The 1980′s saw a fabric introduced that revolutionised outdoor clothing – the introduction of Goretex. As the worlds first waterproof yet breathable fabric, it was a sea change in the way that people enjoyed outdoor activities. Before, your choice was simple. Drown in your own sweat, or drown in the rain. I wasn’t the only one who dreaded being made to wear a “Cagoul”, and the feel of wet clammy rubber against my skin. The world outdoors definitely became more of a comfortable place as a result.
One of the first Goretex pieces, the Berghaus Lightning Jacket
So here we are nearly 30 years later, and Gore have come up with the latest version of their technology, called Active Shell. We are going to be getting in several Active shell pieces this winter, and before they come in, we wanted to explain just why we think these new pieces of clothing are so darn cool. Our job is so easy though. We can sum it up thus
1) It’s more breathable than previous versions of Goretex. High aerobic folks such as runners, cyclists, and climbers are going to be big fanboys and girls of this new fabric
2) It’s lighter than any of their other fabrics. It’s ideal for those who want to move fast and light, yet retain decent levels of weather protection.
3) This is just our own opinion having tried on a couple of different jackets, but we think that they are a step up in terms of comfort as well. Less like a crisp bag, they are a bit more flexible and comfortable next to skin. Please note that this is based on the samples we have tried on, so the real deal could be different. Oh apparently the value of your house can go up as well as down.
So how have they done it I hear you ask? Well you will be pleased to know that there was no magician with a rabbit, or a pentagram on the floor. They have managed to make the membrane itself lighter, and by getting the scrim, or backing fabric to integrate straight on to the membrane itself. Both of these manufacturing processes have made the garments lighter, and reduced resistance for water vapour and sweat to get through.
Now we have two of these new jackets coming in for Winter, first up, the Adidas Men’s Terrex Gore-Tex Active Shell Jacket. Adidas are a relative new player in the outdoor market but they have hit the ground running in our humble opinion. We actually got to have a bit of a sneak peak of their gear earlier in the year. The weight is a paltry 370 grammes, we love the laser cut and bonded detailing, and the built in vents. Check out our Video on the whole range here, the new jacket is first up;
Second up is a British classic, it’s Mountain Equipment’s Firefox Jacket. Now the firefox jacket was released a couple of years ago with a unique fit. The fit’s become much more of a standard ME fit, and they have now changed the fabric to Goretex Active Shell as well. The weight is slightly lower than the Adidas coming in at 320 grammes, it features their Mountain Hood adjustment system, and pit zips in case you are on fire.
So more breathable, lighter and more comfortable is the new order of the day with Goretex’s Active Shell. We’re getting them in this September and already the anticipation is building here. If you have any questions at all on the new fabric, or any comments, please post away below.
We recently had Jon down from Adidas to guide us through the new Autumn Winter collection 2011. We were rather excited to have him down as this will be the first time we will stock both the Adidas clothing range as well as their footwear. You can tell just how excited I was from this video below!
There were quite a few pieces that really stood out, first the Terrex Primaloft Parka.
It looks like a great belay jacket with some about town practicality. I was particularly impressed with the adjustability of the hood. Coming in at roughly 900g it’s a solid piece and is backed up with Climaproof storm, Adidas’ own waterproof breathable fabric.
Next up was the Terrex Hybrid pant. This is a fully featured mountain trouser with a great combo of Gore Windstoppper for most of the trouser, and Climaproof for the high wear areas. You have built in gaiters, and some nice touches with rubberised elastic bands on the inside of the trousers to help grip & keep the trousers up. At £130 this is great value for such a high spec pair of pants.
This was the one that really got my attention. There has been a great deal of noise recently in respect of new technologies when it comes to waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mountain Hardwear have released their Dry-Q for later this year, Polartec have their Neo Shell and Goretex have released Active Shell. All are competing to be the lightest most breathable waterproof fabric out there.
What was immediately different for me was the feel of the Active Shell jacket. I was expecting a light jacket, but the feel was also subtly different to a hard shell being a little more flexible and not quite as noisy when moving. It also felt great next to my skin. Aside from the feel of the fabric, I really liked the permanent built in venting, the helmet compatible hood and the overall weight at just shy of 370g. I am really looking forward to this coming in so will keep you updated as soon as we get to test it in anger on the hill.
We also had a couple of women’s fleeces in some vibrant colours, Lucy tried them on and the cut got the thumbs up.
Finally we had the Terrex Windstopper soft shell jacket, featuring some cavernous pit zips and a great athletic cut, coming in just under 590g in weight. It looks like a good value shell.
All in all a collection that has got us wishing for snow, short days and long nights again – roll on Winter 2011!