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materiaalit opas

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In the outdoor industry the search for better materials is an ongoing process, leading to more capable and lighter products. Listing all of the materials is a task not easily accomplished, so we've focused on explaining a bit about the most used ones. 


Acrylic:
This is a synthetic fiber often found in clothes. The acrylic fibers are light, soft and warming, with a wool-like feel. It can also be engineered to feel like cotton or Kashmir. The advantage of acrylic fibers is that they’re inexpensive to produce. Unfortunately, it can’t really compete with genuine wool when it comes to insulating capacity. Acrylic fibers are heat resistant, and can stand up to 200 degrees C. The first acrylic fibers where developed in 1941 by The DuPont Corporation under the name Orlon.




Aluminum:
Aluminum is a material that’s widely used in outdoor gear. It’s a durable and stable material with a low weight, and highly effective when it comes to heat distribution, and therefore often used for pots and kitchen wear. Over the years there has been an ongoing discussion regarding possible health issues in relation to the use of aluminum. In short, the discussion is still going, but clearly, you shouldn’t eat large quantities of aluminum. But who does? When producing aluminum a large amount of energy is required, whereas it only takes 5% of that amount to recycle it. Please keep that in mind, and recycle your gear when it’s worn out. You often come across anodized aluminum, which is a treatment giving the material desired qualities by adding a thin layer of oxide in an electro-chemical process. The treatment adds durability, protects from corrosion and makes it possible to add colours.




Aramide:
see Kevlar. 




Bamboo:
Viscose fibers made from Bamboo started appearing in clothes some years ago. The material offers a cooling and comfortable feel to the skin on hot days. The Bamboo is a rapidly growing grass, which is easily produced without the need of chemical agents and pesticides. It also needs less water than cotton, and is therefore quite friendly to the environment. However, there’s another side to it as well. In order to make the rough, almost wood-like bamboo fibers soft enough to be used in clothes, it needs to be broken down. This can be done mechanically or by a chemical process. In most cases it’s done in the chemical way, which is less fortunate in an environmental context.




Cotton:
For over 5000 years, cotton has been produced for clothing purposes. Today the world production is around 22 million tons every year. In itself cotton is a genuine natural product. However, the plants consume vast amounts of water and the water is also needed in the process of transforming the raw cotton into clothes. Roughly, 29.000 liters of water is needed for every kilo of cotton. Most of the production is taking place in areas where fresh water is of scarce supply, resulting in environmental and social problems. The production also uses a large amount of pesticides and herbicides, being a risk factor for both the environment and workers. Today the ecologically produced cotton contributes to a very small portion of the total production, but as demand increases the portion is growing for every year. If you have the possibility, please choose products made from ecologically produced cotton. It definitively contributes to a better environment and better conditions for cotton workers.




Canvas:
Canvas is a very durable and rough weave originating from the sails used already back in the 14th century. It was originally produced by hemp, but is now most often made from cotton. Sometimes it’s made from linen- or jute yarn to fit a specific use. Another name often for canvas is sailcloth, as it was often used for that back in the days when large ships consumed no oil.




Certech:
Is a rubber foam containing loads of small micro bubbles, which makes it a lightweight and flexible material. It’s completely waterproof and often accompanied by a number between 2.0 and 5.0. The numbers indicate which version of Certec that is used, the higher the number, the more stable and insulating. Certech is practically maintenance free, but a drop of silicone based oil every now and then makes it look and feel like new.




Climashield:
In sleeping bags, shoes, gloves and some clothes you’re likely to find ClimaShield. It’s an insulating material made from polyester fibers, and available in a large number of versions, each for a specific use. The material is constructed from hundreds of thousands long fibers in an interlocking solution. In some cases it’s used mainly as insulation and in other as a combining weather protection/insulation. The material is really durable, yet light, and delivers a high level of functionality over a long time of use.




Climatic:
Climatic™ can be found in many products from Swedish Haglöfs, who invented the material. It’s durable and highly wicking, transporting moisture rapidly and offering a comfortable feel to the skin. Climatic is mainly consisting of polyamide, in other words a synthetic fiber. Depending on the intended use, it can be mixed with elasthan for an even softer and more flexible weave. Available as Climatic Mid, Rugged, and Lite.




