Look out for OutDry

New waterproof/breathable membrane comes to the U.S.
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New waterproof/breathable membrane comes to the U.S.

You've seen "Gore-Tex" and "eVent" stamped on boots and jackets, and soon you'll start seeing a new player on the waterproof/breathable scene: OutDry.

Already used by several European gear manufacturers, OutDry makes its U.S. debut in fall 2009. Mountain HardWear is using it in a few of its new gloves, and Kamik is featuring it in boots.

What makes OutDry different is that the waterproof/breathable membrane gets bonded directly to the fabric, instead of loosely lining it (as with Gore-Tex). Bonding the two together eliminates any air space or gap between the outer material--say, leather--and the waterproof/breathable membrane. What's wrong with that thin layer of air? OutDry proponents say it adds bulk and traps moisture, which contributes to a colder, clammier feel.

Mountain Hardwear claims its new OutDry gloves deliver outstanding dexterity and breathability: no more fumbling for buckles, no more sweaty palms. The Typhon (men's) and Echidna (women's) gloves both feature a removable, brushed polyester liner, which you can wear alone or with the shell. I wore the women's version yesterday on a 6-hour ski tour in full sun and 45-degree temps, and my paws stayed dry and comfortable--pretty impressive, given the conditions. The Typhon and Echidna will both retail for $130.

Kelly Bastone