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Extreme outdoor performance wear

SATRA has extensive experience in the testing and assessment of garments, which share many of the requirements of performance footwear: they need to be breathable, water resistant, durable and comfortable to wear in the conditions they are designed for.

With a number of resources at our disposal SATRA is uniquely placed to offer its customers realistic and demanding testing to put performance wear through its paces. A large walk-in climate chamber is available, where the temperature can be controlled within -40°C and 50°C with corresponding relative humidity levels. This chamber is programmable, so the temperature can be cycled between conditions of hot and cold, or gradually lowered from a baseline level until certain results are observed or until the desired effect is achieved. Large enough to accommodate both personnel and equipment, the chamber provides an excellent testing ground for all kinds of performance wear, whether tested by equipment or subjective human wear trials.

The ability to “see” heat, and patterns of heat distribution is invaluable for the testing of outdoor performance wear. SATRA has two thermal imaging cameras, capable of recording high quality infrared images and movies which are routinely used to assess the effectiveness of performance wear. Often more useful to a designer/manufacturer/supplier than a page full of temperature data, thermal images show where a product may be losing heat, as well as indicating where ventilation features should be placed.

Material selection is a vitally important factor in creating outdoor performance wear. Good design can help to maximise the performance of a garment to a certain extent, but choosing the right material is a vital first step in making outdoor wear that performs well. SATRA can recommend and carry out a range of materials tests, foremost amongst which are tests for breathability.

As well as carrying out tests in standard laboratory conditions, specially customised equipment is available to test the water vapour permeability and absorption of materials at a range of temperature and humidity conditions, even at extremes.

Laboratory results are no substitute for real life experience, and test data can always be backed up by the results of subjective wear trials in the climate chamber, with test subjects instrumented with temperature and humidity monitoring probes that relay data in real time to observers.