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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Patagonia DAS for 2013/2014

It was brought to my attention this morning (1/3/13) that the new DAS pictured and described here is available now from Patagonia mail order.
 
As anyone who reads the blog likely knows I have not been a big fan of the DAS.  That said knowing full well it is likely the most widely used belay parka made.  Helps that it was the first belay specific parka styled after Mark Twight's writing in EXTREME ALPINISM to be marketed.    A "new" insulated puffy pant that is better fitting and designed for climbers will be welcome by anyone using them for that purpose.
 
Good as the DAS was in the past and is likely to be in the newest generation, shown here, there are always things to improve upon in a very competitive field.
 
The info highlighted below came from an unknown reader of the blog four days after the original post was made and is a must read. (the entire comment is below)   I have missed the boat before and it will likely happen again.  Nice to have a little help once in a while.  I done a bit of editing here as well from the original piece.  I may not agree with everything in quotes here ( and I bet Acrteryx doesn't either if the Duelly is an example)  but I don't have the technical background to dispute any of it either.  Great info either way and I do appreciate the input.   Easy enough to check out the differences in varying Primaloft insulations and how warm they are for the weight.  What they cost is a totally different story and a little harder to get a hand on. 
 
"Synergy is a continuous filament insulation, which is fundamentally different from PL1 and every other short staple polyester fill. For starters, it's bulkier, which at first blush would seem to be a negative attribute, but for a garment like the DAS, which requires a boat-ton of polyester fill, a bulkier insulation has some advantages. For one, it breathes better—there's more space between the polyester fibers—and insulation that breathes better is going to retain less moisture, thereby staying lighter throughout the day. Also, an insulation that breathes better is going to dry your action-suit out quicker because the climate within your layers will be less humid. Lastly, and least importantly, a continuous filament insulation is going to be more durable, which is certainly not a bad quality to have in a garment that's intended to go in and out of your pack all day.

One idea that Twight makes clear in his book is that in order for your system to continue to push moisture all the way into the air, your insulation must get more breathable the farther away it is from your skin. This explains why Patagonia has chosen PL1 for their Nano line, PL Sport for the Micro line, and Synergy for the DAS. Each insulation is loftier than the next, make sense? It's also why Patagonia includes a thin layer of PL1 on the inside of the DAS—it's the layer that's closest to your skin and the one that will come in contact with the most moisture. "

Some of the Patagonia sales pitch below from another source and the technical details.   Be sure to read the info posted previous on Primaloft insulation to put the newest combo into perspective.  Only 60g Primaloft 1 in this version  and a 120g of  Primaloft, "Synergy".
 
"They're updating their DAS and also releasing DAS pants. I know
you're not a big fan of the DAS, but supposedly the fit is completely being overhauled and is not quite as baggy. Also, it's being updated to use only 60g of PL1 and 120g of PL Sinergy, which has a much lower CLO value. Overall, sounds like it's getting slightly lighter but also slightly less warm. My math says that 120g of Sinergy is the same as 95g of PL1 (CLO .73 vs PL1 CLO of .92), making the new DAS have only the equivalent of 155g of PL1 in the torso and 95g in the arms (current DAS has 170g in torso and 133g in the arms). DAS pants have 100g of PL1."
 
"For full-on alpine conditions, the DAS Parka is our warmest insulated
jacket made with high-loft 120-g PrimaLoft® Synergy insulation throughout, added PrimaLoft® One insulation in core areas, and a lightweight, PU-coated nylon ripstop shell that is durable, highly water-resistant and windproof. FABRIC: 1.2-oz 20-denier 100% nylon PU-coated ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. Insulation: 120-g PrimaLoft Sinergy 100% polyester; torso additional layer: 60-g PrimaLoft One 100% polyester"

27 comments:

Julian said...

What is with the atrocious fit/styling on so many of Patagonia's insulated jackets? Nothing comparable from Arc'teryx, Outdoor Research, or Mammut makes me feel like I'm wearing a garbage bag.

Kevin said...

Primaloft says Synergy has higher loft and better durability, but not as compressible (nor obviously as warm).

I wonder what the design team at Patagonia has been thinking with all these changes to the DAS. Updated for 2012, again for 2013. Make it warm or make it light - I think the current (2012) insulation is good, but the fit is uninspiring. Give us the 2012 insulation and 2013 cut and exterior fabric! Maybe we're asking too much for a $300 piece?

