1)    What is Omni Heat?

  1. Columbia Sportswear Omni-Heat is a family of technology solutions designed to keep outdoor consumers warm. Omni-Heat technologies provide warmth through reflective, thermal and electric methods.
  2. Omni-Heat is the ultimate body heat moisture management system to keep consumers comfortable in the outdoors.

2)     How does Omni-Heat work?

  1. Columbia’s Omni-Heat family of technologies work in the following ways:

i.     Thermal reflective: This thermal reflective technology helps regulate temperature by reflecting and retaining the warmth a body generates, while dissipating heat to keep consumers comfortable.

ii.     Thermal insulation: This thermal insulation technology helps maintain warmth and prevent heat loss with the highest heat retention per gram for outerwear in the industry.

iii.     Thermal electric: Applied in footwear only, this electric-powered technology gives consumers the power to warm up their feet at the push of a button.

3)     How does the regulation of warmth work with Omni-Heat?

  1. The key to regulation in the Omni-Heat suite is the reflective lining.  It can reflect body heat when consumers are cold and dry but when they heat up and create a humid, high-conductive environment it becomes a powerful heat dissipation material through air permeability, wicking and conduction. These qualities truly help to keep the user in a much better zone of comfort than standard insulation approaches. Second, the power-based system is also a regulator in the sense that it can be used like a thermostat that can be switched “on” at multiple settings when consumers are cold and switched “off” when they do not need additional heat.

4)     What objective data and figures can you provide that proves Omni-Heat’s benefit?

  1. Each of the three solutions — reflective lining, insulation and power-based — have been tested with the best available devices and on a multitude of users.  In each case, the results have been best in class.  In short, the reflective lining boosts heat retention by an average of 20% when consumers are cold and dry and is also able to dissipate heat through wicking, air permeability and conduction (due to the conductive nature of the metallic dots when you are overheating and creating a high-humidity environment). The power-based system can provide comfort to a level not previously available in cold-weather footwear, and the insulation has the highest warmth-to-weight ratio in today’s branded synthetic insulation market.

5)     How does Omni-Heat keep consumers 20% warmer?

  1. Omni-Heat reflective lining is able to add 20% more heat retention on average than conventional lining materials while still being a highly breathable, air permeable and moisture wicking material.

6)     How long has Columbia been working on Omni-Heat?

  1. Approximately 18 months for apparel.
  2. Approximately 24 months for footwear.

7)     Why was Omni-Heat developed?

  1. Columbia is all about developing innovative solutions that protect outdoor consumers from the elements while enabling them to enjoy their outdoor activities longer and more comfortably. In Fall 2010, Columbia wanted to own “warmth” with one of, if not the most, innovative technologies the outdoor industry has seen in years. We felt there wasn’t a great solution for staying warm without bulk and staying warm consistently (thermal regulation characteristics) – and there was no solution that offered this in a meaningful, visible and easy-to-understand way. That was our challenge and what we have delivered to the consumer with Omni-Heat innovations for Fall 2010.
  2. Columbia took inspiration from the warming properties of a reflective space blanket and brought a completely new innovation to our outerwear, apparel and equipment products.

8)     Does Omni-Heat wear off?

  1. It has not worn off in any of our testing.

9)     Can an Omni-Heat product be recycled?

  1. No, Omni-Heat cannot be recycled (multi-polymer-combined materials cannot be recycled at all).
  2. Omni-Heat thermal insulation is made from 50% recycled fiber.

10)   Will Omni-Heat products trigger airport security devices?

  1. There should not be enough aluminum to trigger any airport security devices.

11)   What happens to its performance if Omni-Heat gets wet?

  1. Omni-Heat thermal insulation is made from synthetics and does not clump or collapse when wet and therefore continues to insulate (unlike down). It also maintains its ability to retain heat.
  2. Omni-Heat thermal reflective is not diminished by weather; the dot-matrix application of the technology was designed specifically to enable air permeability, wicking, fast dry properties and an extremely soft feel. Many of our Omni-Heat jackets have an additional shell (our 3-in-1 Interchange System) that is Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable and will protect consumers from the elements.
  3. Omni-Heat thermal electric is not affected by weather; in addition to electric-powered warmth, the boots include Columbia’s Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable technology, making them completely weatherproof.

