2018 Gear Trends: Performance apparel

Technical apparel for Spring 2018 cuts weight while adding style.
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We all know one of them: the guy who whittles his toothbrush in half to save weight, the gal who drops an extra $7 to upgrade her camping spoon to titanium. They’re gram weenies, or “people who are so obsessed with keeping everything as light as possible that everything counts,” says Jim Tafuto, sales associate at Ragged Mountain Equipment in Intervale, New Hampshire. Thanks to these obsessive, er, particular, outdoor enthusiasts, performance apparel is following the trend usually seen in hardgoods. Keep an eye out for featherweight windwear, insulation layers, and shells.

Technically suave

Brands continue to inject body-mapping and active insulation technology into their garments, often with the help of the latest version of Gore-Tex Active—now with enhanced comfort, durability, and a 20 percent weight reduction. In many cases though, that function is hidden beneath a fashionable exterior. “Consumers want to wear their performance apparel to the climbing gym, yoga studio, group fitness class, and anywhere in between,” says Joanna Tomasino, Mammut softgoods category manager.

Retailers report that interest in UPF-rated apparel is also high, especially among watersports enthusiasts who spend a lot of time under the sun.

Pack it up, pack it in

“Super, super-compressible . . . it’s one of those features that’s almost expected nowadays,” says Austin Gibney, sales associate with Pikes Peak Outfitters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

As a result, more and more brands are offering über-lightweight jackets that pack up into themselves. These jackets are so small and unobtrusive that The North Face-sponsored ultrarunner Rob Krar notes, “you have no excuses not to bring one.”  

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