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New Technologies in Camping Outdoor Clothing

© Copyright 2004, 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 clothing. 

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 backing.

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 pleasure.

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 
condition.

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 clothing”. 


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! http://www.best-camping-supplies.htm 

 

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