Friday, June 20, 2008

Insulator Jacket

Crisp, autumn mornings on the Yellowstone, foggy late spring Vineyard rips, the first hard frost at Illiamna—these kinds of scenarios are the motivation for creating the Insulator Jacket. This windproof, water-resistant soft shell dramatically increases on-the-water comfort whenever the hard shell is overkill. It's also perfect, friction-free insulation under the hard shell for inclement conditions. The sleek-yet-cozy fabric (stretch-woven polyester outer layer bonded to Polartec® fleece) combined with features like angled, water-resistant zippers on large front cargo pockets, protected zinger attachment points and streamlined, snag-free cuffs ensure you’ll fish more comfortably and efficiently. Added bonus: the signature trout logo on the collar back. Brushed-fleece lined zippered hand pockets and collar; Houdini® drawcord at hem; inner stash pocket. The Insulator Jacket will be available for Fall 2008.

Overview
The Insulator Jacket provides all the advantages of a soft shell—max breathability, comfort and warmth—in a windproof, water-resistant package that loves to fish.

Fabric
Shell: 9.8-oz, 100% stretch-woven polyester laminate (Polartec® Power Shield®) and 8.8-oz dobby weave of 47% nylon, 45%polyester, 8% spandex with 4-way stretch plus a durable water repellent finish. Collar: 4.3-oz polyester fleece (50% recycled)

Features
* Large front cargo pockets with water-resistant, angled vertical zips
* Protected zinger/tool attachment bar
* Houdini® drawcord at hem
* Zippered, brushed-fleece lined handwarmer pockets
* Brushed-fleece lined collar
* Snagfree, streamlined cuffs
* Internal zippered chest pocket
* Modified Y-Joint™ shoulders and articulated elbows
* Distinctive fish (trout) logo on collar

Sizes
S, M, L, XL, XXL

Color
Black
Photos courtesy of Chris LaScola and Dylan Tomine

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tommy likey...

IdahoCaddis said...

I cannot wait to get this jacket. A soft shell is the one thing I have really been missing. I almost bought an alpine/climbing style soft shell to use for fishing, but about that same time I read your first mention of this jacket. From the pictures I can tell it has been well worth the wait.

And thank goodness it is coming in the big boy size (XXL).

Great work!

Anonymous said...

Yup. Used this baby the last couple of weeks in Quebec. I was warm and toasty on chilly mornings streamside, and the Insulator Jacket was a significant upgrade to my "apres-peche" look around town.

It is probably the best-looking soft-shell jacket that Patagonia has ever made (in my opinion), and sports all the legendary performance and quality of construction of the coolest company on the water.

Cheers, Topher Browne

El Pescador said...

Glad to know you like what you see and appreciate the brand. The Insulator Jacket will be out soon. May your water levels be perfect and the fish cooperative.

Anonymous said...

Price? <$200? Also, when does the fall line usually roll out, August?

El Pescador said...

The Insulator Jacket retails for $275. It should be onshelf by 7/15 if there are no production delays.

thane said...

V nice. Looks like it scrubs up nicely too and black hides coffee spills well. Drying time if bottom is dunked? Either way, a vast improvement from the clampy, glumpy, lumpy wetness of the Baby Retro Pile quiver.

El Pescador said...

Glad you like the looks of the jacket Thane. The Insulator fabric does resist stains well and black does a good job of hiding coffee spills and wear & tear. Regarding dry times, this Polartec® Power Shield® will best Retro or Baby Retro in race to dryness after a dunking. Polartec® Power Shield® also has advantages when it comes to stretch, frictionless layering, limited bulk, wind protection and water resistance....plus it looks good and functions for everyday use.

BLUEANGLER said...

Great stuff! It remind me the windstopper at the first moment, but this one have more characteristics specialized for fishing! wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Just thought I’d weigh in on the Insulator Jacket I’ve been testing for about six months now. First of all, it’s a killer piece of equipment for everything less than a torrential downpour. I’ve been wearing it fishing on the Sound and various rivers in weather from wet snow to dry and frosty to typical damp, chilly spring Washington weather. It’s been especially useful this “spring” as we’ve barely hit 70 as of today. I’ve also been using it in such highly technical situations as picking up the kids from preschool, grocery shopping, chopping wood, oyster picking, clam digging, shrimp pot pulling and going out to dinner. I’ve worn it pretty much for everything except sleeping, although, now that I think about it, there were a couple of rides on the ferry home when I dozed off while wearing it. Through all that, including the Puget Sound mud, it practically looks brand new, and the drizzle still beads up on it nicely.