Coolmax:
Is a highly wicking polyester material that rapidly transports moisture. It was invented in the 1980’s by Invista, aiming to find a fiber structure that keeps the user dry during high pulse activities. The Coolmax fibers are given a specific surface structure, which make them prone to transport moisture more effectively than plain polyester fibers. The material also prevents the garments from shrinkage, creasing and fading, making it a popular component in cotton- wool-, and synthetic material mixes.




Cordura:
The Cordura brand is used for a number of highly durable heavy-duty fabrics. The material was invented and registered in the late 1920’s, and has continually evolved ever since. Originally used in tires during WWII, the material is today frequently used for bags, belts and other robust creations. The main material of Cordura is nylon, but it can also appear in mixed materials along with cotton and other natural fibers.



Cotpolmex:
This is a highly durable, yet ventilating cotton/polyester weave. It’s available in two versions, P and C. The C versions is slightly more stable in regards of shape and fading. Used for example in the classic Tentipi tents.




Cutan Stretch:
Cutan Stretch is a Polyurethan membrane that is laminated to the inside of different fabrics in order to make then resistant to water, while keeping the breathability. The material has a vast number of tiny micro pores that let the microscopic molecules of vapor pass from the inside out, at the same time as the significantly larger drops of water from the outside won’t be able to pass thru. Cutan Stretch is highly elastic and has to this day reached a capacity of 5-6 RET (a standardized measure of the breathability). Completely free from fluorocarbons and available in two versions among the clothes of Klättermusen: Cutan Super Stretch and Cutan Stretch.




Czone:
CZone™ is a combination of four layers in gloves from Swedish Hestra. Firstly a durable and protective outer material, a waterproof and ventilating membrane, an insulating layer and finally a comfortable lining. The combination makes for a compact glove, offering both warmth and protection.




Dermizax:
Is a membrane used in functional garments such as shell jackets and pants, which need to be 100% water- and windproof. Opposed to many other membranes consisting of a structure made up from hydrophobic micro pores, Dermizax is hydrophilic. In plain English, instead of repelling moisture the Dermizax membrane attracts the vapor, then uses the temperature difference between inside and outside in order to transport the moisture to the outside, where it yet again turns into vapor as it leaves the garment. As the Dermizax membrane isn’t relying on micro pores (that can be blocked by dirt, salt, sweat or fat) it’ll keep its capacity over a long time of heavy use, and even work if dirty. The membrane is highly flexible, and can be stretched to twice its length in any direction. This makes the garments using Dermizax very comfortable to wear, if the manufacturer has combined it with a stretchy outer fabric. Available in the standard Dermizax, and the high performance Dermizax NX.




Dri-lex:
When speaking of shoes, both in soles, lining or upper, Dri-Lex is frequently used. It’s a technical synthetic material with excellent capacity of transporting moisture, at the same time as is really hard-wearing. The fiber structure and quality of the material make it nice to the skin and provide an elegant structure to the fabrics.




Dryloft:
This is a modified Gore-Tex membrane where breathability has been put as the top priority. This slightly reduces the waterproofness, but the windproofing is still extremely good. Dryloft repells water, and in combination with the windproof capacity and high breathability, it’s very useful in sleeping bags and insulating garments such as down/synthetic jackets. Ventilation is roughly twice as good as a standard Gore-Tex fabric, while the waterproofness is reduced to a third.




Dryskin:
Dryskin, or Schoeller®-dryskin as it really is named, is a two pile weave developed for usage in clothes for high pulse activities. The two-layer construction consist of a microfiber weave with wicking capacities on the inside, combined with a more rugged weave on the outside. The outer fabric is often made from polyamide, which offers a great durability. Depending on where and when the garment is to be used, the both weaves can be combined in a variety of compositions. Sometimes other branded fibers/fabrics such as Cordura, Lycra or Coolmax are included in the mix. No matter what, the material is always quick drying, ventilating, comfortable, wind- and water repellent, elastic and durable.



