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Insulation Warmer Than Down...
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Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Klymit on 08/04/2009 01:26:43 MDT Print View

Interesting product, but it has one major flaw that i can see.
Down compresses very well, and takes up little room in your pack.
To compress clothing filled with a gas, you need to deflate for packing. The fact the garment is capable of staying inflated for a few weeks/months is irrelevent if it spends time in your pack every day. On a long trip that means a lot of gas is needed for inflating/deflating every day.

Now if that 'wasted' gas could somehow be utilised for cooking purposes.............

Dylan Skola
(phageghost) - F

Locale: Southern California
Gassy vests on 08/04/2009 22:04:13 MDT Print View

@Nate: I'm impressed that you're willing to run the gauntlet here among some of the world's most anal-retentive, nitpicky, dismissive outdoor gear freaks (I say that with love and include myself in the category). Of course, you know and I know that such people tend to also be the vanguard "early-adopters" that are key to a small company getting that vital viral push. It's great to have this kind of response directly from a manufacturer.

@Mike: This is what I see as well. Handy for cold-weather daytrips where you need to constantly be adjusting ventilation / insulation, but the fact that there is a new consumable added to the gear list with this product is the major hurdle for longer trips, IMO. LOL with the burning, argon of course being non-flammable and non-reactive. I'm pretty sure butane has less thermal conductivity than air but, well, the idea of wearing a butane vest near a campfire sounds like an unintentionally hilarious and/or tragic Youtube video waiting to happen. Plus 8 grams o' gas is only about 1/4 oz, so the whole tube would only get you one boil . . . you would need a bigger canister.

Following this train of thought, and putting aside the multi-use insulation / IED concept for a moment, what about a bigger canister of argon? The cartridge is listed as 58 grams, 8 grams of which is gas, so the cartridge is about 50 grams. As we experience with cooking gas, as the canister size increases, the weight of the canister as a proportion of the total tends to go down. Less "dead" weight tied up in the container. So by scaling up the argon canister to something larger, it becomes more and more efficient to carry the argon. In fact, with something as big as a sleeping pad or bag one would pretty much have to take this approach for it to be practical for multi-day trips.

Nate, are larger canisters "under the covers" at the Klymit skunkworks?

And an unrelated question: Given that the bladder membranes are breathable, how does the water vapor in the chamber affect thermal conductivity (I assume the figures given earlier are for dry argon)? And as a previous poster pointed out, you will presumably have condensation against the inner face of the outermost layer, no?

(dirtt) - F

Locale: So. California
klymit canisters on 08/05/2009 21:12:53 MDT Print View

Can we send all the used canisters back to Utah to be disposed of?

Sean Walashek
(caraz) - F

Locale: bay area
got to thinking on 08/12/2009 20:28:57 MDT Print View

I was just watching videos, reading articles on the Alaskan race. I saw that Andrew Skurka ditched a pfd. Could one of these pieces pull double duty as a pfd when boating in cold weather?!?

Sebastian Ventris
(sabme) - F - M

Locale: SW UK
Air on 08/17/2009 04:28:21 MDT Print View

Hey Nate

Your Vest really interests me from a multiple use perspective:

+ Buoyancy Aid, paddling, swimming;
+ Mini inflatable ground pad;
+ Added comfort & warmth worn sleeping;
+ Worn deflated as wind break & some rain protection.
+ Plain old insulation.

My main request would be for the option to inflate with air. Maybe add silver particles or some other durable anti-bacterial treatment. I know the arguments for Argon but the ability to use air would swing it for me. Plus make the Amphibian version in a color other than blue.

all the best

Sebastian Ventris
(sabme) - F - M

Locale: SW UK
does it make any difference on 08/30/2009 13:51:22 MDT Print View

there was me thinking i might actually get a reply.
no reply when i emailed klymit either.

and now for something completely different

Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Klymit Kinetic Vest Reviews on 08/07/2010 05:03:05 MDT Print View

Here are a few interesting reviews I thought you might like to see:
Sorry for the geeky pic in this one LOL.

See link later below about our new recycle pump that sucks gas out of the vest and puts into reservoir so you can make 1 canister last for up to years. Our plans are to launch in about 6 - 8 months.

Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Answers on 08/07/2010 06:00:50 MDT Print View

Guys, I am sorry I have been unresponsive for a while. In the last 6 months we have raised more money from investors (the worst part of my job, trust me you're lucky if you never have to do this, hope they're not reading), hired a VP of sales that has over 30 years of experience in the industry (Paul Hardin, former VP of ACR Electronics, awesome guy, we call him our gray beard for all us young engineers: ) launched 15 new products, opened hundreds of retailers in half a dozen countries while traveling the world and still getting out doors (uuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh ...... inhale.....)

Let me see if I can take a quick stab at a few of your awesome questions working backwards, newest to oldest questions:

Sebastian Ventris:
1. Yes, the vest actually has the same buoyancy as a life jacket, but it is NOT a coast guard approved vest. We designed one specifically for pack rafters cause the good gents here at BPL asked us to (Thanks Mike!!)
2. We actually just launched the worlds lightest full length pad this week at Summer OR and they ship in mid November. We are redoing our website right now, will have a new one up in about 1 – 2 weeks so you can preorder one for Nov. shipment. We call it the Inertia – X – Frame (like our whole energies theme we have going on ;) Features include:
a. Weight 9.1 ounces and is a 3 season pad.
b. Takes only 2 – 4 breaths to inflate, then you can top off with the amount of pressure you want using an included hand pump for ambient air, or a separate Klymitizer with argon gas, kind of like a sleep number bed.
c. Uses Body Mapping design to optimize support, minimize weight and volume.
d. Rolls up to the size of a Coke can, that includes the hand pump!
e. Has 30 denier rip stop nylon on top, with a durable 75 denier on bottom. We figured we already cut out so much unnecessary weight, why not put a little more in to make it more durable than other ultra light pads.
f. Has a comfort pressure of about 4 -5 psi, a burst pressure of 12 psi, where most other industry leading light pads have a burst pressure of about 2.7 psi (don’t plop down too hard on another pad). Some of our sales guys fully inflate the X Frame and jump all over it to show how tough it is during their demo.
g. Has loft pockets to promote lofting of insulation on the bottom of your sleeping bag, while promoting high breathability through those areas so you don’t build up sweat on your pad during a hot night.
h. Even though the pad does not look comfy from the pics, you would be shocked how comfy it is from back sleeping, side sleeping, stomach sleeping, it keeps your entire body off the ground (unless you are 6’6” as we started with 1 size, but will launch sever other models in the near future)
i. We threw everything into the box: pad, pump, stuff sack, repair kit, etc. We don’t see any need or desire to nickel and dime consumers for that stuff so we include everything.
j. This guy wrote a pretty comprehensive review:
3. Stay tuned for a sleeping bag, we have some pretty sweet stuff in the works, you should come check it out at our office sometime, we would love to have any and all of you guys visit.
4. LOL, it is funny that you mention sleeping in it. I have not personally done it yet (but I will this winter in the mountains), but we have had several of our consumers write us or visit us telling how their wives stole their vests from them as they are never warm enough at night even with several blankets, so they steal their husbands Double Diamond Kinetic vest to keep warm and the husbands come back to us to buy new ones for themselves as they cannot get their own back LOL. I do NOT suggest this as a form of sensual lingerie, but hey, guess everyone is different in their fantasies, maybe there are some that like noble gases in bed, smells better than the alternative.
5. Yes, our vests and all gear use a monolithic hydrophilic membrane (just like all the other industry big names, not sure if I am allowed to mention trademark names here though) so the vests and other gear when deflated serve as light/cool windbreakers.
6. Albeit there is a lot out there to show NobleTek is the best insulator, it is a young technology and still has some limits as we continue to develop and improve things. We have launched a line of base layers, non-insulated and partly insulated shells, and some hybrid NobleTek/fiber insulation products and have a lot more on our product road map.
7. Our ground pad is any combination or sole fill of either: mouth / ambient air / NobleTek gas.
8. Sorry, no immediate plans for a different color amphibian, but let me know what your sport is and I can suggest the next best alternative. We will launch several new styles, designs, full NobleTek jackets, womens specific, etc. products in about 6 months.

