Outlast “phase change” material is relatively new to the world of motorcycling. But, our sport provides an ideal environment to evaluate the benefits that this product has to offer. Motorcycle riders need protection from the extreme temperatures which can be experienced during a riding season or even a single ride. I don’t profess to understand the technology behind phase change materials. But like Tang and Teflon, it’s my understanding that the technology was first developed for NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in the temperature extremes found in outer space.
In general, phase change materials can either absorb, store and release energy in the form of latent heat. Excess heat generated by the body is absorbed into the Outlast fabric, and stored heat is released back to the body as needed. Outlast Technologies owns the Outlast brand name for these temperature regulating textiles, so-called because they interact with our skin temperature to act as a buffer against temperature change. There’s more information on the Outlast Technologies website, including a Flash demo of how it works.
There’s a whole lot more technology involved in manufacturing the Outlast fabric, and there are various tests to determine the degree of efficacy of the product. The bottom line is that this “fabric of the future” is good news for motorcyclists.
Bundling up no longer means that you have to look like M. Bibendum with multiple layers of insulation causing a decrease in feel and reaction time. I feel certain that one of these days we’ll need only a single thin and lightweight outfit that keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I consider Outlast to be a step in that direction.
Up to 48% less sweating thanks to Outlast®*
Microencapsulated natural wax can be applied to almost any textile material thanks to various procedures developed by Outlast. These capsules can capture and store body heat, so forming a natural heat buffer. Overheating and the start of sweat production can thus be efficiently avoided. Conventional heat management systems try to channel the sweat that develops and wick it away from the body.