Fabrics for climbing and outdoor sports which are also respectful of nature

30 April 2020  Simone Spoladori 

Loving life in the open air and enjoying the beauty of nature implies committing to preserve it. This is the principle that excursionists, Carvico and Jersey Lomellina comply with.

People loving trekking, alpinism, climbing and outdoor sports in general, all respect our environment, use resources without exploiting them, explore but do not mistreat, travel without leaving track of their passage. The very same care is what lies behind Carvico’s creations.
Respecting nature means acting as “cohabitees” sharing the same rights and not as  reckless defrauders.

If the protagonists of  mountain sports express their eco-awareness through specific actions and habits,  Carvico has been promoting sustainability by creating a selection of fabrics with a reduced environmental impact which blend eco-friendliness with the technical performances sought after by the market.

High performance fabrics for successful athletes

Over the years, technological development has proven that good sports gear is not only protective and supportive, but can enhance athletes’ performance and help them overcome their limits so as to achieve more ambitious targets. It is enough to compare the records set by climbers in the first decade of the XXth century with the ones achieved by climbers of the new millennium: they moved from 6+ to 9.
In order to fully understand such comparison we need to clarify the reference criteria. There are several scales for the classification of grades. The most widespread is the French one which represents the overall difficulty or strenuousness of a route using numbers ranging from 3 to 9 followed by  “a”, “b”,  “c”, with the addition of a “+” for intermediate scores.

Such scale is open-ended. Nowadays, the most challenging route in the world is a grade 9c. It would be absurd and pretentious to think that the difference between the results of the past and the current ones may only depend on the athletes skills. Such results must be ascribed to all the elements included in specific gear. The creation of dedicated shoes has allowed athletes to stop using leather boots with a stiff sole and climbing shoes with a felt undersole, while all the other garments have been gradually replaced by better and more suitable items.
Ribbed velvet knickerbockers have been replaced by jeans, which were originally very stiff and then became stretch, leggings stolen from wives and sisters have been replaced by baggy pants and finally by bespoke climbing pants, personalized in terms of construction, model and fabric used.

Performance fabrics, which shall we choose?

Like any other high-tech sport, climbing requires  specific apparel satisfying a set of given requirements concerning the type of movements to be performed and the environment in which the sport is practised (outdoor or indoor). Elasticity, freedom of movement and resistance to abrasion are crucial for this branch of alpinis

Climbing gear

Trousers collections available in the climbing/outdoor departments of performance sportswear stores mainly include two types of pants with different fit and comfort levels, commonly including both ankle-length models and Capri models. Shorts are less common even in summer collections since knees are to be protected from abrasions both when climbing mountains or training at the gym.

Baggy pants, ideal also for trekking, are looser with an elastic waistband  and wider legs with an adjustablecoulisse made of a tubular elastic band at the bottom preferable to self-fabric or tape since the former can be smaller thanks to the elasticity of the material, thus preventing accidents caused by the coulisse getting caught in rock ledges or hooks.

Quite often, pants feature a cargo side pocket with a Velcro closing and some smaller pockets with a zip hidden in the side seams. Revolutional® Energy by Carvico is ideal for the creation of these pants since having undergone several strict tests to ascertain its resistance to abrasions, it was assigned 5 points, i.e. top of the scale. This characteristic alone is not enough to make it the perfect fabric for climbing pants which also require elasticity, shape retention (think about the continuous stress on the knees ), breathability and fast drying properties; however, this extraordinary product by Carvico boasts all such qualities and is also highly resistant to sand, an element whose detrimental effect shall not  be underestimated since it is quite common on the cliffs.

These pants may be reinforced with a double layer of fabric on the knees which can be used to obtain amazing color effects, or by patches made of a heavier fabric with similar characteristics, while using a lighter fabric in the area behind knees to allow for maximum freedom of movement without creating annoying overlaps when bending knees.

In addition, we can find some models with knee inserts made of a perforated, breathable, lightweight fabric like ARES by Jersey Lomellina.

