Technology

 

Waterproof Breathable technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waterproof Breathable Technology

Our largest organ is the skin. While this amazing organ is well adapted to regulating our body’s temperature, things can get a bit tricky when layers of clothing are introduced. The reason for this is because our skin is constantly producing moisture to one degree or another depending on the conditions and the individual's metabolism. It would be simple enough to keep water from outside our gear from getting in - you could just grab a trash bag if you want - but what about allowing the skin to breath and to maintain relatively normal breathability? Our skin has the ability to create heat, exhaust heat, cool and be incredibly sensitive to all sorts of external contact. 

We are constantly testing emerging technologies that can allow breathability while keeping you dry during activity. We measure the performance of our fabrics in conjunction with a third-party testing facility called SGS Testing Laboratories. The good people at SGS go to great lengths to verify membrane and lamination performance all the while ensuring consistent performance throughout multiple use case scenarios.

But what do all these numbers mean and how does that affect you? Let’s take 10/10K for example. What does it mean? These numbers are a standardized testing method which indexes performance. The first number is measured in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of waterproofness. With a 10K or 10,000mm fabric, we put a square tube with inner dimensions of 1” by 1” over a piece of shell fabric, you would be able to fill it with water to a height of 10,000 mm or 32 feet before water begins to penetrate the fabric. Once a tester can see two drops of water penetrate, then that is the point of measurement; the higher the mm on a fabric, the higher the waterproofness.

The second number relates to the breathability of a fabric. This performance index is taken by measuring how many grams (g) of water vapor pass through a square meter of fabric in a 24-hour period. The goal is to mimic a user’s body and is taken from the inside of the fabric to the outside. So a 30K fabric would allow 30,000 grams of water vapor to pass from the inside to outside in a 24-hour period.

The most important aspect of waterproof/breathable fabrics is keeping the body dry by acting just as the skin would on its own. The human body cools down much quicker when wet so staying dry equals staying comfortable. And, breathable fabrics allow the body to release excess heat so the skin can maintain an ideal body temperature. When the body temperature is low and the skin is unable to moderate temperature fluctuations a hypothermic state is possible. Correct layering and technical first, second and outer layers are very important when doing outdoor activities in changing weather conditions.

 

HydroBlock™ System

tree snow day

HydroBlock™ is a proprietary microporous membrane which encompasses a variety of waterproof breathable coatings. Used in combination with technical fabrics which are developed for high performance waterproof resistance while maintaining a level of breathability. The fabric is fully coated with a HydroBlock™ hydrophobic lamination. The finished side of the fabric is then finished with the latest DWR polymer coating. The DWR is a protective layer to keep the fabric from getting soiled and thereby losing some of its technical characteristics for breathability and water resistance.

Obermeyer independently third party tests all of its fabrics for performance verification. They are lab tested by SGS laboratories, for example: HydroBlock™ Prime lamination resists up to 30,000mm before water penetration and 30,000 grams of water vapor can pass through within a 24-hour time frame. Refer to individual styles for its specific waterproof/breathability rating.

 

Synthetic Insulation

synthetic insulation

There have been remarkable recent developments with hydrophobic insulation. A true life-saver for cold/wet outerwear. During inclement weather conditions synthetic insulation now stays dry and holds its loft, maintaining its clo value. Water is a better conductor of heat than air, therefore if the insulation is wet or damp, because of perspiration, rain, or immersion — water effects some or all of the air between the insulation fibers causing core body thermal loss.

Comfort is a fundamental factor. We strive to make sure that our insulated garments can stand up to the rigors of a long day out in variable weather conditions. Each person’s body is different with how much heat is produced and how the body either stores or gets rid of it. We take into account for as many scenarios as possible. Add to that the fact that all of us have different levels of aerobic activity. Our main goal when creating outerwear which is intended for intensive aerobic activity is versatility, accounting for a wide variety of people and conditions. To do this, we incorporate body mapping in our insulation as well as strategic venting which eliminates cold spots while at the same time allowing the body to regulate itself when the intensity of exertion rises.

Obermeyer is proud to offer the very best in a new generation of insulation products from brands that are the gold standard in the field. Each of the independent companies used for our insulation offers a unique product which we build into our apparel depending on the goal of the piece. The goal of effective insulation begins by trapping air and creating a layer of air space, the intent is to trap air while maintaining a lightweight and compressible flexible fiber.

