Do you know of the Japanese manufacturer that specializes in downwear and has been researching and developing down jackets used in environments of -60℃ for over 50 years?
It is called ZANTER.
ZANTER was established in 1951 as a clothing department of the current Toyo Feather Industry, Co., Ltd., and is a manufacturer that has been supporting Japanese adventurers, including the Japanese Alpine Club for the world’s first ascent of Manaslu that captured the hearts of the whole of Japan, the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, those on Everest expeditions, and the first Japanese to reach the North Pole. It would not be an exaggeration to say that ZANTER’s history is the history of Japanese downwear.
In particular, ZANTER has repeatedly revolutionized its techniques almost every year in developing products for and supplying them to the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition that has been operating since 1956.
THE MONSTER SPEC® DOWN JACKET is a down jacket that is based on the down jackets used by the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition and provides ultimate warmth both in the city and the mountains.
Key to the down jacket’s warmth is the creation of a wall with a layer of air. This warm air should then not be allowed to escape. In other words, the high quality down and the structure that prevents heat from escaping are essential. Down is the layer of fluffy feathers that grow on the chest and stomach of waterbirds, and the bigger each one of these feathers is, the more air can be retained, increasing the thermal insulation capacity.
Feathers of medium sized chicks reared for meat are used for most of the downwear commonly available in the market. The meat of medium sized chicks of about 45 days old is tender and ideal for consumption, and the feathers are the byproduct of this meat. However, at around 45 days old, large feathers cannot be collected as the chicks are still growing.
Moreover, for expensive products, only white feathers from selective breeding are used to avoid colors from showing through, thus narrowing the options for high quality down. The feathers used by ZANTER are from waterbirds above 90 days old and are raised for weed and pest control in agriculture. Although the color of the feathers is gray, the barbs are concentrated and each feather is large, making these excellent feathers in terms of heat retention, elasticity, and durability. These feathers are cleaned, sterilized, and put into the down pack (inner pack) that is made of a light material of high density to create a jacket.
It also has a distinctive feature of having a very unique pattern with a double-structure and down tube, creating a structure that prevents heat from escaping. In this double-structure, down packs are arranged in an alternating pattern in the outer and inner layers of the down jacket (refer to image), preventing heat from escaping from the seams, and at the same time, avoiding a puffy look despite the large quantity of feathers.
Moreover, the use of a tubular down pack called a down tube along the zip inside the jacket also completely prevents heat from escaping around the zip. These structures made it possible to create large-capacity pockets in six areas without allowing heat to escape.
“Hummingbird 5083” by Kaji Group, developer of the world’s lightest nylon fabric, is used for the fabric. In addition to it being 15D (denier), which is thin and lightweight, it is made of a material called rip-stop taffeta and is highly tear-resistant. Furthermore, as the performance of feathers deteriorates when wet, the entire jacket has a water-repellent finish, and we have also used YKK’s zip, which keeps water out.
As the cleaning of the feathers to the development of fabric, cutting, sewing, and finishing, are all done in Japan, we are able to provide aftercare support such as repair.