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Insulation Warmer Than Down...
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Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 12:50:51 MDT Print View


I hadn't seen a post on this, so I figured I'd throw it out there for fellow Gear Geeks. I don't know anything more about the product than listed (and no, I have no vested interest in it).

Argon is a widely available and safe gas which creates warmth by extracting the heavy molecules out of the air and is alleged to create warmth greater than even the finest-quality down. Argon is impervious to wet conditions and even has some buoyancy.

Klymit ( of Utah is spearheading an effort to make clothing and pads with Argon and they are presently taking preorders at a 25% discount. Please note, this discount is only available through July 31st.

Personally, I think this represents a pretty interesting product for lightweight backpacking, but it does have some limitations which includes the potential to leak and the need to inflate the item after each use with a pressurized Argon-filled container similar in size and concept to a CO2.

And no, I don't know anything about the weight of these items...

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 13:20:43 MDT Print View

That might have potential. I wish they had listed the weights of their products. Personally, I don't like carrying any kind of inflatable gear.
It says the founder got the idea from diving suits, so this idea has been around for a while... it was just never used for anything other than diving suits. I'm surprised nobody thought of doing this before.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 13:59:46 MDT Print View

"I'm surprised nobody thought of doing this before" Probably heavy, which is OK for diving. Too much belief in their eyes in the videos.

I'll put forth the first wild guess on weight for the vest: 2.25lbs. in a medium.

As for insulation wild guess = 1.5in. of down.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 15:35:09 MDT Print View

I met with the guys from Klymit at a prior Outdoor Retailer show, and have spoken to them very recently about their vests.

Stay tuned, a short article is in the works... :-)

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 15:49:43 MDT Print View

Perhaps they read this thread, as the website now has the following hype-free information :

"Experience the lightest weight insulated vest ever! At just 290 grams..."

The pad seems like the most intriguing item - i wonder if the argon shots are adaptable to other inflatable pads as well?

Of course Argon has been used in insulated fenestration for many years now, with moderate, but measurable performance gains over similar glazing sandwiches with only air inside.

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: Re: Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 16:30:45 MDT Print View

10 oz for a vest is pretty heavy but that is a lot lighter than I thought it was going to be. I'm sure someone will eventually make ultralight versions of this technology. Until then...

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 07/23/2009 17:04:00 MDT Print View

On their website one of the vests is listed as being 290 grams (~10oz). I would guess the this doesn't include the weight of the argon canister which say increases the weight by another 20%. That makes it three tights as heavy as my WM Flash Vest, twice as heavy as the WM Flight Vest, and about the weight of the FF Helios Vest. I am not sure this is a winner from weight / warmth.

The ability to tailor insulation sounds interesting... but I would worry about leaks. There have been other folks who have tried simular things. For example, GoreTex tried and killed off the Airvantage and there is the cheap


Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Klymit CEO message on 07/29/2009 15:02:36 MDT Print View

Hey guys, just catching up with the thread started here about our new and upcoming product launches. Let me see if I can help answer some of the questions going on. As I understand it, thus far the questions/concerns are:

1. Q: Leaks and punctures
A: You are absolutely right, as with any way different technology, there are strengths and weaknesses. We have done our best to think through every potential weakness and this is one of the first ones that came to mind when we first thought of this technology. Potential of puncturing the gas chambers is something wanted to resolve the best we can. Thus far we have had over 150 people field test our gear from skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, etc and have never once in our entire time building this technology ever had a puncture, kinda weird but it just shows that the way the gear is used it is highly unlikely to get punctures. However, in the case that a puncture occurs we currently have 2 solutions:
a. Preventative: We plan to make our gear in the future available with a puncture proof coating. There are fabrics we plan to use i.e. hexarmor ( that is nearly impossible to cut or puncture. When developing our military solutions with body armor integration we had the local SWAT and Special Forces teams out to our office and showed them a sample of the fabric coated with hexarmor. They used their issued very sharp knives and tried forcefully to cut the fabric and could not. We actually even broke a hypodermic needle trying to puncture the fabric. This seems to be a promising preventative solution but we do not have a solid date on when it will be made available this way. Stay tuned to our website for info on this.
b. Repair: We have a short and long term solution for repairing. Short term we plan to use a clear adhesive patch (under final testing) for infield quick solutions. Once the chamber is punctured, just slap one of these small patches on and pump back up. This patch may be a great solution for long term as well, but we are verifying that now. We also have a silicone type glue that takes a few hours to cure, but it is similar to SeamGrip and goes on clear, flexible and very airtight as well. Each product purchased from Klymit will come with the best and final patch kit solution.