Sean Walashek
Yes, see comment #1 above 

Dylan Skola
1. You hit it right on the head. Just as all other insulations have fail points, gas consumption is the biggest weakness of NobleTek. That was mentioned by Backpacker Magazine and Utah (see links above) when they tested the vest out. Other than that they thought it was the best insulated gear ever. Guys, we seriously listen to your comments, and especially the feedback of those that actually test our gear. For that reason we created a Recycle Pump and showed a prototype of it during this last week Summer OR. It works like a reverse small hand held bike pump, sucking gas out of the vest into a reservoir on the pump so you can use 1 charge from a argon canister at home and make that charge and canister last for years of inflating and deflating.
2. Yes, we have larger canisters under way. Keep in mind, making these canisters is the most expensive part of it. Argon itself is very available (1% of the atmosphere) and affordable. The problem is when they make it at the CO2 plants where they make other gas by the millions, you can imagine the work to switch over a factory to fill cartridges with argon rather than their standard gas is a semi manufacturing nightmare slowing product, etc. making the canisters as much as 10 times the cost to produce. Thus, with more volume of 1 specific kind of canister, the cheaper the canisters become, but the more investment capital required. It is a big balancing act when running a company and inventing new gear for the market, so we need to be careful and do it slow and proper so as not to screw things up. Obviously for our military applications where the Special Forces doesn’t care so much about cost, we have some pretty sweet canisters we call the LongShot (size of tube of Rogain foam) and Bigshot (size of a mid size paintball tank and refillable for a couple bucks which we plan to offer consumers soon).
3. No moisture build up inside vest chambers.

Mike Reid
1. Great point, see above about recycle pump. I love your guy’s idea of using the vest gas for fuel, but we have to figure out a safe way to do that so you don’t burst into balls of fire near the stove/camp fire.

Huzefa Siamwala
1. See links above to the Backpacker Magazine gear guide review, and google Klymit for the hundreds of gear reviews. I also suggest you try one out for yourself, let me see if I can work out a sweet BPL promo code or something for you guys. It will have to be sometime after our new website though.

Ross Bleakney
1. Awesome comment. See above about Inertia – X – Frame and other hybrid and other products in development.

Mark Verber
Great points, see above comments to Huzefa Siamwala

That’s it for now guys, hope I have answered enough of your questions thoroughly, I am off and running to my sister’s wedding now. Her name is Katie Alder and you can congratulate her (or offer condolences, depends how you see it LOL) on her Facebook.

Tupananchis Kama


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Insulation Warmer Than Down on 08/07/2010 08:43:07 MDT Print View

Interesting idea, but I'm skeptical as to the breathability and practicality for hiking.

Gas filled insulation

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
argon vest on 08/08/2010 07:16:05 MDT Print View

I can't see myself using an argon vest. But when I travel in winter, I do worry about adequate emergency gear for a bivy. I don't carry a sleeping bag. But a limited use, waterproof, argon filled bivy bag that could provide shelter and insulation would be very tempting. I am sure there isn't a big enough market for you in that, but that seems like the best use of this technology.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: argon vest on 08/08/2010 18:21:23 MDT Print View

There are different kinds of ultralight gear geeks. One kind endeavors to make everything as complicated as possible and the another likes to keep it simple. Bird down is simple and requires no special refills or patch kits or high tech anything. I think I'll stick with that.

Fred eric
(Fre49) - MLife

Locale: France, vallée de la Loire
pfd on 08/09/2010 02:23:44 MDT Print View

Yes i would stay with synthetic/down atm if i was looking only for a warm vest.
But for an hiking / packrafting trip the use as a pfd is interesting and i will look for some info about it.

The pad seems interesting too.

Its refreshing seeing something really new for once :)

Alex Gilman
(Vertigo) - F

Locale: Washington
Neat Idea on 08/09/2010 03:16:15 MDT Print View

As a diver in the PNW we're quite familiar with Argon bottles for drysuits.

Those are typically only used when using trimix since Helium tends to be a little chilly at depth.

