print View

A nice thread on the Cap 4 Hoody:

It's an exceptional lightweight garment that is warmer for the weight and wicks better than anything else that I have come across. Unfortunately, the fit pinches me under the armpits like everything Patagonia that I have tried.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
environment on 01/10/2014 01:26:37 MST Print View

folks ... i will take MECs record on the environment against any other company anyday

they give 1% back to the planet, actually PUBLISH their accountability reports (unlike alot of companies), contribute to many local outdoor and environmental causes, etc ...

you can read this and their reports here ...

i will put them again patagucci anyday ... without the premium

also note that currently their T2/T3 line with polartec powerdry is made in CANADA ... at half the list price of the cap4/R1

it is my understanding that the T2s are being cleared out as they are using newer material ... HE perhaps? or polygiene? ... well find out


Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: environment on 01/10/2014 08:34:14 MST Print View

Patagonia also does some not so great things in third world countries under the guise of ecological stewardship. Namely they've bought up tons of land in South America and have cordoned it off from the locals and development. Generally I think this is a good thing for preserving wilderness, the problem is nothing is actually wilderness. It has all been inhabited by people and this reeks of western minded colonialism. Conservation has a long tradition of being used to oust native peoples from their homelands for the recreation of european descended populations. Rural Chileans actually have a strong distrust of the norteamericanos who founded Patagonia and Black Diamond. So it's not all green leaves and rainbows when it comes to their corporate record. Still I think they are acting in good spirits, their execution just is just heavy-handed and inconsiderate of the local socialeconomic situation.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: environment on 01/10/2014 09:32:13 MST Print View

Hi Dustin,

I'd be interested in learning more about this. Can you provide some references?


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: environment on 01/10/2014 10:58:49 MST Print View

First, capilene is good stuff... but they keep changing it.

And who are we to judge them or any company as moral stewards of the environment?

We who have many backpacks, when we only really need one. Same goes for shelters, sleeping bags/quilts, clothing, shoes, stoves, etc., etc.

We who are driving/flying to CCC to show off our gear. I wonder how much fuel will be wasted on that endeavor.

We who only get 500 miles out of a single pair of shoes, when a pair of good leather boots will last for decades and can be repaired/re-soled.

We who have disposable gear like DriDucks, plastic bags and groundsheets.

We who buy gear of dubious quality, from unknown manufacturers via the Internet to save a couple bucks. Read all the threads on knock-off products. How do you know these sources are "green?" Or does green not matter when we want to save money? How selfish of us.

Most UL backpackers seem to be conspicuous consumers... oh, that is good for the environment!! I am one of them, and admit it without guilt. So I am not going to condemn any company for not being "green."

I do take issues with companies who try to gain market share be declaring they are green. I prefer they be green without advertising it and not trying to put themselves on a moral pedestal.

My thoughts on green: Patagonia, shame on you. But I still will buy their stuff if it is good.

I don't know if MEC still prints paper catalogs, but they used to. That isn't green behavior by a green company, IMO.

Most of us are just as bad as the companies we criticize -- we may be worse -- our demand creates the marketplace. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

(lrh442) - F
Re: Re: What is Capilene? on 01/10/2014 11:41:49 MST Print View

I think that Patagonia is a good company and I applaud their monetary contributions to the environment and related causes. However, that philanthropy is NOT the reason for their premium price points.

Patgonia's "1% for the Planet" program donates 1% of revenue, or 10% of profit, whichever is higher. So for a $100 garment, ONE dollar of that price is resulting from their philanthropy. Do away with the program and the price is now $99.

Not throwing stones at Patagonia. Just clarifying that the premum prices are not driven in any meaningful amount by their philanthropy.

Edited by lrh442 on 01/10/2014 11:42:39 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: environment on 01/10/2014 11:51:43 MST Print View

I don't know if MEC still prints paper catalogs, but they used to. That isn't green behavior by a green company, IMO.

MEC has no paper catalogs since 2011 nor do they give any disposable bags with any purchases ....

im sure theres still other nasty stuff they do somewhere ...

however theres no "MEC premium" ... and while they do post up about the stuff they do on their blog and fbook ... they dont exactly say "pay more for us because were green and dont buy our jackets!!!"

you could in fact consider the MEC gear swap which mec runs for free as either a source of pollution or a very good way to "recycle" gear

After 40 years, we printed our last paper catalogue in 2011. While the catalogue was a huge part of MEC, it was also a huge contributor to our carbon footprint. At 94%, the catalogues represented the vast majority of our paper use, and 8% of our carbon footprint.

In 2012, we decreased our paper use by 90% from 2011 levels (to 26,870 kg from 295,997 kg). Total paper use contributed 59 tCO2e to our total carbon footprint. This is a huge reduction, and something we’re very proud of.

As a Markets Initiative signatory, we've committed to using ancient forest-friendly fibres and reducing the amount of paper we use. We also committed to purchasing 90% of paper from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.

While we’re committed to achieving our target of sourcing 90% of our paper from FSC-certified sources, we haven’t been able to find receipt and continuous form feed paper that meets those criteria. The same is true for PCR content. Our target is to ensure that at lease 70% of our paper is 85% PCR or more, but we’re struggling to find receipt and continuous form feed paper with PCR content. We’ll continue looking for alternatives to our existing paper sources. Where available, we’ve moved towards electronic billing for our utilities. Moving forward, we’ll look into providing e-receipts as an alternative to paper receipts, and we’ll conduct a business case analysis for establishing a near-paperless office.


perhaps patacucci post their paper usage online?


Edited by bearbreeder on 01/10/2014 11:57:04 MST.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
But what about Capilene? on 01/10/2014 11:57:11 MST Print View

What does any of the latter part of this thread have to do with Capilene?

Let's get back on track.

EDIT: Oops, I see the OP has abandoned this thread to ideological warfare, and started another about the technical discussion. I'll go there, as I just can't take these "king of the moral hill" discussions.

Edited by Bolster on 01/10/2014 12:00:19 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: But what about Capilene? on 01/10/2014 12:05:22 MST Print View

What does any of the latter part of this thread have to do with Capilene?

the patagucci "moral" premium you pay ... for a "better company with better ethics"


Edited by bearbreeder on 01/10/2014 12:05:58 MST.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: What is Capilene? on 01/10/2014 13:52:26 MST Print View


Please don't take this the wrong way but I believe you are over simplifying this, or, as I mentioned earlier, viewing a small corner of a large picture.


Good post! However, how is Patagonia, or any other company who takes a genuine stance, supposed to bring awareness to these important issues if they don't talk about it?

Out of curiosity, have either of you two (or anyone else in this thread for that matter) read "Let My People Go Surfing"?