DAS pants might be a winner and worthy successor to the Puffballs! Lots of insulated pants have disappeared or gone with lesser insulation - FA might be the only premium pair left on the market. Too bad we won't see an Atom SV pant.

Dane said...

Only two reasons in my mind to use anything but Primaloft 1 in a climbing garment. First is price point. The other Primaloft insulations can be 20% or MORE cheaper for th manufacture. The 2nd is ecology. Certainly a big one for Patagonia and Chouinard.

But what we are trying to duplicate here is down...and the best any of the synthetics (Primaloft 1 being the best currently) is 500 / 550 fill down. Down quality that low I would never, ever buy intentionally. 750 fill down is my minimum from hard earned experience.

Most aren't aware of the differences on Primaloft. And frankly I think we get taken advantage of as consumers because of it.

$300 retail? I'd bet these jackets cost somewhere around $40 or $50 delivered to the Patagonia warehouse. My guess the reason for cheaper insulation (by any maker) is price point.

Kevin said...

My point is Patagonia might be doing what they can to keep the DAS @ $300 retail. The Nano Puff is $250 with just 60g of Primaloft 1 insulation, so either the Nano is way overpriced or the DAS needs compromises.

Looking at the post again, I saw the new DAS will be PU coated. Might mean H2No, which will give us some warmth (e.g. the EB Microtherm jacket). I still don't like the idea of making belay jackets waterproof (and is why I don't like WT's parka), or even with something like Windstopper but these garments are getting more popular.

Dane said...

Eddie Bauer's Igniter is 100g Primaloft 1 and light years more jacket that any of the the Nanos. Retail on the ignitor is $200. On sale generlaly at 1/2 that. I don't think Patagonia has anyone in mind but their profit margins.

Look around, there is a lot of Primaloft 1 in the market place at better prices and better patterns IMO.

Kevin said...

Generally, I agree with you. I don't see many Primaloft One pants on the market today, to clarify my earlier comment. Maybe we'll see a flood of "waterproof" down pants come spring.

Wyatt said...

What is the best way to use Primaloft pants with a harness? Do the "climbing specific" features allow you to quickly pull on puffy pants at a belay? I imagine either a daiper type flap or a giant fly would be ways that would work over a harness.

Dane said...

Good ones have side and crotch zips. Pull them on over the harness and zip everything up. The rest you'll easily figure out.

Gear:30 said...

My 2 cents:
I haven't been impressed with the DAS for a long time. I know it's already been said, but the fit is horrible and the jacket is heavy for the warmth. Patagonia has the know how and money to make a killer belay jacket, but it seems that they're cutting corners to make a buck. And it will probably work. I know many people that are loyal to Patagonia, no matter how crappy the piece. Not that this piece will be crappy, just not as good as it could be. (I probably sound like a Patagonia hater, but I do like a few of their pieces) Rab makes the Generator Alpine with 100g Primaloft one. Brooks Range makes the Cirro Extreme with 120g of Primaloft One. I like the Rab cut a little better than BR, but as a belay jacket, the Cirro Extreme works well. The BR has higher warmth-to-weight ratio, the Rab has better weather resistance. I think both of these jackets are a better option than the DAS. I know they're not as warm, but their warmth-to-weight ratio is higher than the DAS because they don't skimp on the quality of their insulation. Add a lighter primaloft layer (40-60g) under either of these options and you have at least as warm and more versatile alternative to the DAS. Better yet, sell the house so you can afford an Arc Dually.

Gear:30 said...

On another note, Sportiva has a new Primaloft pant for next year that looks promising. 60g primaloft, full side zips, zippered fly, Superfabric scuff guards, softshell material around lower leg/boot for less bulk. Could be promising.

Kevin said...

More data to chew on from the backpacking light forums:

"I got to spend some time withe folks at Patagonia (Golly, were they nice!) who showed me some of their Spring 2013 Men's alpine line…

Das Parka: The Das Parka is being updated with 120 Gs of PL Synergy (which is supposedly the top tier PL insulation, warmer than PL one) throughout but with an additional 60Gs of PL one on the chest, hood and parts of the arms- making it SUPER warm.

Better fit, (somewhat slimmer, it seems), dual zips, same pocket set up, and a hood that is similar to the Down Hoody. Also the exterior fabric seems new, a lot like the Ultralight Down shirt. Weights ~22-24ozs." Info from Bobak Sakaki @ http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=66531

Dane said...

Too bad that comment is just flatly untrue on the insulation comment. PL Synergy is not TOP TIER by any means. But infact less than 75% of PL1 in PL own tests. Which Patagonia clearly knows.

