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Thursday, April 28, 2005

New Technologies in Camping Outdoor Clothing

by: Valerie Giles

Camping is an excellent way to explore and experience the
outdoors. The weather needn’t be an obstacle to what sorts of
climates and places you might trek to. Outdoor clothing has
become incredibly innovative in its designs and features,
allowing the adventurous at heart to know no limits.

Given so many choices it is necessary to do a little research
before making your clothing purchase, this way you are only
buying the pieces you will need, therefore essentially getting
your money's worth. The following suggestions should be helpful
for any outdoor enthusiast. A popular term you will hear
mentioned in today’s clothing features is waterproof-breathable
technologies. This technology strives to keep liquid water
(precipitation) out of the garment interiors, while allowing the
moisture vapor (perspiration) to escape out of the wearer’s

There are three major waterproof-breathable technologies which
are microporous laminates, microporous coatings and monolithic
membranes. The microporous laminates contain millions of pores
which allow for molecules of water vapor to pass out, but not
allowing for water to enter. The microporous coatings act in
the same way by letting water vapors pass out but not allowing
vapor to enter. The monolithic membranes absorb moisture vapor
directly into its structure, in turn heat from your body drives
the moisture through the membrane towards the outer surface.
The amazing thing about the monolithic membrane is that as you
work harder the membrane absorbs and exhales more vapor.

One of the popular face fabrics of the past has been nylon; it
has been a preferred fabric because of both its waterproof and
breathable features and its abrasion resistance for rugged use.
But today’s newly designed polyesters are closing the gap.
Polyester is popular because it only absorbs about a tenth as
much water as would nylon. This is wonderful as it keeps the
inside surface of the garment warmer, while reducing the
interior condensation. The great thing about the new polyesters
is they are naturally repellent without having to use spray on
repellents that eventually wash off.

Knowing about the popular fabrics used today and why they work
is important in making some of your outdoor clothing selections,
but if needing any clothing that will be used for cold or
extremely cold conditions you will need to know what clothing
insulations will best suit you and the conditions you might be
facing. First off is down filling. Down filling has been around
forever and is still one of the most popular choices. It is
unbelievably light, compact and durable. It moulds to your body
helping to keep you warm while absorbing any moisture; however
down is not a good choice if you will be in constantly damp
cold or wet snow conditions. Next is the synthetic fills. There
are different types of synthetic fills available, some of which
are much heavier and bulkier than down but will not collapse
when wet. Some of the special synthetic fills are specially
treated to resist moisture penetration while still keeping you
warm if wet.

After you’ve done a bit of research and familiarized yourself
with some of the fabric technologies available, you will next
want to know exactly what you will be doing and what sort of
weather you can expect. For people interested in adventures such
as mountaineering, skiing, ice climbing and other backcountry
sports, you will want an excellent jacket offered in one of the
waterproof-breathable designs offered. These jackets should
offer protection from extreme wind, snow, and rain while still
keeping you comfortable. Along with a great jacket you will want
to select a compatible pair of pants which will also offer you
protection from the elements. When shopping for your clothing you
will notice for more extreme conditions there will be three-ply
garments which consist of an outer face fabric, a membrane and
protective backer, whereas the two-ply garments are more for
general use with a lighter liner instead of the knitted inner

The waterproof-breathable designs are excellent for people
constantly moving, because of the movement you really need
something that breathes. Now on the other hand for people doing
outdoor activity where they are making frequent stops or
standing around for periods of time they will need outerwear
that is insulated to keep them warm. These particular designs
come in various synthetic and down fills in a variety of weights
and shell materials. The design appropriate for you is again
dependant on what sort of activities you’ll be doing.

Now for the people who might not be venturing into quite as
extreme conditions they may just need jackets and pants that
protect them from the wind. Windwear is not to be confused with
rainwear, but is to be used for cool, windy, damp conditions.
For outdoor activities such as backcountry skiing and hiking,
windwear provides water-resistance in breathable fabrics.

Regardless of what sort of camping or outdoor activities you may
do, having proper rainwear is essential when spending time in
the wilderness. Having great raingear such as jackets, pants
and hats can make what might have been a bad weather experience
and allow for your trip to go on. Excellent rainwear today
offers features such as water repellent finishes, fully taped
seams, cinched ankle cuffs and reflective trims for safety.
Rainwear designs really make hiking in the rain a comfortable

One of the most versatile pieces of clothing offered is those
made of fleece. Fleece is light in weight, warm even when the
weather is wet, and can be used for either a mid-layer or outer
layer. Usually used for insulation, fleece also will pick up
moisture from the surface of your underwear moving it outwards
to keep you dry. Fleece is an excellent addition to any outdoor
wardrobe, combined with a two or three ply jacket, windwear or
rainwear; it provides added warmth and comfort. Fleece is
available in heavyweight, midweight and lightweight options.

Modern underwear is another outdoor clothing option that has
improved with time. New polyester blends not only provide needed
insulation from the elements but keeps perspiration away from
your body while in motion. Unlike cotton, the new fabrics make
perspiration evaporate quickly keeping you warm and comfortable.

There are so many outdoor clothing options available. The above
mentioned pieces of clothing serve well for protection from all
of the elements. There is also clothing available for trekking
such as shirts, pants, shorts and t-shirts. Again what is
wonderful about all the clothing choices is the excellent
fabrics used. Fabrics that dry quickly, keep moisture away,
and provide stain, odor and wrinkle resistance.

Lastly, we cannot forget the great clothing accessories that
keep our head, hands and feet warm and protected. Gloves
available for ice climbing, mountaineering and skiing in
waterproof, windproof and breathable fabrics. Gloves, hats and
socks that provide excellent warmth and comfort for any weather

Whatever the outdoor activity you are planning, whether it be
ice climbing, mountaineering, snowboarding, hiking or just a
simple walk outside, the wonderful fabrics and designs offered
in outdoor clothing today can make your experience a comfortable
one. Given so many clothing choices and designs, it truly gives
adage to the saying that “there is no bad weather just bad


Best Camping Supplies is a resources site owned and operated by
Valerie Giles. It features tents, campers, fishing gear, boats,
kayaks and outerwear, making your camping experience enjoyable.
Everything for camping enthusiasts at reasonable prices!

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