WAYWT No Power Edition
A freeze in Texas, brought out my love for Polartec Alpha.
Ben here, taking over the newsletter for this week.
14°F and feels like 7°F — that’s how Monday, February 15th started off for me here in the Northern reach of Houston, Texas. Just a week or so before we were flirting with 70°F weather. I’m not a complete stranger to cold, having moved from Seattle to Houston — along the way I shed many of the heavy layers I used more frequently and added linen garments to replace them. It’s not supposed to be cold here in Houston, like ever. There was a point that Monday where the feels like dropped to 1°F. Some of the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced.
And I did that without power for a small portion (fortunately a much smaller portion without power than many other Texans faced). And in doing so I came out of the process in love with a few things, things I want to explain to you now.
I Love Polartec Alpha Insulation
This isn’t a fancy new insulation, but it’s still not that widely used outside of tacticool type brands. Essentially it is an active insulation layer which was developed for the military first. The idea being that it breathes extremely well when you are in movement, while retaining heat when stationary. I have two items with Alpha in them, and I think it is hugely underrated.
The Ascendant Hoodie is something I wear to work out in, so my focus here is in the hugely underrated Triple Aught Design Catalyst Field Shirt. I wore this shirt all day long with only a t-shirt under it. I stayed warm until the temps inside the house dropped into the low 50s, and then I put on another layer. During that time I was going in and out of the house and into the attic to check for leaks. The entire time the insulation kept me warm enough for those activities without overheating.
Alpha excels beyond that though, as I cooked dinner outside on the BBQ, I layered over the Field Shirt my Proof Nova Jacket with another layer of Primaloft on top of the Alpha, it would be easy to become a sweat bucket and be at risk of hypothermia from building up too much sweat. But the Alpha regulates your temperature really well, even when used a mid-layer.
There's two types of Alpha, with the one in the Field Shirt being the most common, where there is a lining over the insulation. But as you can see in the Ascendant Hoodie, you can have Alpha Direct, where the fuzzy insulation is exposed on the inside. I don’t like the direct as much, while it reduces the weight over all, it is a bit clingy to other fabrics which can reduce overall comfort. Here’s some other Polartec Alpha picks for you:
Strong Dungarees Are Something
For pants I spent the entire day in Strong Dungarees. Both for lounging about the house while the power was out, for climbing into the attic to check for pipe leaks, and for wrangling tarps and insulation outside to keep things as warm as possible — cooking in them too. These are all around great pants, and while I can't say they are super warm, they do block wind well, resisted the snow falling, and held their own the entire day. They’ve been replaced by the slightly heavier Bomb Dungarees now, but those are only better from what I hear.
Love Affair with Iron Rangers
And I’ll leave you with a parting snow shot of my Iron Rangers greeting snow for the first time, I really love these boots:
Recent Reviews on Everyday Wear
Long Term Updates, Early Feb. 2021 — Some updates on items we’ve been wearing for at least one year.