12)   Does Omni-Heat incorporate any nano-technology processes or materials?

  1. No, nano-technology is not used in any of the Omni-Heat products. We don’t know of any plans to include nano-technology in Omni-Heat products.

13)   What is the next phase of Omni-Heat?

  1. Continued evolution of weights and lofts.
  2. Utilizing different lining materials to apply the Omni-Heat thermal reflective and thermal insulated material to and with.
  3. Continued application into apparel and accessories.

14)   How much of an investment did Columbia make in the research and development of Omni-Heat?

  1. Columbia does not disclose those figures due to competitive advantage; please refer to our annual report or investor relations.


1)     Is Columbia first to market with this kind of technology?

  1. Columbia is the first to use a bi-component reflective lining material that can both reflect heat when you are cold and dry and can dissipate heat when you are over-heating through wicking, air permeability and conduction.
  2. There have been some niche, reflective treatments in the apparel marketplace; however, Columbia’s solution to the consumer is unique as it offers remarkable thermal regulating properties, air permeability, wicking, fast dry properties and an incredibly soft feel. It is also visible and easy to understand and is the only solution that is truly comfortable next to the skin.
  3. Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal technology helps maintain warmth and prevent heat loss, keeping outdoor enthusiasts comfortable in cold weather.

2)     Are any other competitors using similar technologies or products in the marketplace? If so, how is Columbia’s technology different?

  1. There have been a few uses of reflective material in the lining of other companies’ outerwear, but this has typically been applied as a full sheet of hard, crunchy material onto a liner. As a single component solid metallic surface, these applications are all greatly compromised in breathability and comfort in all forms such as air permeability, wicking, soft touch against the skin, fast drying and the added thermal properties of the base materials.
  2. Columbia’s solution for the consumer is unique. We do this through several application methods, one of which is our reflective method that does not sacrifice the material functionality or the overall hand of the material and is the only solution that is truly comfortable next to the skin.
  3. On the Omni-Heat reflective front, brands such as Sympatex have offered reflective qualities as part of their waterproof membrane. There are several differences with the Omni-Heat solution. First, Omni-Heat is a bi-component solution so it can both reflect heat when you are cold and dry and is also able to dissipate heat through wicking, air permeability and conduction (due to the conductive nature of the metallic dots when you are overheating and creating a high humidity environment).The reflective component of solutions such as Sympatex Reflection are achieved by mixing aluminum powder with the waterproofing polymers — as a result they are a continuous application and have one property, which is continuous heat reflection. Second, the Omni-Heat lining is the only offering that is positioned close to the body between you and your insulating layers where it works best. If the reflective layer is part of your waterproof membrane then it inherently is at the outer most layer of your system. Our testing has illustrated that heat reflective material is far less efficient at reflecting heat back at your body when it is placed in this outer-most location. Third, Omni-Heat reflective lining is very comfortable against the skin, which is particularly obvious in products like gloves where we depress the reflective foil into a slightly lofty and soft lining.

3)     Why is Omni-Heat a revolution?

  1. Omni-Heat is a warmth solution that considers the user reality that regulation is as important as trapping heat. As a result, this solution offers warmth and comfort to the consumer via three distinct solutions: thermal reflective, thermal insulation and thermal electric methods.

4)     Has Columbia applied for/been issued any patent(s) for Omni-Heat?

  1. Yes, Columbia has applied for utility and design patents related to Omni-Heat and expect to file additional applications as the technologies are developed and improved.   These applications are patent pending, but no Omni-Heat patents have been issued thus far.

5)     Is the technology patentable?  If so, what aspects?  (Design, process, etc.)

