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Puffiest ‘Puffy’ jacket of all time launched this week by Patagonia

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[leadin]Move over Michelin Man, a new puffy character is in town. The Encapsil Down Belay Parka from Patagonia has a heretofore unheard of 1,000-fill insulation rating to add significant warmth.[/leadin]

Puffiest ever built?

GearJunkie got the scoop on this obese down innovation, the first mainstream mountaineering parka to get a 1,000-fill insulation rating. (Translation: Super light, extra fluffy, extra warm.)

We collaborated with Outside magazine today to unveil a review of the Encapsil Down Belay Parka. Read the whole story here.

In short, the parka is a five-years-in-the-making project run by Patagonia’s head of R&D, Randy Harward. He was on a quest to build the “best down parka ever made” with the Encapsil.

The author in side profile, testing the parka in northern Minnesota

It took quite the effort, including creating new ways to make goose down more puffy and more fine. The company even acquired a major stake in a Texas “advanced materials” company, AeonClad Coatings, to get the lab machines needed to manipulate down on a molecular level.

Yep, mad science from good-vibes Patagonia. Indeed, radio waves, plasma chambers, and “shifted” molecular structures are involved. The result is finer plumes of goose down that are stronger, more insulating, as well as resistant to water.

We tested the parka under a non-disclosure agreement (top secret stuff!) over the winter, including in January on Minnesota’s icy North Shore. You can read all the results from the big test on the Outside article here. But, in brief, most of Patagonia’s claims came true when we pushed this parka to limits in the cold.

Climbing helmet nests under massive puffy hood

The Encapsil Down Belay Parka from Patagonia debuts this week for $699. Zip one on if you’re looking for the warmest winter wear this side of a high-altitude mountaineering suit.

—Stephen Regenold

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