Mountain Hardwear is rolling out a new fabric in its Fall 2011 line that’s knocking the socks off winter sports athletes who’ve given it a test drive. Called Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q, the proprietary new fabric pairs total waterproof protection with the highest breathability standards. I caught up with the brand’s own Ryan Henbest to chat about the new fabric at Outdoor Retailer so I’ll share some of his insights here.
The idea for Dry.Q started a few years ago, when Mountain Hardwear gearheads realized they were only using their waterproof jackets “when shit hit the fan,” as Henbest put it bluntly. During high-octane pursuits, like mountaineering and Nordic skiing, a waterproof coat’s lack of breathability make it virtually useless. So a lightbulb went off, and Dry.Q was born.
“This is the biggest thing since they started Mountain Hardwear.”
Mountain Hardwear partnered with GE to bring about the technology for the fabric. Using GE’s popular eVent membrane, Mountain Hardwear then tricked it out with a special blend of backers, seam tape and other MH magic to make it a more comfortable, durable and waterproof option.
“It’s all about air permeability,” Henbest says. “With Gore-tex you have to have the heat pressure built up for the garment to breathe; with Dry.Q there’s no wait. This is the biggest thing since they started Mountain Hardwear.”
Mountain Hardwear is unveiling about 75 Dry.Q styles, with Elite, Active and Core subcategories. Plus, big news this year is that every new style was drawn by in-house designers (the first time Mountain Hardwear has done it all themselves), so look for a more unified aesthetic and experience with all this brand control.
Here’s what to expect from the three Dry.Q series:
Dry.Q Elite is the best of the best—the most durable waterproof-breathable in the industry, in fact. Great for high-output adventures, Dry.Q Elite maximizes body vapor outflow from the start so you never get clammy; it comes in soft shell, 2-layer and 3-layer styles.
Dry.Q Active pairs the waterproof-breathable features with stretchy, lightweight materials and body-mapped designs to minimize drag, weight and bulk. I am definitely excited to try out the new women’s Effusion Power Tight with Dry.Q Active for skate skiing.
Dry.Q Core is the foundation of Dry.Q, versatile, durable and excellent for even day-to-day rainwear.
And here’s what our staff, who scored some early Dry.Q styles, have to say:
Todd, TMS web programmer, wears the men’s Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket with Dry.Q Elite
This is by far the most breathable waterproof jacket I have ever worn. I wore this jacket shovelling snow for a couple hours during a major dump and I managed to stay dry (much to my amazement). I was also very impressed with the way I didn’t roast in the lift line like I normally do after riding an aggressive line. You really can feel it breathe the moment you put it on just like Mountain Hardwear claims.
Kevin, TMS hard goods manager, wears the men’s Mountain Hardwear Snowpocalypse Jacket with Dry.Q Elite
I have used it most of the past winter (even more than my Patagonia jacket). That alone, says something about this jacket. It functions as a great inbounds/ sidecountry jacket. I really dig the zip-away powder skirt. The moisture management is definitely noticeable when you place your bare hands under the pit zips. You can feel how well the Dry-Q material brings moisture to the outside of the jacket; however, you can’t feel a “draft.” Definitely completely H20 proof. I once rode my bike home in the rain while wearing the Snowpocalypse jacket. It works well for that too! Interestingly I fit a large perfectly in the Mountain Hardwear jacket, whereas I am a medium to large in Patagonia or Mammut. The jacket still fits less slim than a Mammut or Patagonia piece. I think it’s been my fave jacket because of the color. How can you beat fluorescent yellow? Not so great for ducking ropes, or ditching ski patrol, but we all know I would NEVER do that!
To see our new Mountain Hardwear Dry.Q styles in stock, visit our Mountain Hardwear brand page. And tell us what you think about the new Dry.Q!
Mountain Hardwear Snowpocalypse Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Snowpocalypse Pants
Mountain Hardwear Jovian Jacket
Mountain Hardwear Alakazam Jacket
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I’m Tahoe Mountain Sports’ web editor and a 6-year Tahoe resident. Yep, I live the life, with a lake view from my desk, lunch breaks on the beach with my dog, and morning powder runs when the snow’s good. I ski, snowboard, skate ski, and cross-country ski in winter, and hike, mountain bike, backpack, and lay around on Tahoe’s beaches in summer.