Mountain hardwear airmesh: Active Mesh Teijin Octa midlayer
Sep 21, 2021 at 5:23 am #3727886
New active insulation range from mountain hardwear:
Has anyone tried it yet?
Seems to be similar to alpha direct and should be more durable.Sep 21, 2021 at 7:46 am #3727893Stephen SeeberBPL Member
Strange you should ask. I purchased one over the weekend from REI. I did my wick/dry test on it. For comparison, I simultaneously tested an old, well used, Patagonia Capilene Midweight. The result: the Capilene shirt wicked 2.88 times more water than the Airmesh, the Capilene shirt supported evaporation of 10 times the water supported by the Airmesh. So, once water wicked into the Airmesh, it was much slower to evaporate than with the Capilene. The Airmesh is, qualitatively (based on IR images only, real R-value was not measured) a little warmer than the Capilene midweight. It is much lighter (29% less weight. (This did not reflect the extra zipper weight in the Airmesh, so, it is actually better than 29%) Their claims about warmth to weight being excellent are correct. However, it is not clear that it is better than Alpha Direct in terms of warmth, warmth to weight or durability. Without further testing, I suspect warmth and warmth to weight will be better for Alpha Direct. I suspect better durability for Airmesh-it will be harder to snag on objects. Again, I don’t know for sure for either fabric. So far, I have had no durability issues with my Alpha Direct garments.Sep 21, 2021 at 9:10 am #3727897
Mountain Hardwear did supply me with the weight of the hoody and crew in Size M:
Crew: 3.9ozSep 21, 2021 at 10:13 pm #3727938Matthew SBPL Member
I have a hypothesis about Alpha and possibly the new Teijin material. I think wicking isn’t as big of a deal in Alpha (I find it very hard to get alpha to become laden with sweat.) The reason why may be that Alpha just sits on top of your skin. Yes, some of the material touches the skin, but it’s a super light “fluffy” material. So, when liquid sweat first rises to the skins surface, it has an unencumbered chance to phase change from liquid to vapor states. In traditional fabrics, the liquid sweat almost immediately hits the fabric and is wicked. In Alpha (and now Teijin?) the liquid goes to vapor and wicking can mostly be skipped all together? This would be very good, because basic chemistry tells us, when matter goes from one state to another, extra energy is required. In this case, that evaporative energy change has a cooling effect on the skin. What are your/others thoughts?
I have a AirMesh on the way. 4.7oz for size large (according to the text reviewer,) the apparent depth of the loft, and the air hole density sounds like it’s worth investigating.Sep 22, 2021 at 12:43 am #3727941
Talking about a Teijin material is not very helpful. Teijin is a global company with many arms and with global sales in the billions of dollars. I am sure they can make good fabric, but one does need to be a shade more specific about which material.
Fwiiw, I believe Teijin own the Pertex brand, and have done so for many years.
CheersSep 22, 2021 at 12:47 am #3727942
The material used in these garmets is called Active Mesh Teijin Octa. Unfortunately Mountain hardwear did not provide me with any information in regards of fabric weight…Sep 22, 2021 at 5:59 am #3727946StumphgesBPL Member
Mathew, I follow you, and I think you might be able to say the same thing about Brynje fishnet baselayers. And then, by extension, you might say the same about Roger going barechested under his taslan windshirt.
I’m not sure, but I think that, while moving and generating heat, it’s all well and good to evaporate sweat from the skin, but isn’t the old argument in favor of wicking that, if we suddenly stop, our wet skin will “flash off” or whatever and chill us to the bone. So if we’re wearing Power Dry, that evaporation happens further from the skin, or something…
And from there, if the baselayer is wicking, wouldn’t we want the next layer to wick too, may as well keep the moisture moving toward the surface? This was the principle behind pile/pertex (Buffalo), wicking mesh/Pertex Equilibrium (VapourRise), wicking mesh/polyester microfiber (DriClime) and even Paramo (where capillary depression, rather than capillary action, is supposed to do the work). Of course, all these fabric combos were meant to deal with internal and external moisture – all were meant to wick perspiration and rain ingress away from skin and towards the surface. “The original softshell concept.”
So while it is great that the “softshell” concept is being reinvented – afterall, what is a layer of Alpha with a winshirt sewn to it, if not a softshell? – I can’t help but think that something is being lost. Are we going from a combination of wicking insulation + windshell fabric that can keep the wearer dry and warm during all-day mild/moderate rain whilst active to something that cannot, all in the name of saving 4 ounces? Is “active insulation” just a lighter version of “softshell but without the moisture management function?”
I don’t know. It could be that super-light, fuzzy, airy neofleeces like Alpha actually do better in such conditions than wicking fabrics of yore. After all, Alpha was designed to keep soaking wet soldiers warm…
So Alpha is cool, but would be be cooler if it also wicks?
