Editor's Note: Read all the articles in this series:
- February 6, 2011 dispatch: International Delights
- February 7, 2011 dispatch: Powered By Nutella
- February 8, 2011 dispatch: A Smorgasbord of Worldly Flavors (this article)
- February 9, 2011 dispatch: Technical Treats
Aclima - Wool design innovation
Aclima is a Norwegian company that has participated in the textile industry since 1922. The company focuses on sports-underwear that is elegant, warm and soft, breathes, and does not hold odors. All products are available now in Europe. US and UK customers may be able to purchase through NordicOutdoors.
Most unique about Aclima is their WoolNet line, which is mostly composed of 100g/m² wool netting. The netting gives the garment maximum breathability for active sports. When the activity is stopped, donning another layer on top (like a windshell) maintains a blanket of air next to the skin. The mesh effectively acts like mini baffles for an outer garment. Ultralight wool (130g/m²) is placed around sensitive areas, like the joints, neck, and private parts. The garments are also available in the lighter synthetic CoolNet line, using 100g/m² polypropylene. Left: Women's Polo with Zip, 205 grams (7.23 oz), 62€ (US$85). Right: Women's ¾ Longs (Knee Pants), 121 grams (4.27 oz), 56€ (US$77).
Men's Hood Sweater, 337 grams (11.89 oz), 72€ (US$98). It has thumb loops, long arms, a hand warmer pocket, and snug fit. It comes in a women's version, as well.
The zipperless hood can be worn in three different ways, as shown above.
From left: Sports Top, 84 grams (2.96 oz), 54€ (US$74), racerback design, no adjustable straps. Nursing Bra, 63€ (US$86). What’s more ultralight than producing your backpacking companion’s food? Wool’s naturally anti-bacterial properties are perfect for this application. Sports Bra with Zip, 93 grams (3.28), 62€ (US$85), for women needing more support.
Millet - YKK compatible
Started in 1921, the French company Millet is one of the most established mountaineering companies in Europe. Several of their products are available in the US through internet-based sellers and specialty climbing shops.
The LTK Shadow (300g/10.6oz) is a concept piece that was premiered at ISPO. The jacket is made from Gore-Tex Pro and has waterproof zippers, one large chest pocket, hem drawcord, extra-long arms, and helmet-compatible hood. The price is not set and the smock won’t be available until summer 2012.
The LTK Shadow is the first shell to use a new type of zipper, where the coil is sewn directly to the garment. Millet and Mammut worked together with YKK to develop this ultra light zipper, and only these two companies will be allowed to use it. This photo shows the detail of an opened chest pocket.
The Radikal Speed (420g/14.8oz, 150€/US$165) is a very light approach shoe that is as burly as any boot. It uses Boa lacing system and has tons of protected mesh on the top of the foot for enhanced breathability. These might suffice as a substitute mountaineering boot for some users and are available now.
Lurbel - from Spain
For 22 years Lurbel has extensively researched and developed high-quality technical garments. We were drawn to their claims of accelerating the curing of injuries and blisters with their Regenactiv sock.
Non-Regenactiv socks start at 10€ (US$14), underwear at 27€ (US$37),and baselayers at 45€ (US$61). Garments in the Regenactiv range sell for about 30-50% more.
A description of the Regenactiv design. Lurbel makes garments with synthetic or wool as the third layer.
Power Traveller - When you can’t escape technology
The powermonkey-eXplorer, (65€/US$89), provides a little bit of juice in remote locations. The battery weighs 83 grams (2.93 oz), and plugs into standard mobiles with the maximum power out of 96 hours. Additional connector tips for other devices are available. The solar portion weighs 82 grams (2.89 oz) and can charge the battery while strapped to your pack, as long as there is plenty of sunlight. Power Traveller is a UK company and is currently interested in distribution in the US.
Devold - More established than 19 States
The Norwegian company Devold has been producing high quality wool clothing since 1853! We were pleased with their selection of women’s garments.
