To be launched at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer and ISPO trade shows, Polartec is kicking their Power Shield fabric up a notch with Power Shield Pro. Improving heavily on water resistance, while still maintaining superior breathability, Polartec Power Shield Pro will be featured in garments from brands such as Millet, 66 North, The North Face and Eider.
As described in our earlier discussion on waterproof breathable technologies, Power Shield Pro uses a laminate membrane on the inside of their soft shell fabric, similar to Gore-Tex and eVent. The laminate membrane is what infuses the garment with enhanced breathability characteristics. Power Shield Pro technology also includes a DWR (durable water repellent) finish on the outside of the fabric to deliver water resistant qualities.
Because Power Shield Pro, as is with Power Shield, is a soft shell versus hard shell fabric, it makes for quieter movement outdoors. Power Shield is also a single layer fabric solution versus the two to three layer systems of other hard shell garments, making it lighter, easier to pack and more versatile as a layering system.
With Power Shield Pro, it appears that Polartec has improved both their DWR and laminate membrane technology, allowing for better breathability and improved water resistance. Again, if you remember back to the earlier waterproof breathable technology article, Polartec seems to be using a combination of polyester or nylon and polyurethane (PU), similar to Gore-Tex's combination strategy.
"The backcountry just got a lot drier and packs will be a little lighter next Fall," states Nate Simmons, Global Director of Marketing for Polartec. "Polartec Power Shield Pro spans a wider range of weather and activity levels than any softshell on the market- it'll get you home dry even in a heavy wet snow, light rain or high output activity."
Polartec appointed a new athlete advisory board over the summer which includes an international group of world-class climbers, skiers, alpinists, cyclists, adventure racers and multi-sport athletes. They have been actively testing and providing feedback on the new Power Shield Pro fabric, so hopefully we will hear their thoughts come January/February timeframe.