Leggings are an alternative to climbing pants, especially for professional climbers who favor tight-fitting items and those who want to have maximum freedom of movement.

Free climbing requires athletes to hold positions which may be similar to those displayed by dancers such as splits, for instance, which are sometimes the only moves allowing climbers to reach for the summit: muscular tension is at its highest in these cases, and garments must follow the body every move.

In such cases Revolutional® More, a bi-elastic, ultra-fine fabric with a perfect fit, is the perfect choice, since this high performance fabric ensures the ideal muscle compression, enhancing the sport performance of those who wear it; Revolutional® Zenith could also be ideal for high end pants which can help slow down the production of lactic acid and thus reduce muscle strain, improving performance.

The new fashion outdoor

We might believe climbing to be a manly sport, offering less visibility than other disciplines, but we would be wrong since there are many female climbers and boulders also because the physical differences between men and women does not translate into a substantial gap in the performances. Margo Hayes, American, born in ’98, is the first woman who scored 9a+, an extraordinary result especially considering that no human being has ever reached level 10. Some high tech sportswear garments have been created for her and those women wishing to achieve the same results, which are also exquisitely feminine such as the leggings made of Renew PRIME by Jersey Lomellina, a dynamic and energetic fabric embodying the bold and brave spirit of those who wear it, which have been designed to be matched with a top with flat seams conceived to avoid friction made of  a wraparound and ultra-fine material which makes the item almost unperceivable, featuring a halter neck to ensure maximum freedom of movement to arms.

Thanks to the fashionable, matt surface and a light see-through effect, Renew Fine by Jersey Lomellina is definitely the best fabric for the creation of this sexy and comfortable top, featuring a front lining made of Spider by Carvicoensuring excellent moisture management  and, thanks to the high resistance of this micro-mesh to sunscreen products, makes this top especially versatile, suitable for outdoor climbing and bouldering in spring.

In summer or at high-altitude is it not advisable to have too much bare skin since sunrays are really strong and may cause sunburns. A T-shirt made of Revolutional® MILD will be the best garment to protect yourself while enjoying maximum freedom of movement thanks to the extreme lightness of the fabric; in addition to this, Revolutional® MILD can be raw cut since it does not curl and is really thin, so garments created with it can be minimal and essential.
To complement the ideal climber’s outfit we find a full-zip cagoule hoodie designed to protect the body from sudden gusts of wind once athletes are either at the end of their climbing or are approaching the mountain wall; moreover, it features some strategically located pockets, designed to not hinder the operations needed to make the ascent with friends safe. The classic waist pockets are not reachable once the harness has been worn, so a zip-pocket with a thin and strong  polyester inside lining, located on the chest or on the sleeves is preferable.

In our everyday life and even more while practising sport, wearing the right underwear is fundamental since items in close contact with the skin may jeopardize the performance of the outer layers if they do not have some specific characteristics. That is why the right first layer must be chosen as carefully as pants or jackets.

Among the wide selection of  Jersey Lomellina textile products ARES, a highly breathable, fast drying, polyester fabric with a slightly open structure which keeps the skin dry even during the most challenging activities, is the perfect fabric for base layers. Furthermore this fabric can be customized with transfer printing patterns.

The perfect jacket: protection and breathability

Mountaineers know far too well that the weather may change very fast and often and there may be  relevant temperature changes, so they always bring a softshell jacket in their backpack.

This smart jacket is made of  ARTICA by Carvico, a brushed fabric with anti-bacteria properties, which does not need a lining, is pleasant on the skin, made of hollow microfilaments which ensure exceptional thermal insulation, extraordinary moisture management, maximum breathability and perfect body thermoregulation, for top notch sport performance.

We cannot forget AOSTA (heavier than Artica), a soft and highly resistant fabric which is an absolute novelty for the outdoor world, which can also be customized with a  waterproofing treatment. Also, this Fabric does not need a lining thanks to its internal brushing and its extremely soft hand feel.

Climbing is becoming more and more popular globally, to the point that it has accessed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sharing the joy of both professional and amateur climbers, we cannot but  wish all the best to the Italian team.

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