The invention of Polartec® Alpha® insulation in the aughts created new possibilities for apparel companies designing outdoor active gear. Because Polartec® Alpha® is breathable, quick-drying, and doesn’t require baffling, it’s the perfect material for cold weather active pursuits. For even more streamlined active insulation, there’s Polartec® Alpha® Direct, a fuzzy version of the fabric that eliminates the need for a next-to-skin liner fabric.
The picks below show Alpha®’s range in application. From winter mountain biking to alpine skiing to the urban commute, there’s no wrong time to wear Polartec® Alpha®.
This body-mapped jacket by Korean brand Black Yak uses three different kinds of insulation to perfectly balance heat retention against bulk. Breathable Polartec® Alpha® is used on the back panel, eliminating the chance of a sweaty back while wearing a backpack in the mountains.
Outdoor Research identified Polartec® Alpha® Direct as the perfect fabric for their Ascendant Collection, which includes eight pieces for outdoor adventures. A three season jacket, the Ascendant Hoody is lightweight yet provides ample warmth for cold weather. The amped up breathability of Alpha® Direct makes this jacket perfect for skinning uphill, layering at the resort, or winter hiking.
For runners who don’t want to spend their winter on the treadmill, the Oiselle Flyout Vest is a must-have piece. Polartec® Alpha® makes up the full length of the vest’s front panel, keeping the wearer comfortable from the first chilly mile to the last.
Strafe Outerwear’s Alpha Mid Jacket is the perfect layering piece for long days on the slopes. You’ll be comfortable whipping downhill with this under a shell or on its own in the bar for that end-of-the-day beer. 60 gram Polartec® Alpha® gives this jacket substance without bulk.
Rapha has used Polartec® Alpha® in their Brevet Insulated Vest and Jacket, designed for long distance riding, for a few seasons. For 2017, they incorporated Polartec® Alpha® Direct into a new line of insulated racewear. The close-fitting pieces, including the Souplesse gilet and jacket for women, the Pro gilet and jacket for men, mean low temperatures are no excuse to get out and ride. Outside Magazine called it, “The nicest item of road-bike clothing you’ll ever buy.”
Fox Racing’s goal is similar to Rapha’s: to get you outside on the bike with it’s cold. 90 gram Polartec® Alpha® Direct lines the inside of this shell, working harder as you pedal harder. In addition to lightweight warmth, this jacket also boosts Cordura™ panels for abrasion resistance and a DWR coating to shed precipitation.
Urban dwellers can also benefit from Polartec® Alpha®’s active warmth. The sleek silhouette of this Lululemon bomber jacket is made possible by Alpha®, which is sewn between a liner and the wind- and water-resistant outer layer. Ready for your commute or post-work run, this jacket works hard and plays hard.
Designed specifically for ski touring, Millet combines Polartec® Alpha® insulation with stretchy Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro™ for a jacket that moves with you. You’ll get full range of movement while staying comfortable uphill and down. When you get to the top, stash your skins in the two large front pockets.
This Norrona hoodie goes big with Polartec® Alpha® Direct. 120 gram weight means you get a substantial garment that’s perfect for alpine activities. Paired with Polartec® Power Grid® in the side panels and arms gives the jacket structure, a touch of stretch, and enhanced wicking. The hood keeps your head warm while minimizing any sweat accumulation. This is a high performance piece you want in your kit.