Consider the winter parka. So often it is bulky and shapeless, lumpy and heavy. Even jackets purported to be among the warmest in the world typically have these attributes, some weighing nearly as much as a gallon of milk. This is in part because insulation helps to generate warmth. The more insulation you have, the thinking goes, the warmer you’ll be.
As climate change prompts more extreme weather events—polar vortexes and abnormally cold temperatures in typically warm places—having the warmest of warm ensures you stay comfortable no matter how low the mercury swings. But not all insulation is created equal and bigger bulk does not equal more warmth. Human bodies naturally expel heat. The key is to harness that heat and amplify it, to make your body heat work for you.
Announcing LifeLabs' MegaWarm, the world’s warmest jacket scientifically developed and designed to harness your body heat in the most effective, streamlined silhouette on the market. It not only delivers the highest warmth measurements compared to other brands, but also uses the fewest materials in the most sustainable way. Here’s how.
The science behind warmth
Human bodies are natural radiators. Because the body is always releasing heat it generates (up to 50% in outdoor settings), we rely on materials that help to prevent that heat from escaping. Cue the bulky jackets, fleeces and wool caps of winter.
To measure how these materials help your body retain heat, scientists at LifeLabs use Clo , the value that describes the degree of insulation provided by an article of clothing. The higher an item’s Clo rating, the warmer it keeps you. A thin cotton shirt, for instance, will have very low Clo; a thick down jacket will be significantly higher.
Traditional approaches to increasing Clo employ bulkier, often heavier materials to hold in more heat, like the Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka, which weighs in at a whopping 7lbs. Other brands rely on heaps of expensive down feathers capsuled by wide-stitched baffles that make wearers resemble modern-day marshmallow people.
But, LifeLabs scientists have developed a scientifically proven hack: a lightweight, breathable metallic nanocoating that harnesses your naturally produced body heat and reflects it back to you, allowing for more warmth with less bulk. The fabric can also expel vapor, helping your body to thermoregulate regardless of temps. MegaWarm gets a boost from ethically sourced goose down feathers, one of the world’s best natural insulators, which amplifies it to a new, unprecedented level of warmth.
The path to MegaWarm
“The idea for MegaWarm really began with WarmLife ,” remembers former LifeLabs CEO Scott Mellin. “Early on, we began to see the efficiency through manikin testing of our WarmLife products [which allows for 30% reduction of synthetic insulation]. We knew we could get an even better boost in terms of thermal qualities with down feathers.”
The development team tracked down other claimed world’s warmest jackets, including the Snow Mantra, The North Face Summit AMK L6 Parka, Arcteryx Cold WX Parka SVX and sent them to a third-party lab to test Clo on a garment manikin. “This gave us a baseline to understand what’s warm, warmer and warmest,” Mellin continues.
“We then cut the jackets apart and looked at pillow dimension, overall thickness and construction. We said we can actually build better. We can build something that not only is the warmest but is the lightest. We can do that with less fill and less overall product weight to make it more wearable.”
Several months of R&D later, MegaWarm, the world’s warmest jacket, was born. The jacket boasts a staggering 9.25 Clo value, which out-warms TNF Summit AMK L6 (6.06), the Snow Mantra (6.70) and the Arcteryx Cold WX Parka SVX (7.91). It’s also 55% lighter than the Snow Mantra, and 38% thinner than the Arcteryx Parka, not to mention much more packable, i.e. it will not take up the entire overhead bin on an airplane, unlike its bulkier distant brethren.
Not only does MegaWarm offer the highest Clo available on the jacket market, it also ranks among the highest in using sustainable materials.
Nearly all of the jacket is made from recycled materials, including the outer layer, liner, trims and even the zippers. The fully-taped outer shell is finished with a PFC-free DWR coating (i.e. no harmful forever chemicals) to keep winter snow and rain from sinking in. And to boost the warmth as high as possible, the jacket features ethically sourced 800 fill power down feathers, the crème de la crème of efficient insulation.
To maximize responsibility and cut waste, the jacket is shipped in a reusable garment bag made from recycled materials. Use it as a practical companion for your gym clothes, or as an off-season storage sack for your MegaWarm. If you can take it off, that is.
Designed for warmth
Maximizing warmth is about more than materials; intentional design features help to insure that MegaWarm keeps the cold out, no matter how windy, snowy or rainy. First, the jacket employs boxed baffles to prevent cold spots, which are common in stitch-through designs. It also features a drop tail to cover your seat. Rib knit materials on the cuffs and a half-moon collar prevent updrafts from sneaking against your skin. And, the fully adjustable hood keeps your head warm and dry.
This all adds up to something rarely seen in the winter parka realm: a sleek silhouette, nearly all recycled materials, and the scientifically backed data to secure MegaWarm as the world’s warmest jacket.