All In the Details
Innovation in Apparel, from the Inside Out.
Lightweight, eco-conscious and thoughtfully designed. The latest outdoor apparel offerings are dialed in on performance for all. Here are some new products and initiatives to take note of.
Outdoor Research: Lightweight Warmth
Combining the best of two insulation go-to solutions is key in the new SuperStrand LT Hoodie, $219, from Outdoor Research. The Spring ’22 style, designed to be a year-round layer, is the warmest lightweight synthetic jacket Outdoor Research has ever built. It uses a new-to-market insulation technology that combines features of down and synthetic insulation. Proprietary VerticalX SuperStrand insulation is described by the brand as the “lightest, softest, most compressible synthetic insulation on the market.” The lofted polyester strands mimic the shape of thousands of down clusters connected along a strand, blending properties of down and synthetic insulation. It has extremely high loft but also offers warmth if it gets wet. The SuperStrand LT Hoodie (also available in a jacket and a vest) features a unique quilt pattern that reduces stitching, creating an uninterrupted flow of insulation and warmth in a comfortable-to-wear layer. Plus, the jacket uses bluesign approved, windproof 12D nylon shell fabric.
Forloh: Made in USA Performance
Made-in-America technical outdoor brand Forloh is packing plenty of technology into the latest offerings in its award-winning AllClima Collection with the new AllClima Airalite 3L Jacket and Pants, available now. Designed with the brand’s most advanced waterproof, breathable technology to date, the garments are built for anglers, hunters and adventurers, and feature lightweight designs that also offer protection from the elements, as well as offering breathability and durability. And the jacket even features RECCO technology, specifically with hunters in mind.
On the material side, the AllClima Airalite 3-Layer Rain collection is 50% lighter (112gm/m2) than the current Forloh AllClima 3L Rain Collection. It utilizes 30-denier military grade rip-stop nylon construction paired with an ePTFE membrane and a lightweight 20-denier tricot backer. The jacket also incorporates a horizontal zippered back vent which was designed to allow excess heat to escape while still offering protection, whether standing in a torrential downpour or simply getting sprayed while fishing in rough waters.
The jacket, $379, incorporates RECCO technology, the first hunting brand to do so — RECCO, often used for avalanche safety, makes the jacket’s wearer easier to locate in the event of an emergency.
For breathability, the jacket also features Airadigm Pulse Plasma technology, pairing waterproofness with high breathability ratings (up to 35k MTVR). Airadigm Pulsa Plasma technology applies a DWR treatment in trace amounts employing a process that takes place in a vacuum chamber — an electrical charge forces the treatment bond to the fabric’s fibers. This process results in less DWR treatment needed. In turn the pores of the fabric remain open for a more breathable and air-permeable garment, according to the brand. The technology results in a “quiet” fabric compared to most waterproof fabrics.
Norrøna: Going Ultralight
Norwegian outdoor brand Norrøna, known for its sustainably built premium outerwear, is upgrading its falketind collection for Spring ’22 with lightweight technical innovation. Designed for mountaineering and hiking in variable weather conditions, the collection will feature the lightest, most packable waterproof and breathable jacket and pant in the brand’s history, the falketind Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket and Pant. Other standouts include the falketind aero60 hood Jacket and falketind warm2 octa Hooded Jacket.
“The new falketind Gore-Tex Paclite series is a nod to Norrøna’s passion for all-mountain, year-round travel in the most demanding conditions, while the 100% recycled nylon face and backer fabrics maintain our no-compromise approach to performance and sustainability. The softer feel, lighter weight and extremely packable latest generation of Gore-Tex Paclite fabric is perfect for mountaineering and hiking and works great for general outdoor activities,” says U.S. sales manager Adam Chamberlain. “Launching the most ultralight, fully waterproof jacket to date is an exciting next step in offering a full range of shells for outdoor adventure and travel.”
The falketind Gore-Tex Paclite Jacket, $299, is an ultralight jacket made with Gore-Tex Paclite Plus fabric — a soft, lightweight (75/g m2) tiny rip-stop fabric with a 20D recycled nylon face. It’s extremely packable, thin, and lightweight while being waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
The falketind Aero60 Hood Jacket, $199, is a packable wind jacket made for lightweight mountaineering. The jacket’s lightweight recycled ripstop nylon has a partially open weave construction for moisture vapor transport during aerobic activities.
The falketind warm2 Octa Hood Jacket, $199, designed for all-year mountain sports, uses a bonded fabric technology, Octa liner, to provide lightweight insulation and allow for continuous moisture transfer, and the 100% recycled fine-knitted recycled polyester warm2 face fabric delivers warmth and wind resistance.