2. Q: Weights of gear:
A: Final pieces are on their way to us for official weights but we anticipate that our lightest Kinetic vest (Red Rock, others are just slightly heavier) will weigh when finished between 250 – 300 grams depending on the size (XS – XL). This I can with confidence say is the worlds lightest insulated waterproof vest ever. When we have the final vests in each color/fabric, and size in our hands we will do final weight testing and post them under each product in the store. Your right that the above weight does not include the valve and canister as in many cases people just pump up the vest at the beginning of the day, and use the Kontrol dial (on the left breast) to release some argon as the sun comes out and it gets warmer. However the weight of the Klymitizer (the gas deliver valve) is 45 grams, and the weight of the HotShot (argon canister) is 58 grams. If you use a Kinetic vest, and future products i.e. Klymit gloves, pants, Inertia pad, tents, etc then you actually save on weight cutting out all the other heavier insulators. For now though there is just the vest that uses the gas so you decide how to factor in that weight if you think you need to carry the gas with to add insulation throughout the day (probably the case if you’re going on a multiday trip) or if you just need to fill up in the morning and bleed off throughout the day.

3. Q: Insulation comparison
A: Obviously you won’t find a lighter insulation than gas (except a vacuum), and Argon actually has a better thermal conductivity value than all insulators but solid Aerogel, and one of our future gases we will offer Krypton is even better than solid Aergelo. Argon also has a thermal conductivity value about 33% better than completely dry air, so not ambient humid or blow air, but compressed dry air. The trick is, harnessing the potential of these gases in the right way. With our first generation of chambers (currently used in the available Kinetic vests) we have the same warmth to weight ratio (8) as down as verified by Kansas State University (KSU). Now this is under dry conditions, but once you put down or a synthetic fiber under wet conditions, their warmth to weight ratio changes drastically. Our own laboratory testing shows that fiber insulation transfers heat 4 times faster when wet then when it is dry, while Klymit (argon can’t get wet) retains is same thermal conductivity value. You add the fact that the down or other fibers will soak up the water making them heavier our internal data suggest that down and synthetics will go from a warmth to weight ratio of 8 down to about 0.8 and Klymit will remain very close to that 8 number. Our next KSU testing we send off will be to test this specifically and we will post the results when we get them. We have a full white paper we are formalizing that we will release soon with all our studies on the technology to date, both internal and 3rd party data to show how we really stand up apples to apples, but more importantly than what the labs say, is what the 150 beta testers said when they used our gear last winter in as cold as 30 below Celsius. That data we plan to include in our white paper as well. Also stay tuned to learn about our MonoWeave technology (derived from the airbag industry) will improve our warmth to weight ration over down even in dry conditions giving seamless chambers with 100% gas coverage.

