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Polartec Alpha, the breakthrough in thermoregulation

An innovative technology with a great thermoregulating capacity, present in various products tested during the winter season.

As you may have noticed, during this winter season we had the opportunity to test various garments that had one element in common, namely the use of technology Alpha from Polartec.

After having had the opportunity to verify the excellent qualities of this membrane in the field, I wanted to meet the managers of Polartec to learn more about the evolution of this product and its innumerable possibilities of use.

What is it?

Alpha is a highly thermoregulating membrane developed in Afghanistan with the support of US special forces. The first requirement was to have a light product, capable of conserving heat and rapidly expelling perspiration, in order to ensure constant physical comfort.

The result is a product that adapts very well to the movements of the body, capable of expelling heat, with a high drying speed and low weight.

Alpha or Alpha direct

The Direct line is the evolution of the first type of Alpha. The substantial difference is that with the new Direct line the need to have a fabric that houses the membrane is eliminated thanks to the redesign of its loft fibres. The Direcrt line can therefore be used directly in contact with the skin, thus managing to have a lighter product, with a smaller footprint and which expands the opportunities for use.

How Alpha products should be used

It is necessary for maximum effectiveness skilfully join different layers, depending on the needs and temperatures that will have to be faced.

Polartec technicians advised me to use warm underwear, possibly in Merino wool, followed by a second layer again in wool (if the temperatures were particularly cold) and finally the garment in Polartec alpha. In this way a virtuous circle is created in which heat is conserved in the body and the use of garments that carry humidity towards the outside create a mechanism that allows the skin to remain dry.

This is for winter use. Thinking instead of the period we are going to meet, or rather spring, it is good to keep in mind a common rule; i.e. to wear highly breathable garments in contact with the skin under the Polartec jacket, in order to take full advantage of its capabilities.

The Dainese Hybrid is an excellent all-season product

Does it really work?

The answer is yes. If you are going to review the tests of Fox, Santini e Dainese, you will be able to verify how the characteristics of this product have allowed me to tackle even outings in which the mercury column drops below 0° in a comfortable way. When used correctly, the clammy feeling that you often get with warm clothes has been completely eliminated.

Is it comparable to a shell?

Alpha is not a shell or a new 3-layer product such as Polartec's wind bloc or neo shell. The main function of those products is protection from wind and rain, while Alpha its primary function is thermoregulation.

What does the future have to offer?

To date, Polartec technicians have said they are fully satisfied with the characteristics of Alpha, so there are no new developments on the horizon. Instead, there is the study of its use in other areas, such as footwear.

Written by

marco.tagliaferri@365mountainbike.it Mountain bike travel editor and expert. Chiropractor and personal trainer, for years following some of the strongest national interpreters of enduro mtb.


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