It's long been held as fact that down has the best warmth-to-weight ratio out there. But as the clouds gather, the temperatures drop, and we prepare for our autumn and winter adventures, Haglöfs are challenging this assumption.
They're doing this with a jacket that's insulated with a specially-developed synthetic material: one that performs as well as down in some respects, and even better in others.
The Essens Mimic jacket (SRP £165), hood (SRP £180) and vest (SRP £140) from Haglöfs is insulated with QuadFusion Mimic - a material developed, as the name suggests, to mimic the properties of down. This material is made from spiral-shaped fibres, formed into small balls, that trap and hold air - and warmth - extremely effectively. Just like down, in fact.
In the Essens range, the QuadFusion Mimic is blown into the ergonomic channels and panels of the garment, meaning that it feels like down and performs brilliantly as an insulating layer.
But that's not all. The synthetic QuadFusion Mimic maintains its performance when the garment gets damp, managing moisture effectively. Not only does this avoid the usual problems faced by down in wet weather, it also means that the panels Since the Essens Mimic range is also treated with a fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment, it works well as an outer garment - and is just as suitable for a cold, rainy day in the city as it is under a shell layer when you're out in the wilderness.
Best of all, it's constructed from cleaner bluesign approved materials, and the QuadFusion Mimic insulation is made from post-consumer recycled polyester. So not only does the Essens Mimic offer a great alternative to down, it's also made in a sensible and more sustainable way.
Trek and Run's Nita checked the jacket out over the past 3 weeks, here are her thoughts:
"Haglof's Essens Mimic Hood arrived just in time for the early onset of winter in southern Ontario, Canada. The colours I chose are gorgeous - deep plum and fuchsia on the outer side and a bright mango lining on the inside. The sizing is accurate. I am used to North American sizing in outerwear, which is usually much bigger than indicated; in this jacket's case a small really is a small, and it fit me perfectly at 5'3", 34B, and 120 lbs.
If I wanted to wear anything bulkier than two long-sleeve layers underneath, I would definitely need to size up to a medium. Bustier women may also consider a size up, as the chest area is not overly generous.
The jacket is very lightweight to wear, but toasty in a cold wind, especially with the hood that can be cinched around the head and face (you can also get a version of the jacket with no hood). It's ideal for temperatures of 5 C to -10C, and possibly a little lower, depending on what you wear under it.
The jacket crushes up nicely, so it can be stuffed into a small backpack. The zippered pockets at the waist are very deep; great for warming hands or carrying small gear. There is also an additional zippered pocket on the left side of the chest that is deep enough to hold a sizeable smart phone or wallet.
The best part about the jacket for me, however, is that it's cruelty-free and an excellent alternative to down, which is mostly cruelly sourced from geese and ducks. Made from Quad Fusion Mimic and quilted in inch-long rows, this jacket feels as lightweight and warm as a down jacket, but won't bunch up or lose insulation when wet. I love it."
Discover more about the Haglöfs Essens Mimic Jacket at