WINNER: Libby Kerr and Geoff Der
The British climate is full of challenges. Our summers are by no means the hottest nor the driest, in fact most of the time they are quite the opposite. Our winters are often mild and damp, lacking the sustained cold of more northerly latitudes.
As a result of this, choosing kit can also be a challenge in itself. Assessing the changeable conditions and putting together a clothing system to suit can be a nightmare. Should we take down or synthetic? Softshell or hard shell? Merino or Powerdry?
A particularly hard choice can be that of mid layer. In years gone by, you had the choice of fleece and not much else. In fairness, old school fleece was pretty warm and admittedly sometimes on the lairy side of things too. Looks aside, the main drawback was that fleece, when worn without a shell, allows wind to cut through it like a hot knife through butter, thus leaving the wearer feeling anything but comfortable.
Then there was windproof fleece, which solved the problem ... but you were then left saturated due to the low levels of breathability and the packability often left a lot to be desired due to the fabric choice.
Over the past decade, the use of lighter weight technologies like Primaloft and micro-baffle down has increased dramatically due to the greatly improved user experience, in terms of wind resistance, weight and packability, but they still fall short in providing a breathable comfortable mid-layer. The way that Primaloft is constructed prevents it from allowing moisture to pass through. Down jackets whilst warm, need down-proof fibres to stop the down leaking out, this fabric also happens to be particularly bad at allowing moisture pass though it - on top of that, down, saturated with sweat, is not very comfortable to wear. So in short, if you are wanting to do anything remotely physical, without getting cold ... finding a fabric/technology that will protect you from the elements, keep you warm and comfortable is a tough task.
That is, until the launch of Polartec Alpha, designed for the US Special Forces who needed an insulation that would perform well whether the wearer was resting or active in the field. Launched to the outdoor industry in 2013, it was hailed as the first technology that it is actually possible to use when active, maintaining a regular, comfortable temperature AND allowing moisture to pass through it.
Marmot launched their first Alpha piece, the Isotherm Hoody, in autumn 2013 and it was an instant favourite of those in the know, taking the ISPO gold award for innovation. Designed with autumn and winter in mind, it was a true step forward in mid-layer insulation, or rather, regulation.
For spring 2015 we have launched the Isotherm Half Zip, a lighter version of the original Polartec Alpha technology.
Its simple construction, featuring a generous stash pocket on the chest and Lycra panelled stretch-cuffs to avoid pinch points when rolled up on that beefy multi-pitch at Gogarth. The liner is a super breathable, wicking fabric to make sure any moisture is taken away from the body and out of the garment. The outer is made from an ultra-light Pertex Quantum fabric which is remarkably durable too. All of this for £150 (rrp).
The Isotherm Half Zip is a perfect companion for any climber or hill walker that is heading out in poor conditions and needs to maintain a regular temperature, or needs a superlight, packable insulator.
Do you fancy getting your hands on a brand new Marmot Isotherm Half-Zip?
If you are the sort of person that wants the latest and greatest kit, then this could be your chance to get hold of this stunning new piece from Marmot. We have one Men's and one Women's piece to give away (colours subject to availability). All you need to do is answer the following question …