Everest expedition to test new garment technology
24th September 2009, Winston-Salem, NC
Hanesbrands Inc. announced yesterday that its Champion and Duofold apparel brands are going to the top of the world, leading a Mount Everest expedition to drive brand awareness and showcase the company’s research and development innovation and textile science leadership.
“Expedition Hanesbrands: Climb With Us” will be lead by accomplished international mountaineer and motivational speaker Jamie Clarke and will begin next month with a training climb of Mount Pumori in Nepal, a 23,494-foot-high Himalayan neighbour to Mount Everest. The Everest summit bid will take place in the spring 2010 Himalayan climbing window.
When Clarke, 41, and his team head to Pumori next month, they will be testing new cutting-edge apparel, including socks, base layer, insulating layer, and soft- and hard-shell garments, developed by Hanesbrands R&D team using more than 100 years of expertise and product innovation in the company’s Champion athletic apparel and Duofold base layer product lines. In January 2010, Hanesbrands expects to unveil a one-of-a-kind summit suit designed to keep Clarke warm and mobile in the high winds and severe cold on the highest reaches of 29,035-foot Everest, the highest peak in the world.
The expedition will feature two Web sites to follow the team’s progress, including Champion’s “Climb Everest With Us” Web site that houses an online community for users to declare their own personal Everest and a chance to win to win $10,000 to fulfill their dream. The site is located at www.ClimbEverestWithUs.com.
The Champion brand was founded in 1919 and offers products across a wide continuum – from team uniforms and performance apparel to stylish activewear and collegiate gear. Duofold, founded in 1906, is a leader in high-performance base layer apparel, and has been used in high-altitude mountaineering expeditions since the time of the first summit of Everest.
“Champion and Duofold have a long history of authenticity and innovative apparel,” said Kevin Hall, executive vice president and general manager of outerwear for Hanesbrands. “This expedition is a great way for us to leverage our history and expertise through marketing programs, including engaging and informative Web sites and consumer contests. By bringing the strengths of both brands together, we are also exploring new cold-weather training gear inspired by the research and development we are doing for the non-commercial apparel Jamie will use high on Everest.”
Hanesbrands is also kicking off a “What’s Your Everest” wellness program for its headquarters employees. Participants will undergo a comprehensive health screening to set their fitness baseline and will meet with a health coach to set their wellness Everest and create a path to reach their goals. Clarke will visit Hanesbrands headquarters tomorrow to trek through the offices to engage employees and unveil the program.
Clarke, of Calgary, Alberta, has been taking part in expeditions for more than 20 years. His summits of the world’s highest peaks on all seven continents include reaching the top of Everest in 1997. Clarke, who has authored two books and has been featured in two National Geographic documentaries based on his adventures, describes himself as being a person of ordinary abilities who accomplishes extraordinary things as a result of desire, planning and commitment.
“My goal through Expedition Hanesbrands is to inspire people to achieve their dreams, especially the dreams that may feel unattainable,” Clarke said. “I have chosen adventure as my vehicle for inward and outward exploration. I am excited about going back to Everest with great partners in Champion, Duofold and an industry-leading R&D team.”
Champion “Climb Everest With Us” Marketing Programs
Champion has launched its ClimbEverestWithUs.com Web site to track the expedition and host the “What’s Your Everest?” online social community. Written or video entries submitted online by Dec. 31, 2009, are eligible to win a $10,000 prize to help the winner achieve his or her personal Everest.
Each entry will be featured on the site where visitors can share, view and comment. The site acts as an online community that allows others to provide support and advice to those who have submitted an entry. A Facebook application allows participants to directly link to their personal Facebook pages for easy sharing of dreams with friends.
“Champion believes our own summit awaits each of us,” said Claire Edgar, Champion brand marketing director. “Champion’s Everest expedition can use the symbolism of the highest peak in the world to help all of us achieve our own goals and dreams. Champion is all about ‘How You Play.’”
The Champion ClimbEverestWithUs.com Web site will also feature weekly inspirational videos from Clarke called Steps to the Summit. The site also has a “What’s Your Everest?” video filmed by students at the North Carolina School for the Arts.
Other Web site content includes expedition updates, photos, gear information and Champion apparel information.
Expedition Hanesbrands Web Site
Expedition Hanesbrands’ ClimbWithUs.com Web site will feature articles about Everest, Nepal, Sherpas and the gear developed for the expedition team; frequent audio, photo and video expedition updates; and content provided by outdoor adventure freelance writers Stephen Regenold and Stephanie Pearson. It will share the “What’s Your Everest?” online community with the Champion Web site through a link.
Twitter users may follow the expedition at http://twitter.com/ClimbWithUs.
Regenold and Pearson have been hired to form a communications team for the expedition and assist in the development of content for the Web sites. They will join the climbing team at Everest Base Camp next spring and will have the opportunity to test and experience some of the specially-designed Champion and Duofold apparel being created for the team.
Regenold is best known as the The Gear Junkie (www.gearjunkie.com) and for his syndicated column of the same name. Pearson is a contributing editor for Outside Magazine and Outside Online’s Gear Girl.