It's a cool idea but I can't see myself using that in a hiking / mountaineering scenario. Down has less drawbacks. may be neat for use on my Ducati but I could always just plug in a heated vest. So not really practical for motorcycles either.

It probably has better use under military armor or something.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Neat Idea on 08/09/2010 11:48:00 MDT Print View

I could easily imagine myself using this technology. The potential is great. Essentially, you could create a sleeping bag that is as light as a 50 degree bag (less than a pound) but as warm as a zero degree bag (or as warm as anything in between). You could get similar weight and warmth savings out of your pad.

Yes, it's more complicated, but lots of folks here choose more complicated gear. Inflatables are way more complicated (and prone to failure) then closed cell foam. Tarps are way more complicated to set up then free standing tents. Handling down gear requires way more care then synthetic (don't get it damp). These are all compromises that we are used to, so, for the most part, we make them. If this technology pans out, I think a lot of people will use it.

But that doesn't mean it will pan out. I wish them all the best, but with any new technology, there is a big risk of failure. I thought we would have good, light, inflatable "poles" by now. We don't. MSR was supposed to have given us a nice gasoline stove that used some sort of ceramic disk, thus saving us the hassle of priming and carrying a pressurized device. We're still waiting for that one.

Oh, and I could see how inflating and deflating could be a hassle, but not for me (if used with a sleeping bag or pad). I'm lucky enough to live close to the mountains (Seattle) so most of my trips are small ones. I usually go out for a weekend or three days. This means I only setup camp once. If a system like this could shave, say, half a pound off of what I currently carry, then I would be all over it. I could see it saving way more than that for winter camping.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Neat Idea on 08/09/2010 16:41:57 MDT Print View

> you could create a sleeping bag that is as light as a 50 degree bag (less than
> a pound) but as warm as a zero degree bag (or as warm as anything in between).
> You could get similar weight and warmth savings out of your pad.

Ho Ho Ho.
I suspect this is an 'In your dreams' concept.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: argon vest on 08/09/2010 18:03:40 MDT Print View

The inflatable vest looks like a nice solution for staying warm on a motorcycle. It'd keep me warm and give me a little extra cushion when I fall off the bike. Unfortunately I don't see it fitting into my lightweight backpacking ensemble unless they come out with a multi purpose garment...hmm, jacket, sleeping bag top half and sleeping pad all in one?

Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Catching up on 10/14/2010 19:38:35 MDT Print View

I love the conversation you all have going on here, this is exciting. I love the direction you are thinking on possible uses of NobleTek and our other technologies. In fact, you are right on with some of our current projects we have in development, and I hope you like what we will be launching in the future.

It is a challenge creating a whole new product category, we have an uphill battle like the whole mp3 player entry and cell phone origins, but with time I believe we can create a whole new world of options for gear to explore the outdoors with. So far things are going extremely well and the company is growing everyday.

If you ever get a chance to visit Utah, be sure to look us up and we can show you around to some of our favorite local places, and give you a peek under the sheets of whats going on and get your personal input on how to improve as we are constantly striving to make our gear fit your needs better.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
Inflatable Bivy? on 10/15/2010 23:21:51 MDT Print View

Hi Nate,
I think you are doing a great job developing all of this really interesting stuff and I am currently contemplating investing in one of your X - inertia pads. My idea, is that you could develop an inflatable bivy as it combines the requirements for a waterproof layer with that of insulation and could even have a built in inflatable pad. This would also remove the need for poles and the inflation would take the top of the bivy away from your face and body which is my main problem with conventional bivy's. Probably a pipe dream but could be an amazing emergency or cold weather shelter.


Nate Alder
(Klymit) - F
Pipe dreams may come true on 10/16/2010 10:27:54 MDT Print View


thanks for your post. We have some really neat things going on in that general direction for military use that would be a very small simple crossover to the idea. It might be a couple years before it hits the consumer market, but it will be very proven by then due to the purpose of its development now.

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
shipping gas canisters on 10/31/2010 00:28:19 MDT Print View

Hi Nate,
Just a quick question that I had not thought of. Are your argon gas canisters able to be shipped internationally?