The North Face Technology Guide

The North Face is a brand with a formidable reputation; boasting countless technologies and expeditions under its belt as well as several awards. No matter where you go from your morning commute to a once in a lifetime adventure holiday you’re bound to see someone sporting a piece of their premium quality gear.

With all of these achievements and innovations it isn’t easy to keep up, and here at Webtogs.com we often find ourselves struggling to remember which technology does what. It’s understandable and with an industry leading brand like North Face no one can blame us. They have a piece of technology, a new fabric or a new construction for every garment and adventure.

So, with it being the New Year and all we decided that it was time to make some resolutions. We’re determined to keep on top of tech this year and we decided that the best way to do that was to create a definitive guide of all North Face technologies. So if you’re like us and you can’t keep up with the full steam ahead pace of this game-changing brand keep reading and bookmark this page for future reference!

FuseForm

FuseForm is one of the North Face’s latest and greatest innovations. It offers a seamless, lightweight construction by using advanced manufacturing techniques to weave two material properties into one single fabric. This eliminates the extra thread and tape of traditional seams which means a lighter weight, lower bulk, stronger and more durable construction with a clean aesthetic.

Thermoball

Developed in partnership with Primaloft; Thermoball is the new synthetic insulation alternative to down. Thermoball works with small, round synethetic fibre that clusters closely together to trap heat within small air pockets. This ensures excellent heat retention, compressibility, loft and low weight like traditional down insulation but boasts the added benefit of wet weather performance. Unlike traditional down insulation Thermoball still offers exceptional insulation when wet making it perfect for alpine adventures.

FlashDry

FlashDry is an innovative proprietary fabric created to offer superior moisture management and temperature regulation. FlashDry is ideal for creating active outdoor use garments and offers drier, more comfortable performance in unreliable weather conditions. FlashDry fabric works by accelerating the evaporation process and is permanently embedded in the yarn so that performance doesn’t diminish within a few washes.

There are actually three different types of FlashDry, each suited to creating a different garment.

FlashDry Fibre Technology works by permanently embedding a microporous additive in at the fibre level to increase the surface area. This aids cooling, drying and makes it ideal for base layers.

FlashDry Thermal Technology works by permanently embedding a microporous additive into synthetic fibres which ensures an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio. This allows for excellent warmth with minimal bulk and is ideal for fleeces.

FlashDry Laminate Technology features a three dimensional, microporous layer of additives printed onto a hydrophilic membrane surface. This allows liquid and evapourative moisture to be transferred away from the body ensuring a 100 percent waterproof exterior and superior next to skin comfort. It is durable and ideal for use in wet and alpine environments.

Goose Down Fill

The North Face only use premium quality goose down fill in their down products. Tested for loftiness, moisture resistance and ability to regain loft after compression you can be sure that you are getting the best down. Several different fill powers of down are used in their products depending on the garment and the activity that is designed for. All goose down fills boast superior comfort and warmth, light weight and unrivalled quality.

900 fill goose down is the highest quality commercially available down. It is generally considered the highest standard of insulation with an unrivalled warmth to weight ratio, superior compressibility, ultralight weight and excellent comfort. It is generally used in North Face’s Summit Series.

800 fill goose down is the next fill often used in North Face’s products. It offers exceptional warmth thanks to it’s high cluster to feather ratio and boasts increased loft as well as compressibility.

700 fill goose down offers a good warmth to weight ratio, is lightweight and is great for insulating across a range of different temperatures. 700 fill is often chosen for it’s versatility and is ideal when you need to be prepared for a range of climates.

600 fill down is most often the lowest fill down that is used in the North Face’s products, although they have been known to use 550 and 500 in some of their gloves and smaller products. It is warm, lightweight, durable and offers ideal performance for general day to day or outdoor use.

GORE-TEX

Gore-Tex is a waterproof, windproof and breathable membrane technology that allows the user to enjoy maximised protection and comfort without compromising on performance. The North Face generally uses two different kinds of Gore-Tex membrane technology.