Hanesbrands’ research-and-development scientists began working with Clarke last year to develop apparel and gear for the expedition’s high altitudes and weather challenges, including wind, snow and extreme sub-zero temperatures.
Clarke and the climbing team will begin testing prototypes of apparel that integrate unique innovations in fabric technology, garment design, and cutting-edge materials typically used outside the apparel industry.
“We are developing a complete system of apparel for Jamie in which each layer works in conjunction with the other layers, as well as independently,” said Mike Abbott, Hanesbrands director of research and development. “We are using a combination of proprietary expertise that we have developed in base layer and seamless garment technology over several decades as well as techniques and materials that have never before been used in apparel of any kind.
“At Hanesbrands, we approach R&D as technology brokers. We often don’t have all the answers, but we have the partnerships and relationships inside and outside the apparel industry to find answers and solutions. We search for proven concepts, in no matter what industry they are used, and figure out how to reapply them to our business.”
The goal of the apparel development was to create gear that was warmer, drier and more comfortable while improving mobility for the climbers without adding weight and bulk.
Some of the features of Clarke’s test apparel include cellulosic yarn that has imbedded material that changes phase from a solid to liquid to hold heat; a seamless piece that has six different knit constructions to create varying performance by area of the body; and brand-new stretch-woven fabric that remains pliable at cold temperatures.
The test apparel by layer includes:
Socks. Clarke will wear two layers of socks. The challenge was to create socks that wick and retain body heat without bulk and weight. The first layer (next to the feet) is a silk-weight sock that not only wicks moisture but also has advanced qualities to retain body heat. The fabric uses embedded phase-change technology where encapsulated material changes from a solid to a liquid state to store body heat and returns the heat when feet start to cool by changing back to a solid state.
The second layer of socks will use either a wicking wool-blend fabric or a hollow-fiber full synthetic yarn to create maximum insulation.
Base Layer (top and pants). One of the most technical pieces that Clarke will wear, the base layer top and bottom garments benefit from the company’s more than 100 years of Duofold base layer experience and innovation. The synthetic spandex-blend fabric stretches in all directions for maximum mobility and comfort and promotes wicking of moisture away from the body.
Using seamless construction, both the top and bottom base layer have at least six knit techniques to create zones that deliver specialized characteristics. For example, the fabric has a raised surface in the back to promote wicking moisture where Clarke’s pack will sit, while compression in the shoulders help keep muscles loose and limber.
Insulation Layer (top and pants). The merino-wool-and-synthetic-blend fiber of the insulating layer works in tandem with Clarke’s base layer to prevent catching, picking and snagging and is a heavier weight version of Duofold’s Varitherm High Performance Wool base layer sold commercially. The garment has significant insulating properties, has superior stretch and dries four times faster than wool alone.
Soft Shell (top and pants). The soft shell is the workhorse jacket of the line because it is versatile enough to be worn at many altitudes and in many conditions. Its primary purpose is to insulate. The full-zip three-ply construction consists of an outer knit-stretch fabric for wind resistance that is new to the market, a breathable film membrane as the middle ply, and a thermal grid fleece inner layer to capture heat. No seam pockets are placed to Clarke’s specifications.
The soft-shell pants feature a one-ply polymer-coated fleece fabric that has an abrasion-resistance surface but is still breathable, water repellant in light rain and wind resistant.
Hard Shell (top and pants). The fourth layer, or hard shell, will serve as the outer layer in cold temperatures until Clarke reaches the highest camp for his summit bid. The shell uses a brand new two-ply stretch-woven fabric that remains pliable at cold temperatures, giving Clarke added mobility. The shell is water and wind repellant but breathable as a result of micropores that channel vapor but keep water and wind out.
Summit Suit. Hanesbrands expects to unveil one of the most technologically advanced summit suits ever in January 2010. The suit will incorporate technology never before used on Everest.
About Jamie Clarke
Jamie Clarke, 41, has been taking part in expeditions for more than 20 years. He has climbed the world’s seven highest peaks and crossed the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia (one of most desolate deserts in the world). In 1991, at the age of 22, Clarke had the opportunity of a lifetime to join an expedition to Mount Everest but failed to reach summit due to deadly storms. In 1994, his team made a second bid. Finally in 1997, Clarke realized his dream when he and his climbing team successfully reached the summit. Clarke has co-authored two books, “Above All Else” about his 1991 and 1994 Everest expeditions and “Everest to Arabia” and has co-produced two documentary films, including “Above All Else” that was broadcast internationally on National Geographic. Clarke is the co-founder of a successful outdoor equipment and apparel store called Out There Adventure Center in Calgary, Canada. Follow Jamie on Twitter @JC_Climbs. Additional information about Jamie can be found on www.jamieclarke.com.
Relationship with Stephen Regenold and Stephanie Pearson
Stephen Regenold and Stephanie Pearson are being paid by Hanesbrands Inc. and its Champion brand as independent, objective freelance journalists to write website content and experience the journey to Mount Everest Base Camp. In no way has the company or brand paid for endorsements or reviews of its products. Any and all content, including written materials, developed by Regenold and Pearson for use on their own Web sites, blogs, etc., has been created authentically and without influence, input or prior approval by either Hanesbrands Inc. or Champion.
Author: Billy Hunter