Primaloft One 0.92 dry / .90 wet, clo/oz

Primaloft Sport 0.79 dry /.72 wet, clo/oz

Synergy .73 dry / .61 wet, clo/oz

ECO .68 dry/ .60 wet, clo/oz

Dersu said...

When is the new Arcteryx Dually coming out?

Dane said...

Duelly? Fall of 2013 last I heard.

Josh Ormsby said...

Have you looked at the Wild Things Belay Jacket? Any comments about their new gear?

Dane said...

Hi Josh, I have not seen any of the newest gear from WTs other than at the OR shows. I am more impressed with features and fit however than I am with colors. They aren't WTs as I knew them bitd. Not that its a bad thing. And shouldn't be a surprise. But one could hope. Just different and trying to get back into the retail outdoor clothing business. Called WT this morning to see if I could change anything on the custom clothing, and the answer was "no".

I've asked WTs times if they would like to be a part of CT and have their gear reviewed. But no interest to date.

Interesting and insightful conversation here I think:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/wild-things/107917194

Babak Sakaki said...

Dane,

I was told that information about PL Synergy by a product line manager for Patagonia this past summer at the OR show.

She told myself and two folks from a chain of stores in the Midwest (which name I have forgotten).

I didnt mean to spread "misinformation". The new DAS has cleaner lines, better cut and what seems to be a more durable outer fabric.

Dane said...

Babak, no worries. We can only repeat what we read or are told and trust the source.

"got to spend some time withe folks at Patagonia"

The folks from Patagonia however should know better. If they don't know better someone ought to straighten that message out with no spin added. Hard to believe Yvon would be pleased with the wrong message. I might understand the change either for the ecology or the price point or even todrop weight. I just don't want to hear how warm Sinergy is compared to PL1. Unless they want to quote the correct numbers directly from Primaloft.

I don't doubt that is the Patagonia party line at the moment as the local Patagonia store's sales staff repeated it to me yesterday as well. But it is bad info and incorrect according to Primaloft.

Unknown said...

Dane,

I think you might be missing some of the design goals of the new DAS. You've been analyzing these tools long enough to know there's more to understanding the performance of a garment than reading specs from a clo chart. Allow me to offer an alternate perspective.

Synergy is a continuous filament insulation, which is fundamentally different from PL1 and every other short staple polyester fill. For starters, it's bulkier, which at first blush would seem to be a negative attribute, but for a garment like the DAS, which requires a boat-ton of polyester fill, a bulkier insulation has some advantages. For one, it breathes better—there's more space between the polyester fibers—and insulation that breathes better is going to retain less moisture, thereby staying lighter throughout the day. Also, an insulation that breathes better is going to dry your action-suit out quicker because the climate within your layers will be less humid. Lastly, and least importantly, a continuous filament insulation is going to be more durable, which is certainly not a bad quality to have in a garment that's intended to go in and out of your pack all day.

One idea that Twight makes clear in his book is that in order for your system to continue to push moisture all the way into the air, your insulation must get more breathable the farther away it is from your skin. This explains why Patagonia has chosen PL1 for their Nano line, PL Sport for the Micro line, and Synergy for the DAS. Each insulation is loftier than the next, make sense? It's also why Patagonia includes a thin layer of PL1 on the inside of the DAS—it's the layer that's closest to your skin and the one that will come in contact with the most moisture.

Though this is my first time posting on your blog, I've been a long time reader. Thanks for all the work you do.

Dane said...

Much apprecited, and thank you. Saves me from having to call Patagonia this week and see if anyone would actually talk to me. Your explanation makes perfect sense. And I like the thoughtful technology and design that you have pointed out going into the newest DAS.

I suspect you might know the answer to this...and it is obvious that I have to ask.

Then price point had nothing to do with the insulation change? The change would seem by your comment as purely a performance increase?

Or were both issues involved in the fill material change?

Dane said...

My other question would be, how breathable are the shell fabrics? Doesn't sound too promising to me...but I'd like to learn what I can. "PU-coating: Very commonly used as a waterproof coating for a wide variety of weights of nylon. Not as hardwearing as neoprene, but can be applied to lighter fabric."

Doesn't jive well with the Patagonia spec sheet and your comments. What am I missing?


New DAS spec:
"PU-coated nylon ripstop shell that is durable, highly water-resistant and windproof. FABRIC: 1.2-oz 20-denier 100% nylon PU-coated ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish."

Justin B. said...