 

Duracoat:
Duracoat is a treatment used as a surface on existing fabrics, improving the durability without adding weight, another layer or penetrating the fabric (making it less water- and windproof). The treatment is invented by Swedish Klättermusen, and used in their clothes.




Eco-shell:
Is an environmentally friendly shell material used by Swedish Fjällräven. It’s made from recycled polyester and completely free from fluorocarbons. Eco-Shell is water- and windproof, as well as breathing. The garments using Eco-Shell are also fully recyclable when worn out, not contributing to over-consumption of oil and adding waste.




Elastan:
Is a highly elastic polyurethane fiber often used in fabrics for improving elasticity and stretch. The elasthan adds elasticity and shape retention. In the US elasthan is most often called by the brand names Spandex, Lycra, Elaspan or Dorlastan.




Element (Bergans):
The Bergans Element ® is a fully synthetic fabric which is water- and windproof at the same time as it offers breathability. The composition is invented by Norwegian Bergans, and used for garments intended for low- to mid-intensity activities.




Element Active (Bergans):
The Bergans Element ® is a fully synthetic fabric which is water- and windproof at the same time as it offers breathability. The composition is invented by Norwegian Bergans, and used for garments intended for mid- to high-intensity activities.




Epic:
Epic, invented and developed by American Nextec, is a production technique where fabrics are treated with silicone in order to become more resistant to wind, water and dirt. The beauty of this is that the actual weave is encapsulated on a yarn-level, transforming it to a protective barrier, rather than the widely used silicone coating alternative. The treatment is far less sensitive to wear than a coating, and it stays in the fabric wash after wash. Epic can be found in both cotton- and synthetic products.




EVA:
EVA or more precisely Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate is a plastic you’ll find in a large number of outdoor products. It’s widely used in shoes, boots, backpacks, sleeping mats, and more. In shoes the EVA is primarily used as a cushioning material, and applied in different ways for different purposes. The part of Vinyl-Acetate varies from 10-40%, whereas the remaining content is made up from Ethylene. The EVA has many fine qualities, beneficial to us who like to spend time outdoors; it’s durable, form stable in a wide range of temperatures, resistant to cracks and breaking, odorless and not prone to absorbing moisture.




eVent:
Is a membrane used in both clothes, shoes and gear. It’s water- and windproof and based on a vast number of tiny micro pores, large enough to let the vapor produced by your body pass thru, yet small enough to prevent drops of water from the outside to get in. Different to some other polyurethane-membranes, eVent manages to let the vapor pass thru more rapidly (Direct Venting™), whereas most other similar membranes uses a two-step process via diffusion. The result is clothes that start ventilating more rapidly, and that has a more dry feeling on the inside.




Fiberfill:
Is a completely synthetic insulation material used by Swedish glove manufacturer Hestra. It consist of 100% polyester fibers.




Felt:
The textile material felt is manufactured by a mechanical process where the raw material (most likely wool) is washed and twisted repeatedly until it achieves a new structure. In the process the material gets small twists, loops and hooks that densely connect the fibers, and give the felt its characteristic compact feel and quality. Felt can be produced with up to 70% synthetic fibers as well, but it’s the wool that make it stick together.




FlashDry:
FlashDry™ is a technology developed by The North Face. It’s a technique rather than a material, and can be used for changing the characteristics of a variety of materials. In the process porous microscopic particles are added to the material, or laminated on a membrane, in order to improve the capacity of the base material to transport moisture, thus keeping you dry. The FlashDry treatment encapsulates the fibers permanently, and won’t be worn- or washed out. According to The North Face, this is a very effective way to achieve the desired function of a functional fabric. FlashDry is available in a number of versions, depending on the intended use of each garment.




Fleece:
Is a synthetic fabric that share many qualities with the wool it’s inspired by. It’s lightweight, elastic, soft to the skin, warming and easily maintained. The fleece will keep most of its insulating capacity even if moist, and transports moisture in a swift manner. However, fleece doesn’t like high temperatures and you shouldn’t tumble dry it. If not flame proofed, fleece is very inflammable and should be treated with caution around open flames. The higher the quality of the fleece, the better it’ll retain shape and structure. Fleece is almost always made from 100% polyester.




