Sunday, November 13, 2011

The North Face - Technology Summit

Last week I had the opportunity to head to Chicago to The North Face's technology summit.  This was an event to introduce some exciting new technologies that will be coming out in the Fall 2012 line.

The great thing about The North Face is that they have an amazing team of athletes who are constantly pushing the limits of their gear then coming back to the design team and asking for something better.

Mountaineer Conrad Anker was on hand (fresh from Himalayan triumph) to give a talk about his time on Meru, an extremely remote peak in the Garhwal Himalayas of India.   In 2008 Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk visited Meru but were force to turn back 100 meters short of the summit after 19 gruelling days of punishing weather conditions and technical terrain.  Based on the feedback The North Face received from these three athletes they produced a line of gear called the "Meru Kit" using new and innovative technologies to make a lightweight warm, durable layering system to keep the athletes warm and dry from base layer to shell.  In their new "kit" Anker, Chin, and Ozturk returned to Meru and successfully summited the "sharks fin" on October 12th, 2011.

Some of the new gear to keep an eye out for are: 
"Flashdry" baselayers and jackets which disperse moisture and dry faster than any comparable product on the market.
"Thermoball" Jackets - a new innovation in synthetic insulation where instead of continuous filaments, clusters of small balls of insulation mimic the clusters of down outperforming the warmth to weight ratio of PrimaLoft.
"Shaffle Jacket" - an extremely lightweight down jacket with innovative baffling and thermo mapping to maximize warmth and flexibility.
ABS Backpacks - Ski/Snowboarding backcountry packs with built in ABS avalanche airbag system.

Bottom line, there is always a lot to look forward to in this awesome, ever evolving industry.

Left to Right Chin, Anker, and Ozturk on the Summit of Meru.  The orange jacket is the Shaffle Jacket, I got to try on the one Anker is wearing in the photo...pretty Awesome!

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