Stay on top of things! Our Newsletter keeps you regularly informed on all the latest things going on as regards the OutDoor.
The days of Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in the outdoor
industry are numbered. A dozen companies, including several big players, are
presenting PFC-free membrane jackets at this year’s OutDoor. Sustainable
solutions and lightweight designs are high on the agenda at the leading outdoor
One small step for Italian alpinist
David Bacci, one giant leap for the outdoor industry. His ascent of Fitz Roy in
Patagonia in 2016 marked the start of a new era. David Bacci was the first
professional mountaineers to climb one of the world’s hardest routes wearing a
PFC-free jacket. “The PFC-free clothing worked better than I thought it would.
There is no functional reason for using PFCs,” says David Bacci. He adds that
sustainable alpinism should mean reaching summits by ethical means only and
without relying on harmful chemicals.
Europe’s largest trade show also
demonstrates that the outdoor industry can go PFC-free. David Bacci climbed in
a Páramo Enduro jacket which uses a Nikwax Analogy fabric for weather protection.
However, membrane jackets can do without PFCs too. High-end American brand
Marmot, is introducing the “future of raingear”, says European CEO Andy
Schimeck. Marmot’s EvoDry collection is completely PFC-free. Sympatex is also
presenting a fabric of the future in Friedrichshafen. At a design workshop, the
membrane manufacturer developed the functional Jacket 4.0. It is recycled and
recyclable, 100 per cent PFC free and 100 per cent CO 2 -neutral, yet
offers full functionality.
In addition to Marmot and Sympatex, Fjällräven, Haglöfs, Houdini, Jack Wolfskin, Klättermusen, Maier Sports, Mamalila, Pyua and Vaude are presenting PFC-free membranes. In many cases, these brands are going a step further, as just because a jacket is PFC-free, this doesn’t mean that it is sustainable. In future, when a functional jacket is damaged beyond repair, there is no reason to throw it away. Instead, the fabric can be recycled to make a new functional jacket.
There are many different ways to be sustainable:
renewable raw materials instead of fossil fuels, natural dyeing processes and
dyes instead of chemicals, reducing water consumption when dyeing, or during
production, plus compostable clothing and closed loop recycling. Houdini is
launching the “first ever compostable T-Shirt”, at the OutDoor show. Röjk and
Tierra are both presenting jackets made from 100 per cent bio-polymers. That
means they are 100 per cent free from non-renewable fossil based resources.
It’s interesting to note that Scandinavian and German brands are leading the
way on sustainability. This is due to the framework conditions in both
countries and their national outdoor trade associations.
There is a whole raft of interesting new lightweight
innovations for gear freaks and outdoor fans. Haglöfs L.I.M. Field Jacket is
revolutionizing laminate technology with its super-thin, yet PFC-free,
1.5-layer membrane. Japanese lightweight experts Montbell are launching the
ultra-light 70-gram Tachyon Parka, which has a 7-denier polyamide hood. Mammut
is showcasing its Eisfeld Light softshell jacket and pant combination featuring
seamless technology. Weighing in at 770 grams, it might sound heavy next to the
Montbell jacket, but given the extremely abrasion-resistant characteristics of
its Schoeller Dryskin fabric that can withstand plenty of punishment from rough
rock, it is still very lightweight. And the fabric is also given a PFC-free
Lightweight, yet warm and insulating – the dream combination sought by alpinists the world over. Arc`teryx claims that the dream is now reality with their Cerium SL Hoody, which features a super-light down fill with composite mapping that places synthetic insulation at areas that need to withstand moisture, such as the shoulders. Patagonia claims that its Micro Puff Hoody is the smallest packable synthetic insulation jacket with the best warmth-to-weight ratio. And Berghaus is announcing that it intends to set another record. This time, it’s with the GR20 Storm jacket, which it says is the most breathable Gore-Tex jacket ever made. Its patented ventilation makes it the first jacket with open ventilation to pass the Gore storm test.