Honestly, Dane, my guess would be that (you're right) Patagonia changed the fill in the Micro line in order to offer a lower price-point product to consumers. On the flip side, I think the changes to the DAS were made in order to increase performance.

I mean, the new Micro line is cheaper than the previous one. The line-up actually dropped in price. No way Patagonia would do that unless they thought they were offering less. They're not a computer company, after all.

The money they're saving on the DAS through the lower cost fill, however, is likely offset by having to pay for the added labor needed to assemble a significantly more complex garment. The DAS has so many different fill weights and types, after all. It can't be cheap.

Of course this is all conjecture.

Justin B. said...

PU coatings can be surprisingly breathable, Dane, even air permeable. Take, for example, the shell fabric Arcteryx uses in their Atom line.

From the Arc website:
Luminara™—Stretch nylon ripstop fabric with wind and water resistant, air permeable PU coating and DWR finish. A super lightweight and breathable stretch fabric with great water repellency and wind resistance.

As you know, the Atom PU coated nylon is fantastically breathable. My guess is that Patagonia is using something similar in the new DAS.

Edvin MellergÄrd said...

Pretty much all the "waterresistant" fabrics out there use a thin layer of PU, the problem with PU is that it doesn't breath very well in relation to how well it blocks water. For exampel Pertex Endurance got a watercolumn of 1000mm but the breathability is only 7000g/m2/24h. Compared to a ePTFE membrane such as Gore-tex, or eVent that's really bad but as long as the thickness is kept down it *should* breath well but it will also just be waterresistant. Not waterproof, but then that's not really needed for a belayjacket.

So as long as Patagonia does their homework, as I'm sure they'll do, the PU-coating shouldn't be any problem just as Justin B said.

Steve Duby said...

Who knew this would morph from a synthetic insulation research project to an analysis of marketing and operations management? Great discussion overall.

As the owner of a DAS parka (fall '09 model in all likelihood) I must completely agree with the garbage bag fit...however I've noticed this can be taken advantage of on expeditions by stuffing those interior mesh pockets with anything and everything you need to keep warm or dry out. Moisture seems to transfer through it pretty quick. The comments on clo and loft make sense for this version of the DAS, because you do warm up fast.

Here's another perspective on the fit: unzipped from the bottom while belaying, the more "relaxed" fit can more easily cover your harness and gear and extend down to fulfill it's "parka" status. I sized up on mine (Large when I fit medium) so that exacerbates the looseness.

I'm intrigued by the new DAS, but not sold. Having used Wiggy's sleeping bags in the past I'm well aware of the advantages of continuous filament fiber, but bulk can become an issue. Perhaps it's as the unknown respondent stated, and it boils down to a compromise of less compressibility and clo in exchange for more loft & breathability.

My main focus would be the weight...and it's one of my sour points with Patagonia as the DAS is listed at one weight on their web site and other online retailers list something significantly different:

Company web site: 27.9 oz
Moosejaw: 23.6 oz
Backcountry: 25.99 oz

There are some retailers that list the company's quote, but still this makes it difficult to determine who is trustworthy. I would think that, since the highest weight total comes from Patagonia themselves, that this is probably the most accurate...but ultimately, I think one has to throw any garment on their own scale to ascertain the true weight. This is a big marketing point in this industry, and to me it behooves a company to make sure garment weights are not only accurately determined on their end, but consistently advertised by all retailers that carry their products.

I also find it amusing when you call certain companies directly to determine the fill weights of various sizes of jackets, and despite differences in total mass of the insulation (not density) you somehow magically are given the same quote for the total weight in two different sizes. Is it so hard to just publicly list each garment's weight by size?

Anonymous said...

Dane - great blog. Been reading for a while now. Anyway, DAS parka. Glad to see that the pattern is less 'stitch through' on the 2013. This has been a crucial issue for cold spots for me in the past, and meant that I have preferred a ME Citadel or old Wildthings Belay when things have been b*****k freezing in Scotland and Norway. This really has put me off the DAS in the past. I really think the difference is noticeable in similar insulation specced garments. Also faster water ingress into inner layers with the 'stitch through' DAS. God, I'm sounding like a nerd...

Anonymous said...

they are using PU coated nylon because it's hell cheap compared to real windproof high-quality fabric like Pertex Microlite/quantum/classic. They take wery cheap nylon, spray it with PU and voila! the only problem is customer. PU coating is not durable and your garment will become less windproof the more you use it. And it doesn't breathe that well from the beginning.