Fluorocarbons:
Fluorocarbons is a name for a wide variety of agents that have qualities often desired by manufacturers of outdoor clothes and gear. For example, the water- and dirt repelling functions in the outer fabric of a shell jacket or a back pack is often achieved by the use of fluorocarbons. Unfortunately, the active agents in the products has shown signs of accumulating in our bodies after a long time of use, and when lacking reliable data on the impact of this on us a (often) lively debate has taken place. All major manufacturers are part of this ongoing discussion and research, and most of them have switched to other active agents in their products, as a way of avoiding potential problems and hazards. If the agents used instead are actually better for us, that’s another question…




G1000:
Is a weave designed and used by Swedish Fjällräven. It consists of a cotton- polyester mix that is waxed with Greenland wax in order to achieve waterproofness. The material is really durable and versatile, and it actually gets better the more you use it. By choosing when and how much you wax your garment, you can adjust the characteristics of it. More and often applied wax will give you a garment that withstand wind, water and wear more effectively, whereas less wax will provide better ventilation and a cooler garment. G1000 was invented in the 1960’s by Åke Nordin, founder of Fjällräven. The material soon became a favorite among outdoor enthusiast, and it still is a classic loved by many. Currently there are 5 versions of G1000, used for specific needs in the construction of Fjällräven garments.




Gore-Tex:
GORE-TEX® has almost become a generic name for all waterproof membranes on the market, even if that’s not the actual case. Gore-Tex is actually a protected brand name of a water- and windproof membrane invented and developed by W.L Gore & Associates Inc. The membrane is made from expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene with a vast number of micro pores, which are 20.000 times smaller than a drop of water. On the other hand, the water molecules of the vapor leaving your body are smaller than the pores, passing thru and evaporating from the outer fabric. Hence, the membrane is creating a water- and windproof barrier, which still is capable of letting you get rid of excess heat and moisture. The membrane is laminated to an outer fabric, and in most cases a thin liner, in a strictly controlled process, creating a fabric with the qualities we want in our outdoor garments. In order to suite the many different needs put on outdoor gear and clothes, there are a number of versions of Gore-Tex available. We’ll get into sorting them out for you in another guide. For now, you should know that Gore is one of the leading manufacturers of membranes, and that they take an active part in deciding which fabrics their membrane will work best with, restricting the manufacturers of shell garments to these. As part of this restriction, Gore has a unique guarantee, ensuring that the garment will work as intended for its entire lifespan if taken care of properly.




Heatseeker:
Heatseeker is a patented synthetic insulation from The North Face. It provides plenty of warmth in comparison to its weight, and is very durable and compressible. These qualities make it ideal for winter shoes and other garments that need to be warming without becoming bulky.




Kashmere:
Is the fine wool fiber we get from the Capra Hircus Lanige, or Kashmere goat. Sometimes manufacturers use natural fibers from other goats or sheep as well under this name, as long as the quality is the same. The name originates as a generic name for fine wool from the Kashmere region of northern India, so using the name for wool from other species isn’t entirely wrong. Today, most of the production takes place in Mongolia. This wool fiber is extremely thin, fine and with a luxurious luster. From an environmental point of view, the production raises some issues. The goats rip the grass with its roots when feeding, leaving the upper layer of soil on the ground exposed to erosion. In areas with plenty of goats, this causes obvious problems, and the creation of deserts.




Keprotech:
Keprotec, or more exactly Schoeller®-Keprotec®, is a material mix where Aramide fibers such as Kevlar are used to improve the durability of the fabric. It was originally designed to match the tough demands put on materials for motor cycle racing. Today it’s used in a larger number of applications, such as shoes, boots and outdoor clothes. The most frequently used mixes are with Kevlar, Cordura and Polyamide. Sometimes coatings are added in order to further add water- and windproof qualities to the fabric.




Kerlon:
Is tha name of the weave used by tent manufacturer Hilleberg in their tents. It’s available in four different versions, 1800, SP, 1200 and 1000. The difference between the versions is the weight/durability ratio. All versions are made from high grade Nylon Ripstop with a silicone coating on both sides. The Kerlon weave is regarded as one of the best tent weaves on the market.