Anyway, Mountain Hardwear/Teijin make some moisture management claims about this “ActiveMesh” OctaLoft stuff (“Made with a unique active mesh, consisting of hollow, tube-like fibers with radial extensions that absorb sweat, quick-drying capabilities are at its highest, supporting insulation and heat-shielding properties to keep you cozy in the coldest conditions…”), and that’s probably why Stephen gave it a wicking test.
Roger, those who’ve read Stephen’s article on active insulation will recongnize the “AirMesh” in this Mountain Hardwear garment as being substantially similar to the material used for the lining of the Arcteryx Proton FL, a jacket that Ryan J. has touted in several articles, and that Stephen tested above. An interesting point, though, is that Arcteryx put it mesh side toward the skin, while Mountain Hardwear has put it the other way around. Apparently, it doesn’t matter which direction the “tube-like fibers with radial extensions that absorb sweat” are pointing.
BTW, Roger, why do you eschew wicking baselayers?Sep 22, 2021 at 9:26 am #3727956HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Felt some of it at an REI a couple days back. The outside of the fabric is basically a mesh shirt, like a ‘90s era running shirt with visible perforations, and then the interior-brushy insulation layer. The inner layer is very soft yet “brushy” so I can see it being next to skin if need be. It could also be worn on top of a thin shirt, but would definitely look at sizing if that’s the case as it seems a bit “fitted”.
I’d personally want to wear some sort of shell with the stuff if around any sort of vegetation that could snag that outer layer YMMV.Sep 22, 2021 at 3:13 pm #3727982
BTW, Roger, why do you eschew wicking baselayers?
But we don’t.
In the snow we would normally have some sort of thermal baselayer on, and that does wick. We wear it when we need it.
Outside of snow conditions we do not have anything under our Taslan windshirts (or smocks) for the very simple reason that we don’t need anything. The single layer of Taslan keeps us warm enough while we are walking under most any conditions. Caveat: if it is decidedly frosty in the morning we might wear a thermal baselayer as well for the first 15 minutes, but then we take it off – BEFORE we start to sweat.
Incidentally, the Taslan fabric is not smooth. It is made from an ‘air-textured fibre’, which means the surface is just slightly ‘rough’, and it does not stick to the skin. On the other hand, the fibres which do touch the skin will wick some moisture away.
But there is another very important point here which has been glossed over. Very bluntly, and just going on my experiences here at BPL, most Americans are over-dressed, sometimes seriously so.
People complain that their jackets do not breathe well enough, and that they need pit zips etc to get rid of the sweat. That is not the problem: they are just over-dressed. They should not be sweating in the first place.
Take some of the clothing OFF!
To be sure, we might be a bit cool for the first 5 minutes of walking, but we KNOW from experience we will warm up quickly and then be OK.
The only time one could justify having sweat on your body is in very hot weather when your pack is blocking the loss of sweat from your back. Frameless silnylon packs pressed against your back will be bad: no circulation at all. So-called ‘air mesh’ suspension, or a well-designed frame which mostly stays OFF your back, is what you need in hot weather.
<here endeth the sermon>
CheersSep 22, 2021 at 6:17 pm #3727996Russ WBPL Member
@gatome83Locale: Southeastern US
Mostly agree with everything you said….
However, I can work up a full sweat in subfreezing temperatures in minimal base layers and wind protection. Exerting energy, I sweat. As minimal as I can get with low temps, my base layer will be soaked. I can take off that base layer and hold it horizontally in full frozen mode, and have done so.
Some folks at the gym just glisten…me, I drip in profusion. Could probably hike commando and sweat.
Sorry about your sermon.Sep 22, 2021 at 6:42 pm #3727998
However, I can work up a full sweat in subfreezing temperatures in minimal base layers and wind protection.
Try climbing fast on XC skis with a pack on. It’s good exercise, but we do sweat! See my avatar for an example.
CheersSep 22, 2021 at 9:18 pm #3728001Russ WBPL Member
@gatome83Locale: Southeastern US
Glad you admit to sweat…beginning to think you might be a reptile!Sep 22, 2021 at 9:46 pm #3728003
Leisure Suit Larry the Lounge Lizard!
And if you recognise that, well … shame.
Do we sweat when going uphill in 40 C heat? Your guess.
CheersSep 22, 2021 at 10:11 pm #3728004Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
I have some snow peak pants using octa. I love them for camp pants. My wife loves hers too. I’m not willing to hash out all the detail anymore, but I’m a happy octa user! I want a hoody of itSep 23, 2021 at 7:47 am #3728014StumphgesBPL Member
Jeffs, do you pants have the same kind of Octa – mesh on one face and fleecy stuff on the other face?
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