Gore-Tex Pro technology is designed to be rugged for extreme use. Gore-Tex Pro garments are durable, waterproof, windproof and breathable and are designed for high impact action packed adventures. It boasts a three layer construction with a membrane that is bonded to a durable outer material and a robust inner lining. This ensures no movement between the layers and maximises durability.

Gore-Tex Active technology boasts superior breathability ideal for highly aerobic activities. Ideal for short bursts of active use such as a day hiking in the hills is boasts fine laminate denier performance textiles and a three layer construction. Proprietary lamination technology integrates the backer textile directly into the Gore-Tex membrane; therefore allowing enhanced breathability and comfort.

Hyvent

Hyvent is a waterproof and breathable technology that uses a polyurethane coating consisting of a tri component to deliver superior waterproofing, moisture permeability and durability. The North Face uses several different specialised types of Hyvent depending on the garment and intended use. All Hyvent technologies are waterproof, breathable and offer excellent protection in rain and snow.

Hyvent Alpha is most commonly used in the Summit Series collection. It is rugged, waterproof and uses a microporous hydrophobic lamination technology to maintain durability and waterproofing in extreme conditions. Hyvent Alpha garments are designed for heavy duty alpine performance.

Hyvent 2 Layer, as the name suggests, boasts a two layer construction that allows it to stay waterproof and breathable and severe conditions. Ideal for exploration it boasts a durable woven outer layer to repel wet weather and an inner layer with a PU coating and micro-pores to channel water vapour out of the garment. This water vapour redirecting technology is ideal for climbing and skiing.

Hyvent 3 Layer is a three layer construction technology and like it’s counterparts it is both breathable and waterproof. It features a durable woven outer layer that repels wet weather, a PU coated mid layer with micro pores to redirect water vapour and a design that is geared towards superior moisture management. This technology excels in alpine environments.

Hyvent DT features the same principle as Hyvent 3 Layer but with a reduced thickness of the third layer. This makes it exceptionally lightweight and packable whilst still offering excellent moisture management. This technology is ideal for multi-day adventures and is sometimes referred to as Hyvent 2.5 Layer.

Hyvent DT EC is created using naturally derived materials and uses 50 percent less synthetic components compared to other conventional fabric membranes. It maintains excellent waterproof and breathable performance in cool to cold conditions, but with the added bonus of a reduced environmental impact. This technology is ideal for backpacking.

PrimaLoft

PrimaLoft sport offers high performance insulation by combining ultra-fine and multi-diameter fibres to deliver specific performance characteristics. The ultra-fine fibres are specifically treated to aid water resistance, and the multi-diameter fibres help to build loft. There are three main types of PrimaLoft insulation that the North Face uses.

PrimaLoft One is arguably their leading microfibre insulation. It is created by treating ultra-fine fibres in a patented process and combining them into an insulating core for lightweight, soft and water resistant performance. PrimaLoft one is 14 percent warmer when dry and 24 percent warmer when we than other competitive insulation.

PrimaLoft Eco is the earth-friendly insulation in the range. It combines a minimum of 50 percent recycled material with standard PrimaLoft fibres to create high loft and thermally efficient insulation. PrimaLoft Eco boasts excellent performance and comfort with a lightweight and water resistant finish. It is ideal for users conscious of their environmental impact.

PrimaLoft Infinity is a high loft and continuous filament insulation that offers 20 percent more compressibility than it’s competitors. It achieves this through the use of a fine denier fibre which also allows it to offer superior thermal efficiency, water resistant and durability. This superior continuous filament insulation even performs well when wet, so is ideal for cold and wet conditions.

Polartec

Polartec has been the favoured insulation layer amongst outdoor enthusiasts for nearly twenty years. It offers exceptional warmth and is available in a range of variations for different garments and activities.

