It seems that the Haines Supersuit is all the buzz these days. Since it was unveiled at last months Outdoor Retailer show, it has appeared on a number of outdoor and adventure related websites, with healthy doses of skepticism and optimism running throughout the community.
For those who haven’t seen it, the Supersuit was designed by Haines and is eventually going to be brought to market under the Champion brand. It will be tested on Everest this spring by the Climb With Us Team, and promises to offer the same level of warmth as a traditional down suit, at a fraction of the size and bulk. The Supersuit is just 3mm thick, where as down suits tend to be as much as 40mm in thickness, so it’s easy to see what this brings to the table in terms of mobility and comfort.
There is another good article online today explaining just how the Supersuit delivers on its promise of exceptional warmth, while remaining so thin. This time Fast Company takes a look at the suit, and explains the technology that has gone into developing it.
As Fast Company explains it, there are five thing layers in the jacket and pants that make up the Supersuit, including an outer fabric coating, a base layer, an inner sock made of yarn, radiant foil, and the Aerogel, the high tech product that makes it all possible. FC says that Aerogel, which is made of “puffed glass”, is the lightest solid on the planet, but remains wind resistant and is waterproof. It also protects against a wide range of temperatures, starting at -450ºF and going as high as 1000ºF. The down side? It’s extremely expensive, with pervious jackets that use Aerogel running as much as $2000. Haines hopes to change that, making it an affordable product for everyone, and they are looking to release commercially viable products in 2011.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see how the prototypes perform on Everest this year, but if it lives up to the hype, we may very well see a major change in our outdoor gear in the next few years. Thinner, lighter clothing, or other gear, that still performs at a high level, is what everyone is after. Make it affordable, and the market will boom.
For more on the Supersuit click here.
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