  1. Columbia believes the technology is patentable, but we cannot say for certain that patents will issue.
  2. Columbia has applied for utility and design patents for the Omni-Heat heat reflective and the Omni-Heat power-based technologies.

6)     How much of an investment did Columbia make in the research and development of Omni-Heat?

  1. Columbia does not disclose those figures due to competitive advantage; please refer to our annual report or investor relations.

7)     Mountain Hardwear has a similar concept with its electric jacket; how is Columbia differentiating itself?

  1. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective and thermal insulation technologies do not require external power, while the Mountain Hardwear jacket, the Refugiam, does.
  2. In footwear, Columbia is offering electric-powered technology with the Omni-Heat thermal electric heated boot, the Bugathermo, which was introduced in Fall 2009 and will be updated and combined with the other Omni-Heat methods in Fall 2010


1)     Is Omni-Heat waterproof and breathable? How?

  1. Omni-Heat is purely a thermal comfort technology. When Omni-Heat thermal reflective is used, it is placed on a breathable and wicking base material which is air permeable, wicking, soft against the skin, fast drying and can provide added thermal properties.
  2. When it is combined with Omni-Tech waterproof/breathable shells, they become waterproof parkas.

2)     How does Omni-Heat change the feel of the jacket?

  1. With the reflective Omni-Heat thermal technology, there is a fast response and the jacket warms quickly. It is also flexible and does not inhibit any motion.

i.     For Fall 2010 Columbia has offered the Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining in apparel, footwear and accessories. In particular, in the accessory category, Columbia has utilized Omni-Heat in gloves.  This illustrates a key advantage of the bi-component properties of the lining. The base material is the key point of contact with the user’s skin. The reflective foils are depressed into a slightly lofty and very soft lining. It feels great and is definitely something that could not be achieved with an-all foil lining. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate the advantages of Omni-Heat.

  1. Omni-Heat thermal insulated technology is extremely lightweight for the loft and retains heat longer.

i.     Omni-Heat is warmer, weight for weight, then Primaloft. In Primaloft’s own tests, they have stated that at 100g their One product has a CLO of .72 per oz and Sport has .65 CLO per oz. Omni-Heat insulation is .98 CLO per oz, making it over 30% higher than both of these Primaloft products. This translates to superior warmth to weight ratio.

3)     How does Omni-Heat feel in footwear?

  1. Omni-Heat thermal reflective creates a fast response and regulates consumer’s’ temperature by reflecting and retaining the warmth. Combined with Techlite and additional insulation, which ranges depending on the footwear piece, consumers’ feet will stay comfortably warm.
  2. Omni-Heat thermal electric warms the inside of the boot instantly, depending on the level, which allows you 4-6 hours of continuous heat. 

4)     How does Omni-Heat work in equipment?

  1. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective insulation found in our Mobex adventure racing packs line the water tubes for hydration compatibility, keeping water from getting frozen in cold temperatures. Omni-Heat is also in additional styles, including the Bugaboo pack collection and the Rescue collection.

5)     How should Omni-Heat be cared for? Can it be washed and dried?

  1. Consumers should follow regular care directions on the label. The garments can be washed and dried. All pieces are designed for rugged outdoor activities, and can be worn accordingly.

6)     What products will use Omni-Heat and how many?

  1. Omni-Heat thermal technology will be available in an assortment of products from softshells, interchange jackets and shells, as well as footwear, gloves, hats and accessories.
  2. There are a total more than 80 styles available in Fall 2010 that include Omni-Heat thermal technology.

7)     How do you ‘activate’ Omni-Heat?

  1. In thermal reflective and thermal insulated you activate Omni-Heat just by putting it on. The technology responds to your body’s warmth.
  2. In thermal electric, which is offered in footwear, you activate it by switching on the electric-powered boots on.

8)     How warm do you get with an Omni-Heat product?

  1. Columbia’s belief is that consumers will get warm, but won’t get hot. Consumers won’t overheat and the thermal regulating qualities of the material will allow for regulation.

