Active insulation Macpac Pisa

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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 06 Apr, 2019 11:03 am

Macpacs total lack of QC on sizing is apparent on the newer unit. Shorter in the torso by a full 22mm, the sleeves are longer by about the same and they are slimmer cut as is the chest and shoulders, definitely a try before you buy garment if possible. If it wasn't for the longer sleeves I would have said it was a mislabled XL
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Thu 09 May, 2019 5:42 pm

The womens version is on sale for $135. I keep putting one in my cart and then not pulling the trigger on it.

Did a walk for a lunch at 1500 metres today, we have snow predicted tomorrow so my lunch spot was a bit 'fresh', but amazing :D :D :D
I took too many redundancies up with me today, as I do get twitchy when it may snow. When stopped, I donned my old MD (?Illawong) fleece, it is dense and works well for the most part even without a windshirt , but it is HEAVY at 600grams. It is super bulky even when rolled down tight.4
Not such a problem today when a heavier daypack is no big deal over 20kmish km's, but with all my overnight gear, I reckon I could probably go lighter.

I did walk with the MD fleece on, but only a short while after restarting after lunch. Other than that, even early this morning, I just wore my MD Superdry baselayer 1/4 zip with my merino vest -thank you workplace uniform order- and got myself moving to stay warm. I think there is a gap in my wardrobe here, a spot that needs to be filled by something packable, reasonably weighted and warm/wearable while walking in the cold. Do you Pisa owners think this could be a good addition for me? Would be superb if it was, as farrrr more affordable than any other options I have looked at.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 09 May, 2019 9:25 pm

I guess it depends a lot on what you wear under it. I haven't had a chance to wear mine in below freezing conditions yet.
Bear in mind I don't think it is as warm as a 200 Polartec plus shell but it is lighter, more like an old fashioned 100 microfleece plus windshirt and about the same comfort level
I like the cut too but it isn't cut skinny so some of my existing gear won't work with it, it will not layer underneath my Uniqlo parka for instance. All I can say is that I liked mine well enough to buy a second one
Up at Falls Creek it was around 11C with a wind, I was warm enough sitting reading a book wearing mine over a base layer T-shirt with my back to the breeze if that helps.
My intention is to use it to replace my own Polartec 200 for this winter and see how it performs with different base layers, from the UL thru the Cap 4 to the R1
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 09 May, 2019 9:32 pm

Mrs Mudd
I bought 10YO Femme a Macpac down jumper because I don't want her being cold after skiing, the womens version of the Arrowsmith
https://www.macpac.co.nz/clearance/wome ... &start=123
I bought her a womens 12 and it just layers over a girls 12 synthetic top, if you just happen to be around that size I think an Arrowsmith a size up would layer very well over a Pisa
Mens Arrowsmiths are almost exactly the same cut as the womens
https://www.macpac.co.nz/down-insulated ... BDS-S.html
Last edited by Moondog55 on Fri 10 May, 2019 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby slparker » Fri 10 May, 2019 12:14 am

@ms mudd - The Pisa is probably what you’re after. It will be good for walking in cold humid and drizzly weather but would need a puffy vest to boost warmth when static. I generally walk in just a base and wind shirt but have the Pisa in mind for x country skiing. I can’t imagine wanting to wear any more than a base under it. If that, it is designed to work as a next to skin layer.
I see it as a different garment than Moondog does - to me it is an active layer in cold damp conditions; as I run hot and sweat freely - a thick base layer under it would trap sweat; so if I need more insulation I’ll put a puffy over it. My main consideration is dealing with sweat and wind in cold weather.
The shell is wind resistant only, which is a bonus as it is designed to sweat in and dry quickly. It is very light and cheap for the warmth it provides, I have to say.
I can actually see it doubling as a sleeping top. Take off the damp base layer when the tent is erected and just wear the Pisa next to skin. It is very snuggly.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 10 May, 2019 10:04 am

I can see it doing double duty as per slparkers post but bearing in mind it is more wind resistant than something like the Patagonia Nano-Air or Nano-Air lite
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Fri 10 May, 2019 1:45 pm

Thank you for the replies Moondog and slparker. Sounds like this bit of clothing will fit the bill nicely for me, can see it getting a lot of use. I haven't bought anything specifically lighter weight for winter and have made do with what I have, but the pisa coming in at half the weight of my fleece and at a sale price seems like a good time to do it.

