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I received an online publication catering to the outdoor industry. The most recent issue had a story about Mountain Hardwear (MH) celebrating their 20th anniversary. While reading it I found out that they have a new super duper synthetic insulating material they are calling Thermal Q. Elite. I was intrigued, so I went to the MH web site. Low and behold I had the opportunity to listen to (as anyone else can) an individual who knows what polyester batting looks like but that is where it ends. This fellow Robert Fry explains that the fiber structure is comprised of two different thicknesses of fiber, equating it to down which has the quill and clusters attached to it. Big deal. They or their supplier is blending two different fibers of different weights — which have been done for 50 years. Only this fellow Fry is, to use a political term, putting a spin on the presentation that sounds good to the uneducated in the field of fiberfill, which I expect that they are counting on.

This fellow Fry also states that this fiberfill product is 20 percent warmer than the other synthetic insulation used in the outdoor industry. The garments shown with this fiberfill as insulation are all quilted. This fellow Fry obviously does not know that each and every quilt stitch is a cold spot. This fellow Fry is also one of those who is uneducated in the field of fiberfill and does not know of what he speaks or is simply lying.

Considering that MH is a division of Columbia Sportswear and they promote garments and sleeping bags with erroneous information this does not surprise me.

Anyone buying one of these garments who thinks that they will be particularly warm is in for a surprise. BUYER BEWARE!!!

I just read that Patagonia has set up a program that took 6 years to develop where they will be tracking what they call the 'traceability' of the down they use in their garments for the 2014 winter season. They will be tracing it from the “egg” till the bird is killed or just plucked, I guess.
Telling the world about this program, I assume, is their way to get people to buy the garments. If the garment does not keep you warm, maybe they can go back to the bird and complain; that is, if the bird is still alive. They did not say if the down would be treated with the water repellent treatment I read about a few months ago. Or maybe that is no longer happening.

Continuous filament fiber started as Polar Guard and is now Climashield or Lamilite and since its inception in 1968 it has proven time and time again to outperform every natural or man-made material whose use is to insulate. The Polar Guard is not available, but Climashield and Lamilite are available for the industry to buy and use if they chose. However, I was once in a meeting with the Columbia folks and they were very matter of fact with me that they would not use any materials that were not made in Asia; i.e. China.

So much for them ever saying “Made in America.”

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