That said, I don't think you'll see a tremendous variation between jackets made of the different materials. Both Thinsulate and PrimaLoft yield a piece that's reasonably soft, offers good insulation, and works well in damp weather. PrimaLoft supposedly is a bit less durable than its competitors, but I've never seen evidence of that in the real world. I've found Thinsulate in a few pieces made by Helly Hansen, Cabela's, and L.L. Bean. I think a lot of makers use Thinsulate under proprietary brand names, so you wouldn't actually "know" it's Thinsulate. PrimaLoft is found in Go-Lite's Buzz Jacket ($150; www.golite.com) and Integral Designs' Dolomitti ($210; www.integraldesigns.com). Macpacnear your part of the world, in New Zealandmakes a PrimaLoft piece called the Mercury (www.macpac.co.nz), a very light hoodless insulated shell. It's about $250 in U.S. dollars, so I suppose that makes it about $330 in Oz.
Interestingly, Patagoniawhich long used a proprietary synthetic fill for its insulated pieceshas gone heavily into Polarguard, using the newest versions of that material (Delta and 3D) in jackets such as the DAS Parka ($265; www.patagonia.com), a hooded, insulated piece for use in truly crappy weather, when it's cold and wet. So that's an option for you as well.
For more expert reviews of weather-beating shells and jackets, check out Outside Online's all-new Jackets Buying Guide.
Filed To: Midweight