4. Q: Can the Klymitizer (the gas delivery valve) and HotShots (the argon canisters) be adapted to other products i.e. camping pads
A: Yes, in short you can with the right homemade connection you might design using hoses, some super glue and duct tape you probably could. However, you will probably end up with an ugly looking pad afterwards, and waste argon trying to do it. Also, our Inertia pad is designed using body mapping to give you insulation and comfort at your body’s pressure points decreasing the necessary volume of gas required to fill the pad. We expect our pad will take up only about 60% of what the NeoAir requires. This means you don’t have to waste so much gas in parts of your pad that your body never touches. Our pads are also both air or argon inflatable. 3 seasons you use your mouth to inflate when it’s not so cold, and in the winter you use argon (need to carry gas cartridge and valve). We designed it this way to make the world’s first 4 season pad that allows you to determine extra warmth and less weight (leaving valve and gas behind in the 3 seasons). Our Inertia pads will be the first product to feature the MonoWeave technology, and our first prototypes are already the world’s most compact (more compact than the NeoAir when rolled up) and the most durable. The Inertia camping pad can withstand over 20 times the amount of pressure that existing pads can, obviously this is because it came from the airbag industry utilizing our MonoWeave technology and we use the world’s largest airbag manufacture Autoliv as our manufacturing partner.

5. Q: How does Klymit compare to the Gore-Tex Airvantage
A: We first learned of the Airvantage after we filed our first patent and while we were developing our early prototypes. This came as a bit of a surprise to use so we spent a considerable about of time researching not only their patents, but why they crashed and burned in the market. Multiple bloggers expressed an appreciation for the variable warmth, but complained about the moisture from their breath used to inflate the vest would freeze and create ice cubes in their vest when they got below 30. After lots of research and long conversations with former Gore employee’s that told us why it failed, we learned there major flaws and worked to make sure we don’t repeat them. There was a long list of these problems but I will only mention a couple here that seem most relevant to the conversation:
1. Technology
a. Moisture from the breath you use to inflate the vest was probably the biggest problem as it would freeze and consumers complained of a pungent smell from the festering saliva that would grow mold inside the vest chambers.
b. If you could use 100% dry air (only available in compressed tanks) then argon is still 33% more effective, and it is about 0.95% of the air we breath so it is very available and very affordable.
2. Point of sale
a. Despite the obvious difficulties in convincing consumers to use their own breath to insulate themselves, the biggest problem is when people would go to the store, try on a jacket, go to inflate it and see semi dried saliva and bits of food on the hose so it detracted them from getting the full experience and moved on to check out other jackets. We anticipate supplying retailers with a very compact light weight gas reservoir that can give about 500 fills on a vest to demo the vest effectively. For IP sake I cannot mention everything about this reservoir but in the near future we will and will create a lot more added value to the technology so stay tuned for that one. The rubber straw used to inflate the Airvantage was also a problem to active consumers where it would frequently pop out and constantly hit them in the chin and was uncomfortable when pressed against the body. The hose was very inconveient and could only be used to inflate vests, could you imagine trying to inflate shoes or pants with this system? That's where the compressed argon has another advantage in easily going anywhere.
After our conversations with the former Gore employees where we showed them everything we had going on in development, they felt we had resolved their major problems that led to their ultimate failure in the Airvantage and are confident that from a technology standpoint and marketing/sales it had better potential. Despite that, as I mentioned earlier, with every new technology there are unforeseen new glitches and although we have done extensive testing in labs and in the field, we expect new bugs to pop up and we are confident we can resolve them well and very quickly.

Guys, this is an exciting time for us and we are very excited to be finally launching our first set of gear after more than 2.5 years of development. While we go through constant R&D improvements we would love your feedback on these and any other ideas on how to help improve our technology. The benefit of being a small company is that we can take your suggestions, test them out, and apply them to every product yet to be shipped, or even develop totally new products very quickly as we are very nimble. We also have our Inertia camping pad in final development and testing, and plan to have those before the end of the year shipping out, and we plan to have glove inserts as early as Q1 2010 with hydration packs, pants and more to follow very quickly. So please stay tuned to here, our website or our Facebook group for product launches, discounts, competitions and provide us with valuable feedback to help us create the best gear ever.

Andrew Richardson
(arichardson6) - F

Locale: North East
Re: Klymit CEO message on 07/29/2009 15:49:17 MDT Print View

Awesome and informative post Nate. I love the fact you took the time to explain and post everything that you did. You are clearly passionate about what you are doing and that is great!