Polartec Thermal Pro fabrics are the most technically advanced and aesthetically pleasing fabrics in the range. They come in variety of textures and patterns designed to deliver tailored performance. Newer high loft versions offer the highest warmth to weight ratios and other versions deliver the look of traditional wool with the performance of a fleece. Polartec Thermal Pro fabrics are ideal for a huge number of uses thanks to their versatility.

Polartec Classic series fabrics are available in lightweight, midweight or heavyweight fleece. Polartec 100 is the lightest and are great for a warm first layer, Polartec 200 is the midweight fleece  so offers excellent warmth and versatility and Polartec 300 fabrics are the heaviest option providing a superior thermal layer for very cold weather.

Polartec Eco is the environmentally conscious alternative in the collection. It offers the same warmth and comfort of other Polartec fabrics but boasts a more environmentally friendly package. Solid colourways are derived from 87 percent recycled content and heather colourways are derived from 65 percent recycled content.

TKA

TKA (Thermal Kinetic Advancement) Fleece are a range of proprietary fabrics created by the North Face to offer excellent insulation and durability. There are three different weights of TKA fleece and a TKA Superstretch fabric that is designed for aerobic activities.

TKA 100 is the lightest microfibre fleece weight and offers high performance with a luxurious finish. It provides excellent warmth even when wet and is ideal for use in a layering system. It also launders well and compresses to a small size that is easy to store in your pack.

TKA 200 is the midweight fleece and is ideal for use as a mid layer. It is 100 percent polyester, warm, breathable and pill resistance.

TKA 300 is a mid to heavyweight fleece that can be worn as a layering piece or by itself as a casual outer layer. It offers high performance, pill resistance and great warmth.

TKA Superstretch boasts a supple four way stretch that offers great breathability and comfort; ideal for aerobic activity. It has a soft brushed inner that helps to control moisture whilst offering great next to skin comfort, and a polyester and spandex construction that contributes to a supportive fit. This fabric is ideal for use as a layering piece in cool to cold conditions.

TNF Apex

TNX Apex soft shell fabrics are developed exclusively by the North Face and offer great protection and mobility. It boasts a tightly woven abrasion phobic face for protection and a soft brushed interior for superior comfort. They stretch for mobility and are treated with a Durable Water Resistant finish to offer great weather resistance without compromising on breathability.

Apparel created with TNF Apex are designed to ensure warmth and keep you dry in a thick fog or mist of rain so they are great for active outdoor use.

TNF Apex Aerobic fabric is the lightest and most breathable in the range, and the offer the best stretch and mobility for performance enhancing comfort. They are also windproof making them great for running or cycling.

TNF Apex ClimateBlock is the most protective fabric in the range. It is the most water resistance, practically waterproof, and windproof but doesn’t compromise on breathability. It is ideal for alpine adventures such as skiing and trekking.

TNF Apex Universal is the most versatile fabric in the range. It is breathable, water resistant and is ideal for a huge range of activities and conditions.

Windstopper

Windstopper soft shells offer full wind protection without compromising breathability, and offer the comfort of a mid layer with the water resistance of a shell. They provide great freedom of movement for enhanced performance and are ideal for active use in cold windy conditions.

Windwall

Windwall is a fleece fabric that is exclusive to North Face. It boasts the flexibility, breathability and comfort of a traditional fleece but eliminates windchill. Windwall is created with a unique fabric bonding process that cuts 80 to 95 percent of wind keeping you warm without compromising on breathability.

WindWall 1 fabric is created with a unique fabric bonding process and boasts a mesh liner that allows a limited degree of external air permeability. It is wind resistant, enhances warmth and comfort and is ideal for activities such as climbing and backpacking.

WindWall 2 boasts a gridded fleece liner for even better insulation and utilises the same specialised fabric bonding process for a limited degree of external air permeability. It delivers great insulation, wind resistance, warmth and is ideal for hiking and climbing on cold windy days.

So there you have our definitive guide to North Face technology. Next time you’re weighing up the pros and cons of your next pair of hiking boots or struggling to decide on a new down jacket head over here and get the lowdown on all of their premium technologies. Check out our North Face collection now and put your new found knowledge to test!