The Halo down does look snuggly and also at a great sale price, but in my inexperience in the snow and the likelihood that any snow here is likely to be a wet, short lived affair, think I will be safer with the synthetic pisa.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 10 May, 2019 2:22 pm

Different clothing for different jobs. The Pisa is definitely an active layer and any down clothing I consider static insulation until the temperature drops below-25C although even then I would most likely choose synthetic. It is pouring with rain here and a cool 11C with a stiff breeze of 30knots, apparent temperature of 3C.
I just wore mine to see the doctor and while it isn't remotely waterproof it never felt wet and it dried off rapidly in the waiting room, I was feeling very cold so I was wearing my Cap 4 layer under it.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Fri 10 May, 2019 11:47 pm

That's great performance to not feel wet in those conditions. Excellent.
I just bought one. Hope sizing is okay for me. I got a 10 as I figured would only have thin baselayer under it. 12's are typically too roomy or reserved for my outer layers. Hard to know without seeing them in store. Fingers crossed!
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 15 May, 2019 4:37 pm

I'll be interested in your take on the garment Ms_Mudd. Having tried it out every day over the week I think it is too warm to wear when it isn't around freezing, the shell making it a very effective layering piece
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Wed 15 May, 2019 8:47 pm

I intend to give it a good run. I have 7 nights worth of walking planned over the next 6 weeks , both up here where snow is a real chance as well as the Blue Mts, where I expect it will be very cold also. I am hoping like crazy I got the sizing right, seeing as it is meant to be next to skin or just over a baselayer I thought it was better to buy my actual size.
I am pleased you are finding yours so warm. Halving the weight of my midlayer will be quite a win for me if it works out as well for me.
Will update once I have it and have used it a bit, just excitedly in the checking the PO Box phase now ;-)
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 02 Jun, 2019 12:03 pm

Well it has been cold and wet for a couple of weeks now Ms Mudd, Have you formed an opinion on it yet>??
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Sun 02 Jun, 2019 3:41 pm

Would you believe it only came last Tuesday?! I had to phone Macpac and ask where it was. I had ordered a spork with the jacket, having lost mine sometime ago, and it was out of stock and holding the order up. Once I phoned them and told them to omit the spork, the jacket came. Ironically not in time for a big 20+km day walk I did on the Tuesday where I encountered a light dusting of snow.
It was at home though as I returned from my walk, I put it on once I got back and had my daughter snap a pic of me in it, not a great pic and my face is windburned from that day's cold mountain activities, you can see my daypack in the background, I literally dumped the pack and tore open the parcel :lol: I was happy with the fit, it is over a lightweight polartec tshirt and MD super dry 1/4 zip long sleeve baselayer here. I have only used it once around town on a cold , but clear morning where I went walking for only about 8km without a pack. It did a nice job or regulating body temp and it felt dry when I took it off. Thought I may have overheated due to the sun being out, but there was a super chilly, blustering wind. The fabric stopped the wind cutting through, but I still felt like there was enough of a slight airflow getting through to help with moisture management if that makes sense?

The one thing I didn't like is the feel of the lining on my hands. In Winter us nurses/midwives get chapped hands from washing them so much and I found that the rough bits on my hands were catching on the lining when using the pockets, I really haaaate that sensation, it feels gross. Easily alleviated with more moisturising I guess?!

I impressed with how lightweight it is , less than half the weight of the fleece I hope it will replace and am keen to give it some more testing this week.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 02 Jun, 2019 3:50 pm

Try Eulactol on your hands rather than a sorbolene based hand cream. My own has a similar fit, close but not tight
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Ms_Mudd » Sun 02 Jun, 2019 5:25 pm

Will give the eulactol a go, it is seriously a constant battle in winter for my hands not to break down.

Yes, was pretty happy with the fit of it and how it was cut at the back, it is a nice length that will still easily cover my back when sitting down or bending.

Thanks for starting the thread, as I had been looking and looking at the Pisa since it had been listed on sale, the price was great and a lighter weight active layer is exactly what I was needing. In other winter layering news, I bought some waterproof socks (Antu) rather than using breadbags with my trail runners, will give them a try in the next week too.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby slparker » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 9:53 am

Quick review:
I have used the Pisa hoodie a few times now for x-country ski-ing and walking in dry conditions.

Just to re-iterate, the garment is a loose weave of polartec alpha polyester insulation (sort of like a loose string cardigan) covered by a wind resistant, but very air permeable, nylon shell.

I think that the jacket is too insulating for cross-country skiing in the conditions that I have used it (just below freezing, wind and fog) as i sweated a lot working hard uphill. But, I generally always sweat when skiing and I found that when skiing on the flat or downhill the top dried quickly which is a massive surprise for something so insulating. If I had standard synthetic insulation (or god forbid, merino) I would be wet for hours but I did wear a fishnet mesh polypro top under which probably helped and also a bumpack rather than daypack.

i compared it to my other combination of gridfleece base and windshell and found that combo more suitable as I can lose the windshell when the sun comes out later in the day.

