Project Strata

Here at Up and Under we are very excited, not only is Dave now back from Tajikistan with some good peaks under his belt, not only is the OMM coming up soon in South Wales, but Polartec have launched the innovative Polartec Alpha fabric. Using this fabric Rab have released the Strata range of active use insulation clothing, of which we stock the fantastic Strata Hoodie and Strata Hoodie Women's. The key use for Strata Hoodie is for moving quickly in cold conditions. It works as an outer layer when its cold and dry but can also be layered under a waterproof jacket when it gets minging. The hood can be worn either beneath or over a climbing helmet. All of which makes it ideal for mountaineering, alpine climbing, walking and any time when warmth and breathability are vital.

Recently four Rab pro climbers ventured into a relatively unexplored area of Arctic Norway that is reported to be just like Scotland, but with reliable conditions and vast areas of untapped winter climbing potential.  Each of them were equipped with Polartec’s new Alpha insulation, so the new Rab Strata range underwent some serious field testing. 

The #projectstrata expedition objective was to pioneer as many new winter routes as possible whilst testing this pioneering new technology and designs in a 10 day period. 
As it turned out, the ‘reliable’ Arctic weather turned out to be rather Scottish. Many routes were barred by dangerous avalanche conditions and involved half thawed turf. A handful of new routes were established and everyone agreed that, in spite of the weather, Arctic Norway has incredible untapped potential

The variable temperatures also proved a stiff test for the clothing systems, and keeping comfortable and safe whilst working hard for long periods was essential. 

You can find out more by visiting and following #projectstrata on twitter

But what is Polartec Alpha?

According to Polartec®: "it is the latest evolution of synthetic insulation offering a rare combination of lightweight warmth and true breathability in a synthetic fill style garment.  Because Polartec Alpha insulation is highly durable and more stable than other synthetic insulation products, more open-construction woven face and back fabrics can be selected to create an air permeable package.  This small amount of airflow rapidly draws moisture away from the body and allows Polartec Alpha to be worn in a wider range of activities compared to classic "vapor barrier" style insulation.

Polartec® Alpha® starts with a highly efficient insulation fabric, which is based on the Polartec® Thermal Pro® High Loft technology platform.  This technology is uniquely suited to create warmth without weight, and exceptional breathability, compressibility and dry times via high loft fibers in a low density knit.
It offers a combination of unique performance attributes, vis a vis other synthetic insulations, that are highly valued by an outdoor athlete looking for versatility.  A Polartec Alpha garment can be worn in both the "stop" and "go" phases of outdoor activities.  Current market synthetic insulations are not breathable enough to handle the "go" phases of most backcountry pursuits.  They are typically additional garments that must be carried for use during static period.  Polartec Alpha excels at providing comfort for users on the move.

Overheating is underperforming. So unlike traditional synthetic fill or down, Polartec® Alpha® allows a free exchange of air to keep you warm, comfortable and focused. Developed for U.S. Special Operations and now available for outdoor enthusiasts, it takes performance fabric—and you—to a totally new place. Discover new territory with the world’s first-ever breathable synthetic fill clothing Polartec Alpha.
Alpha technology is uniquely suited to offer a combination of performance attributes. Like any quality insulation, it provides warmth without weight while being highly compressible. But thanks to high loft fibers in a low-density knit, Alpha breaks new ground with its exceptional breathability and dry times. 


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