Note: This is a preview of new technologies being introduced at the Outdoor Retailer show. We have not yet tested any of these products, and they won’t be available until 2016.
Windproof, waterproof, and breathable. That used to be enough for a technical shell. Not anymore. Today’s jackets have to be light, stretchy, and carry some style. Spring 2016 will crown new heavyweights and ultralights, and see more budget-friendly 2.5-layer jackets.
“More and more, the technical consumer is looking for products that span a wider array of conditions, moving ever-closer to the holy grail of ‘quiver-of-one’ type pieces,” said Jordan Wand, vice president of product and marketing at Outdoor Research.
Still, the main objective is to stay dry and Columbia is looking to drive that point home visually with its new waterproof two-layer OutDry EX Diamond Shell ($400) that officials claim offers more protection and durability than existing three-layer shells. The waterproof layer is on the outside—harkening back to the rain-slicker look—for a tough exterior that still breathes and prevents wetting out. Seam and shoulder tapes beg for a backpack, and the brand’s Omni-Wick Evap aids airflow across the skin.
Montane’s 1.7-ounce Featherlite 7D Jacket ($149) is too light not to pack. The Windproof 7D rip-stop nylon includes a zip-front and elastic cuffs and hem.
Breathable waterproof shells continue to test new layer combinations and coating technology, and of course, weight remains a selling point. Heading into spring ‘16, the Berghaus Hyper Jacket ($155) claims the lightest waterproof full-zip jacket at roughly 3.5 oz. Mammut adds stretch to its popular ultra-light MTR 201 Rainspeed jacket ($179).
The North Face’s Ultra Lite WP S/S Jacket ($150) tailored its short sleeve hooded shell to the ascent and ultra crowds.
New-to-apparel Ultimate Direction did the same with its 5.9-ounce Ultra Jacket ($180), which features a TunnelEffect hood channel and self-storing FlipMitts.
Another apparel debut comes from gear and bag brand High Sierra, which packed hems, cords and taped seams into the Isle Jacket ($99).
Two new air-permeable hardshell technologies are ready for testing. Marmot shows off its three-layer NanoPro fabric in the men’s Red Star Jacket ($299).
Outdoor Research uses AscentShell 20D ripstop fabric in its 11-ounce Precipice Jacket ($279) - its own take on the air-permeable hardshell.
Arc’teryx mixed Coreloft insulation and fleece for its summer Atom SL Hoody ($229) wind shell.
Sherpa Adventure Gear’s compressible Tufan jacket ($140) uses 3D Dry fabric to create space and circulation against the skin.
For alpine insulation, Mountain Hardwear covered its Thermal.Q down with a Dry.Q shell in its Supercharger Hooded Insulated Jacket ($350), which weighs in at just more than a pound.
Making moves in sustainability, White Sierra enlists Teflon to make a longer-lasting Trabagon-Color Block Rain Shell ($80). It resists stains, too. Bergans of Norway went recyclable with its Eidfjord Jacket ($339), which uses Toray Ecodear, a 30-percent plant-based poly, and Dermizax, a breathable “hard” membrane for its tech.
These are just a few of the new products to debut at Summer Market. Be sure to check for more coverage of 2016 sleeping bags and more news and trends in the O.R. Daily, Days 1-4, published live at the show, and available digital format each day of print at www.snewsnet.com/ordaily.