Kevlar:
Kevlar is an artificially constructed fiber, actually named Para-Aramidefiber. But lets stick to Kevlar, shall we. It’s not that common in outdoor gear, as it is quite expensive. One of the brands frequently using it is Swedish Klättermusen. Kevlar fibers are extremely strong at the same time as they’re lightweight, hence ideal as reinforcement in clothes.




Linen:
Is a natural material made from fibers of the Linen plant, Linum Usitatissimum. The production of linen is quite friendly to the environment, but the process of breaking the plants into fibers is both time- and labor intensive. Linen is rarely used in outdoor garments, except in some clothes designed especially for hot and humid conditions. It’s nice to the skin, and has a capacity of absorbing large amounts of moisture. It won’t dry as quick as a synthetic fabric.




Lycra:
Lycra is another name for Elasthan or Spandex. The name is a registered trademark, owned by Invista Inc.




Membrain:
MemBrain® is a Polyurethane-membrane developed by Marmot along with Toray Industries. The actual membrane is laminated to the desired outer fabric, creating a 2-layer fabric, used in both sleeping bags and clothes from Marmot. It’s completely waterproof and breathable, as well as durable. The membrane uses a hydrophilic technique, absorbing and spreading moisture while transporting it to the outside of the garment for evaporation. This reduces the risk of condensation on the inside of the fabric, and often feels more comfortable to the skin.




Mesh: 
Is strictly speaking not a material, but rather a definition of a fabric or similar with an airy structure. You’re likely to find mesh used in most kinds of outdoor gear and clothes, such as back packs, bags, shoes, clothes, and more. It’s used everywhere when ventilation and air circulation is desired, and available in both stretchy, and non-strechy versions.




Micro Travel (MT):
You can find Micro Travel, or MT in some of the clothes produced by Swedish Fjällräven. It’s used in their line of travel clothes, rather than for the outdoor clothes. The material is developed by Fjällräven, and consists of a mix between micro polyamide and cotton. The fabrics made from this are durable, cool and soft to the skin. It’s a relatively light material and conveniently enough it’s more or less impossible to get it to wrinkle.




Microfiber:
Microfiber is more of a form or shape than an actual material. It’s a fiber with a diameter of less than 1/16 of a human hair, in other words, really, really thin. In order to get fibers this thin the material is always synthetic, and in most cases polyester or nylon. A cross section of a micro fiber often has a triangular shape, significant for split-fibers. The shape results in plenty of air getting trapped in between the fibers, contributing to great insulation and absorption capacity of micro fiber fabrics. You also get a fabric that’s prone to remove dirt without the need of chemical agents. The weight of micro fibers is often referred to by Denier, and the upper limit is 0.9D, meaning that 9000 meters of fiber weighs less than 1 gram. That’s not much. Micro fibers are often used in hiking and outdoor towels, where best possible absorption in relation to weight is desired.




Modal:
This is a regenerated fiber artificially made from cellulose. It has similar characteristics as Viscose, but a slightly better strength and durability, both as dry and wet. It’s soft to the skin and highly absorbing, hence often found in towels and clothes.




Neoprene:
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber with great insulating capacity, even when wet. It’s used in a wide range of products, but probably known to most of us as a material used in wetsuits and water sports gear.




Nylon:
After some years of research and experiments, more exactly seven, Wallace Carothers at DuPont realized that he had accomplished his task of inventing a synthetic replacement for silk. The year was 1934, and Nylon was created by the use of water, air and coal in a rather complex production chain involving many steps. The fibers have a great elasticity and durability, making nylon popular on the outdoor scene. You’ll find it in both gear and clothes, often combined with other materials.




Pittards Leather:
Pittards is a UK based company producing and delivering leather to a vast amount of manufacturers of clothes and outdoor gear around the globe. Pittards was founded already in 1826, making them somewhat of a guru in the business of preparing leather for different uses. Pittards use a wide variety of ways to prepare the leather, to make it ideal for the intended use. In some cases water resistance or extreme durability might be wanted, in others an extremely thin and soft quality. In short, Pittards is not a single product, but rather a guarantee of high quality leather.




