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black dots

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Columbia like the north face and every other company that has outerwear made for them in Asia wants to make a hit with the consumers with cold weather outerwear. The following is Columbia’s latest and greatest entry in the field.

Columbia introduces ‘heat magnet’ textile to the outdoors market.

January 1st, 2021 / By: IFAI / Swatches


Columbia Sportswear has launched its new Omni-Heat Black Dot technology, described as “the outdoor industry’s first external thermal shield built to protect from the cold” in a company press release. The new textile features thousands of multilayered black dots that act as a “heat magnet,” capturing solar heat and trapping warmth. Combined with the brand’s Omni-Heat 3D thermal-reflective lining, the new collection of men’s and women’s jackets is Columbia’s most advanced solution for cold temperatures.

A thermal shield is fancy language for describing the surface of a fabric. They claim it is a heat magnet. The fabric is black and like any black fabric it is absorbing the sun’s radiant heat waves. Big deal: if there is no insulation behind the fabric in a “cold situation” how can the garment be a true cold weather garment? All the black dots and the rest of the fabric which is black do is “absorb” the heat they do not “capture” the heat as a police officer captures someone. You have to pay attention to the language they use.

Each multilayered dot is made of aluminum and covered with a black coating to enhance heat absorption from scattered or direct sunlight. Extensive laboratory and field testing showed that the jacket heats up quickly and holds that heat longer than jackets without the technology.

I take exception to this paragraph since I have experienced being on Mount Rainier and in the shade created by the cloud cover, I could feel the cold and when the cloud cover moved away the black jacket I was wearing in a very short time, I mean minutes I was warming up. I doubt that this fabric could warm up any faster. Further I doubt that the fabric could hold the heat longer. But, even if it could with out a layer of insulation such as Lamilite the wearer of the jacket would never be warm if they were in a “ cold situation”.

“To maximize a shell fabric’s heat retention, we looked closely at low-emissivity windows that rely on a thin layer of metal on the glass,” said Haskell Beckham, PhD, Columbia’s senior director of apparel innovation. “We’d never seen insulation placed on the outer layer of a jacket before, and we’ve been extremely impressed with the heat absorption and retention performance throughout our testing in the laboratory and in frigid climates around the world.” For more, visit www.columbia.com.

Haskell apparently does not know what insulation looks like. This fabric is not covered with an “outer layer of insulation” but black aluminum dots. I wonder what area of academia he has his PhD in, certainly not in the field of insulation.

“Frigid climates around the world” is as nonsensical a statement as I have ever heard. They were probably in those areas during their summer seasons. These words are nothing more than a ploy to sway people to think that these black dot fabric garments will keep them warm.

As I see it these large companies are delusional in their thinking and charlatans in their merchandising or advertising of what they believe will cause people to buy their product.

One more time a company makes unfounded claims about a product that has no benefit or performance capability. I believe because of the activity created by the gore company it has given all companies in the outdoor industry license to lie about the products they put on the market.

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