|Encapsil Down Belay Parka, $699, Patagonia. (Patagonia.com)
Patagonia just released a highly specialized garment for the mountain climber: An ultra-warm coat that you wear when you're belaying a climbing partner. While not the coat for everyman, the coat features a new insulation that could make it quite possibly the warmest jacket ever made.
Patagonia's Encapsil Down Belay Parka features a brand-new material that not only is water-resistant but offers 1,000-fill-power down. The jacket is stuffed with a down coated with a plasma treatment that changes the structure of the feathers, making them not only water-resistant but fluffier. While water-resistant down isn't a new concept, Patagonia says its treatment is better than traditional chemical binders in that the process doesn't diminish the high-grade feathers. The result is a lightweight parka that is extremely warm but tailor-cut, so you won't look like you're wearing a sleeping bag. Still, only those in bitterly cold climates will need one.
Available online internationally and in select Patagonia stores, the new parka will cost a pretty penny: $699, and it's a limited-edition run of only 1,000 jackets.