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Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1983
Headquarters Albany, New York, United States
Products Synthetic Insulation & Performance Yarn
Parent PrimaLoft, Inc.

PrimaLoft® is a brand of patented synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material that was developed for the United States Army in the 1980s. PrimaLoft is a registered trademark of PrimaLoft, Inc., the brand's parent company.

PrimaLoft is used as a synthetic insulation in the outdoor market in outerwear, gloves, sleeping bags, and footwear.[1] It is also used as a down alternative in the home furnishings and bedding market in pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers.[2]

In 2007, PrimaLoft introduced a product extension of performance yarns. The yarns are manufactured with 100% polyester or 45% polyester fibers and 55% merino wool. PrimaLoft performance yarn is used in socks, sweaters, base layers, and accessories primarily intended for the outdoor markets.[3]

In 2010, PrimaLoft was awarded compliance with the bluesign criteria for environmental impact, establishing PrimaLoft as the first branded insulation manufacturer to obtain bluesign's system partner status.[4] The bluesign criteria is designed for maximum resource productivity with respect to environmental health and safety.[5]


In 1983 the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Natick, MA approached PrimaLoft’s former parent company Albany International Corp., a global advanced textile and material processing company,[6] to develop a water resistant synthetic alternative to goose down for use in military sleeping bags and clothing systems in variable environmental conditions. The U.S. Army was primarily interested in a synthetic insulation that would be comparable to goose down in weight, compressibility, and warmth, but also retain heat while in the presence of moisture. In 1985, United States Patent 4,588,635 for "synthetic down" was filed and ultimately approved in May of 1986. This original non-woven insulation would eventually be renamed as PrimaLoft ONE. PrimaLoft was then established as a business subsidiary of Albany International Corp. in 1988 for commercialization.

In 1989, the first commercially available PrimaLoft insulated garment was manufactured by L.L.Bean. A 1990 New York Times article titled "Outdoor Wear: Sorting Out the Choices" featuring statements by Edward Howell, then L.L. Bean’s director of product development, featuring PrimaLoft insulation as a high-loft synthetic alternative to down with similar performance dry, but superior performance wet. Since then, PrimaLoft has gone on to become a major supplier of high performance, technical insulation for the outdoor industry.

On June 29, 2012, PrimaLoft, Inc. completed the acquisition of the assets of PrimaLoft® from former parent Albany International Corp. The company then became a privately held company as a result of the transaction.[7]

PrimaLoft was introduced into new insulation product segments as follows:

Thermal performance[edit]

The original patent filed for PrimaLoft insulation, known as "Synthetic Down" and filed in May 1986, describes a particular mix of synthetic microfibers and macrofibers that compares favorably to down.[8] It was proven to provide an equally efficient thermal barrier, be of equivalent density, possess similar compressional properties, have improved wetting and drying characteristics, and have superior loft retention when wet.[9] The latter point illustrates PrimaLoft's primary advantage over down. Unlike down, PrimaLoft is able to retain 96% of its insulating capability when wet by maintaining its loft, and therefore is used in clothing and equipment intended to be used in cold, wet conditions, such as jackets, parkas, gloves, sleeping bags and footwear.[10]

The intrinsic warmth of a jacket is highly correlated to both the type of PrimaLoft branded insulation used in the construction of the jacket, and the thickness of that insulation. A greater thickness of insulation will ensure greater airspace in which the insulation is able to trap body heat.[11] Activity levels and warmth value of garments insulated with PrimaLoft products is largely dependent on the wearer and the garment’s intended end use.


Products made of PrimaLoft Yarn are available in 100% polyester or a blend of 45% polyester and 55% merino wool, both of which provide high levels of comfort and moisture management for the end user.

PrimaLoft was introduced into new yarn product segments as follows:


Third party testing and certification validates all performance claims published about PrimaLoft products. A list of these certifications include:


According the company website, PrimaLoft insulation products are machine washable and dryable in cold water on gentle cycle. Garments are recommended to be tumble dried in a home dryer at low temperatures, and the use of the extreme heats and caustic chemicals of dry cleaning, irons, and bleach detergents should not be used.[12] Specific care instructions vary per garment.


  1. ^ "Brands using PrimaLoft". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  2. ^ "PrimaLoft Home". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  3. ^ "PrimaLoft YARN". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  4. ^ "PrimaLoft Named First Branded Insulation Manufacturer to Obtain bluesign System Partner Status". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  5. ^ "bluesign® standard". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  6. ^ "Albany International Corp. History". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  7. ^ "PrimaLoft Completes Sale". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  8. ^ "US Patent 4,588,635". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  9. ^ "US Patent 4,588,635". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  10. ^ "Brands using PrimaLoft". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Insulated jacket reviews". Retrieved 2011-07-02. 
  12. ^ "PrimaLoft Care". Retrieved 2011-07-02. 

External links[edit]