At least 20 brands have adopted PrimaLoft's new Performance Down Blend Insulation for use in their autumn/winter 2014/15 collections. Announcing this new hybrid insulation product ahead of the Ispo Munich show, where it will also present its new corporate image (see the next article in this issue), PrimaLoft stresses that the product has no fluorcarbon and is certified by Bluesign Technologies. It only uses premium quality down from socially responsible sources, tested by the International Down & Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL) and the European Down & Feather Association (EDFA).

Somewhat like the new TurboDown insulation technology recently announced by Columbia Sportswear, but with some important differences, the new hybrid solution offered by PrimaLoft combines the advantages of engineered down and its own microfiber. While the engineered down is functional, durable and water-resistant, the ultra-fine fibers of its microfiber add very useful hydrophobic properties.

Thus, PrimaLoft Performance Down Blend Insulation is said to guarantee permanent protection, thermal insulation, comfort and the popular puffy effect of down even under wet conditions. It retains 90 percent of the original warmth in wet weather and its warmth is comparable to that of 750-fill goose down. It goes in the washing machine and keeps the original performance characteristics even after ten washes and the related drying times. It dries four times faster than untreated down, giving the user more freedom to face diverse climates.

PrimaLoft says its new blend offers superior breathability, as measured by the Hohenstein Institute, as well as superior warmth and compressibility in addition to environmental responsibility, durability, softness, lightness and loftiness. The company points out that it can also be used to make lighter products for warmer weather conditions and transitional seasons. It is suitable for a variety of winter and summer outdoor activities and for use in an urban setting.

Officials of PrimaLoft decline to be drawn into a comparison with the Turbo Down of Columbia, which has chosen to work with proprietary materials also in its breathable membranes. However, one major difference is the fact that PrimaLoft's insulation is an intimate blend of treated down and PrimaLoft microfiber rather than a combination of natural and synthetic layers.

It looks and feels like down, claims an official of PrimaLoft, adding that it uses a special water-repellent treatment that cannot be washed out. She stresses that the treatment applied to the down is fluorocarbon-free and long-lasting.

The list of brands that have adopted PrimaLoft Performance Down Blend Insulation is impressive. It includes names such as Adidas, Aether Apparel, Asics, Black Diamond, Cabela's, Head, Helly Hansen, Kjus, Lands' End, Musto, Red Fox, Reusch, Salewa, Sherpa, Sitka, Stone Island, Sunice, Under Armour, Vaude and Westcomb.