I think maybe the best thing about this jacket is that it fishes hard, well and comfortably and yet you can wear it around town without it screaming “I AM A FISHING GEEK.” And it’s so comfortable you’ll be hard-pressed to not wear it anytime you leave the house. Mind you, I say that even though the one I’m wearing is a half-size too small. I imagine when I get one that actually fits I will probably never take it off. Hope you guys find it as comfortable and useful as I have.

Dylan

Alistair said...

Swimming with “The Insulator”.

In subarctic Labrador, the guides tell you never to go anywhere without your rainjacket. They also tell you to take great care when wading in the big water of the rapids. Early one late June morning, having watched the floatplane take off to return to the lodge after dropping us off for two days of very remote fly fishing for large brook trout, I had two problems.

The first was that my Patagonia rainjacket was one plane ride away, back at the lodge, and the dull grey sky’s moderate but somewhat sideways rainfall looked to be set in for a while. My second problem was infinitely damper in consequence, because unbeknownst to me, my folding wading staff’s lowest section had stayed stuck in between the two rocks from where I had just lifted out the rest of the staff. As I planted what I though was a full length staff, in anticipation of my next move in big water, I was surprised to find that gravity and the unexpectedly short staff conspired to send me swimming.

My wading belt limited the initial ingress of water, but floundering around in the big water, trying to keep ahold of my rod, and in getting to shallower water, I became very wet throughout. I anticipated two wet cold days of suffering… and I was very wrong, in a really good way!

My lower half’s wetness worked for me in a wetsuit-like fashion, something I’d experienced before during the steelhead swims of my younger years. The top half was the really pleasant surprise. I was wearing a Patagonia wool undershirt, a fishing shirt, and as my outer layer, I was testing Patagonia’s yet-to-be released simple, functional, and highly performing Insulator jacket. After wringing the water out of the layers, I was able to fish comfortably, damp but perfectly warm, for the seven hour duration of the first rainy and windy day. Amazingly, with very little stove warmth, the Insulator dried out almost completely overnight, and in the second day’s morning of blustery rainshowers, it again exceeded all reasonable expectations in keeping me warm and relatively dry, despite not being a rainshell. When it gets into the catalog, this will be one must-have jacket for those who anticipate cold/damp/windy fishing conditions, where there is no room for spare or redundant gear. The tough, hard-bitten Newfie guides wanted not just the model name, but the style number too; one guide asked me how much I wanted for it.

I was fortunate enough to be comfortable and have a great two days fishing, despite the adversities. Kudos to Patagonia for a fantastic prototype. It is light, moves with you, looks great, and performs from both a design and material perspective like nothing else I’ve used. The only change I’d make is to offer colors besides the black I tested. The fishing? I was fortunate enough to land several brookies over 6lbs on dry flies.

George said...

When can we buy this thing?

Also, I heard you all were making improvements to the new vests for release this fall?

Any other new fall products?

You might want to consider a fishing-specific version of your baggies shorts that you can wear to wet wade, or under your waders. Maybe with a couple cargo pockets and a zippered security pocket inside.

Thanks, keep up the great work.

Alistair said...

I should add that the rainjacket I left behind was a latest version of the Deep Wading Jacket. It performed perfectly. All the little details put it head and shoulders above anything my fellow lodge guests had (and they had some pricey stuff). I love that jacket, it has an ideally tailored fit that doesn't restrict movement, it breathes well, and the pockets and details give you evrything you need, and nothing you don't - except a reminder that you've left it behind ;=)

El Pescador said...

Thanks for the test report Alistair. I'm glad in a way that you left the Deep Wading Jacket back on the dock and that you went swimming in the rapids. Those misfortunes made for ideal Insulator Jacket testing. Also, though they weren't mentioned in your report, I'm sure you found the Stormfront Pack and prototype neo/wool gloves to be useful for subarctic conditions too, no?

El Pescador said...

The Insulator Jacket will be on shelf any day George.

As far as vest changes, I'm looking at S10 to unveil some new ideas.

The only new product in addition to the Insulator Jacket for F8 is the Stormfront Pack (I refer to it as the Rolex - "luxury and performance"). That should be available in November.

Lastly, thanks for the Baggies style suggestion. There are some things being revealed for S9 that may just fit the bill.

clarin said...

Reading the comments so far I hope to get hold of the Insulator before going to Norway in end august. I plan to dress the same way as Alistair: a Wool 2 Crew undershirt, Sol Patrol shirt and a Insulator Jacket. If the weather turns cold I add a Wool 4 Zip Neck shirt. I must say that there is no better, more versatile and more better suited underwear to use than Patagonias Wool Baselayers for fishing. As Alistair also pointed out you still feel confy in them after a dip in the rapids.

El Pescador said...

The Insulator Jacket is available now Clarin. Check out the Patagonia website or visit a dealer near you to order it. Have a great trip to Norway and shoot me some images when you get back.

