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Part of Quiksilver's technical Highline range, we test the Stretch Insulator's midlayer credentials
Quality
8
Comfort
8
Performance
9
Overall Score
8
+
Very effective insulation and great tech credentials in terms of weight
Fit and styling will not have universal appeal

Quiksilver extend their top-end Highline range this season with the introduction of the Stretch Insulator.

The first thing you may notice is that the jacket doesn't have a hood - which some may see as a negative, but can actually make for a much more comfortable layering piece, as the hood doesn't bulk up around the back of the neck.

The second obvious thing is the throwback styling - 80s block colours and almost Dynasty-esque square shoulders. If you're old enough for this to feel nostalgically retro, great. If you're young enough that it's merely a new fashion, even better.

Performance-wise, Quiksilver have wisely gone with tried and trusted Primaloft (in this case the Gold Active variant) and finished the Stretch Insulator with a very light but durable-feeling (and obviously, stretchy) outer. You could in fact wear this as a stand alone jacket on all but the most miserable of days!

The cut may not suit everyone - not baggy as such, but certainly on the generous side of sizing, with something of a boxy feel. A real irritant for me was the low-hanging armpits which somehow make your arms feel attached to your torso in a webbed-feet effect. That will clearly be a personal decision regarding fit, but it did restrict my movement.

That said, for all the boxy shaped fit, it still feels close enough for the insulation to be very effective. As a midlayer under a shell - or barely noticeable in a pack in case of a temperature drop - the Stretch Insulator performs exactly as advertised.