Pulse Bra (left), 22€ (US$30), 230 g/m² merino wool, racer back design, adjustable straps, available in March 2011 Wool Fleece Bra (right), 20€ (US$27), designed for winter use with 470 g/m² wool inner, fleece outer, available now
Pulse Woman Strap Top (all), 44€ (US$60), and Hipster (middle), 19€ (US$26), 230 g/m² merino wool, available in March 2011
Devold has their own factory in Lithuania and owns wool farms in Australia and Tunisia. They previously had distribution in Colorado and Minnesota but several years ago made the choice to focus their brand in Scandinavia and other European regions. They would like to enter the US market once again and are currently expanding their factory to create the quantity needed for increased distribution.
Alpinist - Picnic for two, please
Alpinist is a South Korean manufacturing company.
The Picnic Mat is a two-person closed-cell foam pad. The design is similar to the Therm-a-Rest Z-rest, though a bit thicker and more structurally rigid. It appealed to us for two reasons. First, it is a two-person sleeping pad. We share a down quilt and there are not many products made for us! Second, the pad is partitioned into 60x40cm (23.6x15.7in) sections. If you chopped it up, one section could work well for a backpack that uses the pad as the back panel/frame, like those from Gossamer Gear. Two sections placed vertically would give hikers a long and thin sleeping pad (20x40cm/47.2x15.7in). This product is available in certain countries, but very likely none that you live in, and therefore the price is also irrelevant. The weight is unknown as well. Very helpful, we know!
Berghaus - Continuation from yesterday
As promised in yesterday’s post, we have a bit of information on two new jackets from Berghaus.
Berghaus claims that the Mount Asgard Smock (289g/10.2oz men's Large) is the lightest Gore-Tex Pro shell in the world. It is one of the first products to come out of their MtnHaus R&D team. This special work-group is composed of in-house experts from all levels of design, testing, and production. This particular piece was field tested and retested by climber Leo Holding, among other elite athletes. All told, this jacket went through 28 samples (a normal shell goes through three samples). The result is a Pro Shell smock at the exact weight as a previous Paclite smock.
The front chest detail (left) shows how closely the zipper seals. The Raptor hood (center) has two pull-strings on each side of the neck. Pulling down on the tabs at the same time gives a uniformly snug hood (right). The Mount Asgard Smock will be available in spring 2011 for 220£/$350.
The Mount Asgard Hybrid Jacket (472g/16.6oz men's; 425g/15oz Women's) uses 700 fill down around the torso, Primaloft One on the arms, shoulders, hood and along the hem, and Pertex Quantum for the shell. This jacket uses hydrophobic down, which is made with a coating process that Berghaus helped develop. The down takes longer to collapse when wet, and has a much faster drying time. In field recovery (ie, not using a machine to dry) is up to 80% of loft, whereas untreated down only recovers to 50%. Berghaus will continue to develop this technology and hopes to be able to use it with higher fill power down in the future. The jacket will be available in fall 2011 for 190£/US$300.
Lenzing - ECO Responsibility Award in category Fabrics and Fibers
The less the Earth is impacted by humans, the more wilderness fun for us.
Lyocell fibers, made from pulpwood, were first manufactured several decades ago. Recently, more focus has turned to eco-friendly fabrics and manufacturing processes. Consumers are increasing their interest in products which were created with a low impact to the environment.
Lenzing produces lyocell fibers under the brand name TENCEL. From logistics, to the use of resources, to the working conditions at the company, Lenzing implements a holistic approach from nature to product. In their Austrian factory, production energy is garnered from biomass, municipal solid waste incineration, and a small amount of fossil fuels. The wood fibers come from FSC-certified Eucalyptus grown in South Africa.
The shell pictured above is just an example of a potential garment. The fabric is 40% Tencel and 60% nylon, weighing in at 41 g/m². The shell is windproof and downproof.