Columbia Sportswear is releasing a new line of waterproof, breathable winter outerwear this fall called Omni Tech, lined with a shiny reflective material reminiscent of the space blankets developed by NASA back in the 1960s.
In contrast to insulating layers based on the concept of loft, like polypro or wool, that trap heat in the air between their fibers, the Omni Heat lining prevents the loss of thermal radiation by bouncing heat back towards the body.
Space blankets get pretty clammy inside since they trap moisture, so Columbia reduced the reflective coating to small dots that allow moisture to escape around them. They claim that the garments boost body heat retention by up to 20 percent.
A bunch of hype? Marketing ploy? Who knows? If nothing else, it’s like having your own secret disco party inside your clothing. Freak out!
To promote the new line, the company produced a collection of campy videos. They feature scantily clad women frolicking in cold snow and dudes undergoing various snow-related tortures, including a guy in his boxers getting pelted by dozens of snowballs and a Japanese fellow getting blasted by a snow blower.
The videos are clearly meant to go viral, Old Space Man style. Maybe it will work. In face, here’s one now:
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