Decoding Insulation Terms

As outdoor gear becomes more and more advanced, it is also increasingly difficult to understand all the technical terms describing its properties. As a conscious customer wanting to choose the most appropriate equipment, you can spend hours and hours browsing the web, trying to untangle the technicalities before being ready to make a purchase.

At Climashield, we want to ensure that our customers have the best possible understanding of our products, and insulation in general, so they can make a well-informed choice. Below you can find explanations of a few buzzwords often heard when talking about insulation.

Warmth-to-Weight Ratio
To arrive at the exact warmth-to-weight ratio value, thermal resistance (expressed in togs) gets divided by an item’s weight (in kilograms). Put simply, a smaller, lighter amount of high quality filling is enough to make a jacket as warm as one made with a larger amount of poor quality filling.

The higher the number, the loftier the filling; high loft materials trap more air resulting in a better insulating effect. When it comes to warmth-to-weight ratio, natural down is unsurpassed, but its properties are drastically reduced in wet conditions. Synthetic materials are much more effective in this respect and able to offer reliable insulation even when wet.

Clo is a precise insulation rating used by some outdoor gear manufacturers. 0 Clo is equivalent to zero insulation from clothing, or a naked body. The Clo value of 1 equals the amount of clothing that keeps an inactive person comfortable in the temperature of 21℃ (70℉) with slight breeze of 0.1 m/s and humidity below 50 percent. Clo values of particular items of clothing add up, so if a long sleeve shirt and a pair of leggings keep a person warm, they each have a Clo value of 0.5.  

The textile industry uses a more advanced rating of ‘Intrinsic Clo’, which describes the insulatory value of fabrics in Clo/Oz/Y2 (or Clo/Gr/M2). Our most thermally efficient product, Climashield APEX, boasts a Clo value of 0.82.

Continuous filament vs staple fibre
Staple fibers are composed of many short pieces spun together form a yarn. Continuous filament fibres are longer and typically run throughout the whole length of a given material.

Staple fibre insulation is usually soft and similar in properties to down but continuous filament fabrics are much more durable. The latter do not separate or pull apart, even if worn or washed many times. Continuous filament insulation is also very flexible and retains its shape and properties after a prolonged period of compression and storage. In addition, it doesn’t require quilting which leaves outdoor gear designers with greater freedom to innovate functional and lightweight products.

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