9)     What if a consumer is hot and tries an Omni-Heat jacket on? Will the reflective material keep consumers cool like it does in insulated cooler boxes?

  1. The thermal reflective or insulated technology won’t cool the user, but as they start to overheat, the jacket will catch up and start to dissipate the heat and regulate them.

10)   Is Omni-Heat rated for certain temperature ranges like sleeping bags?

  1. Columbia does not temperature-rate in apparel.
  2. In footwear, the boots are individually rated (generally, they are rated to -25F/-32C).

11)   What is the form factor difference of Omni-Heat to produce the same degree of warmth as traditional outerwear? (e.g. weight/warmth, cubic in/warmth, etc.)

  1. Columbia has been taking the amount of warmth that an insulating garment can provide you (CLO value) and have found that Omni-Heat thermal technology will keep you about 30% warmer than any comparable solutions on the marketplace. Because Columbia can get 30% more warmth from the same weight of comparable insulation it is technically about 30% lighter when delivering the same warmth as a comparable insulation weight.
  2. We have lab data that compares Columbia’s Omni-Heat thermal technology against competitors.


1)     How does Columbia manufacture, produce and apply Omni-Heat material?

  1. The thermal reflective lining is made through a proprietary method that we do not disclose.
  2. The thermal reflective lining that is used in boots is an insert. The thermal electric technology used in the Bugathermo boots is wired into the boot.
  3. The thermal insulation is made from a combination of virgin and recycled poly and is a multi-denier short-staple fiber construction utilizing industry leading fiber sources and processing techniques; the insulation looks similar to a spider web inside a spider web.

2)     Where is the material made?

  1. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining is made in Taiwan.
  2. The Omni-Heat thermal insulation is made in Hong Kong.

3)     Where are products with Omni-Heat assembled?

  1. The items are assembled in multiple locations across Asia.

4)     How damaging is Omni-Heat to the environment?

  1. Omni-Heat thermal technology is no more damaging to the environment than any other garment made.

5)     What materials are used in making Omni-Heat?

  1. Polyester lining
  2. Aluminum
  3. Virgin and recycled polyester
  4. Removable lithium-ion batteries (footwear only)

6)     Does the manufacturing process involve nano-technology processes/materials?

  1. No, it does not involve nano-technology processes/materials.

7)     Does the manufacturing process require additional energy?

  1. No more than any other conventional textile manufacturing processes.

8)     Does the manufacturing process produce additional waste?

  1. No more than any other conventional textile manufacturing processes.

9)     How many of your factory partners are capable of producing Omni-Heat to your quality specifications?

  1. Columbia has only one factory that can produce the reflective film.
  2. Columbia has three mills that produce the fabric that is then sent o the factory where the reflective film is applied.
  3. Columbia has several factories that can create the finished product.

10)   Did you work directly with one of your factory partners to perfect the technology/manufacturing?

  1. Yes, Columbia worked directly with one factory.


Consumer Safety:

1)     Are products that use Omni-Heat safe to wear?

  1. Yes, Columbia has followed all the consumer safety guidelines.

2)     Has Columbia tested Omni-Heat? Who tested it?

  1. Yes, Columbia has extensively tested Omni-Heat in several of the leading labs throughout the world. It should be noted there is not a universal standard for testing thermal reflective lining properties in apparel, Columbia is at the forefront of establishing that standard.

i.     Footwear and the power-based heating technology found in our heated boot were tested at SATRA, a UK-based world leader in the testing of footwear performance characteristics.

ii.     Apparel and outerwear were tested at the Formosa Taffeta Company testing facilities.

iii.     Omni-Heat insulations and CLO value were tested and verified at SGS, which is a world leading Swiss testing and verification company based in Geneva. For these tests, we utilized their Hong facility, where they do the bulk of their apparel-related testing. The SGS Hong Kong lab has been in operation for 50 years and is among the oldest validation and testing labs in Asia.