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New Merrell Autumn/Winter 2014 Season Footwear

Just in time for the colder seasons Merrell have launched their latest seasonal shoes and boots collection which sees some favourites mixed in with new models but all feature a slightly darker overall colouring due to the slick and rugged oiled leather uppers the majority of them feature.  Many of the new and enhanced designs both include exclusive Merrell technical fabrics and components like their M-Select series, Air Cushion system and the versatile Remember Me Foam footbeds which have been updated for greater comfort and support or alternatively well-known brand components like GORE-TEX and Vibram soles; either way these new Merrell Autumn/Winter 2014 Season footwear collection is one here at Webtogs we’re pretty excited about.

Merrell Moab Rover Footwear

Merrell MoabLet’s start with a design that’s practically a classic: the Merrell Moab.  The versatility of this design is what makes it so successful as not only do you often have multi-purpose footwear in each one but there is a variation for every season or occasion so as well.  The models include the bestselling Moc for casual everyday wear; the low-profile shoe for summer walks and treks and the mid-height boot for tougher hikes and trails in colder weather meaning everyone can enjoy the Moab style throughout the year and now with stylish oily leather uppers.

Merrell Annex Mens Walking Shoes

Merrell Annex 63992-500-1The Merrell Annex shoes are a new design which has a modern styling with the intention of them being worn both on and off the trail yet are packed with features and technologies that make each pair quite formidable walking footwear.  Besides the standard Annex shoe there is a GORE-TEX version which gives greater waterproof protection but both models have the same supportive and comfortable midsole and footbed constructions, anti-odour treatment and the oiled leather upper construction that most of this range uses for water and abrasion resistance.

 

Merrell All Out Blaze Shoes

Merrell All OUt 63999-large1If you prefer an active outdoor sporting shoe then the Merrell All Out Blaze Shoes are perfect with a very light construction and plenty of flexibility for a more natural feel while the UniFly cushioning system makes the shoes responsive, supportive and helps to activate your muscles with every footstrike.  These will provide lasting comfort enabling you to go further for longer and even have technologies seen in the rest of the collection like M-Select FRESH, waterproof oily leather uppers and a Vibram soles too all in an athletic sport shoe design.

 

Merrell Azura Womens Walking Shoes

Merrell Azura 64010-large1The Merrell Azura shoes are a bestseller for a reason; stylish with a number of features making them ideal for all kinds of treks and trails in a lightweight construction and this season not only are they available in two different versions; a standard waterproof nubuck leather version with M-Select GRIP or one with a GORE-TEX liner for greater moisture protection and the addition of Winter Compound for snow and ice conditions but also feature the oiled leather look that makes all of these new footwear so distinctive yet obviously Merrell in design.

You may be looking for a higher and more fashionable ladies boot style but with all of the reliable technical features you would expect to find in a high-performance outdoor hiking shoe so no matter where you walk in the colder weather; around town or on a woodland trail the Merrell Dewbrook and Merrell Captiva Boots are perfect.

Also if you want something a bit more casual looking if you prefer a laid back style or just want a decent pair of shoes for everyday life that have lasting comfort and support try the Merrell Traveler Shoes, Traveler WTPF Boots or the Merrell Helixer Trainers instead.  All of these from the new Merrell Autumn/Winter 2014 Season footwear collection are available with us at Webtogs.

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Jack Wolfskin, Salomon and more New Brands at Webtogs


We always aim to bring you the best outdoor gear from all the best manufacturers and brands and at the best prices which is why recently here at Webtogs a number of well-known and diverse names have been added to our roster.  It’s always exciting to have the privilege of being approved for stocking products of brands new to us; even more so when we have a number of different types in one go.

