Taiga, Taiga, warm and light

The Lowdown

Extraordinary stories and technical knowhow

Taiga, Taiga, warm and light

8 Jan 2020
Fleece: once upon a time it was the light, quick-drying new kid on the block which largely supplanted fibre pile and woolly jumpers. With the advent of ultralight down gear and quality synthetics like Primaloft it’s perhaps not quite the outdoor essential it once was…but it still has a part to play.

But there is fleece, and there is fleece. And what we use is fleece.

Clear?

OK, OK. The major difference between our Taiga fleece and the vast majority of fleeces that you’ll be used to is that it’s ‘warp knit’. That means the yarn zig-zags back and forth through the fabric like this:

rather than following the simple line found in more common ‘weft knit’ fleece, like this:

But so what?

Well, warp knit fleece is more robust: the fibres lock together to form a dense, abrasion resistant fabric that stands up to wind and wet far better than the more open structure of weft knit fleeces.

The point of fleece was originally to ape the effects of wool, but to be lighter and quicker drying. The most practical woolly jumper for outdoor use would be something like an old-fashioned fisherman’s sweater – like a Guernsey – as it’s warm and very dense (so it protects against quite a bit of weather before you need to wrestle on your oilskins) but most knitwear is softer and flimsier than that. And so it is with fleece: most fleece isn’t that dense and protective, but Taiga isn’t most fleece.

So that’s why we use it.

Works well even when I'm just sitting around for several hours in strong winds—Julian Smith.
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Gear mentioned in this post
Lightweight wind-resistant warp-knit Taiga fleece pullover. Now also available in...
¥23,235.95
Lightweight wind-resistant warp-knit Taiga fleece vest. Now also available in custom...
¥17,426.96
A mountain climber's fleece jacket, with a high degree of wind and abrasion...
¥28,774.75
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