  1. The SGS results use the industry standard ASTM method to measure the heat retention of Omni-Heat insulation.  The results of 2.9 CLO for the 100g version are exceptional. This translates to .98 CLO per oz. which is more than 30% higher than the heat retention claimed by competitors. SGS is a world leader in testing and validation of consumer goods, they are especially strong in testing textiles.  They are a Swiss company based in Geneva, for these tests we utilized their Hong Facility where they do the bulk of their apparel related testing. The SGS Hong Kong lab has been in operation for 50 years and is among the oldest validation and testing labs in Asia.

iv.     Intertek tested the lining for hazardous materials, etc. The Omni-Heat reflective and regulating lining was tested by Intertek for safety and on a Measurement Technology Northwest P332 thermal manner Formosa Taffeta Company in an environmental chamber and its effects have also been illustrated via FLIR thermal imaging.

  1. Columbia also testing on several professional athletes and consumers in Argentina to gear test Omni-Heat.

3)     Does Omni-Heat meet consumer compliance standards? Has Columbia used independent testing facilities to test the product – which ones and have they certified the safety of the material?

  1. Yes, Omni-Heat meets global consumer compliance standards, which are set by individual countries.
  2. Yes, Columbia has used independent testing facilities to test our products.

4)     Can consumers have an allergic skin reaction to Omni-Heat?

  1. Not that Columbia is aware of. The products have been tested for allergens.

5)     Is Omni-Heat thermal reflective safe directly against consumers skin?

  1. Yes, the reflective material is aluminum and it is safe. Aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth and is used in many aspects of daily life including food and beverage containment, and many forms of non apparel or footwear related insulating materials such as a thermos etc.

6)     Can the metallic material used in Omni Heat penetrate skin and get into the bloodstream?


  1. No, the aluminum should not breakdown.
  2. Columbia does not use it at the nano level (similar to the silver problem) where it breaks down and can penetrate the blood stream.

7)     Does Omni-Heat emit or leech any metals?

  1. No, it does not emit or leech any metals.

8)     Does Omni-Heat contain lead like many other metal insulators? What levels?

  1. No, it does not contain lead.
The Calusa Team

Omni Dry Q&A

1)    What is Omni Dry?

Omni Dry is an ultra breathable waterproof membrane from Columbia Sportswear that can outperform any system in the industry.

  •  Omni Dry membrane has incredible air passage capabilities for a waterproof breathable, at 100cc per minute. The industry leader has no air passage at all.
  • Omni Dry membrane is the lightest membrane in the industry at 7 g per sq/ yd., which is 75% lighter then industry leaders.
  • Omni Dry membrane in fact consists of 60% air.
  • Omni Dry membrane also surpasses or equals industry leaders in areas such as MVTR and waterproof ratings.
  • Omni Dry membrane has a very durable bond to its face fabrics. Tests show it consistently exceeds industry leaders with comparable face fabrics.
  • 100% of those how have tested Omni Dry have felt the fabric has the highest breathability that they have felt in a waterproof garment. Also, testers all agree that the garments are very light when compared competitors made with similar face materials and features.

In addition, construction on all Omni Dry products are fully sealed using industry leading methods optimized for Omni Dry.

2) What is the difference between Omni Dry, Omni tech and competitors?

The bulk of our competition does not meet the common definition of breathable. Their waterproof fabrics do not allow any air passage through them. So, how can they still make the claim?  Answer, they are describing the sponge like moisture wicking characteristic of their fabrics as breathable, this does help excess moisture escape but only if significant moisture is created first. This moisture needs to be in direct contact with the membrane to start drawing moisture through them. It is not true breathability.

Omni Dry and Omni Tech both have air permeability, which makes their characteristics similar. However, Omni Dry has about 4X more air passage capability then Omni Tech.  And Omni Dry is a much lighter membrane then Omni Tech.

On the conventional measurements such as MVTR and water pressure, Omni Dry exceeds Omni Tech by about double. 

3) What is the big deal about air passage (or air permeability)?