 

Jack Wolfskin

Jack Wolfskin are a name well known amongst experienced outdoor enthusiasts having over three decades worth of experience in making high quality outdoor clothing such as jackets, tops, pants, headwear and shorts; plus footwear, rucksacks and handy accessories like water bottles, walking socks and more.  The extensive range of Jack Wolfskin outdoor gear covers every kind of activity from a simple short walk to braving a mountain trail as their aim has always been to get everyone out and exploring the wilderness whatever their ability or favoured type trail by being as comfortable as possible and you can find their premium products with us at Webtogs.

Also now at Webtogs are the bestselling footwear brand Salomon who since 1947 have specialised in durable technical hiking boots, shoes and sandals for hikers, climbers, trail runners and everyone who likes to take a walk outside.  The Salomon designs are stylish fairly distinct as shown in their popular 4D GTX boots collection and the entire range features the pinnacle of footwear technology such as Vibram outsoles, OrthoLite footbeds and GORE-TEX lining and constructions so that they can take on the terrain and climate conditions so you stay comfortable and supported.

We’ve also acquired brands that produce accessories and equipment that make adventures in the wilderness much easier such as Pure Hydration and Water To Go who produce canteens and water bottles designed to allow you to drink more safely plus BioLite who make compact and highly effective stoves that merely require small amounts of biomass to ignite a contained fire that will cook and charge electronic devices.  Other brands include Extremities with their range of gloves, socks and headwear that work to keep your appendages and head warm and dry without losing any flexibility at all and Buff who have quite simply created the most versatile range of garments around that can be used as everything from a balaclava, to a neck scarf and even a wrist band.

So please take a look at the great new brands and products we have for even more options for making any journey into the outdoors much more comfortable and enjoyable so you can focus on the trail ahead.

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GoreTex Active Shell – What’s the story?

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.

ME Firefox Jacket

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.

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All new Adidas winter 2011 collection – including Terrex Active Shell

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.

Terrex Primaloft Parka

Terrex Primaloft Parka shoulder

Terrex Primaloft Parka hood

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.

Terrex Hybrid pant

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.

Terrex Active Shell Jacket


Terrex Active Shell detail

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.

Womens Fleece pink

Womens Fleece blue

We also had a couple of women’s fleeces in some vibrant colours, Lucy tried them on and the cut got the thumbs up.

Terrex Windstopper Soft Shell Jacket

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!

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Updated Changabang for Winter 2010

They have been busy over at Mountain Equipment HQ refining their already excellent range of Gore-Tex Jackets. Developed with extensive testing from Plas-y-Brenin Mountain Centre and Mountain Guides, these are not just any waterproof jackets (don’t worry, this isn’t an M & S advert….) These jackets have been crafted to meet the expectations of professional mountain users who need all of their kit to perform to the highest standards day after day.

The top of the range jacket is the Changabang, an all mountain jacket designed for mountaineers and serious off piste Skiers. The Changabang is designed to accommodate a full active cut featuring a shorter body length and articulated sleeves for an exceptional range of movement, no matter what the predicament. Additionally the Mountain HC stealth construction hood moves easily whether a helmet is worn or not with 4 way movement giving an excellent full range of visibility even when at full stretch. Pit Zips take care of ventilation when you are working hard.

Mountain Equipment Changabang

For this year The first and most significant update is to the face fabric. Mountain Equipment are now using a combination of two fabrics. They are using the new Gore-Tex Pro Shell Ascendor II fabric which features a slightly tighter weave for improved abrasion resistance. Heavy wear areas are taken care of with the use of Gore-Tex Pro Shell Tenacity fabric which provides an amazing 20% better abrasion resistance.

The next improvement is the introduction of the Stratum pocket system which provides up to 25% more storage space. The Stratum pocket system creates two huge napoleon pockets that are A4 sized. These pockets are a class above anything else we have seen and anyone who has struggled to stow maps and route cards in foul weather will appreciate the thought that has gone into the new pocket design.

Altogether, we have been seriously impressed by the new Changabang, if you are looking for a top end Mountaineering jacket (that’s British to boot) look no further.

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