The German mountain brand Ortovox is introducing renewable materials such as hemp, organic cotton and Tencel to its Spring ’22 apparel collection, including in the standout Valbon Pant.
Additionally, Ortovox is committed to becoming fully climate neutral by 2024 as part of its ProtACT2024 sustainability strategy. “With that strong commitment, this season we are launching a new collection of mountainwear and backpacks that are not only climate neutral, but also comprised of sustainable materials,” says Tom Mason, U.S. brand manager at Ortovox, noting that “using these materials allows Ortovox to be part of the solution and it encourages more people to think about how they can participate in the outdoors in an environmentally friendly way.”
The Valbon Pant, $150, is designed for climbing, mountaineering and athletic tours in the backcountry. It has a minimalist design, with full freedom of movement. The durable pant is sustainably made with a natural mix of organic cotton and hemp. The two-way stretch material and ergonomic fit allows for movement, and the merino wool waistband sits comfortably under any climbing harness, making it ideal for any climbing adventure. And the Valbon Pant comes in an asymmetrical design with neon color accents, giving it a unique look for wearing casually, too.
PrAna: Earth-Conscious Reinvention
The brand’s Stretch Zion pants, a prAna favorite for years, have been reimagined for Spring ’22 to incorporate a more Earth-conscious design without sacrificing performance and durability. (PrAna’s original Stretch Zion performance fabric is going green for the entire Stretch Zion/Halle collection for Spring ’22.)
The fabric being used, called ReZion, was introduced in select styles in Spring ’21. It is a recycled nylon stretch performance fabric made with bluesign approved materials. It has PFC-free DWR, and has a UPF 50+ sun protection rating. The new prAna men’s Stretch Zion Slim Pant II, featuring ReZion, are quick dry, with stretch performance fabric that is abrasion resistant. The pants have a slim, tapered, fit, and a handy cargo pocket.
“Made in USA” Label Matters
In a win for American manufacturers and workers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on July 1st, approved a final rule to establish meaningful penalties for companies found to have purposely mislabeled imported products as “Made in USA.” This new rule will give the FTC the tools it needs to properly enforce Made in USA labeling guidelines and discourage future deception: previously deceptive labels have received little-to-no consequences for misleading consumers.
Previously deceptive labels have received little-to-no consequences for misleading consumers.
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said: “U.S. consumers place great value in the label because of its embodiment of American values – including quality and knowing that their purchase will support American workers. In many cases, they are even willing to pay a premium for American-made. The Made in USA label isn’t a PR tool. It is a way to recognize the hard work and dedication required of American manufacturers and their employees who make their products in our local communities.
He noted that the FTC’s strengthening Made in USA labeling enforcement is especially timely as America emerges from the COVID pandemic.
Inclusivity in Sizing
As part of its commitment to become a more inclusive community, REI Co-op said it will expand its sizing assortments to offer more apparel and gear, up to size 20 on REI.com, in 34 stores by the end of the year, and in all stores by early 2022.
Several outdoor performance brands have added expanded plus-sized offerings in recent seasons, notably both Gregory and Outdoor Research. Outdoor Research has new ranges for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 in extended and plus sizing for technical base layers, insulation and shells. A panel of six advisors to the Outdoor Research R&D team played a key role in the development process, fit sessions and field testing. Gregory recently introduced its first-ever plus size pack collection with14 different pack styles across the day hiking, hydration, multi-day backpacking and lifestyle categories, and fits the apparel equivalent of 2x through 6x sizing. The Gregory team worked hand-in-hand with Jenny Bruso and her group, Unlikely Hikers, to design the collection
As a manufacturer, developing a truly inclusive sizing program requires commitment and investment. From footwear and packs to apparel and running vests, REI Co-op and other outdoor brands are working on building out their design tools to offer more options.
“Developing inclusive size runs correctly takes much more than just sizing up or down. To fit a broader array of bodies, manufacturers must invest in various tools to build new designs and bring quality inclusive sizing to market,” said April Zito, REI general merchandising manager for apparel. “We have a way to go, but by listening to what our customers need most, we’re proud to offer the majority of our best-selling outdoor styles in more sizing in a variety of colors.”
Since 2017, REI has expanded apparel lines for prAna, Columbia Sportswear, Kuhl, The North Face and its REI Co-op brand. This year REI will add more sizes from brands across new categories, including Terry, Gregory, Nani Swimwear, Athleta and PEARL iZUMi.
REI’s expansion is focused on outdoor activities including yoga, hiking, snow sports, running, fitness, swimming, and cycling.