Nau, a company known for pushing the design envelope and blending both the tailored and the technical with eco-friendly fabrics in silhouettes that are streamlined without being restrictive, is ready to break the mold again with its new Synfill and Fractal Hoodies.
General manager Mark Galbraith wanted to create a technical—that is, waterproof and breathable—high-performance jacket that felt as cozy, comfortable, and lived in as your favorite already-broken-in hoody. “When you think of waterproof technical jackets, you think of hard shells that are stiff and loud and meant for one thing,” Galbraith says. “This material is soft and quiet. You can take it on the most technical adventure or relax on the couch at home.”
The slim Synfill Stretch Hoody is designed for weather-beating aerodynamic performance when you’re ice climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry or frontcountry skiing. The waterproof, two-layer fabric is laminated to a recycled polyester shell with four-way stretch panels for unrestricted movement. The soft outer fabric makes this 21-ounce jacket feel like a softshell instead of a hardshell.
Nau uses 100 grams of insulation in the Synfill's body, and 60 grams in the sleeves and hood to keep you toasty whether you’re riding lifts or ice-skating at Rockefeller Center. Polyester with Cocona insulation is warm, quick-dry, and odor beating. The Synfill has an offset zip to keep your chin from getting chafed. While the hood is big enough to fit over a helmet, it doesn’t get in the way when you’re just hanging out. $320, available fall 2013; nau.com.
“When we made the Fractal, we wanted to create the most useful weight down jacket ... something lighter than your typical big and burly horizontal striped down coat, but still warm enough to be comfortable and useful in most weather conditions,” Galbraith says. “The quilting and the jacket’s name were both inspired by geometric shapes created by nature, like cracked ice, and the shape of mud when it dries. We wanted to make it visually interesting, but still keep it classic, masculine, and strong.”
They succeeded. The 800-fill Down Fractal Hoody is a standalone piece for moderate temperatures and a great layering option in more severe weather. Nau says you can use it for resort skiing, mountaineering, climbing, camping, or hiking. We say it’s not only eye-catching but practical. It’s cut slim and long, so when one tester was ice climbing in temperatures so cold his eyelashes froze, the jacket didn’t ride up and the rest of him stayed warm. In addition, the jacket features cuff elastic that is set slightly back for a cleaner look and Nau’s signature asymmetrical zipper. $300, available fall 2013; nau.com.