Edit: I just noticed from the picture that it looks like the "kontrol" dial could get in the way of a backpack shoulder strap. I imagine that has been considered and isn't the case though..

Edited by arichardson6 on 07/29/2009 15:53:38 MDT.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Klymit CEO message on 07/29/2009 19:27:37 MDT Print View

Personally I can't see myself ever wanting to use an inflatable jacket. Down is lighter and the only potential failure point is getting it wet, which I feel I can reasonably control. Perhaps in very wet conditions, but I don't go camping when it is very cold and wet.

The argon pads on the other hand sound like they have more potential. 4 season sleeping pads (eg. down filled) are pretty heavy so perhaps there is some room for saving weight there. Again though, I would be concerned about failure of a valve or something especially when it's very cold (which I imagine is when you might be using it...).

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
question on 07/29/2009 19:30:44 MDT Print View

A quick question for you.... some folks on another thread were wondering about the breathability of this garment. Can you wear it while hiking or is it for in-camp use only?

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: question on 07/29/2009 19:58:00 MDT Print View

Although the farbic is technically "breathable", I would doubt that it is highly breathable, but don't know for a fact.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Argon pads seem impractical for backpacking on 07/29/2009 20:18:23 MDT Print View

45 grams for the inflator and 58 grams for a cartridge ie 3.6oz which reinflates "vest" 5times. Sleeping pad obviously will require more air. For one week hike how many cartridges would you need to reinflate every night?? How many for multiple week hike?


Edited by huzefa on 07/29/2009 20:19:19 MDT.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Klymit CEO message on 07/29/2009 20:53:10 MDT Print View

Nate, can you provide r value for the vests at the highest inflation? This way we can accurately compare warmth to weight ratio with down/synthetic insulation.

It would be interesting to see if it can beat Cocoon UL Vest at 5.3oz but I am doubtful.

Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Klymit CEO message #2 on 08/03/2009 09:18:52 MDT Print View

Hey guys, thanks for more questions. This is great you stay on top of this and reply so quickly, I hope to keep up with you guys as much as possible, however I think it would be fun to have you all up for a field trip to our office, see how its all made, test it in all in the negative 30 environmental chamber and get a peek under the covers of the up and coming. Here goes round to of answering new questions.

1. Q: Kontrol Release Dial location interfere with straps etc.
A: That is a really excellent point, one we have considered but as all backpacks and gear are built differently it is difficult to accommodate for all strap locations. We designed our first product (the Kinetic vest) to be used as an under vest for an outer shell. Having the dial on the left breast makes it easily accessible with a slight opening of the outer shell zipper so you can adjust your insulation easily without having to fully take off the outer shell. We can easily relocate the dial anywhere on the gear, so please give me some feedback on where you might prefer to see it and for what applications i.e. hiking, kayaking, etc. so we build those vests appropriately. For example we plan to create a version of the vest that has the chambers close off earlier on the bottom of the vest to allow for high leg movement for sitting sports like kayaking and freestyle ski mogul racing where they don’t want any bunching up of the vest around the hips. (P.S. thanks for your support Andrew!!)
2. Q: What are the chances of a valve failing and someone ends up on the cold ground.
A: I guess this would have to be said about any inflatable camping pad. We use similar or better valves on our pads as the top camping pads in the industry do, so the chance of it leaking out is similar to less likely than a standard pad. Regarding the Klymitizer valve (the argon delivery valve) it is made out of reinforced nylon plastic, we have tested it extensively at negative 30 degrees Celsius and have never had a failure due to temperature, dropping pressure, etc. The reason why it is so reliable is because it is such a simple valve design, it is made with copper and reinforced nylon plastic, so it is quite reliable.