For ski-ing, the pisa might be better to use as advertised - as a base layer as the insulation is comfortable on the skin and does dry very quickly - I just think it needs predictably cold conditions to work well.

For walking - probably works better as my aerobic output is usually lower when walking - it works well for cold windy conditions but in very cold bitter conditions I had to put a shell over for a low intensity walk - which is a good sign as it means the pisa is working as advertised. That said, it is not as versatile as a fleece/windshirt combo but is much more convenient to throw over a base so is good for daywalks or walking the dog in the cold windy hills around my home. Even if you do get a bit hot the garment breathes so well that you don't get saturated.

Where this jacket excels is as a training top or a throw-on when you finish aerobic exercise, such as running or kayaking. i can see it being good for campwear when taking off a wet shell and damp base and throwing on the pisa straight on the skin to keep you warm when setting up camp and you can finish sweating through the garment rather then get chilled under a shell or wetting out your down puffy. You would still need a lightweight puffy or quilt over the top in truly cold weather (i.e. frigid alpine hut in the snow).

Hood - pretty useless. There is no way to cinch it down effectively so it is pretty crap. It prevents me from recommending the hoodie unless you have a truly massive melon shaped head.

Would I buy the hoodie again if I lost it? probably not - I would opt for a vest version if I could or, at the price that the Pisa is selling, the jacket rather than the hoodie.
That said, my old synthetic insulation jacket hasn't been used this year and when I reach for the Pisa the dog gets pretty excited - so it has seen a fair bit of use.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Zapruda » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 10:45 am

Thanks for the review. I have been using the Nitro hoody from Macpac since march. it is the same Alpha fleece as the Pisa but without the face fabric. I really like it and find its almost perfect in cold windy conditions in combination with a light rain shell. It works really well on its own when highly active. Horribly fragile though, does not like scrub. I am on my second right now...
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby dashandsaph » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 1:21 pm

If you like the Pisa, they're 1/2 price online -https://www.macpac.com.au/clearance/mens/macpac-pisa-polartec-alpha-fleece-jacket---mens/114724-CLEARANCE.html?cgid=clearance-mens#start=7 just not my size. Grrr.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby slparker » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 2:11 pm

Zapruda wrote:Thanks for the review. I have been using the Nitro hoody from Macpac since march. it is the same Alpha fleece as the Pisa but without the face fabric. I really like it and find its almost perfect in cold windy conditions in combination with a light rain shell. It works really well on its on when highly active. Horribly fragile though, does not like scrub. I am on my second right now...


I looked at the Nitro but I had just bought a macpac powergrid hoody baselayer that I really rate and they seemed substantially similar so I passed on it.


i can't really tell much difference between polartec grid or polartec alpha in practice but given the greater thickness, but open weave, of the alpha insulation I would say that the Nitro would be just as cool as the polartec grid baselayer on it's own and definitely warmer with a windshell over the top.

The relative wicking of alpha under a shell, in the pisa, and powergrid, under a nylon windshell, feels the same to me which makes the alpha pretty amazing as it is quite a bit more lofty and thicker than standard gridfleece.

The nitro would win for versatility, i reckon.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby onward » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 2:21 pm

Agree with Zapruda...the Nitro Hoody has been a game changer for me, but I wouldn't wear it for active use without a wind shirt over it. I do wish it had a 1/4 zip to help venting. On a recent 14 day hike with my partner, I made the mistake of giving her it one day when she was cold...I didn't see it again until the end of the hike and we had to stop and buy her one on the way home! I did unpick the silly chest pocket and then found it was also glued...that did make a mess of trying to clean it up; but hand sewing it works and the nature of the fabric hides the messy sewing! The women's version doesn't have the pocket.
The Patagonia Nano-Air is probably a better alternative to the MacPac Pisa hoodie
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby slparker » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 2:21 pm

dashandsaph wrote:If you like the Pisa, they're 1/2 price online -https://www.macpac.com.au/clearance/mens/macpac-pisa-polartec-alpha-fleece-jacket---mens/114724-CLEARANCE.html?cgid=clearance-mens#start=7 just not my size. Grrr.


red is available from s-XL

https://www.macpac.com.au/clearance/men ... AU&start=7

fit is pretty true to size but if you want more than a baselayer underneath or have broad shoulders go one bigger.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Lamont » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 4:24 pm

