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Insulation Properties

The original warmth without bulk insulation.

Some 25 years ago, Thinsulate insulation was introduced as the original "warmth without bulk" insulation. And it virtually revolutionized the insulation industry overnight.

Today, because of 3M’s dedication to continuous innovation, Thinsulate insulation is still the warmest thin apparel insulation available. In fact, when equal thicknesses are compared, it provides about 1-1/2 times the warmth of down and about twice the warmth of other high-loft insulation materials. And because Thinsulate insulation absorbs less than 1% of its weight in water, it retains its insulating ability even in damp conditions.

p>There are high-performance insulations for outdoor enthusiasts who demand the best—Thinsulate Ultra insulation from 3M.

Our original Thinsulate™ Insulation has always been one of the warmest clothing insulations on the market. Thinsulate Ultra insulation goes one step further. It is loftier and thicker than original Thinsulate insulation—for even greater warmth and comfort. Yet still thin enough to allow complete freedom of movement.

Softer, more compressible

Thinsulate Ultra insulation is exceptionally soft and compressible. This makes it flexible enough even for accessories like gloves, which are difficult to insulate effectively without restricting movement.

Extreme performance, active performance

3M created Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation Extreme Performance for a very specific and demanding clientele: those who demand just that—extreme performance from their outerwear. And it really delivers: A mid-loft insulation, it's designed for some of the harshest conditions on earth. It's made with 55% polyester and 45% olefin and is both washable and dry-cleanable.

Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation Active Performance is designed for active performance. The "thinner" member of the Ultra family, it presents a slimmer silhouette. Breathable and durable, it's made with 65% olefin and 35% recycled polyester fibers (these contain a minimum of 25% post-consumer waste, such as recycled soda bottles), giving new life to resources that would otherwise be wasted.

The technology of warmth

What makes Thinsulate insulation so effective? It’s all in the fibers. Insulations work in two ways: first, by trapping air. The more air trapped, the more efficient the insulation. Second, by reflecting back the body’s radiant heat.

The unique microfibers of Thinsulate insulation are about ten times smaller than the fibers of other synthetic insulations, which means they’re much more efficient at trapping air. . . and more effective at keeping you warm and comfortable. It also means more fibers can be packed into the same space, where they can reflect back more of the body’s radiant heat.

The fibers of Thinsulate™ Insulation are fine, making them ideal for trapping insulating air and reflecting back the body's radiant heat.

The fibers in 6-denier polyester are much thicker and not nearly as efficient at trapping air or reflecting back body heat.

Performance that holds up

Neither repeated machine washings nor dry-cleanings affect the performance of Thinsulate™ Insulation. Tests have shown, in fact, that Thinsulate insulation's average "clo" (a measure of the ability of an insulation to keep you warm) remains relatively unchanged even after repeated cleanings.

The original thin warmth

Thinsulate insulation is used in general outerwear, ski-and boardwear, handwear, and anywhere else a thin, highly efficient insulation is needed. It is breathable, moisture-resistant, and both machine washable and dry-cleanable, depending on the individual manufacturer’s recommendations for care of the shell.

Thinsulate insulation for accessories

40 gram* Thinsulate™ Insulation is recommended for cool conditions or for high activity levels where wearer generates/builds a lot of body heat through activity.

  • Handwear
    • dress, fashion, commuter
    • children’s
    • casual sports
    • high activity winter sports
  • Headwear
  • Other accessories

Use higher gram weights of insulation for other purposes.

70 gram* Thinsulate™ Insulation is recommended for cold conditions or for moderate activity levels where wearer generates/builds a normal amount of body heat through activity.

  • Handwear
    • dress, fashion, commuter
    • casual sports
    • active winter sports
  • Headwear
  • Other accessories

100 gram* Thinsulate™ Insulation is recommended for very cold conditions or for light activity levels where wearer generates/builds little body heat through activity.

  • Handwear
    • casual sports
    • commuter
    • work
    • winter sports
    • hunting
  • Headwear
  • Other accessories

150 gram* Thinsulate™ Insulation is recommended for extremely cold conditions or for very light activity levels where wearer generates/builds minimal body heat through activity.

  • Handwear
    • winter sports
    • hunting
  • Specialized applications requiring additional warmth

* Grams per square meter of insulation

Typical Thinsulate™ Ultra and Lite Loft Properties

  Thickness Weight Warmth
  cm inches g/m2 oz/yd2 R-Value
FX100 0.55 0.20 105 3.1 0.79
LL250 6.4 2.5 250 8.2  
US100 1.07 0.4 128 3.8 1.32
US150 1.62 0.64 180 6.0 2.00
US200 2.14 0.8 233 7.6 2.64
Note that Ultra insulation has an R-value approximately 20% higher than 3M's standard Thinsulate

Thinsulate Ultra and LiteLoft insulation products have melt temperatures falling between 150-170°C (302- 338°F). Thinsulate Flex has a melt temperature of 98°C (208°F).