A review through the eyes of an climber.
This was the hype. The moment jackets with prima loft came out on the markets, many climbers eyed for it. It looked warm, thin and light and durable. It took me a long time until I decided to get one too. I was pretty sure on the equipment I had at present that kept me warm even on a whole day out with a temperature of 6°on a climbing day. Until today, my 700 Nuptse Downjacket was pretty unbeatable compared to any other brand.
Nevertheless I took the plunge. Curious and wanting to have a light jacket for trips to other parts of Europe where moderate temperatures are the daily, something which doesn’t plush up your luggage when you’re trying to fly light together with your 12kg Rucksack full of climbing gear. I came home happy with my new jacket and waited hungrily for bad weather to come.
The Womans Redpoint Optimus Jacket is highly praised as the layer for cool to cold weather conditions. It comes with a 2 hand pocket, 1 chest pocket on the left, a nice fitting hood and an interior stow pocket. The collar is overlapped to prevent the zipper scratching up your chin. A lightweight compared to downs: this jacket weighs 500 g and can be compressed into the small 20x20cm stow pocket. The Insulation consists of 100g Primaloft One filling which is the highest quality from all prima lofts. The pockets are lined out with a soft fleece material, making it cudlly when your fingers get cold. The hand cuffs were out of softshell, making the jacket really cuddly and soft. As of all north face clothings, it gave me a good impression on quality of the material and workmanship.
So what happened? The jacket accompanied me in the beginning on my shopping spree and while jogging. It was warm, light, breatheable and yes, even in the rain the jacket proved to be a good performer. Then came the weekend and it was time for some climbing. The weather started off in the morning with a mere 2°c, icy wind and stayed some 6° during the rest of the day. We were wishing for some sun, but the fog just didn’t want to disappear. I had all layers on which i had brought along which meant: a short sleeve tshirt, my icebreaker bodyfit layer, a pullover and my windproof jacket on. The Optimus Jacket came on top of this. I didn’t freeze, but neither was I really cuddly warm like i use to feel with my down during belay times. On the way back, the jacket started warming me back again due to my movements. With it’s rip stop material and seamless shoulder, the shoulder slings from the rucksack slided smoothly over the back and it felt really comfy. The day was finally over and I was really glad to get back to the car with a running heater to warm up again.
I was a little disappointed, but I guess I was using this jacket for the wrong activity. My Starlight II Sleeping bag made my expectations go soaring too high. It’s good for sport activities like running, cross or back country skiing, hiking – actually anything that keeps you moving. But not for long belaying spells on really cold weather conditions. I’m talking about temperatures that ranges from 2- 6°c. No other high performance synthetic jacket can beat a down jacket, when it comes to long spells of standing still. So even if the lady in the store tells you that this prima loft can replace a down, beware. If you freeze easily, you won’t be happy in this as a standalone layer in deep winter. Any temperature above 6° would give this Primaloft One jacket credit of it’s high performance, but not below. Use it with a 3rd insulated coat, that would make it a perfect pair, or in any other seasons other than winter.