Seriously looked at the one MD linked but thought it too warm for my use. But still interested.
If you have a few spare spondoolicks floating around try a Rab Pulse Hoody (105gms) under the Nitro (125gms) -nice.
If you want it warmer stick the Pulse over the Nitro-yes it does happen-this alpha is majestical.
I sewed a wee elastic tag and button on the throat of the pulse-now I can walk with a cravat and my throat is warm!
Now you have honed your sewing skills on your other Nitro Zapruda your sewing skills will make a cravat on a Pulse a fait accompli :D
Also just bought another.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Zapruda » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 5:17 pm

Lamont wrote:Seriously looked at the one MD linked but thought it too warm for my use. But still interested.
If you have a few spare spondoolicks floating around try a Rab Pulse Hoody (105gms) under the Nitro (125gms) -nice.
If you want it warmer stick the Pulse over the Nitro-yes it does happen-this alpha is majestical.
I sewed a wee elastic tag and button on the throat of the pulse-now I can walk with a cravat and my throat is warm!
Now you have honed your sewing skills on your other Nitro Zapruda your sewing skills will make a cravat on a Pulse a fait accompli :D
Also just bought another.


Maybe I’ll turn the old Nitro into a singlet for summer ;)

Where does one get one of these majestic Rab hoodies? It’s exactly what I’m looking for at the moment.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Lamont » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 5:48 pm

Zapruda wrote:
Lamont wrote:Seriously looked at the one MD linked but thought it too warm for my use. But still interested.
If you have a few spare spondoolicks floating around try a Rab Pulse Hoody (105gms) under the Nitro (125gms) -nice.
If you want it warmer stick the Pulse over the Nitro-yes it does happen-this alpha is majestical.
I sewed a wee elastic tag and button on the throat of the pulse-now I can walk with a cravat and my throat is warm!
Now you have honed your sewing skills on your other Nitro Zapruda your sewing skills will make a cravat on a Pulse a fait accompli :D
Also just bought another.


Maybe I’ll turn the old Nitro into a singlet for summer ;) Hmmm Gladiator. I like it.

Where does one get one of these majestic Rab hoodies? It’s exactly what I’m looking for at the moment.

https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... ody-p11661
-Identical sizing to P Cap LW and covers the whole hand a bit less see thru' also
Do I need to say- non affiliated link, especially now as your'e :mrgreen: ? :lol:
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Zapruda » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 6:12 pm

Lamont wrote:
Zapruda wrote:
Lamont wrote:Seriously looked at the one MD linked but thought it too warm for my use. But still interested.
If you have a few spare spondoolicks floating around try a Rab Pulse Hoody (105gms) under the Nitro (125gms) -nice.
If you want it warmer stick the Pulse over the Nitro-yes it does happen-this alpha is majestical.
I sewed a wee elastic tag and button on the throat of the pulse-now I can walk with a cravat and my throat is warm!
Now you have honed your sewing skills on your other Nitro Zapruda your sewing skills will make a cravat on a Pulse a fait accompli :D
Also just bought another.


Maybe I’ll turn the old Nitro into a singlet for summer ;) Hmmm Gladiator. I like it.

Where does one get one of these majestic Rab hoodies? It’s exactly what I’m looking for at the moment.

https://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk ... ody-p11661
-Identical sizing to P Cap LW and covers the whole hand a bit less see thru' also
Do I need to say- non affiliated link, especially now as your'e :mrgreen: ? :lol:


Thanks G! I’ll report back when it arrives.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Petew » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 8:08 pm

I have a Pisa and a nitro. The nitro is freaking awesome! I wish it didn't have the silly chest pocket though. It is really warm for its weight and wicks like a beast. I wish someone would make some pants out of this stuff.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Zapruda » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 8:22 pm

Petew wrote:I have a Pisa and a nitro. The nitro is freaking awesome! I wish it didn't have the silly chest pocket though. It is really warm for its weight and wicks like a beast. I wish someone would make some pants out of this stuff.


I’m surprised it hasn’t caught on more widely. The wicking is incredible and it dries very quickly.

Agreed, some pants made out of it with some wind pants over the top would be excellent.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Lamont » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 9:01 pm

And if you time it right Macpac sells them for $89. Bingo bango .. A fair dinkum bargain. Just avoid their dodgy sales practice. Price up/price middling. Very dodgy, we had some words about it. Their so called retail price shifts around like the mushy column shift gear stick in my old EJ Holden.
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Petew » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 11:20 pm

The Michael Hill Jewelers of outdoor retailers...

This stuff works amazingly well under a windshirt.

I have a blue one and feel like I'm on the Muppet show when I wear it, fluffy! Not ideal for bush bashing though.....
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Re: Active insulation Macpac Pisa

Postby Zapruda » Mon 26 Aug, 2019 11:44 pm

Here is my first one after a few hours in the scrub. Pulls on the fabric shortened the sleeve and torso length. It was quite tight by the end of the walk.
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