At First Lite, We Test Our Products So That You Don't Have To
By the time our product hits the shelves and makes it into your hands, it's already been verified both in the field and in the lab. A given product will have hundreds of hours under its belt in every iteration and if we like it, we then send it to a third party lab for testing so that we know where it stacks against industry-leading technologies. While many companies might make wild claims about what their product does and doesn't do, First Lite doesn't utter a word until we know the product performs both in the field and in the lab. Anybody can make claims; very few brands actually base them upon third-party lab results.
First Lite's Outerwear Featuring 37.5 Reigns Supreme in Breathability
In this day and age of technical fabrics, creating waterproof outerwear isn't anything to brag about. From rubber rain suits to DWR coated laminates, any brand can safely build product that tests within the waterproof spectrum. What's more important to the hunter specifically is how well a garment transmits moisture from the inside of the garment to the outside--this is what keeps you warm and comfortable with less odor. This may seem obvious to the western hunter who knows the perils of sweaty base layers trapped under outerwear but for those of us who spend our days in the stand, the benefits of breathable outerwear are just as important. Whether you feel it or not, humans are always sweating. Our bodies create vapor constantly and the faster that vapor is evacuated, the fewer bacteria can form, keeping you less stinky while also keeping you warmer at the same time.
First Lite uses 37.5 Technology in all of its outerwear, an active particle material whose hallmark is just that--moisture evacuation. We have tested this fabric for several years in the field, noting not only how dry it keeps you from the elements but how unbelievably dry it keeps you under the garment as well. We recently sent our SEAK 3.5 Layer Rain Jacket to Vartest, the industry standard in unbiased, third-party testing in order to see how First Lite's burliest rain gear stacked up against the competition. As you can see, First Lite sits on top when it comes to moisture transfer rate, the metric used to measure how quickly a fabric moves moisture from the inside to the outside.
First Lite's Aerowool Technology is No Different
The First Lite Office is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains of Idaho which allows us to test our products year-round in the environment for which it is designed. Whether an employee is on a ten-day backcountry elk hunt, cutting trees for firewood, ascending and skiing a jagged Idaho peak or just waiting out the bitter sub-zero cold in a duck blind, our products get used relentlessly before they ever see the market. When we set out to design a product for specific climates like our whitetail outerwear line or the Aerowool Base Layer System, they get thrown through the wringer in locales that demand performance appropriate to that product before they get sent to the lab. If they can't hold up and deliver in their respective environments, they never even make it to the lab. In the case of Aerowool, base layer pieces were put through the grinder on long hunts on the Tiburon Island in Mexico as well as the scorching plains of Texas, and the hills of New Mexico and Nevada. Once we got the five-star ratings from the guides and outfitters that were testing them, we sent pieces off to Vartest, the industry standard in third-party testing.
Spray It, Don't Say It
Upon completing its "field trials" with successful results. the product is then sent to a third party lab and run through a series of standardized tests. Third party labs are utilized at our cost in order to obtain unbiased results that hinge themselves to the reputation of the lab. Using a third party lab means that we cannot influence results--the reputation of the lab depends on it. In the case of Aerowool, we sent a product to Vartests for blind testing to compare the breathability (ability to evacuate moisture) from the garment, as this is the driving design factor--how quickly it dries, keeping the hunter comfortable and odor free through moisture mitigation.
So How Did Aerowool Do Against the Field?
In Short, There is No Comparison
Vartest's most vaunted moisture evaporation test is known as the Airflow Test and essentially measures the number of molecules that are able to pass through a given piece of fabric. As you can see, First Lite's Aerowool not only surpassed the other technologies, we left them in the dust while almost tripling other less breathable technologies.