The answer is in every day common sense, when things are getting hot and humidity is increasing one seeks airflow to stay comfortable.  Common examples are being in a car or building without AC, the first instinct is to open a window or door to create some draft.

Next generation breathable waterproof materials use this same principle. The entire surface area of the material works to allow airflow and keep the user from feeling clammy. To be able to create a membrane that is waterproof to extreme pressure yet easily allows airflow is true science at work. Omni Dry is leading the way in this next generation of breathable waterproof materials. Time after time in field tests, users feel the difference right away.

4) Is Omni Dry totally waterproof?
Yes and we guarantee it.

5) Some of our competitors mention numbers like 10000 what does this mean?

In general this would indicate a result from conventional tests that measure water pressure resistance and moisture transfer rates.  These numbers provide no indication of air passage.

Unfortunately there are as many as 13 different tests that can be used to generate these results and when applied to the same material all give a different result.  Some of the most effective tests express the result in a low number range, as a result the industry does not often use these tests because they don’t attract consumer attention to the same degree. This is unfortunate because a high result on such tests such as the A1 upright cup JIS 1099 test really correlates to comfort. The most common test is the B1 inverted cup JIS 1099, which generates the highest numbers of all the test methods. Unfortunately this B1 test does not correlate with noticeable changes in comfort, when blind tested users can’t indicate which product has a high B1 result and which product has a much lower one.

Unfortunately, this system has not worked for explaining waterproof breathable products. If you ask large groups of consumers about these numbers they have absolutely no idea what they mean.  Most of us who have spent years in the industry can’t explain them either.

With Omni Dry and Omni Tech we have a simple explanation for how the materials breathe … “air permeability” and moisture vapor transfer made possible by “micro-porous” membranes. In the case of Omni Dry it is at the highest available levels in the industry.

At the same time Omni Dry and Omni Tech membranes are structured to be highly waterproof, in the case of Omni Dry water pressure can exceed the highest levels of most test machines which is 20000mm or 66 feet of water stacked on top of the material. These numbers are not relevant to use or comfort since users are never exposed to such extremes. But, we can confidently say is the fabric is waterproof and beyond that what is important is the use of high quality construction to seal seams, zippers and other openings in the garment.

5) How has Columbia Tested Omni Dry?

At Columbia we use our extensive materials research team to put Omni Tech through a large array of tests both in the lab and out in the field

A key sampling includes:

1) Environmental Chamber tests, where we create a hostile weather environment and monitor the comfort of a very high tech manikin with 26 heat/ sweat zones plus thermal imaging.  We also use human testers in this same closely monitored environment.

2) Real world field tests, through Beta Project Omni Dry was truly proven, this facilitated the testing of hundreds of garments with a global group of users. All with very positive feedback especially regarding breathability, weight and waterproof levels.

3) High pressure waterproof testing, where various tests can be used to apply large amounts of pressure to the material.

3) Abrasion Testing, where the fabric is exposed thousand of abrasive cycles of simulated wear.

4) Freezer flex testing, here the material is continuously flexed under tension at extreme cold temperatures to insure no cracking of the membrane will occur.

5) Extensive wash testing, simply home washing for 24 straight hours.

6) Precision weight testing, constant monitoring of precise material weight insures consistency in the membrane and construction process.

7) Air permeability testing, where the flow of air through the materials is precisely tested.

8) Snag testing, this simulates catching on sharp objects such as thorns as a measure of real world durability.

6) Could I ever feel wet in Omni Dry or Omni Tech?

Yes.  Omni Dry and Omni Tech require proper care to keep them performing at their best, if the product has a lot of soiling the Omni Shield defense layer present with both technologies could cause the sensation of leakage from condensation.  The product needs to be kept clean according to care instructions… do not use fabric softners and double rinse. DO NOT DRY CLEAN.

7) Is Omni Dry and Omni Tech safe against my skin?
Yes, it complies with all health regulations and standards.