Polyamide:
Polyamide is a synthetic fiber with good elasticity and durability. The fiber is not prone to absorbing moisture, at the same time as it’s really quick drying. The polyamide also scores high on shape retention, and is sometimes referred to as Nylon, which it’s a version of.




Polyester:
Polyester is a material used for everything from boats to soft drink bottles. In the outdoor world the polyester is most often used for textiles, and then in the shape of woven fibers. The polyester fibers are great when it comes to transporting moisture and keeping you warm, then in the form of fleece garments. Polyester was first produced in the 1950’s, today it’s the second most used fabric material in the world.




Polyethylene:
Is one of the most widely used plastics in the world. Most of us use it every day in one way or another. The primary benefits of polyethylene are that it’s lightweight, durable and easily shaped. HDPE is an abbreviation of HighDensityPolyEthylene, and the material is often used for producing jars, cans, toys and such items. LDPE stands for LowDensityPolyEthylene and is used for plastic bags and other soft plastics. Polyethylene is made from oil or natural gas, which isn’t that good. On the upside, Polyethylene is easily recycled and if you make sure it is handled in an appropriate manner when worn out, it’ll become a new product.




Polypropylene:
Is a kind of plastic very similar to Polyethylene. The difference is that Polypropylene can take more heat without losing shape and is slightly stiffer. Products often made of Polypropylene are; bottles, jars, cans and rope. Just as with the Polyethylene, the Polypropylene is easily recycled if taken care of in a proper manner when the product is worn out.




Polyurethane:
Is a synthetic material that can be produced in a number of different shapes, such as viscous liquids, solid state, easily flowing, and as foam. Hence the wide variety of shapes, the material can be used for a vast number of applications. On the outdoor scene Polyurethane is quite often used as a coating on fabrics, giving them better resistance against water and wear.




Primaloft:
Primaloft was first produced in the 1980’s when the US army wanted a synthetic, easily maintained alternative to down in their sleeping bags and clothes. The material had to be comparable to down in aspects of weight, compressibility, and insulation. It also had to be better than down when it came to performing if moist or wet. In 1989 the first commercial products was launched, and since 2010 Primaloft is BlueSign approved. Today, there’s at least seven versions of Primaloft, most of them made from 100% polyester. However, one of the versions contain 45% polyester and 55% merino wool and is called Primaloft Yarn.




PVC:
PVC is short for Polyvinyl Chloride, and it’s one of the most commonly used plastics we have. It was invented in the 1930’s and has often been used when building houses, for pipes, isolation of electric cables and composite windows. In the textile industry the PVC is often used as a coating on fabrics, making them waterproof. The material is in its pure form rather stiff, and has to be mixed with plasticizers for most applications. The plasticizer slowly evaporates, and that’s the “plastic” smell you’re likely to be familiar with. The evaporation also leads to clothes with a PVC-coating getting stiffer and fragile over time.




Quickdry:
QUICKDRY™ is a synthetic material designed in order to provide great comfort in clothes used for high pulse activities. It’s really quick drying, hence the name. Quickdry has great wicking capabilities, is durable and even impregnated in order to become water resistant. Invented by Swedish F.O.V and approved in accordance to the ÖKO-TEX 100 Standard.




Schoeller:
Schoeller is a Swiss manufacturer of highly functional textiles. Many of our major brands have Schoeller as a supplier of material for trousers and/or shoes. They carry a vast number of fabrics with different specifications, from the thinnest stretch to heavy-duty Kevlar reinforced fabrics.




Silk:
Silk is a natural material harvested from the cocoons of the silk butterfly caterpillars. The material has excellent characteristics, and is often used and appreciated as sheets and bed clothes. The silk is naturally temperature regulating, warming when it’s cold, and cooling when it’s warm. It also lets moisture pass thru without absorbing it, and being an extremely smooth and glossy fiber, dirt and bacteria is naturally repelled. Silk is of course available in a number of different qualities, depending of which caterpillar has spun the thread, and how densely it has been woven. The Mulberry butterfly caterpillars are regarded as producing the best silk available. Most silk is produced in Asia.




