Reduces Layering. Improves On-Hill Comfort.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been skiing in a NuDown parka designed to keep you comfortable regardless of outside temperature and without dressing in multiple layers. It utilizes a hand-operated air pump system to create an adjustable layer of air, which, warmed by the body, serves as an effective insulator against the elements.

Here's the Nudown parka I tested. Removes the hassle of layering. Credit: Nudown
Here’s the NuDown parka I tested. Removes the hassle of layering.
Credit: NuDown

It works. My problem is that, given the relatively warm temperatures since using the parka, I’ve been unable to test it in extreme cold conditions.

Between the outer and inner shells is a bladder with a zigzag pattern of air chambers. A small and easy to use hand pump in the left pocket inflates the chambers. On brisk mornings, I’ve found that 15 pumps is sufficient to be comfortable. Later, when it warms, I press the release valve, which deflates the parka.

Typically, the more cold I expect, the more layers I wear, a technique that can get a bit bulky and result in in overheating as the day warms.

This parka, new to the market, and going by the name NuDown, eliminates the layering hassle. Having used it in not overly cold conditions, my positive experience and common sense tells me that it should perform effectively when it gets truly frigid.

The NuDown parka also is good-looking, even when fully inflated. And it sports a neat little zipper pocket near the left wrist for an RFID lift pass—the increasingly popular lift-pass technology used to open gate to the lift. Simply wave your arm to enter and save the chest pocket for your cell phone. A very nice detail.

The zip-off hood is sized to cover a helmet.

There’s been a lot written about improvements in down and being sensitive to the animal rights issues associated with down production. Some downs are processed not to clump when wet. Some are advertised as being humane. NuDown substitutes air for feathers. It lets you leave the layers at home, and it lets you adjust the air insulation so you can be comfortable in a variety of conditions. In the lodge, it’s a conversation starter when people ask about the zigzag air chambers, especially when inflated.

It’s not as light as down, but, in my experience, that’s not an issue.

NuDown technology currently is available in men’s and women’s parkas and vests. It will be available at retail in the fall and, like most everything else in the world, is available on line. Currently the NuDown site is offering a 30 percent discount.


  1. Peter McCarville says:

    I enjoyed the article about NuDown by Jon W. so much that I clicked to the link to their website. Nice looking jacket. First thing I generally notice is the zippers. Not too thrilled with the new micro-zippers that have no storm flap. But, hey, no big deal. I can be overly critical of any “new” technology or gear. Remember all the anti-vibration (dampening) devices in skis during the 1980s and their flex strength given in Newton Meters?!

    Wow, they are 50% off. Lets look at that . I have been thinking of retiring my Goodwill wool sweater-vest that I use as a thin layer to keep out the chill. I love wool and it is renewable. I enjoy all my 30-50 year old wool pieces of clothing. So, let’s check out the vest……$400.

    At first I thought this was an April Fools article but then realized that it is not yet April.

    I still think you gotta be kidding me. For another laugh take a look at the price of their jackets. For another $400 you get the arms to the vest.

  2. jon weisberg says:

    Peter, Yes, like other new tech, it’s pricey. Had a chance last week to try the jacket in colder conditions. More pumps = more warmth. It uses technology that works. I’ve recently rediscovered wool and agree with you. It’s terrific. Thanks for your comment. Jon

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