3. Q: Is the vest breathable
A: Thanks for your prompt accurate response Lynn. The gas is trapped in between 2 membranes similar to Gore-Tex. It is a monolithic hydrophilic membrane but there are 2 layers to trap the gas so it does have an extra layer technically making it “less breathable” than a 1 layer, however this is what makes our insulation 100% waterproof and others are not. The important thing is to get the water molecules past the first membrane and away from our skin and you don’t feel it as it is working its way past the other. As you know, molecule migration through the actual fabric on the apparel piece is not the only area for breathability. The channels created by the welds allow for a much higher than normal chimney affect that other vests cannot do, providing even more breathability. During our 150 person beta test most users said they felt the vests were just as or more breathable than their usual gear, but this was just testing on a vest with a waterproof shell over it so there was no insulation in the armpits, that has yet to be tested or even developed yet but we have plans to do so in the not too distant future. The Red Rock vest has also been designed with mesh pockets so you can open those bad boys up for added breathability.

4. Q: How long do canisters last?
A: Well let me give you some solid data points to work with, but ultimately how long a canister will last is totally determined by individual consumer behavior. The canister contains 8 grams of argon, which is about 12 liters of gas, and the liter break down on a vest is:
a. Xsmall: 1.50 liters
b. Small: 2.25 liters
c. Medium: 2.50 liters
d. Large: 3.25 liters
e. Xlarge: 3.75-4 liters
Thus, you can get approximately the following amount of fills per canister on a vest:
f. Xsmall:8 fills
g. Small: 6
h. Medium: 5
i. Large: 4
j. Xlarge 3.5
These numbers are also determined by individual consumer behavior in how they fill it as well.
The amount of time the gas remains in the vest is greatly dependent on the conditions of use. We have seen pressure remain up to 2 months under some conditions and around 1 week under strenuous conditions. So short of you having hot flashes every hour, canisters have the potential of lasting a full season to a couple years, all totally dependent on individual consumer behavior.

5. Q: What is the R value of the vest
A: Well I don’t have the R value easily accessible right now, that is generally used for camping pads, while the Clo value is what is typically looked for in an apparel application. Huzefa, if you would like to send me the independently 3rd party validated R value for your Cocoon vest, I would be happy to look up its Clo and give you the warmth to weight ratio. I can however tell you right now, according to Kansas State University (KSU) we have the same warmth to weight ratio as synthetic fiber insulation under dry conditions, and correct me if I’m wrong but according to my findings ( the Cocoon vest uses a synthetic fiber insulation created by Polarguard, which has a lower insulative value than Thinsulate. KSU testing was done comparing Klymit to down and Thinsulate. Our current Kinetic vest uses a small 15mm thick chamber, but we have new medium size ones in development that are about 25mm. KSU tested the clo value for both and the 15mm had a Clo of 2.4 and weight of 270 grams rendering a warmth to weight ratio of 8.9 and our more mountaineering medium size chambers with 25mm have a clo value of 3.09 and a weight of 300 grams giving a warmth to weight ratio of 10.3 which is higher than the down and synthetic warmth to weight ratio of 9.2. Now with the larger chambers the tradeoff is that it requires more gas volume, thus fewer fills per canister, but if you are using it in a more extreme cold environment it is unlikely you will have to release the argon often, if at all so it will probably not be much of an issue, it now just comes down to selecting the gear that suites you best. We anticipate our MonoWeave 3 layer chamber system will have a drastic improvement in warmth to weight over our current chamber designs with its staggered cell system. However, if you would like to send us your Cocoon vest we are happy to do some internal thermal testing on it and give you the official warmth to weight ratio results.

And to respond to your comment Ashley Brown, although we believe this is a great solution and has a lot of potential, we recognize that all our products are not for all people in all conditions and activities. We just want to help improve things where we can and hope to solve some problems for those out there looking for something better. I’m glad you see there is some potential for the Inertia pad in your mind. We hope to have those available in the coming months.
I will do my best to stay on top of questions here, but do need to get some work done on our new products as well. If you wouldn’t mind, please send me the link to the other thread on here about Klymit, and invite those there to join this thread to keep updated. Thanks!!!