Parko said...

Looking forward to the day when Patagonia makes a jacket like this out of WOOL. Warm when wet, and will be camp fire friendly.

Anonymous said...

El Pescador:

Looking to SP09, which jacket would be more durable, the Guidewater or new SST?

Thanks as always,
Bradley

El Pescador said...

Wool is something that we make some excellent stuff out of now Parko but Powershield fabric isn't one of them. Don't under estimate the Insulator Jacket's warmth capabilities even when wet. Just ask Alistair. As far as it being campfire friendly, it's not too bad in that category either but try to avoid the flames if possible.

Bradley, both the new SST and Guidewater are durable but they do sport different pocketing, fabric, jacket lengths, hood types, cuffs and colors. You have lots to consider.

Anonymous said...

I've had the opportunity to work out the insulator over the past couple weeks in some tough upstate NY weather.

Couple thoughts:
The jacket is cut perfectly. Very stylish. It is my go-to jacket right now - work, dinner...etc. This distinguishes the jacket from similar fishing-specific offerings from Simms, Orvis...etc. I like that the jacket doesn't scream "angler" and the hidden attachment bar is awesome. But can you put one on the other side as well?

I can speak to the warmth/water resistance. No complaints on that front. In fact, pit zips might be nice.

From a couple experiences with campfires and wet wood, it appears to be much more resistant than most fleece.

I can't decide if I like the collar. Seems about .5 inch too tall when unzipped?

The tail of the jacket is also a little too long. Perfect if you're using it on a boat, but if streamside, it has a tendency to get wet when kneeling or squating.

Similarly, when on the stream, it would be great to have cuffs that can fasten for a tighter fit. The narrow tapered sleeves do not keep the water out and can make it difficult to wear over layers and gloves.

This is intended to be constructive criticism and not a negative review. It is the best soft shell on the market IMO and one of the best Patagonia jackets I've seen.

Regards,
George

El Pescador said...

Thanks for the feedback and constructive criticism George. I'm glad you are happy with the Insulator Jacket and I've noted the areas mentioned for potential improvement.

As far as pit zips go, the PowerShield fabric is very breathable and pit zips would significantly add to the cost. How badly do you want them?

The collar height is based on a standard but the .5" concern is noted. Keep me posted on this area as the jacket wears in.

I'm very glad you like the attachment bar. What zinger do you connect to it? How do others feel about adding a second webbing bar?

Regarding your jacket tail getting wet, I assume you are not wearing waders streamside?

The cuff design was intended to be snag-free and more like insulation than outerwear. The simple tapered design avoids bulk when wearing a jacket with StretchCoat cuffs (GWJ, DWJ and SST) over the Insulator. The Insulator fabric wouldn't create an ideal water seal against the wrist anyway. I've had very good luck using our neoprene gloves with this jacket plus they make a bomber seal when using a water specific cuff. With all that said, others have requested a conventional cuff too.

Thanks again George for the feedback and for your interest in making the best product. Keep the line in the water and believe in every cast.

Anonymous said...

El P.

I do wear waders streamside, at least this time of year, but actually wear the jacket outside my waders for comfort reasons and easy layering.

Pit zips were just a thought and if they add to cost, I wouldn't worry about adding them.

Point taken re the snag free cuffs, I can live with that.

With respect to the collar. Like I said, I'm just not sure about it. It seems a little big to me when unzipped, but on the stream, when I zip it fully, I have no problem. The fabric is malleable (sic) enough that it scrunches down nicely.

As far as the attachment bar, I usually clip a fly patch and a pair of scissorclamps. If I had another space, I'd probably clip a tippet spool and completely eliminate the need for a lanyard or vest.

Thanks for the forum...if only Sage would allow me to weigh in as easily on their rod design!

George

Matt B said...

EP-

You've mentioned the neoprene gloves a couple of times now. Any expectation as to when they'll be ready for primetime?

I've thought about cutting the fingers off a pair of old surf gloves, and I still may do that, but that wool grid would be awful nice to have.

El Pescador said...

Good observation Matt. The Patagonia Surf line currently offers these wool grid/neoprene gloves. They can only be purchased directly from either the Ventura or Cardiff retail stores. I'm not sure if there are any left though. In the future I'm hoping to get these offered in the fishing line but there are some hurdles to jump before that can happen (long story). I'll keep you posted.

El Pescador said...

Thanks for the follow up comments and idea exchange. Way Upstream is designed to give you a voice. I'm glad you appreciate it George. Send me a shot of the Insulator Jacket in use when time permits.

El Pescador said...

The Trout Underground posted a piece on soft shells with focus on the Insulator Jacket - http://troutunderground.com/2008/12/19/underground-geartalk-winter-fly-fishing-the-soft-shell-revolution