After the test of the HR + Beta held, up to the Neo Alpha jacket, dedicated to high output in very cold weather. Even if the weather is rather mild for a month of December, it is not useless to equip itself before the fall of the temperatures.
A jacket made of Polartec NeoShell and Alpha technologies that promise excellent breathability while protecting against moisture and wind.
A garment that promises excellent protection between -5° C and + 5° C. I was not able to test up to -5°, but my tests took place between 0° (with fog) and + 8°.
Displayed at a public price of € 315, let’s see what this high-tech jacket offers us in very cold conditions.
The Alpha Neo of RH + seems quite thick. No wonder since the interior is filled with a kind of down that will allow breathability and excellent thermal insulation. So we owe to a padded jacket that once worn stays relatively close to the body.
Powerlogic Lab (the research laboratory RH +) and Polartec have developed a new line of clothing that includes this Alpha Neo. A line of clothing that is part of the air-X project is changing.
The air-X change is based on a free exchange of air through the garment rather than on a traditional system that tends to create a barrier that limits breathability, causing excess moisture and rapid overheating of the body.
Like any winter jacket worthy of the name, the collar goes up very high, whether at the front or at the neck.
This should avoid any draft. The sleeves are long enough and the elastic of the wrist ensures a good seal.Although padded, this jacket is not unpleasant to wear and does not seem to hinder the movements.
The back of the jacket goes down fairly low on the buttocks, which should there also be saving in case of exit on wet road.
Still on the back, instead of the traditional three pockets found on all the bike jackets, RH + has chosen two “cargo” pockets protected by an upper flap on which there is a small reflective rectangle.
Very deep and wide pockets should allow to accommodate long gloves in case of redoubling or other bulky objects.
The bottom of the pockets is provided with holes for evacuating moisture. Finally, the bottom of the jacket is equipped with a silicone strip that allows the jacket not to slide up.
Here tested in black / red, this model also exists in black / yellow.
Polartec NeoShell and Alpha Technologies
The Neoshell is a waterproof and breathable fabric already used for skiing and mountain / mountaineering clothing. The technology is different from what is done for membranes type Gore Tex, with the Polartec announces a true breathability, but of course according to the temperature and the effort, the evacuation of the sweating is done less easily in an ascent.
The dynamic air exchange at the surface of the fabric prevents water and wind from penetrating without impeding the evacuation of body heat and perspiration.
This highly breathable fabric has the unique advantage of acting as a protective shell with sophisticated moisture evacuation functions to keep the body dry.
Polartec Alpha fabric is the latest evolution in synthetic insulation and uniquely combines warmth and breathability with ultra-light “doudoune” style.
Because the Polartec Alpha fabric is stronger and more stable than other synthetic insulations, it is possible to use more ventilated inner and outer fabrics which creates a wind-permeable product. This small amount of air allows the fabric to pass quickly and allows Polartec Alpha to be used for a multitude of activities compared to conventional insulating fabrics that create a barrier against steam.
In addition, the Polartec Alpha dries very quickly.
On the road
For my first test output, 2° and no fog. With just a technical underwear with long sleeves, it’s perfect. It’s not cold and it’s not too hot inside.
The jacket leaves free of all movements despite the fact that it is thicker than other winter products. As you exit, as the temperature rises, the breathability of the product has its effect. We do not sweat almost … up to a threshold of about 6 °. Above this temperature, it will be necessary to open the integral Zip if a hump or a collar is mounted, because the jacket holds too hot. Clearly, the Neo Jacket is designed for the coldest temperatures.
Pass the top of the hump, close the Zip and despite the speed and some passages in the shade, the jacket offers perfect protection.
On another exit by 0 ° and very wet (a fog to cut with a knife), again, the jacket fulfills its promises. We remain at ease without having cold and the moisture does not penetrate the jacket thanks to the Polartec NeoShell. The droplets of water remain on the surface of the textile without ever penetrating.
The two “cargo” pockets made me a bit confused at first, but it’s finally a good idea in the winter. When the temperature rises during the exit, it will be easy to store large long gloves, overshoes or a bonnet. The content remains easily accessible even if we wear big gloves because of the width of the entrance. No need to leave his gloves!
Despite a fairly high price of just over 300 € (but some websites offer the product at less than 270 €), this jacket fulfills its promises by very cold. Up to 0 °, it is possible to leave without fear with a simple technical undergarment, which is much more comfortable than to multiply the layers. Even the most cautious should be able to use this product without fear in negative temperatures.
On the other hand, past 6/8°, it will be necessary to opt for a lighter jacket, because the Alpha Neo holds really warm. Even if opening the front zip, you can cool the body a little, it is always delicate to find the right balance.
But this jacket clearly offers for its money (even if it is very expensive) and you will not be disappointed for your outings by great cold.
Polartec Spring/Summer 2014 Update: Polartec, LLC
FS: ARCTERYX, PATAGONIA, POLARTEC, 45NRTH, OR, GOLITE *SOLD*
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photo – Ice Climbing Japan