By utilizing innovative new fabric technologies and manufacturing processes companies like Patagonia, RAB, Mountain Equipment, Outdoor Research, Adidas and Mammut had some really cool new pieces to show off at the OR Show this year. Now this is just a short list of the highlights. If you have a question about a piece not included shoot me a message.
Patagonia Capilene Air Baselayers:
By taking yarns made of 51% merino and 49% recycled Capilene polyester and blasting it with a high pressure air jet Patagonia created a lofted wool blend. These lightweight yarns were then woven in a seamless 3D structure to create a range of warm baselayers for men and women. Because the garments are woven as a single piece there are no seams or stitching to fall apart or chafe while the loose weave allows it to stretch and move with the body. Of course, as a merino-polyester blend the Capilene air baselayers will wick sweat away from the body and be reasonably durable and stink free. I also expect that they’ll also be quite warm given how thick they are. Definitely for winter or high altitude use. MSRP: $149/$129/$129 US for Hoody/Crew/Bottom.
Mountain Equipment Kinesis Jacket & Pants:
This technical new midlayer from Mountain Equipment is lightweight, amazingly soft and comfortable. During my conversation with the rep I forgot I was wearing the jacket and almost walked away with the sample. Alas, he reminded me I was wearing it and politely asked that I give it back.
The stretchy, lightweight 30D ripstop nylon outer fabric’s designed to be highly breathable but still windproof. But what makes it a unique layer is the soft and fuzzy 45g/m2 warp knit Octayarn lining. Finding a layer that is windproof and breathable but not overly insulated and warm can be tough. By providing less insulation than other active mid-layers the new Kinesis falls into a bit of a goldilocks zone for anyone that’s pushing hard in the backcountry on all but the coldest of days.
This new Mountain Equipment line comes in a hoody, a regular pant as well as a ¾ length pant. The hoody features an adjustable and helmet compatible hood, a zippered chest pocket and hand pockets, offset 2-way zipper and hem drawcords. The jacket is also packable into the chest pocket which has twin carry loops for clipping it to a harness. Both lengths of pant have a low-profile elastic waist, zippered hand pockets and vents and are also packable into a pocket. Colors will include: Magma (red), Tasman blue (aqua blue-esq), Sodalite blue (royal blue-esq), Graphite (grey) and Cosmos (dark blue). MSRP $180/$130 USD for the jacket/pant.
RAB MicroLight Summit Jacket:
While it may look like just another mid-weight puffy jacket a close inspection of the MicroLight Summit from Rab shows that it’s anything but. The hooded jacket utilizes a new fabric called Pertex Quantum Infinity Weave. Basically the baffles that hold the 750 fill down are woven into the fabric, not stitched in. Without any sewn through seams between the baffles the MicroLight Summit will be more windproof and warmer. It may also be less likely to shed down.
Other features include a helmet compatible hood with short visor and helmet gasket, stretchy and tight-fitting cuffs and a long harness compatible cut. And don’t worry if the weather takes a turn for the worse, the RDS certified down has a Nikwax hydrophobic treatment. MSRP $325 US.
Mammut Nordwand HS Flex Jacket & Pants:
Mammut’s high-end Nordwand line, part of the Eiger Extreme collection, expands with the addition of the new Nordwand HS Flex. And as the name suggests the Gore-Tex hardshell jacket and pants easily stretch with movement. Mammut has accomplished this by utilizing strategically placed panels of Gore’s new Stretch Technology. This new 2-layer fabric marries the familiar Gore-Tex waterproof-breathable membrane with a distinctive looking honeycomb facing fabric. The result is a highly elastic (2-way stretch) but still waterproof breathable fabric that you can expect to see more and more of from different brands. The rest of the Nordwand HS Flex jacket & pant is made of a 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell material.
The Nordwand HS Flex jacket and pants have an impeccable cut that’s more reminiscent of a soft-shell than a hard-shell and can best be described as athletic. The jacket sports features obviously geared towards alpine climbing: the sleeves are long with slender cuffs, the hood is helmet compatible, the hand pockets are harness compatible and it has a hem designed not to ride up There’s no internal dump pocket but there is a small media type pocket. There’s also a really cool ventilated collar that can be snapped closed with the zipper open. The pants have a simple design with two zippered hand pockets and reinforced instep patches. Unfortunately there’s no ventilation zippers on the legs or a thigh pocket.
One thing that really surprised me about the HS Flex are the color options: dark blue or off-white…Really! And sorry ladies, it only comes in a men’s version for the time being. MSRP: $650/$450 US for Jacket/Pants.
Adidas Terrex Parley 3-Layer Jacket:
Continuing their collaboration with the environmental initiative Parely for the Oceans, Adidas is expanding their Parley line to include a new 3-Layer waterproof-breathable shell. Made from yarns which include reclaimed and recycled plastics from the ocean the jacket supports the initiative to end marine plastic pollution.
The shell utilizes an incredibly soft facing fabric giving it a soft and smooth feel on the outside. In contrast to this the internal fabric has rough, more utilitarian texture that wouldn’t provide a great next-to-skin feel. Adidas used their own proprietary membrane called Climaproof to make the jacket waterproof-breathable but still a little stretchy.
Adidas went with a simple design to keep the price point down. As such it makes a great entry level jacket for the budget conscious shopper. Features include a helmet compatible hood, dual zippered hand pockets and chest pockets, velcro cuffs and a drawcord hem. It doesn’t have any armpit vents or internal pockets. And while I’d like an internal pocket it’s easy to give up for an extremely competitive price point and support for the Parley for the Oceans initiative. MSRP: $299 USD. Comes in blue and black.
Outdoor Research Iceline Versa Pant:
The Iceline Versa pant is getting updated for fall 2018 with a new 3-layer waterproof breathable fabric. OR’s proprietary Ventia™ waterproof membrane is sandwiched between an abrasion resistant 4-way stretch outer material and a soft fleece interior backer. The result is a stretchy softshell type pant with a waterproof breathable membrane, blurring the lines between traditional hard & soft shells. Features include zippered hand pockets and back thigh pocket, zippered outer thigh vents, ankle draw cords and reinforced cuffs with a zippered gusset to fit over ski boots. MSRP: $249 USD.
Outdoor Research Refuge Hooded Jacket:
OR’s new Refuge hoody has a great cut and soft feel but the real story’s not the jacket but rather what’s inside it, VerticalX insulation. This cool new proprietary insulation is alleged to offer warmth akin to a 700-fill down. Manufactured without an internal backer like many synthetic insulations, VerticalX allows moisture to move more freely though the jacket. The insulation structure also allows it to stretch more within the confines of the fabric so it doesn’t restrict movement.
The 60g insulation in the Refuge hoody is faced with a lightweight polyester ripstop fabric with mechanical stretch. Features include 2 zippered hand pockets, a single internal and external chest pockets, a drawcord hem and large helmet compatible hood. There are both men’s and women’s versions. MSRP: $199 USD.
Patagonia Micro-Puff Storm Jacket:
If you liked Patagonia’s Micro-Puff jacket you’re really going to love the new Micro-Puff Storm. With Patagonia’s proprietary 2-layer waterproof-breathable H2No shell fabric over 65g PlumaFill insulation this versatile jacket is basically an upgraded version of the mid-weight Micro-Puff. Cut to fit over other outdoor layers it makes a great belay jacket, ski touring puffy or general bad weather warmth layer. Features include a helmet compatible hood with gasket, a low-cut hem with a mini powder skirt to keep heat in and snow out, large internal drop pockets and zippered hand pockets that double as vents when opened at the same time. MSRP: $499 USD. Comes in black, red and blue.