Moving Beyond The Ubiquitous Pit Zip

Summit L3 Ventrix

One of the emerging trends from Outdoor Retailer this winter was how to offer better venting options in outdoor apparel beyond the traditional pit zip. Many brands turned to more breathable insulation/fabric options such as Polartec Alpha/Alpha Direct (still my favorite) or Columbia’s OutDry Extreme, while others focused on unique design details that vent out excess heat as you move. Here are a few of the more unique options for Fall 2017.

The North Face Summit L3 Ventrix Hoodie ($280; pictured top):

One of the pieces in the new Summit Series collection, this synthetic-insulated (80 grams) mid layer features small perforations throughout the center back and underarms that offer dynamic venting — these perforations open and close as you move. The outer shell is made from a lightweight, highly air-permeable fabric to aid in airflow and therefore ventilation. Abrasion-resistant print on the shoulders and forearms add durability, while the helmet-compatible hood is pre-tensioned so it fits snugly on your head.

odin veor

Helly Hansen Odin Veor ($350):

Similar to other Helly Hansen jackets, the new Odin Veor features their H2Flow down baffles but with a kick. You will find laser-cut, always open vents between the baffles on the back. When you’re cold, you do what I call the “Montreal hunch” — you pull your shoulders up to your neck and forward, stretching the back of the jacket at the same time. This action closes off the vents and traps in all the heat you are generating beneath that 800 fill-power down. But when you relax and get moving, the excess heat will escape without you noticing, leaving you comfortable versus too hot in a down jacket.

Patagonia Descensionist Jacket ($399):

Following on their popular Ascensionist line Patagonia introduces their new Descensionist collection for 2017 — it includes a hardshell jacket, pants, and backpack. The jacket features two huge, mesh-lined side pockets where you not only store your skins, but double as dynamic vents. As you skin uphill, the movement of your legs pushes up your jacket and opens the pockets, letting air flow in and out of your jacket.

Expect to see all these jackets drop late next summer/early fall.

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