TRENDING: PERFORM AND PROTECT
SHELL I COMPARE THEE . . . Brands love to wax lyrical about their innovations, but the latest crop of jackets bear out much of the hyperbole: in 2017, expect lighter, more breathable and more eco-friendly product.
Outdoor jackets may look basically the same, year-after-year, but that doesn’t mean there’s no innovation going on. Look under the hood, as it were, and fabrics are improving all the time. Just check out the jackets above: breathability continues to improve and technologies like The North Face’s Fuseform are allowing even different parts of the same garment to behave differently. Perhaps the most obvious trend is towards reducing the footprint of the manufacture, use and disposal of the product, in part because of pressure from environmental groups. Patagonia’s recycled fill (see above) is one example and the Columbia Outdry Extreme Eco, shown right, is another. A key problem is PFCS (perfluorinated compounds), used for decades to provide a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment to the outside of jackets. The strength of the chemical bonds in these compounds means they persist in the environment and this has been used by some NGOS to criticise outdoor brands’ policies. Several brands have moved towards less persistant, short-chain PFCS, but in this jacket, Columbia have removed them entirely, along with all dyes. Other of the brand’s products continue to use short-chain PFCS, but Columbia say they will plan to keep working towards non-fluorinated alternatives.
BERGHAUS HYPER 100
The lightest three-membrane shell there is, this jacket is claimed to be up to three-times as breathable as Gore-tex Pro. THE NORTH FACE FUSEFORM APOC