I haven't paid attention to synthetic insulation technology for around 7 years. Back then, synthetic jackets never(?) had baffles - baffles weren't needed to keep the insulation in place.
Now I'm looking at the market and I'm confused (or baffled...). Most synthetic insulating jackets appear to have a baffled or stitched-through construction.
Has there been some big change/leap in technology that I'm unaware of?
And further to this, if there has been a big leap forwards, would the following statements still be true?
My understanding is that "baffled" means the insulation is contained within box sections rather than trapped in a quilted construction, meaning there are no thin points where there is stitching.
Not sure about weights, efficiency or longevity. That's as big a can of worms as different bicycle frame materials.
Some now have synthetic lofting "down" type insulation. So needs the baffles to hold that in.
Fashion - people like the look of the microbaffle - makes you look outdoorsy when sitting in the pub garden or pottering around town.
I've got several synthetic jackets, still current models from at least 4 manufacturers and none of them have baffles. If by baffles you mean discrete sections for filling rather than big sheets of it.
Typing that out makes me realise I may have a problem.
This is incorrect.
A baffle is any stitching construction to stop insulation moving about.
Box wall baffles, as you describe, are superior, but considerably more expensive and now quite rare.
In reply to the OP:
All three statements are still correct.
The main development in the last few years is that much down is now treated be hydrophobic- thus reducing down's main weakness of wetting easily, drying slowly and losing insulation whilst wet.
I'm actually amazed that down has not yet been surpassed!
As others have said in some case I'm sure its fashion, but for most serious outdoorsy gear you get baffles with artificial down that is loose so needs to be held in place. I reviewed a Marmot take on this fad a few winters ago: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/synthetic_insulation/marmot_featherless_hoody-10010
But if you compare it to the Arcteryx Proton that I helped Theo review back in the winter: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/synthetic_insulation/arc'teryx_proton_lt_hoody-12521 you'll see no baffles. I haven't worked it out but it might be the insulation in it is actually knitted like Polartec Alpha which comes in big sheets. I think some synthetic insulation does need some sort of baffles though. My DAS Parka which is going towards being 20 years old has wide channel baffles and the ME Citadel I reviewed 8 years ago has visible baffles on the inside: https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/clothing/synthetic_insulation/mountain_equipment_citadel_jacket-4444
Fashion and low construction cost.
Sewn through construction can be used if the synthetic insulation is physically very robust, for instance, lacking a scrim to bind the fibres in place. Sewing through prevents the wadding slumping, or being torn.
All synthetic insulation has a recommended maximum quilting pattern dimension between stitching. This will vary a lot between different sheet manufacturing designs and materials.
For some continuous fibre filament this is quite generous so say a sleeping bag needs no additional stitching.
> Fashion - people like the look of the microbaffle - makes you look outdoorsy when sitting in the pub garden or pottering around town.
But how else would I display my eagerness to never stop exploring?
> Sewn through construction can be used if the synthetic insulation is physically very robust
isn't physically very robust...
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