KarbonXtreme and KarbonLite
Today the plethora of petroleum derivative micro-fibers that all begin with “POLY” or “LYCRA” or “NYLON” are unbiquitous (found everywhere) and year after year a new generation of hunters buys the latest POLYESTER color with the same freezing results.
This isn’t the definition of insanity. It is the definition of futility.
The truth by now isn’t obvious, but it’s simple. If insulating the human body was as easy as just adding loft or sealing you up in a nylon, waterproof bag then the grand experiment would have ended 75 yrs ago. In fact, heck, we’d just seal the outside with nylon or some coating and we’d all be dry…except we know that doesn’t work.
Why? Because the human body is so much more complex that a linoleum floor and melting snow. The floor doesn’t sweat nor does it produce heat. It doesn’t constantly monitor temps and moisture in order to change its environment. The human body shuts off and turns on extremities based on what the skin senses. Yes, the largest organ (the skin) is also the most complex thermostat ever created. How then do we create a fabric that is alive so that when it is time to get up and hump your butt up 2000 feet because you just heard an elk bugle you can be confident that no matter what happens you’ll be able to get there and get back?
How can you climb up and down and up and down a tree to reset a tree stand and then sit still even though you’re sopping wet from sweat and the wind is finally blowing the direction you need it to blow?
Our fabric Omnitherm (the older now obsolete fabric we started with in 1981) was wool and cotton because we found that the upper range of temps above about 50 degrees in the Rockies sunlight were absolutely unbearable in 100% wool. It just got hot and stayed hotter. The cotton in warmer temps actually creates a swamp cooler if the air is moving at all and your perspiration as dampened it. The cotton allowed us to machine wash it as well instead of dry cleaning which stinks like chemicals. By combining the two (virgin wool and cotton) we created a garment that had a range from subzero to over 70… HUGE by environmental standards; Omnitherm has excellent performance history. Literally everything that can be hunted from 2- legged to 4- legged has been successfully taken on every continent and in every terrain and season in the 30 years we made Omnitherm. And, maybe more impressively the number of lives saved, missions accomplished and years of durable use now spans almost 4 human generations.
Whereas the super-tight weave of single ply woolens like the Mackinaw is wonderful in specific conditions, our customers discovered you can tighten the Omnitherm or KarbonXtreme by simple washing. They’ve been out in the snow all day and never felt snow melt through. US Navy SEALS have hidden in snow caves for 9 days while wounded from Taliban in Afghanistan. Hunters have huddled without shelter after a week of bad weather on a sand bar in Alaska. Customers have been plunged through ice in a crashed float plane in British Columbia. None have ever died of hypothermia. That’s just the A’s and B’s of the alphabet. Why?
The accidental discovery we made is that by using a jacquard for weaving the pattern into the fabric instead of just painting it on the top, each color has to alternate in a binary combination so 1 goes behind 5 which passed under 4 and then over 3 etc. etc. in 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 combinations so each pick is literally a microscopic ‘shingle on a roof’…and…IT BREATHES!
You sweat at over 100 degree farenheit. Your sweat is water in vapor form. It is both absorbed into the fiber and when it’s too much it just goes out. In frigid temps (subzero) an active wearer who is sweating profusely will literally look like a tree covered in a hoarfrost: Warm inside and covered in tiny ice on the outside. That can’t be done in a sealed shut system.
Let’s say I cool a room to 20 degrees; put you in a pair of gym shorts on a treadmill inclined at 10 degrees and 4 MPH… what will you look like in 30 minutes? I’m betting sopping wet. If you’re in a rain suit you’d be a puddle. Now, what will happen when you stop? You’ll chill so quickly that shivering will happen in 10 minutes. That’s what being active outside is like…and if it was as simple as making it waterproof, then nylon and polyester would be perfect all the time.
Yet, we all know that the synthetics only work in a very narrow temperature range. And until you sit down and the wind blows; or a flame hits it; or a sharp branch; or a devious horse runs you into a tree or the ATV speed chills you to the bone.
“Waterproof” is a Madison Avenue advertising concept only… the Grand Canyon is waterproof, right? Let’s face it, if there’s enough water, you’re getting wet…now…are you wet miserable or wet comfortable? This year a local hunter fell through the ice on the Belle Fourche river…Then he killed a deer, loaded him up and went home. When he got home the ice melted off his clothes and made a puddle in the garage and his truck. But, he never got cold.
For almost any conditions the ability of wool to absorb vapor and store heat is magic. But, KarbonXtreme takes it another step by forcing vapor into the wool fiber. This forces a condition known as ‘phase change’. Phase change happens in wool. It produces an additional 1-2 degrees of caloric heat naturally. But, forcing it into the fabric adds almost 8 to 12 times that heat so KarbonXtreme makes the wool glow and store heat. You’re 98.6 just sitting there reading this. If you get up and do 100 pushups you’ll perspire at 102. If you get to 104-5 you’ll need to get to the hospital. This is important: with all that heat, “WHY ARE YOU EVER COLD?”
It’s due to the moisture evaporating off the surface of your skin. My life’s work has been to develop a fabric that does all of that AND stores radiant heat in a never ending cycle. We applied for a patent on KarbonXtreme patent because of that technology. KarbonXtreme has also ARC FLASH tested more fire retardant than the NOMEX that they put on race car drivers. More important perhaps for hunters is that wool is naturally scent suppressant and KarbonXtreme with carbon wrapped Kevlar yarn as a separate yarn in the weave is more suppressant than charcoal and never needs recharging.
KarbonXtreme and KarbonLite- are like a sheep on steroids.