Over the winter period, we had the chance to get hands on with the latest Carinthia 4.0 Range, comprised of the LIG (Light Insulation Garment), MIG (Medium Insulation Garment) and HIG (Heavy Insulation Garment). Following an extended period of testing, one jacket saw more use than the others – the MIG. First previewed in Issue 7, this month we look at the MIG in detail, highlighting our thoughts on Carinthia’s premium product range.
The Austrian Carinthia brand owned by Goldeck Textil GMBH has been buoyant on the market for over 40 years. They specialise in world-famous, insulation and rain garments, as well as sleeping bags. Carinthia have earned great respect among their customers, who are mainly representatives of uniformed services and the military, all thanks to their high-quality and carefully thought-out designs and insulation technology. The most recent addition to their arsenal is the Carinthia MIG 4.0. Medium-weight Insulation Jacket.
Now in it’s fourth generation, Carinthia’s cold protection and performance-oriented MIG 4.0 jacket has been further refined and developed in collaboration with special forces units from around the world. This involvement has optimised product performance, improved the cut and reduced the outer seams by combining specialised crafting and materials with critical input from real-world operators.
Hard-wearing comfort, robust durability and optimal protection are words that get thrown around quite a lot when reviewing high-end outerwear like this, but believe me, they absolutely characterise this jacket and I have never encountered such a multifunctional, enduring and dependable jacket in my life.
Starting from the outside, the outer surface of the MIG 4.0 is tough and nothing short of impervious. Made from a combination of Gore Windstopper®, 100% Polyester and ePTFE Membrane, nothing gets soaked and everything gets repelled, even under heavy English rain. The DWR works very well and the newly designed hood (adjustable in two directions), make the jacket weather impenetrable from pretty much anything that Mother Nature can throw at you.
With a total of five outer pockets, three velcro squares and one ventilation opening in each armpit, Carinthia have made superb use of the MIG 4.O’s surface real estate. Two large vertical outer pockets, lined with ‘thermo fleece’ have been cleverly positioned high on the chest in such a way that the user may access their contents at either side of their plate carrier or chest rig without obstruction. It’s worth noting here that the chest area is completely free from stitches (apart from the two-way front zipper with storm flap), which aids in a more comfortable experience when operations demand a plate carrier. To finish off the external storage, three more pockets include two bicep pockets with generous hook and loop panels and one additional forearm pouch located on the left arm which will happily house most quick-access admin that may be needed swiftly.
Moving up, the lined hood design is separate from the collar, a welcome feature, enabling the thermo fleece-lined collar and chin guard to provide a good thermal seal around your neck and lower face, keeping warmth from escaping, whilst freeing up the hood to be used when required. Another feature we were pleased to discover were the covered access points to the pull-strings around collar and hood. They are all concealed by the means of integrated flaps and pockets, giving these plastic adjustment points protection from the elements and allowing the MIG 4.0 to boast a much cleaner and low-drag look and feel.
Slipping inside and zipping up, the MIG 4.0 is warm, light and has been perfectly designed to protect the end-user against the extremes of the cold, wet and wind. The Carinthia ISO Mapping® Technology helps the body to build up heat where it is needed. Carinthia have achieved this by cleverly zoning of the body’s regions. In a nutshell, each body region has a different heat radiation behaviour. Carinthia’s ISO Mapping® system builds exactly on this cleverly executed feature by dividing the body into different ‘heat zones’, preventing ‘cold spots’. According to Carinthia, the MIG series provides thermal comfort and protection to temperatures of minus 15oc. I have no doubt that this will go a long way to preventing hypothermia.
The ISO Mapping® Technology works in harmony with the guts of the jacket; an insulation system called ‘G-LOFT®’ which is a synthetic alternative to natural down. The G-LOFT® bi-component-fibre is permeated with a micrometer wide air duct running through it. As a hollow fibre it ensures optimal warmth insulation, imitating nature, namely the fur of a Polar Bear. The fibre consists of two different raw materials which, after the spinning process, contract to different degrees during the cooling process. The result is a spiral formed crimping of the fibre, similar to a coiled spring, which is inherent in its molecular structure. Due to the “memory effect”, the G-LOFT® fibre always returns to its uniquely warming and fluffy original shape, even when machine-washed in standard domestic washing machines.
As you can tell, we are really impressed with this jacket from Carinthia, but are there any aspects or features that we didn’t like that could have possibly been included or removed? To be honest, not many… We would have liked to have seen some media ports built in to the internal (or even external) pockets to accomodate media devices or communication systems and maybe the addition of some ‘thumb-loops’ on the wrist-gaitors, but these are just personal preferences and doesn’t take anything away from the appearance of the jacket.
Speaking of appearance, the only feature that I can take issue with, in my opinion, are that the stiffened, re-enforced shoulders give you the look of a “LEGO-man”, a very stocky one. I know why Carinthia have decided to include this feature and that they are designed to be resistant to abrasion and mechanical damage, so that our plate carriers, rucksacks and load bearing equipment fit and sit nicely on your shoulders without damaging the main fabric. This is no inconvenience by any means, however, when walking past a reflective shop window or mirror, it does look as if I’m wearing a uniform with epaulettes and I can’t help but notice how prominent and pointy they are.
To date, our experience with Carinthia’s MIG 4.0 system is only preliminary and at this point, we cannot hope to have pushed such a garment system to the extent of its capabilities, for us to do so, you’ll have to check back after a couple of seasons! What is clear though is that the design aspects and technical features are more than just marketing hype. Sure, some standard issue type GoreTex waterproofs may keep you dry but we guarantee that you’ll be able to push them to their failure point long before the MIG 4.0 system gives out on you. The elephant in the room is arguably the price of this jacket and that in itself sets it in a league of its own. That league though is targeting products specifically and intensively developed for those that simply cannot settle with compromise and for whom failure or under-performance is unacceptable. In that sense, the question really is not “how much can the MIG 4.0 system handle” but rather, “can you push it to where that point might be?”.
- Covered accessories
- Lined hood, adjustable in two directions
- Ventilation openings
- Two-way front zipper with storm flap and chin guard
- 2x large outer pockets, lined with thermo fleece
- 2x Large inner mesh zip pockets (7″ x 7″)
- 3x Arm pockets
- 3x velcro squares
- Adjustable, elastic drawcord at hem
- Compression bag included
- Insulation: G-LOFT®, Body 125 g/m², Arms 80 g/m², 100% Polyester
- Outer fabric: Gore Windstopper®, 100% Polyester, ePTFE Membrane, water repellent
- Inner lining: 100% Polyamide
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Pack size: 15×28 cm
- Weight: 890g (Size M)
- Colours: Olive, Coyote, Black, Urban Grey