Have you ever wanted an insulated jacket that would adjust to a wide range of temperatures without adding or removing countless layers or zip-ins? If that’s your idea of Shangri-La, you just might be in luck with the new gas-powered insulation from Klymit. Born from an idea that was presented in a business plan competition at Brigham Young Univerisity (my alma mater, thank you), I spoke with the current Klymit founder and CEO, Nate Alder who gave me the run-down on this groundbreaking technology.
He got the idea while scuba diving in Brazil where divers use noble gases to insulate their dry suits. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Nate started to sketch out how he thought this technology could be used in outerwear and quickly won the acclaim of the BYU Business School and other national and international business plan competitions. With that award money in-hand combined with other investors, Klymit is looking to change the way we think about insulated outerwear.
About Klymit Gas-based Insulation
I got to handle one of the current prototypes, which was an insulated vest. The material used is extremely lightweight as-is and even while completely filled, the weight remains negligible. Nate said that the insulative properties of the argon gas provides 5x the warmth as compared to any other insulation on the market today.
To increase insulation, simply attach the small argon canister (about the size of a CO2 bike pump) and inflate. To decrease, simply depress the button and release the gas to the desired insulation level.
Does it breathe? I’m told that breathability is maintained to a certain extent because of the membranes that Klymit uses to trap the gas. So, it breathes while the argon gas stays put—pretty ingenious!
But what about safety? We’re talking gas right? Argon is a noble gas that is safe and already a part of the natural environment. In fact, argon is used for commercial fire control applications. While you wouldn’t want to inhale it straight, argon isn’t going to hurt you.
What if I poke a hole in the vest? If so, a simple patch kit is included.
The sample vest I tried on wasn’t the best-fitting vest design on the market, but the concept and function is amazing. Just placing the vest on top of my legs for a few minutes and I could feel the warmth. It may be difficult to get a nice-fitting jacket that utilizes Klymit throughout because it may restrict movement in the arms. Possibly a mixture of natural down or synthetic insulation in the sleeves and Klymit in the body would be ideal. We’ll see what these guys come up with as they work with manufacturers on a license basis or introduce their own clothing label.
More Info: Visit Klymit.com