How To Stay Warm When You're On The Move: VerticalX ECO

Find out why 85% recycled VerticalX™ ECO might be your best winter insulator yet.

When it’s the dead of winter, and you’re bracing yourself for the cold, you’ve got no shortages of ways to stay warm.

If you’re looking for BIG warmth in dry weather, you’ll want to go with down insulation. If you’re more concerned about staying warm when WET, you’ll want to choose synthetic insulation. Today we’re talking about the latter – staying warm when wet – especially when that wetness comes from within.

Yes, we’re talking about sweat. And more specifically, how to stay warm when you’re on the move in cold environments.

Meet VerticalX™ ECO: The high-loft synthetic insulation that uses 85% recycled content, combining a superior warmth-to-weight ratio with breathability and moisture management.

What exactly does that mean?

It’s simpler to solve for wetness that comes from the outside (rain) – simply wear a waterproof jacket. When wetness comes from the inside (sweat), things get tricky. That’s what we’re here to solve with VerticalX ECO. This technology has vertically-oriented fibers to speed up moisture transport from the body by reducing the friction the moisture faces as it escapes. Simply put: it keeps you warm while you're sweating.

VerticalX technology gives you dependable warmth in any weather and for any activity level. It’s like Goldilocks: Just the right amount of warmth, breathability, and “bounce back” high loft you want for extended adventures outside.

What exactly does that mean?

It’s simpler to solve for wetness that comes from the outside (rain) – simply wear a waterproof jacket. When wetness comes from the inside (sweat), things get tricky. That’s what we’re here to solve with VerticalX ECO. This technology has vertically-oriented fibers to speed up moisture transport from the body by reducing the friction the moisture faces as it escapes. Simply put: it keeps you warm while you're sweating.

VerticalX technology gives you dependable warmth in any weather and for any activity level. It’s like Goldilocks: Just the right amount of warmth, breathability, and “bounce back” high loft you want for extended adventures outside.

How does it work?

Imagine ordinary synthetic insulation like a pile of leaves. Laid on top of each other, the leaves trap air with their own mass. That trapped air acts like an insulation through convection from the heat of the earth.  When the leaves get wet, the trapped air gets very damp and takes a long time to dry out completely. Ever dig into a “dry pile of leaves” and find the middle still soaked?

The bottom line is that no matter how big and lofty the pile of leaves, if there’s moisture hidden within, that warmth will leave you feeling heavy and suffocated.

Remember: The best insulation is just the best way of trapping air, because air = warmth. Clothing insulation has its own measurement – what we call units of clo, but too much clo is just like a larger pile of leaves: Harder for air and moisture to move through.

Now the real challenge becomes finding a way to achieve higher clo that doesn’t impact moisture movement.

So how do you make something warm AND breathable?

What VerticalX ECO does is stand those leaves upright, transforming the pile into perfectly vertical columns. This way, moisture is able to escape upward through the leaves, instead of trapping it underneath all of those layers of random leaves. This is called RET, or Resistance to Evaporative Transfer. The lower the RET, the less resistance there is to evaporative transfer of heat. With a lower RET, you’re moving moisture more efficiently since you’re holding onto dry heat rather than wet heat. That moisture can come from the inside (sweat), or from the outside (precipitation), and either way, VerticalX ECO will breathe and leave you feeling dry.

In conclusion: A jacket with high clo will keep you warm, and a jacket with low RET will keep you dry.

How does the loft of an insulation play with the clo and RET?

Another way to think of VerticalX ECO is like beams supporting a house. When the beams are vertically oriented (instead of overlapping like a pile of leaves), they provide more support to the entire structure. If rain, wind, or another outside force tries to penetrate VerticalX ECO, the fibers are less likely to slump, crumple, or flatten because they are naturally inclined to stand up straight... unlike a pile of criss-crossed beams on the floor.

VerticalX ECO was aptly named because its fibers are vertical, and stay vertical, even after they’ve been compacted down nice and tight for extended amounts of time. That’s exactly how VerticalX ECO’s loft is able to bounce back so quickly after being stored in the bottom of a backpack for hours.

How can VerticalX ECO do all of that at the same time?

The keyword here is BALANCE. If it was freezing cold, you’d want maximum clo. If you were sweating hot, you’d want maximum RET. VerticalX ECO has just the right amount of both clo and RET: It insulates like down but performs better when wet. It is far more breathable than competitors, and it has far superior stretch to regular synthetic insulations.

Basically, if you’re looking for something to wear when you’re actively moving, sweating, and exposing yourself to freezing cold + wet environments, you want VerticalX ECO on your side (and on your back).

Move—don’t remove—with VerticalX ECO.

You can find VerticalX ECO in the new Snowcrew Kit (coming this fall!) featuring our first technical ride and ski waterproof outerwear pairing available in sizes up to XXXL.

When you wear 85% recycled VerticalX ECO, you get exceptional performance, sophisticated design, and the same quality as you trust from other Outdoor Research products, with the feel-good factor of a fabric that makes less of an impact on the environment.

Learn more about our commitment to all people and the planet.

For even more loft, softness that feels like down feathers, and a new blend of sustainable materials, see our VerticalX™ ECO SR technology.