Built for a future of megastorms, where ‘waterproof’ is not enough.
- Highly waterproof to over 40,000mm
- Synthetic insulation fused with aerogel
- Fitted with a watertight chest pocket
As we face life on Earth with new categories of weather, we’re going to need new categories of clothing. With extreme weather events on the rise for the last 40 years, and floods and fires sweeping across cities and states, “waterproof” is not enough.
The megastorms are coming. Describing it as raining doesn’t quite cut it when you see houses and cars floating down the road. So we’ve started working on clothing designed for a world of ultraviolent weather – a world where the sky starts acting more like the ocean, and atmospheric rivers dump tidal waves of water down on towns, cities and villages.
The Waterfallproof Puffer is designed to combat the megastorms of the future, where crazily intense rainfall and snowstorms become the norm. Highly waterproof to over 40,000mm, water can’t even stick to the outside of the jacket. It comes with a watertight chest pocket that we borrowed from scubadiving gear. And the insulation is embedded with aerogel – the lightest solid material in the world – to keep you warm down to -40°C.
The most waterproof puffer jacket ever built
We’ve built jackets as waterproof as this one before. Our 100 Year Jacket and Waterfallproof Parka are also crazily waterproof at over 40,000mm. And we’ve built jackets as warm as this before. Our Indestructible Puffer and Solar Charged Puffer will both keep you warm down to -40°C. But to create the most waterproof puffer jacket ever built, we’ve combined incredible waterproofness and warmth in one jacket. We’ll start with the technology that makes the jacket so waterproof.
Nanotechnology means water can’t stick to it
When a drop of water lands on a normal flat surface, it sticks easily and quickly begins to absorb. But when water hits the surface of the lotus leaf, it can only balance on the peaks of the tiny bumps, so it simply rolls away with any movement or breeze. The outside layer of the jacket replicates the leaf’s microscopic bumps using Schoeller’s nanosphere® technology. The bumps are completely imperceptible to the naked eye, but allow the jacket to resist water, oil and dirt. So you can simply shake your jacket dry.
Water rolls off the outside like a lotus leaf
The outside of the Waterfallproof Puffer mimics one of nature’s most brilliant pieces of engineering – the lotus leaf. Over millions of years the lotus leaf has adapted to life constantly surrounded by water. Although the surface of each leaf looks completely flat, it’s covered with a complex landscape of microscopic bumps which helps it stay clean and dry.
Waterproof to over 40,000mm
Water is strong enough to carve rock over time, so it’s certainly strong enough to get through most jackets eventually. Downpours that last for days, or a heavy bag on your shoulders pressing the water through the fabric, will all help water find a way in. The Waterfallproof Puffer is designed to combat the megastorms of the future, where crazily intense rainfall and snowstorms become the norm. So it’s built with an advanced Swiss membrane that’s still completely waterproof under a 40 metre column of water – which makes its waterproofness 40,000mm+.
How waterproofness is measured
Waterproofness is simply the amount of pressure a material can withstand before water goes through it. A rating of 10,000mm for a material is considered waterproof, as it means that if you stood a 10 metre high column of water on that material, the water wouldn’t go through. The higher the score, the less chance rain has of getting you wet. Measuring waterproofness has become something of an arms race in outdoor gear over the last few decades. And it’s an arms race the Waterfallproof Puffer wins.
Built with a Swiss supermaterial
You have to combine lots of different technologies to make a high-performance material this waterproof. Which is why the material we use for the outer shell requires 28 separate construction processes just to build it – and that’s before you even get to the insulation underneath. The outer shell is an advanced 3 layer Swiss material from Schoeller that’s highly waterproof and windproof. The outermost layer uses a self-drying nanotechnology borrowed from plants. Underneath it there’s an intelligent membrane that opens and closes as it reacts to temperature.
An intelligent membrane keeps you warm and dry
The second layer of the puffer uses Schoeller’s c_change® membrane which can open and close to respond to different weather conditions, while remaining permanently waterproof and windproof. It mimics natural structures like flowers and pinecones, opening and closing in response to changes in temperature, humidity and sweat. While it can open up like a series of microscopic vents to let heat escape, in the cold it closes itself like a protective barrier to stop heat leaving. So as soon as the temperature drops, or you stop moving, the membrane contracts to insulate you and retain heat close to the body.
Synthetic insulation fused with aerogel
A lot of technology goes into helping the Waterfallproof Puffer keep you dry. But just as much goes into keeping you warm. And this time we’ve turned to a new type of synthetic insulation to keep you warm down to -40°C and below. The insulation starts life as tiny, silk-like, synthetic fibres that mimic the warmth and softness of down. These fibres are then embedded with aerogel to increase warmth but without adding weight. While we’ve built clothing with many of the world’s most cutting-edge materials, this is the first time we’ve used aerogel.
