Answering Your Questions: Differences Between PrimaLoft® Insulations, A Buyer's Guide
We are often asked questions about PrimaLoft® insulation and the key to the performance of our products. One question that comes up often is: “What are the differences between all of PrimaLoft®’s products?” What’s an outdoor enthusiast to do when one hangtag says a jacket is insulated with PrimaLoft® ONE, and then a sleeping bag is insulated with PrimaLoft® SYNERGY? Have to ever wondered of the difference between PrimaLoft® ONE and PrimaLoft® SPORT? Consider this blog post your “PrimaLoft® Buyer’s Guide,” as we help to differentiate between gear available at your local retailer.
In general - all PrimaLoft® insulations outperform all other competitive synthetic insulations because they trap heat better in both wet and dry conditions. All PrimaLoft® fibers are specially treated with a proprietary finish that prevents them from absorbing moisture and keeps the fibers very dry in wet conditions, which is the key to staying warm when wet. PrimaLoft® products also mimic the softness and compressibility of down versus competitive, sometimes “scratchy,” synthetic insulations because our fibers are physically smaller and therefore trap more of your body’s heat in small airspaces.
“WHAT DOES CLO VALUE MEAN?”
Clo is used by insulation companies as a standard measurement of warmth. Like most imperial measurements such as the yard, foot, or inch, the origins of a clo value are quite curious. At its origins, one "clo" represent the amount of insulation required to keep a man in a business suit comfortable in an indoor room at 70 degrees F. Not very specific, right?
In the modern world, one “clo” is the comfortable temperature of a clothed resting person in a room at 70 degrees F. The clo value is mathematically related to the R-value, so there is no longer an overarching generality for the measurement. All third-party clo data for PrimaLoft® insulation products are available on our website, and as an example, PrimaLoft® ONE has a dry clo of 0.92 clo/oz/sqyd and a wet clo of 0.90 clo/oz/sqyd – relative to one “clo,” those figures are very close to that of a clothed resting person in a temperature-controlled room.
PRIMALOFT® INSULATION DIFFERENCES
Short Staple Insulations-
What is a short staple insulation? A short staple insulation, sometimes called a cut staple, is comprised of short, often less than two inch, pieces of filaments that have been cut into short fibers. These are gently combed into an airy, low-density non-woven structure to create millions of small air pockets that naturally trap body heat. By nature, short-staple microfibers are very warm, lightweight, soft, flexible, and highly compressible.
Suggested Uses: Gloves and Any activity requiring warmth, especially in cold or wet conditions - Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Winter Camping, Snowsports, Snowmobiling, Ice Skating, Hunting, Ice Fishing, as examples.
PrimaLoft® ONE is our highest-performing product and the go-to choice for adventurers looking for the ultimate performance in extreme conditions. Wet or Dry, PrimaLoft® ONE is the highest performing synthetic insulation on the market for 25 years, and our heritage of third-party testing validates this claim. Those of you spending serious time in the worst cold and wet conditions possible – winter campers, mountaineers, and ice climbers – or those who just want the comfort of pinnacle performance and the benchmark of all performance synthetic insulations, should look for PrimaLoft® ONE and its gold-colored hangtag.
Suggested Uses: Anything requiring warmth, especially in cold and wet conditions - Snowsports, Climbing, Ultralight Backpacking, Cold-Weather Hunting, as examples.
PrimaLoft® SPORT is designed for those who prefer a loftier garment, but with performance in extreme conditions, ease of movement, and warmth without excess bulk. PrimaLoft® SPORT has superior performance, particularly in wet conditions, where the our proprietary finish ensures excellent performance and warmth. As a short staple, fine fiber insulation, PrimaLoft® SPORT is designed for down-like weight and compressibility. PrimaLoft® SPORT features enhanced durability over time for a short staple insulation to ensure its silky-soft feel is retained after compression.
Suggested Uses: Alpine Touring, Cross-Country Skiing, Fast-and-Light Hikes, Snowsports, Backpacking, Camping, as examples.
Consumers choose PrimaLoft® ECO because of its more environmentally-conscious nature as a performance insulation – it is comprised of 70% post-consumer recycled materials. Approximately 28 recycled water bottles are used in the make of each kilogram of PrimaLoft® ECO, which averages 6 bottles per garment used in construction. As part of the PrimaLoft® insulation family, PrimaLoft® ECO promises a balance of the excellent thermal performance that we are known for, in an earth friendly synthetic insulation.
PRIMALOFT® ECO FOOTWEAR
Suggested Uses: Mountaineering footwear, Snowsports footwear, Hunting footwear, and Hiking footwear, including all winter boots and shoes.
Unique to footwear insulations, PrimaLoft® ECO Footwear was designed for excellent compressional recovery, ensuring superior durability over time. While most insulations are thermally stabilized two-ways, meaning that the insulation is stabilized horizontally and vertically against compression, PrimaLoft® ECO Footwear’s three-way stabilization ensures higher thermal performance because of its superior ability to maintain loft. As a result, PrimaLoft® ECO Footwear is the go-to choice for the ultimate performance in footwear insulation, even in wet conditions.
Continuous Filament Insulations-
A continuous filament insulation’s structure is made up of long, continuous strands of fibers, known as filaments. Continuous filament insulations tend to have higher bulk and enhanced durability over time, though are not as compressible as short-staple insulations.
Suggested Uses: Camping, Climbing, Backpacking, Hiking, and Snowsports outerwear and sleeping bags, as examples.
PrimaLoft® SYNERGY is a performance insulation that is uniquely constructed with fine and ultra-fine continuous filament fibers, and is the best in class thermal properties of performance continuous filament insulations. Due to its multi-denier construction, PrimaLoft® SYNERGY is our loftiest product, ensuring enhanced comfort for sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and outerwear. Continuous filament fibers – long, continuous strands of fibers – are extremely durable by nature, so gear junkies should look to PrimaLoft® SYNERGY for a blend of performance, high-loft, and rugged durability in their outdoor gear.
Suggested Uses: Snowsports, High-Output Activities, Cold-Weather Running, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Hunting outerwear and sleeping bags, as examples.
PrimaLoft® INFINITY is also comprised of continuous filament fibers, with the key difference being that PrimaLoft® INFINITY’s fibers are single denier. This means that PrimaLoft® INFINITY’s continuous filament fibers – long, consistent strands making up the insulation’s structure - are all of the same thickness. PrimaLoft® INFINITY is a rugged product designed for extreme durability and compressional recovery, superior lightness for a continuous filament product, and thermal performance in dry and wet conditions.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
All products made with PrimaLoft® insulations offer warmer, drier, and softer synthetic protection in extreme conditions – PrimaLoft® has been the established leader in performance synthetic insulation for 25 years, with third party testing to back up our reputation. Clo values for each insulation product in both dry and wet conditions are published on our website and linked from this article.
At the end of the day, your choice of gear should really be based on end use, features, style and comfort. As long as the product you choose is insulated with PrimaLoft®, you can be assured of having the best performing synthetic insulation. The most technical outdoor brands use PrimaLoft® in their high-end product offerings based upon the product design, and the choice between PrimaLoft® products becomes tough when they all perform well. However, given the broad range of outdoor brands making excellent quality gear with PrimaLoft® insulation, now you are armed with extra knowledge and insight when you look for the PrimaLoft® hangtag.
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