I might have made a significant find in synthetic thermal layering. Testing?
Jan 24, 2022 at 2:52 pm #3737984
I know this might sound a bit outrageous, but I have built a 3 ounce XL synthetic thermal torso layer that is as warm as a 9.1 ounce Ghost Whisperer non-hooded XL down jacket when used as a mid/base layer. At least, in my own subjective testing, it’s just as warm, but not by any sort of scientific objective measure.
I’m curious, if there any major aspects I might be missing that could be skewing my results?
For example. The thermal layer is insanely warm against the skin in terms of thermal conductive properties, even when pretty damp. It feels much warmer against the skin than it it might be providing overall to the retention of heat. Is the layer as warm as I think it is? Or is the interface of the fabric to my body making it difficult to measure warmth through subjective means? If the layer is by itself in really cold weather, I can get cold and shiver, but at the same time, my skin feels quite warm to the touch of the synthetic layer. It feels warmer than it is, but while still being incredibly warm for the weight. My Ghost Whisperer down jacket is the opposite, for me. It feels cold to the touch inside, but still retains a lot more heat than it feels like it is retaining.
What would be some easy ways an averagely-smart person could verify if they have a significant new product, or it’s just BS?
Also, the thermal layer not only is super light, but also highly rain resistant and retains a large portion of the thermal properties even after being 100% saturated and then wrung out. I’ve been testing it for several years, and I can literally swim across a deep stream and walk out, shake off, and feel warm again in a couple minutes.
It’s also incredibly cheap to build and source materials.
Which is why even after several years of testing it, I am still skeptical if it’s actually as good as I think it is. I just stumbled on this concept accidentally when trying to create the lightest thermal layer I could make that is 100% synthetic. I don’t have any background in making or testing these types of products.
Downsides are as follows:
– Prone to sticking to anything that has any sort of velcro-like properties. It’s really bad. LOL
– Has a gated, non-linear response to cold wind. Without a wind or rain shell over it, it feels like it blocks the wind perfectly up to a certain point, and then once the wind speed and temp get to a certain threshold, it just opens right up and you then feel the wind REALLY BAD. It’s quite strange.
– Can get a little clammy under high excretion, but at the same time it retains a surprising amount of heat even when getting a little clammed up.
– Fragile in certain directions of the fabric. Can’t be worn at all as a stand-alone layer when dealing with backpacks and bushwhacking, etc.
– Nearly impossible to remove some bits of dirt and debris that become entangled into the fabric. Has to be kept clean from dirty surfaces.Jan 24, 2022 at 4:03 pm #3738004Rex SandersBPL Member
I could come up with a simple, inexpensive test that theoretically should work. But I’ve never done this kind of testing, many theoretically sound tests fail in reality, and simple turns into months of frustration.
Sometimes the fun is in figuring it all out. Sometimes.
Steve Seeber has done lots of these tests. Hope he comments.
— RexJan 24, 2022 at 4:20 pm #3738005
I think a big part of why it would be hard to test, is that the insulating properties have A LOT to do with the fabric to skin interface and the vertical nature of the human body’s skin when standing. The thermal layer eliminates a huge amount of convective heat loss compared to traditional synthetic jackets worn as mid/base layers.
The fabric itself has been very thoroughly tested by experts, and is available in bulk sale online, which is why I was messing around with it to begin with. It’s the way in which I have implemented it that seems to have a very profound effect on how it retains heat at a much lower weight. 3 ounces is insanely light, let alone for something so warm.Jan 24, 2022 at 5:21 pm #3738008
I’m reminded of cold fusion.Jan 24, 2022 at 5:32 pm #3738016
“Can get a little clammy under high excretion, but at the same time it retains a surprising amount of heat even when getting a little clammed up.”
I meant to write exertion, haha. Although I guess people technically excrete sweat? :)Jan 24, 2022 at 5:32 pm #3738017S LongBPL Member
Send it to a lab (or someone with the equipment) to get testing done. There are a few people here on BPL who seem to have access to that sort of testing equipment. They might be willing to test a sample for free (probably in return for being able to disseminate their findings as they see fit). Subjective analysis is usually pretty flawed for getting useful data.Jan 24, 2022 at 10:05 pm #3738049
If Richard Nisley is not around or interested, remove the existing insulation and sew yours into a hoodie with a light nylon shell. Then the Velcro or dirt etc. should not be a problem. If it’s winter in your locale take it outdoors and spend some time with it and an identical or very similar synthetic filled garment. The idea would be to compare similar or same hoodies that differ only with respect to the insulation, but not its weight or thickness. Maybe repeat on a windy day. A couple cheap nylon hoodies should be easy to find in outlets or chains.
Not scientific, but should give you an idea whether it’s worth the costs of lab tests and a patent lawyer.Jan 25, 2022 at 7:48 am #3738065
Is the material some type of foam?Jan 25, 2022 at 8:39 am #3738066Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Oh, we’re playing 20 questions
Is it polyester?Jan 25, 2022 at 8:43 am #3738067Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
And to make up for smart ass comment
Put a temperature sensor next to skin, another outside this material, and a third outside your outer layer
If you knew the insulation value of the outer layer you could calculate the insulation value of this material. Insulation value of this material = insulation value of outer layer * temperature drop across this material / temperature drop across the outer layerJan 25, 2022 at 9:30 am #3738077
Thanks for the replies, and I fully expect to be raked over the coals on this one. LOL
At this time, I’m a bit torn on just giving out my idea and the materials, or the possibility of making a product I can sell. Once people see the product, they can very easily make their own, even if they don’t have a sewing machine. It can be 100% hand made by just about anyone. The main problem here is whether or not a fragile product that needs to be babied and never let get dirty can be a product used by the general public without frustration.
