The mean ones: Shell Jackets

Shell Jackets are a must add to any outdoor wardrobe. But when it comes to responsibility, these jackets are also one of the most environmental harmful in the productional phase and in the consumer phase. Let's take a closer look.

Theme on Responsibility

Let's admit it and not wrap it in. The apparent truth about shell jackets are that they are not good on any environmental issues.

The water and ozone depletion is high in the productional phase, the caring for the product exhausts the water resources in the local environment due to hard washing and for many years the making of the membranes has been filled (and still are) with Teflon, which is hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic.

Shell Jackets are though a very needy item in any outdoor wardrobe as it has the capabilities to protect you against the changing times of the weather as you use the products on your adventures and everyday life.

As said in our last theme (A Responsible Outdoor Wardrobe) polyester products are still in general made from environmentally disastrous fabrics. Polyester/Nylon is a synthetic material made from plastic, and it can take shape like many different types of fabric; eg. can polyester look like viscose or even wool.

Basically, polyester consists of oil and natural gas, which are converted into plastic through advanced chemistry. The plastic is then further processed so that it is converted into the synthetic fibers that make up the polyester fabric, which can be used as your new hard shell jacket for skiing or hiking.

But, due to the shell jackets durable surface and membrane it is possible to get a shell jacket and still take of the environment.

The making of

The shell Jacket

Impact results

Production of a Shell Jacket

Polyester: A closer look

It's clear that the polyester is a very impactful fabric to make to our planet, so let's dig further into the polyester and what makes the impact so significant.

Recycled vs non-recycled material

The difference is noticable

3 advices for buying your next shell jacket

Impregnate instead of washing

Due to the significant high amount of water depletion which is quite impactful on our planet we encourage you to wash your products less and impregnate them instead with a bio impregnation spray to keep the lamination and membrane water repellant.

Certified Polyester/Nylon

It's not enough to just look for "recycled" when shopping. To be sure, that your product comes from landfill material and is collected correctly it needs to be certified (like the GRS certification).

The recycled fabrics has a siginifcant lower impact to environment when you are not using Terephtalaic acid to make virgin polyester.

For midlayer jackets the results showed us a decrease of 800% in the impact to ozone depletion.

Breathability & Waterproof Ratio

Stop thinking that you need the highest possible waterproof resistance. If you want a shell jacket to be great for decades, you need one that is waterproof and breathable at the same time. A significant higher waterproof ratio than 35.000 mm lowers the breathability rate because of the windstopping effect and because the fibers are simply so tight in the fabric.

For alpine skiing you need 20-30.000 mm. in waterproof ratio and 20.000 gr/sqm/day breathability.

thanks for reading

Thank you

Data validation

*(The programme used for modelling and the results was SimaPro)

*(Method used for analysis: ILCD 2011
Using system expansion and
consequential modelling
Normalization done in corespondance
to a European citizen)