State of the Art


May 15, 2006
Outside Magazine

Stitching is going the way of oilcloth as welded seams replace thread. Most stitchless seams don't require tape and thus reduce weight and bulk. And the gluing technology should get cheaper in the future as it trickles down through companies' lines.

What's the holy grail in new-school jackets? Garments that tap the benefits of soft and storm shells. With innovative fabrics like that used in the Spraymaster, look for an emerging class of outerwear that combines the best of both worlds, with zero compromises.

On the heels of iPod and cell-phone compatibility, look for the next generation of wired jackets to include digital-age features such as flexible keyboards embedded in the fabric and pulse monitors woven directly into the wrists.

Last fall, Patagonia launched its Common Threads program, an initiative to collect worn-out synthetic long underwear and turn it into new, 50-percent-recycled undies. In the future you'll be able to recycle your jacket, too.

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