Part of my find is in how the thermal layer has no face fabrics like a traditional mid/light-weight down or synthetic jacket. This is the most critical aspect of the layer, as I found the face fabrics are super not ideal once they are part of a layering system inside of a shell or other thermal layers as they tend to separate thermal layers instead of unifying them, if that makes sense. It also gains a surprising amount of rain resistance through a capillary and shingling effect of the fabric when worn as the outside layer.
It’s really been no mystery to anyone who does the math, that synthetic insulation can be very close to down when dealing with lighter weight items, due to the fact that down needs a robust support structure to contain and form it regardless of how much down is in there, and adding more down has diminishing effects on the amount of fabrics needed to contain it. Ever down jacket has to have TWO wind breakers sewn into it effectively. Those two wind breakers don’t have much insulating value for their weight when under a shell or other layers.Jan 25, 2022 at 9:31 pm #3738136
“I’m a bit torn on just giving out my idea and the materials, or the possibility of making a product I can sell.”
“Part of my find is in how the thermal layer has no face fabrics like a traditional mid/light-weight down or synthetic jacket.”
” The main problem here is whether or not a fragile product that needs to be babied and never let get dirty can be a product used by the general public without frustration.”
Getting the idea that you’re just having some fun with us. BPL used to be more rigorous, and the word, “troll” was often bandied about. Today’s crowd has more of a sense of humor.Jan 26, 2022 at 2:51 am #3738141
Perceived Fabric Temperature – Backpacking Light
This thread might have some overlap with current thread.Jan 26, 2022 at 11:56 am #3738176
Is it made from pack towels?Jan 26, 2022 at 3:08 pm #3738197
If you run into a guy wearing a sham-wow jacket on the trail, it’s Johan. The thing is, those absorb a lot of water–and sweat. He may ask you to wring him out.Jan 26, 2022 at 4:15 pm #3738204rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
My guess is that it’s actually Husky dog hair from a shedding Husky (which they do 24/7/365) braided into a brynje type top.Jan 26, 2022 at 5:35 pm #3738213
“Perceived Fabric Temperature – Backpacking Light
This thread might have some overlap with current thread.”
That’s actually exactly what I was trying to describe. Thanks for the link.Jan 26, 2022 at 5:43 pm #3738214
“Getting the idea that you’re just having some fun with us. BPL used to be more rigorous, and the word, “troll” was often bandied about. Today’s crowd has more of a sense of humor.”
No, actually, I’m not. I’m more curious in how I can prove myself wrong than anything. I have been very forthcoming about my doubts as to the validity of this product’s thermal retention values, because I lack the technical expertise to determine that. I’ve been using it for several years and the system has proven to work, for me, in the climate I live in.
I will correct one thing that I did get wrong though, and that is the XL thermal layer I am referring to is actually 3.5 ounces and not 3 ounces, even. I have several prototypes of different thickness and even with going up to just 6.5 ounces in shirt weight, it’s without any doubt in my mind warmer than a 9.1 ounce Ghost Whisperer. And it’s not like the Ghost Whisperer is even that warm for a down jacket, it’s just happens to be super light weight. It just makes for a good benchmark though.Jan 26, 2022 at 5:52 pm #3738218
To my original objective of this thread, I think it may just have to come down to subjective testing from various people and combining their feedback and observations. Ultimately, if I think someone uses a product for long enough, especially a thermal layer, they will get a good idea of how warm it will keep them in certain conditions.
Seeing how difficult it is to put sleeping bags into a scientific ranking system, I don’t think a person like myself with so little expertise in this field could do any better.
With that said, if I used 9.1 ounces of fabric for one of my shirts, it would be ridiculously warmer than a Ghost Whisperer. So, even if my 3.5 ounce one is a dud, I still have a lot of room to wear something that still outperforms my down jacket at an equal or lesser weight.Jan 26, 2022 at 5:57 pm #3738221
Wait, of course…it’s space blanket material made into a shirt.Jan 26, 2022 at 7:04 pm #3738231Iago VazquezBPL Member
@iagoLocale: Boston & Galicia, Spain
The main problem here is whether or not a fragile product that needs to be babied and never let get dirty can be a product used by the general public without frustration.
The term “general public” recreating outdoors in multiple locales facing a variety of conditions in their outings does not typically go with “fragile” and “must never get dirty”. What do I do if my “fragile” thermal layer is ruined? Pull out my backup? Those few ounces start to look like a bad bargain… And then I discard this “exclusive” layer that now looks like a nasty and/or ripped mess? So to the questions of “general public” as a target audience? No, I don’t think so.
Curious where you recreate that the layer described works… I cannot imagine a place free from flying sand or snow, pocky branches or abrasive jagged rocks. Yeah, and alpine meadow here and there. But to get there, usually I got to fight talus, sometimes in winter with flying snow…
Limited locales under limited conditions… Looks like you got a winner if enough people recreate in those conditions. People have created plenty of brands and products marketed to a limited audience. But as you say, it is easy to copy… Patent? Good luck!Jan 26, 2022 at 9:57 pm #3738243rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
tbh, it sounds a lot like felt. (this guessing stuff is fun)Jan 27, 2022 at 9:49 am #3738272
Oooh, good guess!Jan 28, 2022 at 12:33 am #3738365
Please forgive me for doubting you. The thread on the link posted by Daryl and Daryl is full of info of which I was totally unaware. So, learned something new.Jan 30, 2022 at 5:57 pm #3738591SIMULACRABPL Member
@simulacraLocale: Puget Sound
BPL will next come out with real world testing article about said mystery layering system. Mark my words ;)
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Watch the Tarptent Dipole Review Premiere on YouTube:
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.