Staying Warm In A New Winter Coat

Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 10:27 am
By: News On 6

With the weather taking the plunge, many of us are looking for our winter coats. Or you might be looking for a "new" winter coat.

Coat technology has changed a lot over the years and News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says some of his co-workers got a good laugh when I informed them I have a ski-jacket that I bought in 1989.

But even if your jacket is only a few years old, you "still" might be surprised by some of the changes. I presented my 1989 ski-jacket to Jesse Mole at Sun and Ski Sports to get his expert assessment. He said it was like a garbage bag filled with foam.

There have been some big improvements since 1989. For one thing, everything has moved to synthetics, which can achieve the same warmth as the old goose-down, but without the bulk. The big breakthrough that's been achieved with synthetics though is moisture-movement. "Cause if you stay wet, you stay cold. So if we can get the moisture off of you and keep you from even getting muggy, you'll do a lot better, even in Tulsa's weather. You want to stay away from cotton. Cotton is rotten."

There are all sorts of brand names for different materials from different companies, but they all have the same basic goal. "There's a fleece material they call Dry Climb which moves moisture so fast, you can pour water on it, and it will literally be gone in a few seconds. It's dry to the touch. They try to make it so the vapor form of water can pass, but the liquid or solid form can't, hence it's breathable but waterproof."

An even newer technique has to do with seams. Instead of stitching, which even with tiny holes can let wind and moisture creep in, some of the higher-end jackets will have seamless welds between sections of fabric. The innovations are really never-ending, take a $500 jacket for example. "We've got a beacon so if you get trapped in an avalanche, they can find you, in your jacket."

There are lots of choices, though in the $200 range, there are some coats, which are both very lightweight and very effective in the cold. Jesse Mole showed us several combinations of inner and outer layers that weigh around one pound, give or take a few ounces and that will keep you comfortable down to around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

I haven't bought my new winter coat yet, but I've narrowed it down to two or three.