Primaloft vs down

8:23 a.m. on December 15, 2008 (EST)
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153 forum posts

I'm thinking about getting a new winter coat that is more packable than what I currently have. I'm thinking about either getting a down coat or a Primaloft coat. I'd add a waterproof shell to the outside to keep dry and for protection when bushwhacking.

In the worst case scenario, would it be a bad idea for me to wear a down coat for a spring trip in Alaska (with waterproof shell) when I'm expecting temps to range from 35 and a 4 day downpour with no let up followed by 20's? If it’s a real wet foggy day, would condensation be an issue? I’ve always used synthetic coats and been able to stay dry with a waterproof shell, but condensation is my main concern with down.

10:43 a.m. on December 15, 2008 (EST)
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For those conditions, I would take one of my Primaloft jackets, or fleece or merino wool. Those are pretty mild conditions, so you could use a fairly light jacket. Primaloft and fleece, being synthetics, will, on the one hand, not hold much water, and on the other, retain some warmth even when wet. The merino wool will retain some warmth, though it will hold more water and is a bit longer to dry out. Condensation is somewhat of a problem, but make no mistake - even with a waterproof shell (well, especially with a waterproof shell) you will get wet from condensation plus in a 4-day downpour, you will get some water through the waterproof barrier, thanks to unzipping to cool down, taking it on and off, etc. The shell will make a big difference, too. As many of us have noted here on Trailspace, Goretex doesn't breathe very well (even the newest versions). Event is much better, but still, when you are exercising hard (hiking, carrying the pack,...), you will sweat a lot. And in a 4-day downpour, you will need rain pants, as well - again, the breathability problem.

Bushwacking has other problems, as kutenay will tell you. That adds to the "stay dry" problems in a 4-day downpour. Synthetics don't really stand up as well to brushing against the brush as a good, tight wool.

3:29 p.m. on January 1, 2009 (EST)
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Thanks, I figured that down probably wasn't the way to go.

May 23, 2018
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