My Three Favourite Insulation Layers | Katy Whittaker

Words by Katy Whittaker. Photos by Alex Haselhurst.

I remember getting my first ever down jacket when I was a teenager, I loved it. I wore it until it was in tatters: so many feathers had leaked out, you could barely call it down any more. It was held together with plasters and finger tape. Since then I have rarely been without one, even in the middle of summer, I often take a down jacket out with me (I do live in the UK though).

It can be a confusing world of features though, with so many different options it is hard to know which insulation layer to buy for what. Below is a quick summary of my favourites:

Firebee AR Parka

This bad boy was new this year and is absolutely incredible. I used to live in my Ceres but the Firebee has just over taken it by a country mile. Firstly it is waterproof, finally a down jacket you don’t have to worry about getting wet! Secondly, the internal construction is independent to outer and conforms to the body basically meaning you get a big toasty cuddle when ever you are wearing it. There are no pockets of cold air in-between you and the jacket, even when you are moving about, so you instantly feel warm.

Cerium & Thorium

There are a number of different variations on the two jackets below. They come in four different styles for different conditions.

SV – Severe
AR – All round
LT – Light
SL – Super light

Cerium (available in SV, LT, SL)

My go-to is always the Cerium LT, it is perfect for chilly weather and looks super smart. This jacket is more fitted than the Thorium, so if you prefer something with a bit more shape, this is perfect. It packs up nice and small so it’s great for taking to the crags or on the mountains.

One of the many well thought out features is the synthetic material around the cuffs, panels on front of mouth, underarms and shoulders, these areas are most likely to get damp and grubby so you don’t have to worry about ruining the feathers. The redesign has an improved fit and longer body length.

Thorium (available in AR and SV)
Like the Cerium, some of the Thorium’s key features includes the synthetic cuffs, panels on the front of mouth, underarms and shoulders: it also has the addition of a synthetic hood to keep you warm even when damp. It has been designed with box wall construction throughout the jacket, meaning there are never any cold spots.

It is less packable than the Cerium and works better for crags with short approaches and hanging out post climbing/hiking in your van. It has been beautifully designed with articulation built into the sleeves and under the arms that allows easy movement. The outer is a little more durable than the Cerium allowing it to easily withstand abrasion and like the Cerium it has a DWR finish to repel moisture.


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