Drirelease Merino, Cotton & E.C.O.: Ideal performance clothing for hiking, climbing, camping & more

For any adventure – whether linking peaks in the Tetons, ripping dawn patrol in Whistler or scouting new lines in Leavenworth – comfort is synonymous with satisfaction. That’s why performance fabrics have such a high premium for outdoor athletes. 

At Outdoor Research, we believe the ideal fabric for keeping you comfortable across varying conditions, seasons and activity levels is drirelease®. Depending on its fabrication, this performance fabric dries four times faster than cotton and Merino and has a higher CLO value than 100 percent wool, which means it’s scientifically proven to keep you warmer. Because of this, drirelease® can be both a perfect baselayer as well as a light summertime layer depending on the construction of the garment.  

It’s a bit of a marvel, really. It’s a magic fabric that breathes, wicks and dries more efficiently that other fabrics like wool, Capilene or garments containing polypropylene. But there are no potions, spells or topical treatments about it. The secret is built into the fabric and can’t wash or wear out over time.  

What is drirelease®?

Because drirelease® is a fabric blend, rather than topical treatment, these technical abilities can’t be washed or worn out like polypropylene or other treatments and materials that lose their luster with every wash. Even Capilene, which is a filament polyester, has a hydrophilic finish. If you’re anything like us, your technical garments not only get washed a lot, but also get used and abused year in and year out. Since drirelease®’s secret is part of the fabric’s makeup, it alleviates the need for treatments that can also be harmful to the environment. 

Sounds pretty cool so far, but how does drirelease® work? 

The science behind drirelease® is simple, but brilliant. drirelease® fabrics are made up of 85 to 95 percent polyester and 10-15 percent secondary natural fabrics. What’s more, drirelease® is a blend made at the fiber level, which means each individual yarn is a blend of fibers rather than a blend of fabric types within in the entire garment. This fiber-level blend offers the optimum combination for moisture management and bacteria growth resistance.  

The natural reaction these fabric types have with moisture – when blended together – create the benefit. 

Here’s what we mean: synthetic fibers are hydrophobic, meaning they are water-hating and don’t absorb moisture. The secondary natural fibers are hydrophilic, or water-loving, which means they will absorb water. Blended together in just the right way these two fabrics work synergistically – the water-loving fibers pull the moisture away from your skin while the water-hating fibers continue this movement away pushing moisture towards the surface. The magic is in the blend and construction. 

On top of their performance, drirelease® fabrics resist pilling and wrinkling – perfect for hard use and travel. They also have a soft, natural feel unlike materials like Capilene, which has a synthetic feel to it. drirelease® is the best of both worlds: it has the performance of a synthetic fiber and the warmth and soft comfort of a natural fiber, like classic wool. 

Outdoor Research drirelease®

Whether you’re on an early fall jaunt on the Gunks’ hyper classic, High Exposure or getting up to your elbows on Beckey-Chouinard, Outdoor Research products featuring drirelease® will sharpen your edge so you can focus on the terrain ahead. 

Outdoor Research has three types of drirelease® blends: drirelease® Cotton, drirelease® E.C.O. and drirelease® Merino. Our tech tees – like the Men’s Vintage Camp Tech Tee™, Men’s Chalk Up Tech Tee™, Women’s Splash Fire Tech Tee™ or Women’s Ridgeline Tech Tee™ – are made with drirelease® Cotton. The lure is the soft feel of cotton plus the performance of polyester. drirelease® Cotton dries four times faster than a cotton-only garment and has FreshGuard®, a non-chemical permanent anti-odor treatment. It also has a temperature buffering ability designed to keep skin cooler than other conventional polyester by six degrees Celsius.

For more flare, our Men’s Cragmatic Short Sleeve Shirt™ is a drirelease® Cotton woven shirt with the same wicking and drying chops but in a stylish button-up silhouette. 

Our Women’s Spellbound Tank™ and the Women’s Frescoe Hoody™ are made with drirelease® Cotton E.C.O., which has the same performance of the drirelease® Cotton but uses recycled and organic materials.

As we gear up for cooler fall temps, our focus is drirelease® Merino, which dries four times faster than 100 percent wool and has the added benefit of FreshGuard®. In addition, drirelease® Merino has a higher thermal insulation value than 100 percent wool, which means you’ll actually stay warmer making it a perfect baselayer fabric. Layer up in the Men’s Sequence tops – like the Sequence Long Sleeve Crew™ or Sequence Short Sleeve Polo™ – or the Women’s Essence tops – like the Essence Long Sleeve Zip Tee™ or the Essence Long Sleeve Hooded Henley™ – or wear these pieces alone for total performance comfort in the mountains.

Having tested our competitors’ fabrics and technology, we’ve proven drirelease® fabrics—especially drirelease® Merino—outperforms them all, so we’ll be expanding our drirelease® style count accordingly.