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Outdoor Retailer: Schoeller Coldblack

Schoeller's Coldblack fabric makes dark materials just as heat-reflective as light colors.


Black is back.

This weekend, after the Outdoor Retailer show is over, I’m excited to spend some time hiking, climbing and camping in the Wasatch Range around Salt Lake City.  Unfortunately it’s going to be 97 degrees.  What I wouldn’t give for a black shirt. Yeah, that’s right: a black shirt.  
 
I swung by the Schoeller booth to see what was new in their world of magic fabric, and got to learn a little more about something called Coldblack, which apparently makes it perfectly delightful to wear a black shirt in the hot sun. (Well, at least as delightful as wearing any other shirt in the hot sun.) 
 
Dark colors, by nature, absorb much more visible and invisible light rays (i.e. heat) than lighter colors.  Now, any fabric treated with Coldblack has drastically improved heat reflectance and a minimum of SPF30 protection, depending on fabric thickness and weave. How do they do it? Heck if I know—they keep their secrets well guarded, of course.  But I have a suspicion that after Mr. Wonka passed his chocolate factory on to young Charlie, he moved on to found the Schoeller Textile company. 
 
But personally, I don’t care how they do it. With a 12.9 degree difference between treated and untreated pieces of black fabric under hot lamps, the proof is in the picture.  They can keep their secrets, and I’ll just keep waiting for a base layer made from Everlasting Funkstopper. 

—Ben Fullerton

Image Credit: Ben Fullerton

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