Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2015 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 5 – 8.
Outdoor consumers are expecting more than just the tech trinity of shells — wind/waterproof and breathability. Today’s jackets have to be light, stretch and carry some style. Spring 2016 will crown new heavyweights and ultra lights, and see more budget-friendly 2.5-layer jackets.
“More and more, the technical consumer is looking for products that span a wider array of conditions, moving ever-closer to the holy grail of ‘quiver-of-one’ type pieces,” said Jordan Wand, vice president of product and marketing at Outdoor Research.
Still, their main objective is to stay dry and Columbia is looking to drive that point home visually with its new waterproof two-layer OutDry EX Diamond Shell (MSRP $400) that officials claim boasts more protection and durability than existing three-layer shells. The waterproof layer is on the outside — harkening back to the rain-slicker look — for a tough exterior that still breathes and prevents wetting out. Seam and shoulder tapes beg for a backpack, and the brand’s Omni-Wick Evap aids airflow across the skin.
Montane’s 1.7-ounce Featherlite 7D Jacket (MSRP $149) is too light not to pack. The Windproof 7D rip-stop nylon includes a zip-front and elastic cuffs and hem.
Breathable waterproof shells continue to test new layer combinations and coating technology, and of course, weight remains a selling point. Heading into spring ‘16, the Berghaus Hyper Jacket (MSRP $155) claims the lightest waterproof full-zip jacket at roughly 3.5 ounces. Mammut adds stretch to its popular ultra-light MTR 201 Rainspeed jacket (MSRP $179). The North Face’s Ultra Lite WP S/S Jacket (MSRP $150) tailored its short sleeve hooded shell to the ascent and ultra crowds, as did new-to-apparel Ultimate Direction, with its 5.9-ounce Ultra Jacket (MSRP $180), which features a TunnelEffect hood channel and self-storing FlipMitts. Another apparel debut comes from gear and bag brand High Sierra, which packed hems, cords and taped seams into the Isle Jacket (MSRP $99).
Two new air-permeable hardshell technologies are ready for testing. Marmot shows off its three-layer NanoPro fabric in the men’s Red Star Jacket (MSRP $299), and Outdoor Research uses AscentShell 20D ripstop fabric in its 11-ounce Realm Jacket (MSRP $279).
Arc’teryx mixed Coreloft insulation and fleece for its summer Atom SL Hoody (MSRP $229) wind shell. Sherpa Adventure Gear’s compressible Tufan jacket (MSRP $140) uses 3D Dry fabric to create space and circulation against the skin.
For alpine insulation, Mountain Hardwear covered its Thermal.Q down with a Dry.Q shell in its Supercharger Hooded Insulated Jacket (MSRP $350), which weighs in at just more than a pound.
Gore-Tex pops up in the trail-ready Hurakan Paclite Jacket (MSRP $200) by Under Armour and the two-layer All Outdoor 2L Gore-Tex Wandertag Jacket (MSRP $200) by Adidas Outdoor. Montane adds Pertex Shield coating to its hooded 4.9-ounce Minimus 777 Jacket (MSRP $299).
Making moves in sustainability, White Sierra enlists Teflon to make a longer-lasting Trabagon-Color Block Rain Shell (MSRP $80). It resists stains, too. Bergans of Norway went recyclable with its Eidfjord Jacket (MSRP $339), which uses Toray Ecodear, a 30-percent plant-based poly, and Dermizax, a breathable “hard” membrane for its tech.