Why We Chose The FutureLight Summit Series L5 Waterproof Jacket: Durable jacket using an exciting new wateproof tech.
The North Face unveiled FutureLight, their all new waterproof material at ISPO 2019 in Germany this year.
This technology utilises a process called nanospinning, where a polyurethane solution is turned into a web of thousands of nano fibres with holes between them that are big enough for air to pass through but small enough to block out water molecules.
It’s nothing new, other brands like Outdoor Research and Jöttnar have produced products using this method before. However, in this instance, The North Face have coupled that nanospun membrane with a unique fabric laminate that, it’s claimed, won’t jeopardise breathability performance. FutureLight therefore gives a claimed moisture vapour transmission rate of 80,000 g/m2. To put that in perspective, Gore-Tex Pro achieves 28,000 g/m2, and Polartec Neoshell is around 30,000 g/m2.
One of the other benefits of the nanospinning process over standard membrane manufacture is that it gives the potential for tweaking the weight and thickness of a membrane depending on the planned activity. For example, a very lightweight, thin membrane and face fabric can be produced for running, whilst a heavy-duty membrane can be for freeride ski use.
“In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as FutureLight. It is creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.” Jim Morrison
FutureLight has been put through the wringer by The North Face athletes over a period of two years of R&D, most notably joining Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson on their first descent of the world’s fourth highest mountain, Lhotse, via the Lhostse Couloir – one of the most sought after ski descents in the world.
The traditional down suit has been the standard on 8,000m peaks for years, however Hilaree and Jim completed the ascent and descent of Lhotse in FutureLight jackets and pants coupled with insulating layers beneath. They proclaimed that they didn’t need to switch out or open up layers ventilation, even during the ascent – the membrane did it all for them.
“In all my years in the mountains, I’ve never experienced a product that moved and performed as well as FutureLight,” stated Jim Morrison. “It’s creating a new paradigm for what I expect out of a waterproof material.”