Patagonia Inc., the outdoor apparel company, announces the launch of its Encapsil™ Down Belay Parka. Available in special edition quantities with numbered labels inside each parka, the Encapsil™ Down Belay Parka is an extraordinary work of design and engineering. A first of its kind, this parka is 100% independently baffled and differentially cut without a single shortcut or “cheat” where a seam has been sewn through, resulting in a cold spot. Weighing 18 ounces (510 grams) and insulated with Patagonia’s proprietary, plasma-treated, water-repellent Encapsil™ 1000-fill-power down, the belay parka is unparalleled in warmth for its weight, designed for alpinists to take into the burliest of conditions.
“Patagonia has insisted on taking an intensive scientific and holistic approach to do more, but with less environmental harm,” notes Randy Harward, vice president of advanced research & development at Patagonia, “Even with these stringent guidelines, we’ve developed the highest-performing down technology available anywhere. This has been a five-year R&D project in the making, and we are eager to integrate this technology into future styles beyond the Belay Parka.”
Water-repellent down garments are now available from several manufacturers. Patagonia, however, has taken a unique approach – one that not only produces water-repellent down, but delivers a significant advantage no one else can provide: unprecedented, 1000-fill-power. Encapsil™ patented technology uses safe, bluesign® certified, silicone-based chemistry that is free of fluorocarbons. Patagonia’s down is sent through a proprietary machine and agitated with low-level radio frequency waves until the surface of the down’s molecular structure begins to shift. A tiny amount of siloxane is then deposited onto each plumule of down, adhering to its changed molecular structure in a virtually permanent way. The result is down that is hydrophobic, stronger and loftier by 25%.
“This is the most challenging design project I have ever worked on,” notes Casey Shaw, advanced product engineer at Patagonia, “To design this parka, we had to develop new construction techniques that would allow us to maintain perfectly baffled chambers, while insuring low bulk and realistic production capability for the factory. Given the complexity of this parka’s design, our team had to fly to the factory to guide them through the intricate construction and assembly techniques to ensure the correct execution of the design.”
Patagonia offers its most thoughtful design in the Encapsil™ Down Belay Parka, with no detail spared. Shell fabric is an ultralight 10-denier Pertex® Endurance nylon ripstop with a polyurethane dry coat, providing excellent water repellency. The hood is baffled and helmet-compatible, with a single drawcord that provides a small draft collar of down around the face, creating a microclimate to help prevent frostbite on exposed skin. Variegated baffles across the parka are smaller in high-compression areas to help keep down from shifting, and a double-baffle wind flap behind the zipper completely seals out cold and wind. No moisture-holding materials are used anywhere in this parka. Exterior hand pockets are independently insulated to retain warmth even when open, and the high positioning keeps them away from the harness line. A unique pull-system at the hem allows for adjustment of the drawcord from inside or out, eliminating harness entanglement, and a mini-snowskirt keeps out wind and snow from below without compressing the down in the lowest chamber.
“Not only is this parka functional, it is also beautiful,” notes Lee Turlington, vice president of global product at Patagonia, “If you are going to make the best possible product, it needs to be perfectly tailored and clean-finished. It is incredibly hard to clean-finish a garment like this – it turns a technically superior belay parka into a work of art.”
The Encapsil™ Down Belay Parka will be available in special-edition, limited quantities, and will be for sale at www.patagonia.com, and in the Patagonia Chamonix retail store.
Encapsil Down Belay Parka, $699
More Info: www.patagonia.com