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Is Primaloft a Good Insulator?

PrimaLoft® is a brand of patented synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material that was originally developed to serve the needs of the U.S. Army, who desired a water resistant, synthetic alternative to goose down in.  PrimaLoft, Inc. is recognized globally as the proven leader and constant pioneer of innovative comfort solutions.

Wool has been relied upon for years for cold, wet weather due to its ability to insulate when wet. Down has been relied upon for cold dry areas but becomes a liability when wet. Apparently the design goal of PrimaLoft was to produce a fabric providing down-like insulation effectiveness even when wet. 3m's Thinsulate is another synthetic material with similar insulation capabilities.

The original patent filed for PrimaLoft insulation, known as "Synthetic Down" and filed in May 1986, describes a particular mix of synthetic microfibers and macrofibers that compares favorably to down. It was proven to provide an equally efficient thermal barrier, be of equivalent density, possess similar compressional properties, have improved wetting and drying characteristics, and have superior loft retention when wet. The latter point illustrates PrimaLoft's primary advantage over down. Unlike down, PrimaLoft is able to retain 96% of its insulating capability when wet by maintaining its loft, and therefore is used in clothing and equipment intended to be used in cold, wet conditions, such as jackets, parkas, gloves, sleeping bags and footwear.

The intrinsic warmth of a jacket is highly correlated to both the type of PrimaLoft branded insulation used in the construction of the jacket, and the thickness of that insulation. A greater thickness of insulation will ensure greater airspace in which the insulation is able to trap body heat. Activity levels and warmth value of garments insulated with PrimaLoft products is largely dependent on the wearer and the garment’s intended end use.

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