One of the biggest complaints Downlite's Chad Altbaier hears from people when they're wearing a down jacket in an active environment is that they overheat fast. And when those goose feathers get wet, it's game over.
But with new technology on the scene, Altbaier hopes to flip the script.
Last week, Downlite introduced ClimaSMART Down Blend powered by 37.5, a mix of down and polyester fiber permanently embedded with naturally derived 37.5 active particles. Downlite partnered with Cocona Inc. to introduce the blend.
"If you’re downhill skiing and it’s 40 degrees out and you're in a down jacket and shell, you get overheated quickly," Altbaier said. "This new technology moves moisture away from your body and makes the human inside feel more comfortable for a longer time."
While down traps air and retaining the heat produced by the body, 37.5 particles attact and release moisture vapor the body produces when it heats up. In 37.5 down blends, the permanently embedded active particles in 37.5 fibers “grab” on to the down clusters to prevent separation and clumping while bringing exceptional performance benefits to down
As consumers prefer apparel that's more versatile, single-season jackets are falling out of style. And with this new material, Altbaier said a down jacket won't just be for super cold temperatures in winter anymore. He said it'll be appealing to the everyday adventurer.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm a down purist," Altbaier said. "But it doesn’t mean that nature cannot be improved a little bit."
As of right now, no brands are using the material. But Altbaier said he's had several conversations with a variety of outerwear brands that have expressed interest. And he'll be showing off the material at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and open to more conversations then.
The soonest the industry can expect to see it in use is fall or winter 2020.
Is it the next big thing?