Spirafill:
The Spirafill is a synthetic insulation used solely by Marmot, as it is their own invention. The Spirafill is made from a mixture of quite thick, but hollow fibers that have a spiral shape, and thin polyester fibers that add insulation and softness to the mix. The Spirafill offer a good balance between warmth and low weight.




Steel:
Consist of a large portion of iron, mixed with coal. It’s the amount of coal that gives the steel its unique number and characteristics. Steel containing a large amount of coal gets hard and strong, but is a bit on the fragile side and can crack if hit. Modern steel is available in a never ending variety of versions and mixtures, containing additional substances to give it the desired characteristics. Steel containing for example chrome won’t corrode as fast as steel without it, often referred to as stainless steel. There are loads of classifications when it comes to steel, as it is so widely used over such a long time, but the one most often used in Europe is HRC. HRC indicates how hard the steel is, and a typical value is between 50 and 67, the higher number being harder steel. The advantages of steel is the relatively low price, and the disadvantage is that it’s heavy.




Thinsulate:
Thinsulate is a synthetic insulating material invented and developed by 3M in cooperation with NASA. The goal was to develop an effective insulation for the space suites worn by astronauts. It had to be thin and extremely warming without becoming too bulky. Thinsulate is made from a patented micro fiber that’s really thin, only 10 microns (approximately 1/10 of a human hair). Thanks to the fiber being so thin, more air can be in a smaller space, giving excellent insulating capacities in a thin material. The material absorbs less than 1% moisture and is warming even if wet or moist. You’ll find Thinsulate in gloves, shoes, clothes and many more products.




Titanium:
Titanium was discovered by priest/recreational chemist William Gregor in Cornwall, UK back in 1791. The metal has been frequently used in later years by the outdoor industry, as it superbly combines low weight with great strength. Titanium is 45% lighter than steel at an equal strength, but at the same time actually 60% heavier than aluminum. However, thanks to the strength of titanium it can be used in really thin qualities, making the final product lighter than a similar aluminum product. On the downside, titanium tends to be a bit expensive and is way harder to process than aluminum. It’s a relatively complex process to extract titanium in the quantities needed, and parts of the process has to be done in vacuum. Expensive.




Traillix:
Traillix is the name for lighweight weaves you can find in the lighter tent-series from Swedish Tentipi. It’s available in 3 versions; P is an extremely lightweight ripstop reinforced nylon weave with silicone coating on both sides and UV-protection. It has a green color and is not ventilating. B is a polyamide ripstop reinforced weave with UV-protection and silicone coating on both sides. It’s rusty red and not ventilating. C is a ripstop reinforced nylon weave with a polyurethane coating on the inside. The color is grey and it has no ventilating capacity.




Wool:
Wool is a natural material with qualities that make it very well suited for clothes such as base layers, socks and underwear. The wool fiber traps plenty of air, providing great insulation at the same time as it transports moisture away from your skin rapidly, keeping it dry. Even if moist, the wool provides plenty of warmth. In regards of odor, the wool is outstanding. Having used a synthetic base layer, you know that it’s likely to smell quite a bit after some time of use. In the case of wool, this problem is more or less non-existing, as the wool contains Creatine which neutralizes the bacterial growth in the garment. In contrary to what you might think, wool is well suited even for use in the summer. Try it for yourself by wearing a woolen base layer shirt or socks, and you’ll get surprised of how cool you’ll feel. In the good old days wool was equivalent with itching garments, fortunately this is no longer the case as production techniques has evolved. The wool we use today is also in most cases from Merino sheep, giving us softer finer wool.




Vinylon:
Vinylon is a synthetic fiber with characteristics similar to the ones of natural fibers. The fibers swell when they get wet, making the weave more dense and adding water resistance automatically. Vinylon is also extremely durable, as you can see from the lifespan of the Kånken backpack (made from Vinylon) from Swedish Fjällräven, it’s almost indestructible.

 Author: Timmy Malmquist/Outnorth
Translation: Oskar Lind/Outnorth

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