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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Outdoor Research's Diode Hooded Jacket...high tech insulation.

If you have been reading CT recently you'll have noted my comments on the newest label from of which is "Gold".  Seemingly... a simple re-label, but I wouldn't bet on it yet,  of the old "gold standard" for synthetic insulation, Primaloft One.

One might have wondered it the past post why I or anyone would actually care.

This is why I took the time to look up the new "Gold".

The new Diode jacket from Outdoor Research.

To really understand the Diode it pays to look here:

The original Narrona Lyngen and the newest OR Diode have much in common.   The basic idea behind both jackets was a home run with the Lyngen and should be again with the Diode.  The Diode might well be an even bigger hit.

Enough so that I went straight out and bought myself a Diode to see if my thinking was correct and if so to write about a nicely designed jacket.

So what is the deal?

OK, lets start with  a 60g PrimaLoft insulation layer.  Just about every current  climb jacket/sweater I use has a 60gram layer of PrimaLoft One or something similar...Arcteryx or Mont Bell's proprietary synthetic insulations come to mind.  Bottom line there?  The best of the best for my own use are a synthetic 60 gram insulation layer of one sort or another.

Some use a combination of materials, and insulation thickness of 40/60/80 or 100gram insulation thickness, add some body mapping and design the garment for a specific use.  There are LOTS of niche/specific uses!

The idea is to give the end user the warmest most breathable garment, with the greatest protection from a harsh environment over a wide range of conditions and the have the lightest weight garment.  That is a long sentence and quite the mouth full.  And an almost impossible design task.  A few garments push the envelope every year.  The Lyngen did.  As has another stand out, the Arcteryx Atom LT, on the light weight end of the insulation spectrum.

Mixing a synthetic insulation that works well when wet with a down insulation that isn't, is a risky endeavor.  In the case of the Diode OR used a DWR-treated down and PrimaLoft Gold insulation with a  spilt of  70% DWR-treated down and 30% PrimaLof Gold.

The down surrounds  the core of the body.  The Primaloft goes in places where it is most likely going to get wet from the environment or from your own sweat.   The areas with PrimaLoft on the Diode are hood, lower hem, cuffs and the top side of arms and shoulders.  Good call on OR's part I think.

This jacket is cut long.  Nice in a climbing jacket,   On the other end it is also cut small and TIGHTSizes in the Diode typically run really tight.  I can't wear a Large in this one and a XL is none too roomy.  I can normally wear a large and a typical XL from most of the better makers will hang on me a little.  Be sure to try this jacket on before buying or have a good return policy available to you.

I've been using a couple of garments that are 100% down that is also DWR treated.  So far so good with them.  But none have yet been out climbing in the typical swelter then freeze cycle of ice climbing.  I'll let you know the first time (when or if) I soak the down in this one and then have to suffer through the result of that.

Good inside net pockets for gloves.  Good hand warmer pockets on the out side.   Good inner and outer chest pockets for a camera or other trivia.  And a net key pocket inside the outer chest pocket.  Double slider on the main zipper to clear your harness on the bottom hem.

More high tech?  Pertex® water resistant outer shells on the Diode jacket.

Pertex® Endurance 30D in the hood, shoulders, and upper sleeves.

Pertex® Quantum, 100% nylon 22D in the jacket body.

More here on similar jackets and how I have used them:


Anonymous said...

With US shipping and the current exchange rate it's currently about $196 USD delivered to the US. Similar design to Montbell Mirage but with 9.2 ounces of 850 down instead of 5.3 ounces of 900. 17.3 ounce spec weight for a medium. Mirage has more features and a nicer zipper. If spec weight comes in close to reality, it could be best fill weight to total weight available from a mainstream supplier.

Dane said...

thanks Brian. Love my Mirage but always thought it under filled. MEC version looks like a good (better?) alternative in every way.

Anonymous said...

I did a quick comparison of the women's version to a Mirage here. I tried to show the difference in fill density.

Dane said...

As you mention Brian fill isn't the end all...critical detailing seem to be REALLY lacking on the MEC version. Too bad because on the face of it, the MEC version looks to be a great bargain. After reading the MEC reviews I'd suspect there is a reason they are on sale.