The technologies we incorporate into our insulated garments are: Thinsulate, which offers the very best stretch insulation; Primaloft offers the ideal active product for quick moisture management and high clo retention when wet; Thermore is an Italian company that manufactures premium insulation with superior drape and synthetic down performance. Obermeyer uses the very best in insulation technologies available to keep you comfortable regardless of the conditions.

Down Insulation

down insulation

Down feathers are among the best insulations available. Mother Nature knows best through trial and error of the course of eons of animal life on our blue planet. The unconstrained structure of down feathers creates a great thermal insulator by trapping air. The irregular air pockets retain body heat while not allowing cold outside temperatures to penetrate through to the lining. Obermeyer has partnered with Allied Feather & Down to provide the consumer all the relevant information that goes into using the world's finest insulation. Every lot of down receives a unique number which leads to an automated, scalable and customizable lot page where consumers can learn about what is keeping them warm and comfortable.

Stretch Insulation

synthetic stretch insulation

We now integrate stretch insulation in our Fusion line of garments. into our garment's lining so as to allow for ease of movement. There is nothing more aggravating than being restricted when you need freedom of movement. We have found that stretch is invaluable for proper fit and range of motion for sports activity. The recent technological application of stretch into various fabrics allows for unsurpassed performance. Incorporating stretch insulation allows us to develop garments with stretch fabrics and stretch linings to be a fully integrated unrestrictive active garment.

 

Stretch Fabrics

2-Way/4-Way Stretch Fabric

As we develop more synthetic fabrics with stretch we are able to provide exceptional durability and comfort. More importantly we are utilizing stretch fabrics which are lighter which complements its suppleness for ease of motion and superior fit characteristics. Elastane is fabricated with the fabric to create a consistent weave which is not two different fibers being interwoven. The elastane infused fabric therefore maintains a homogeneous texture and surface; ideal for accepting dye colors and waterproof breathable laminates and DWR coatings.  We employ 2-way and 4-way stretch fabrics within a garment design: typically 4-way is located where a wide range-of-motion requires it for optimum flexibility without any constraints. Finally, we use stretch insulation to augment the stretch fabric outer layer, achieving a holistic engineered construction approach. 

 

Full-Motion™ Articulation
Full-Motion™ Articulation

In active sports wear, fit is everything. We pattern our garments multi-dimensionally so that each piece truly fits the needs of an active lifestyle. Next-generation jackets offer feature rich interiors, articulated sleeves and pattern-shaped cuffs. With Full-Motion™ articulation, garments are designed and shaped around the form of an active outdoor enthusiast to enhance comfort and range-of-motion. Every prototype is vigorously tested for fit, function, and style on models and in the field. Finely tailored garments perform properly meeting the highest intended functional characteristics. Obermeyer’s fit specialists work closely with designers, pattern makers, and factories to ensure each piece is shaped on a multi-dimensional pattern because we consider fit a technical aspect in the design and performance.

 

Material Science

material science

The quest for the sourcing of fabrics, laminates, and membranes is an ongoing process as improvements in material technology continue to increase performance. We take great care in determining the best fabric for being supple yet maintaining the correct drape. How the fabric holds its dye color over time and conditions is carefully tested and evaluated. We also take the time and energy to evaluate how a fabric responds to our HydroBlock™ laminations and the newly developed DWR coatings, these tests are paramount to the waterproof breathability ratings. The designs of certain styles require how the materials look, feel and the appearance or interest. Always increasing performance levels while incorporating sustainable and less toxic fabrics and coatings.

 

Seam Sealing

Taped Seams

Whether it's with a waterproof breathable fabric or a DWR coating, staying dry is key to being comfortable and one of the most effective and important ways to keep you dry is with seam sealing. We have learned over the years to fabricate two different categories:  Fully Seam Sealed and Critical Seams Sealed. Fully seam sealed is just what it means - all seams are sealed. Critical seam sealing is when we seam seal those seams which are exposed directly to weather; shoulders, front plackets, cuffs, pant inseams, etc.

Obermeyer makes fully seam sealed outerwear and yet we also take in consideration cost effectiveness. In pieces where weight and range of motion are key, we've mapped the seams to maintain performance as the goal while allowing freedom of movement and lightweight function. While all of Obermeyer's garments are warrantied to bring you years of dry and hassle-free days, seam sealing takes the extra step to insure that  you can trust in the absolute best performance out of your gear.

