Outside Magazine found many new high-tech fabrics that will keep you warm on the slopes and stylish in the city. Nick Heil, the senior editor of the magazine, visited The Saturday Early Show to show us the latest outdoor clothing for winter.
The biggest trends in the outdoor apparel industry this year are the widespread use of "stretch-wovens" - durable nylon or polyester fabrics constructed to be highly wind and water resistant, yet extremely breathable. The industry has dubbed the products "soft-shells," because they generally have a soft feel, and a more relaxed style.
The second trend is the return of wool. Garment companies are using very soft merino wool and wool blends in sweaters, shirts and jackets with great success. This new wool is itch-free because of its fine threads. And it offers great temperature range - cool when it's hot, warm and cozy when it's not!
Also new this year, outdoor gear designers are taking their cues from fashion houses when styling garments. The result is high-tech and durable outdoor wear that won't leave you looking like you just got back from an Everest expedition.
Here are some recommendations from Outside Magazine:
- Gravis Beanie: Look inside Gravis's wool cap and you'll find a fleece liner around the forehead and ears to add an extra measure of warmth and protection from the wind ($24).
- Salomon STL pants: Made from Schoeller stretch-woven mixed with bombproof Cordura, these slim fitting pants are lined with fleece to keep you warm. The off-center zipper on the back ensures a great fit ($240).
- Blurr Focus Hoodie: From the hottest little company in Canada, Blurr's polyester lightweight fleece are woven to look like your favorite sweater on the outside but soft and warm on the inside ($92).
- Isis Niobe Down Jacket: Designed by women for women, this down jacket from Isis delivers the value and beautiful colors that Isis is known for ($160).
- Merrel Duet Scale Boots: Water and stain resistant suede boot with sticky rubber tread and air-cushioned sole ($80).
- Atlas Electra 8 Series Women's Snowshoes: These snowshoes are designed around a women's boot fit. Atlas also shaved off the clearance on the inside of the foot so women can now walk more naturally ($170).
- Blur Specter Jacket: The jacket also comes from the tiny Vancouver, Canada company, Blurr. It uses Polartec PowerShield, a stretchy fabric that features a fleece lining on the inside and a water-resistant/wind resistant woven look on the outside. Zippers are waterproof to keep the moisture out ($270).
- Icebreaker Rip Zip Shirt: You can wear this fine Merino wool shirt under a jacket as a light sweater or simply wear it around town as a shirt. It's machine washable, so wear it as often as you like. Thumbholes on the cuff keep your wrists protected when you slide on some gloves. ($120).
- Ibex Alpstar Pant: This small Vermont company has been doing wonders with wool. The company mated a toasty warm Merino wool fleece on the inside with a tough, yet stretchy nylon on the outside. The pants are good for a multitude of winter activities. Best of all, they're machine washable. ($185).
- Gravis Cirque Boots: The Cirque's are the perfect mountain/town boots. The water-resistant suede boots slip on and off with no fussing with laces when your hands are frozen ($95).
- K2 Parka Snowboard: The snowboard was built for the halfpipe and freestyle parks cropping up at every ski hill. The Parka lets you ride "switch," meaning it's dialed to let you ride in control either backwards or forwards ($650 (includes K2 V9 Plasma bindings).
- Nike Sphere ACG Jacket: Sphere's a totally new fabric technology from Nike that uses egg-carton shaped construction on the inside to create air pockets to trap your body heat and keep you warm. A snug, lightweight fit makes it easy to wear under a rain/snow shell or by itself for a multitude of activities ($115).
- Ibex Neve Jacket:
Ibex uses a fine Merino wool fleece on the inside of this all-purpose jacket to keep you warm and wick away sweat. But, the outside is an abrasion resistant Cordura/nylon blend that makes this a jacket that'll last and last ($260).
- Salomon Bonded Wool Pants: By marrying wool felt with a tough nylon mesh, Salomon made these supremely warm slope pants exceptionally tough. They won't tear under extreme conditions ($150).
- REI Jacket If you want value, it's hard to beat REI. And thanks to their new apparel designer from the GAP, you get a little style with that function. The "softshell" piece features a water-resistant, yet breathable fabric that stretches with your body. A year ago, a jacket like this would've cost you over $300. This year the price dropped by $100 to $198.
- Arc'Teryx Stinger Hoodie: Arc'Teryx is a Vancouver, Canada company renowned for innovation and style. The Stinger hoodie uses a high-performance Schoeller Dryskin fabric that stays warm, yet breathes so you don't get clammy ($200).
- Cloudveil Koven Jacket: This small company based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is run by a group of outdoor enthusiasts who really know what works in the elements. They've ended up creating top-notch gear like this "hardshell," which is built for the most severe conditions, but looks great as an everyday coat. It utilizes a proprietary stretch fabric that is highly weather-proof and breathable ($365).
- Marmot Tallac Jacket: This ski parka utilizes the new "Airvantage" system from Gore, the folks who brought you Gore-Tex. Inflate the built in air chamber and you increase the jacket's insulation. Let the air out for less bulk and less warmth ($350).
- Marmot Adamant Jacket: Marmot asked Canadian heli-ski guides to design their ultimate jacket, and this is what they came up with. It's a wool blend, with Polartec Powershield panels. Very warm and durable, yet casual enough that the guides could wear it full-time and not look like they're about to hop on the helicopter ($250).
- Patagonia Core Skin Jacket: This stretch-woven shell is engineered for activities such as extreme as serious ice climbing, but styled for everyday use. Patgonia weds a durable stretch-woven nylon exterior to their proprietary Regulator insulation. Very warm and functional, with a fit like your old denim jacket ($249).
- Patagonia Down Jacket: Simply put, goose down is has the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulation. Patagonia uses only the best goose down for superior loft, even after it has been packed into its stuff sack on a long trip. The jacket is simple, elegant and a great value ($199).