Cold air can’t pass through aerogel
Aerogel is an astonishingly effective insulator. Its individual nanopores are 10,000 times thinner than a human hair, which makes it almost impossible for air to pass through it. It’s mainly been used in space exploration until today because of cost. But fusing synthetic fibres with aerogel provides a way forward. The fibres and the aerogel work together to perform two distinct roles to keep you warm. While the fibres trap millions of tiny air pockets next to your skin to keep you warm, the aerogel acts as a thermal barrier between you and cold air.
Aerogel has already been to Mars
Aerogel was originally invented at Stanford University in the 1930s. Sixty years later it was adopted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, and it’s been travelling to and from space ever since. When the Pathfinder Sojourner Rover landed on Mars in 1997, it was aerogel that was used to insulate the electronics box because of its thermal properties. And on the Stardust spacecraft, it was aerogel they used to collect samples of interstellar dust from a comet that was moving six times faster than a bullet. So it has a decent CV.
How the insulation performs against down
While down traps heat well, it doesn’t work in wet conditions. As soon as the fibres get wet, they clump together and stop insulating almost immediately. The synthetic insulation in the Waterfallproof Puffer matches down’s thermal properties and is also treated with a water repellent finish. So the jacket will keep insulating even in crazily wet conditions.
The bigger reason we don’t use down
We don’t believe ducks are the future of insulation, any more than we think horses are the future of transport. Over 80% of the down in jackets worldwide comes from ducks kept in industrial farms in China. Practises include ducks being plucked alive and feathers being harvested from force-fed ducks bred to produce foie gras. With complex international supply chains that cross cultures and borders that are hard to police, the best anyone can guarantee is that the ducks they used were already dead when they plucked them. So the only real way to ensure you don’t harm ducks, is by not using down.
The lightest solid material in the world
Aerogel is only three times more dense than air – which makes it the lightest solid material in the world. For contrast, water is 830 times more dense than air. To make aerogel you take silicon gel and put it through a process called supercritical drying, which slowly extracts the liquid part of the gel without collapsing its structure. What you’re left with is a porous, sponge-like material that’s made up of 99% empty space.
Fitted with a watertight chest pocket
While every zipper on the Waterfallproof Puffer is built to cope with extreme volumes of rain, we’ve fitted the jacket with a chest pocket that can survive total immersion in water. Even if you’re wading in chest deep water, anything inside it will stay dry. It’s built with an incredibly heavy-duty waterproof zipper that looks a bit like a rubber anchor and is normally only found in scubadiving gear. Just as no water could get in, no water could get out. So if you’ve always wanted to take your pet goldfish out for a walk, fill up the pocket and now you can.
Waterproof detailing throughout
You’ll find that every detail of the jacket is built for extreme waterproofness. All the seams are fully sealed. And critical seams are reinforced with giant welded bartacks for strength. We’ve also engineered out seams at the shoulders to eliminate the chance of water finding its way in. You’ll find adjusters on the inside hem to tighten the jacket closed at the waist, and hidden elasticated gaiters at the cuffs to create an airtight seal between you and the elements.
Fleece lined pockets for harsh weather
Two large side pockets are fitted with waterproof zippers and covered by storm flaps. The pockets are deep enough to let you tuck in if you’re being battered by a blizzard. The two-way front zipper is water-resistant and protected by a large external storm flap which fastens down with tough metal snap fasteners. And on the inside there’s an internal storm flap to add another layer of protection.
Four more pockets for carrying your gear
On the front of the jacket there are two massive bellows pockets that open up the more you put inside them. They close with two metal snap fasteners and are covered by angled storm flaps so that water rolls off them. On the inside of the jacket there are two more large zipped pockets for your phone, wallet, keys and other supplies.
Comfort and protection for your head
The hood is insulated and lined on the inside just like the rest of the jacket. So it’s warm and soft against your face and skin. There’s an internal fastening system at either side, and another adjuster at the back, so you can tighten the hood up when you need. The jacket has a high collar to insulate you in the harshest conditions, and it’s lined with a soft, brushed fabric against your neck, nose and mouth.
Regular storms are turning into megastorms
The number of extreme weather events has been rising for the last 40 years and that trend is set to continue. Higher global temperatures create more evaporation, which leads to more moisture in the atmosphere, creating heavier and more intense rainfall. So while the risk of the next megastorm increases with every year, regular storms are intensifying around the world at the same time. Every year we see more Category 5 hurricanes – the most severe and destructive you can get.
Size + Fit
The Waterfallproof Puffer is designed with a loose fit, with plenty of room for other layers underneath. If you prefer a closer fit, we recommend you go for the size down.
|Fits chest||83 - 90||91 - 98||99 - 106||107 - 114||115 - 122||123 - 130|
|Fits waist||71 - 76||76 - 81||81 - 86||86 - 91||91 - 96||96 - 101|
|Fits chest||33 - 36||36 - 39||39 - 42||42 - 45||45 - 48||48 - 51|
|Fits waist||28 - 30||30 - 32||32 - 34||34 - 36||36 - 38||38 - 40|