 

Waterproof Zippers

Waterproof Zippers

Obermeyer has been a partner with YKK® for over 50 years. In the early 2000's water repellent zippers came into production – we use the YKK® AquaGuard® Water Repellent Zipper. A waterproof polyurethane coated zipper with smooth gliding characteristics, flexibility for garment use, with enhanced durability to withstand wear, and pressure. Its longevity is intended for extended use in various temperature and humidity conditions. AquaGuard zippers are ideal for outdoor activities requiring moisture protection and an airtight seal. Thermoformed construction and lamination techniques contributed to the fabrication of adhering the polyurethane onto the coil zipper.

 

Body Mapping

Body Mapping & Patterning

Our fit and spec team use body mapping to position specific areas where insulation, range-of-motion seaming, and pattern configurations are key to the overall performance of a garment. We use thermal body imaging to best determine where insulation should be located creating an optimum environment. We then determine where increased insulation is important while using less 'weighted' insulation in areas where thermal temperature differences are not as critical; yet ease of movement is, for example the arms. Beginning with pattern design, the template is calculated to accommodate areas where the insulation envelope requires additional material. Eased allowances are then incorporated in areas where ease of movement is appropriate. Computerized 3D modeling is then applied to the pattern to drape the garment's fit on virtual avatar body shapes. We always view our designs through a scientific lens utilizing the latest in technological advancements.

 

3D Mesh Insert

3D insulation

Enhanced breathability, comfort and stretch. Klaus founded our company with an engineering frame of reference. Our 3D mesh provides comfort with a lightweight structure and fabricated stretch panels for increased breathability. Intelligent lower back placement leads to a more lower back where it is essential to keep muscles warm. It is through our attention to detail that we take extra care that your garment performs at the highest level when you might need it the most. Check your specific style garment to  determine if it has a 3D mesh insert.

 

CZV™ - Control Zone Ventilation

Control Zone Venting

Obermeyer’s CZV™- Control Zone Ventilation builds upon several of our other technologies such as waterproof breathable fabrics and seam sealing construction to bring about another level of breathability and comfort to your outdoor experience. Outdoor activities often require an elevated amount of cardio generation in cold temperatures. Thermal regulation through venting is required when the amount of heat generated by the body exceeds the ability of the fabric's breathability to diffuse the moisture vapor. Our venting is designed to allow heat to escape, fresh air in to assist evaporation and an internal mesh insert to keep out the elements when open. With all these features we realize just how important it is to keep you comfortable, dry and warm by moving air around your body to evacuate unwanted moisture and heat. The Control Zone Ventilation is available on many styles of jackets and pants.

 

Recco®

Recco rescue system

Being prepared for changing conditions and events is a huge part of skiing and one of the most unexpected things that skiers can encounter is an avalanche. Since its launch the RECCO® Rescue System has become the standard bearer in avalanche search and rescue technology. Obermeyer is a partner with over 700 organizations worldwide who depend on RECCO®.

The beauty of the RECCO® system is that it's always on and ready to go with no batteries that might run out. For the wearer the system consists of a permanently attached "reflector" which is sewn into Obermeyer outerwear pieces. When an avalanche happens, professional rescuers pull out a RECCO® detector which scans the slide area for signals and allows them to easily find those under the snow.

 

Durability

lifetime warranty

When Obermeyer made the decision to offer a lifetime warranty available for our outerwear, and it was not something we took lightly. This meant that our premium construction and forethought toward reinforced fabrication had to be second-to-none.

To illustrate the lengths to which we go in making our gear last - our pants are double layered in the seat and knee to avoid fabric wear and tear and the scuff guards in our men’s garments have double reinforcement construction to provide years of functional performance.

Life in the mountains is fun and adventurous but it is not without its demands on the clothing we choose as our protection From harsh weather conditions to tightly packed trees, your experience should never be limited to something as in a poorly-made piece of apparel. At Obermeyer, we want you never have to worry, we’ve got you covered.

 

Faux Fur

faux fur technology

Not only is faux fur considered to be animal-friendly but it’s also more functional for outerwear and can raise the style game by quite a bit. The key to this is synthetic fur’s ability to hold its color longer and to stand up to frequent use in variable weather conditions. We have developed sourcing for high quality faux fur in a wide selection of colors and fashion-forward looks that look and feel amazing. Our faux fur retains the qualities and appearance of real fur... more importantly it doesn't molt and feels just as soft to the skin. Its synthetic acrylic knitted fabrics are mixed with coarse and fine fibers. Dyeing techniques create dynamic interest not achievable with real furs. Please check your garment’s fur care label for cleaning and drying instructions, or visit our care page for more specific information.