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Insulation Warmer Than Down... on 08/03/2009 10:48:59 MDT Print View

It's really only practical for winter use?

If we UL'ers are caught using this for three season backpacking, we could be drawn and quartered...or laughed out of the BPLosphere.

Edited by jshann on 08/03/2009 10:49:57 MDT.

Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Multi conditions gear, perhaps not all conditions for all people. on 08/03/2009 11:24:43 MDT Print View

Hey John,

Yes and no . . .

I find myself using this vest anytime it is cold enough for me to use a vest or jacket for warmth or to stay dry . . . it’s just that simple. Right now it is upwards of 105 degrees in Utah so heck no I am not using a Kinetic vest, or any other one for that matter. Just a good wicking t-shirt and shorts and flip flops whenever I can get away with them. However, when I plan a hike, climb, trip, etc. I always pack my vest JUST IN CASE. We can get some freak random cold storms high in the mountains or the back country and I could put myself in a life threatening situation if all I pack is fabric insulation and I get stuck in a 40 degree rainstorm.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
warmth to weight Klymit on 08/03/2009 14:30:12 MDT Print View

Hey Nate:

Thanks for posting the Clo values (2.4clo) for the current generation Klymit vest. According to one of Richard's postings the WM Flash Vest provides about 2.3 clo. So it seems that from a pure weight / warmth ratio than the Klymit Red Rock Vest is nearly 2x heavier for a similar level of insulation. Add in how quickly BPL found that the Flash recovered loft and my conclusion is that in cases where only moderate insulation is required that the current generation of Klymit vests aren't that interesting. For example, I use a WM Flash for 2-3 seasons in the sierras. In the day time I don't need any extra insulation... just my base and maybe a shell. The evenings though I want some insulation, when around camp, and maybe sleeping. It's not surprising conclussion for me because Klymit's non insulating components (heavier fabric and inflation system) offset the light weight insulation when only moderate amounts of insulation are needed. This becomes even more evident when you realize that the above use on a 7 day trip would require at least two HotSpots because the vest would be compacted each day to go into the pack.

On the other hand... something like a Klymit vest looks very interesting in cooler condition, especially in view of the total clothing system since it's variable insulate enables some fine tuning On cooler trips, I often find that the amount of insulation I need when active during the day is more than a light base layer, but is also significantly less than the insulation I need in the evening when I am not very active. Typically this means that my insulation vest is only used when when I am not hiking. Being able to let the insulation out slowly at the beginning of the day, and then increasing the insulation toward the end of the day sounds quite attractive and could potentially make an overall clothing system lighter. I am really looking forward to seeing how your product line develops.


Edited by verber on 08/03/2009 14:41:46 MDT.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Klymit on 08/03/2009 18:00:45 MDT Print View

Nate: Any plans for a sleeping bag or quilt? Two advantages of applying this technology to a sleeping bag instead of a garment is that it can be a lot more fragile and the weight of the canister itself is a lot less than overall weight of the system.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: Klymit on 08/03/2009 21:38:15 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reply. See Mark's comments.

This technology is NOT lightweight for sleeping pads, quilts and bags. WHY? Because you will need to inflate them everynight and for multiday trip canisters will add lot of weight.

This is in response to the previous comments. I would love to be proven wrong. Discussion is important otherwise Klymit will be wasting their resources on such products.


I am all for innovation but variable insulation?? ventilate!

Lets consider a situation: Say, I inflate the vest to 50%. Now I put on my backpack. With the weight on the back , I imagine insulation in the back will be 0 and in the front 100%. No?

You have good product here, you just need to identify the market. People looking for compact size and variable insulation fall in emergency/day/weekend/cold outdoor trips category.

Edited by huzefa on 08/04/2009 01:07:12 MDT.