8) How should Omni Dry or Omni Tech fabric be washed and cared for?
Follow care instructions on the garment carefully.  Fabrics with DWR polymer should be washed at medium or low temperature (care label will indicate) with powdered detergents. It is best to avoid liquid detergents and especially fabric softeners as they increase the surface tension of the fibers and can greatly reduce performance.  Also, it is very important to rinse thoroughly to insure no soap residue remains in the textile: a double rinse can be a good idea if you are looking for the very best performance.  If the fiber type is appropriate for ironing (meaning natural fiber or most woven synthetics set to low heat, read care label) it is recommended as it helps restore the polymers to their original state.  If the product is dry cleaned this will likely permanently destroy the Omni Shield finish.   DO NOT DRY CLEAN.

9) My Omni Dry or Omni Tech product is not repelling, what’s wrong?
Most likely one of two scenarios:

1.            The textile has built up a layer of grime or soiling on its surface, which water and other liquids are absorbing into that layer.  To correct the problem, wash and dry according to the care instructions.

2.            The textile has been washed incorrectly and has soap residue or softening agents on the surface of the fibers.  Water and other liquids are absorbing into to these substances.  To correct the problem, wash and dry according to the care instructions.

10) How long is the “Life” of an Omni-Dry product?  

 Cared for according to the instructions Omni Dry product will retain its protection properties for the normal like of a garment. This life span varies greatly on end use and frequency, but as always we build the product to exceed the vast majority of consumer expectations.

11) What should I say if someone asks me the difference between Omni-Dry and Gore-Tex?

Gore Tex is an excellent product. In fact, Columbia has utilized Gore Tex for decades and was one of their very first customers. At the same time we believe Omni Dry is an incredible product that can keep you even more comfortable then Gore Tex on many fronts. When enjoying activities in foul weather we believe and have observed that the user will find Omni Dry to be less clammy, lighter weight and ultimately drier then Gore Tex.


The Calusa Team



Fashion has always loved the underground. Remember when rock n roll took over the world and everyone wanted to wear Ramones t shirts? Surf wear is the latest form of counterculture cool to rule the streets, and the life of the carefree surfer dude has knocked Johnny, DeeDee and co. off the top spot.

It’s easy to see why: surf gear is a lot more than just board shorts and sandals, and it’s uniformly made to the same high quality that surfers expect of the stuff they wear out in the waves. Maybe it’s because all the major surf wear companies come from a long tradition of building kit that keeps you warm in cold water and cool in warm water (and that doesn’t rip when you’re halfway through a snappy top turn)… Whatever the reason, surf clothes are always comfortable and retain their great looks no matter what you do to them.

Brands like O’Neill, Reef and Rip Curl have branched out to make a full range of casual clothing – from jeans and trainers to shirts, jumpers, knitwear and even watches. You’ll find as much evening gear, great for hanging out in post surf bars, as you do surf wear for the beach and the ocean. The latest in must have beach wear and the coolest going to town threads often come from the same label.

The different brands have different personalities so you can match your own brand of free and easy to the look you like best. O’Neill surf wear celebrates its West Coast roots; Reef gives you the best in island style; and Rip Curl is all about the up and coming new school. From funky street savvy cool to the ultimate in laid back freestyle, there’s something in the beach culture for every fashion conscious feller.

What’s hot and what’s not in the world of surf clothing? This year sees plenty of old favourites back on the summer shelves: including slaps, flip flops, trucker caps and big sunglasses! There are some great combos happening too – get that “just got barrelled at Mentawai” look with a pair of boardies, some new sandals and the right shades, or go for some post surf cool with walk shorts and a brightly coloured check shirt.

Pick your brands for the style that fits you. Reef’s 2011 t shirt range is perfect for the retro rocker who wants to keep his surf clothing tuned to some 80s old school cool. There are some nice boardies in the Reef range for boys and girls, too – and sizzling hot swimwear for the ladies!

Off the beach it’s business as usual with a great selection of cargo pants and jeans in skinny fit and surf/skate style loose fits too. Complete a skinny fit surf look with a bright retro tee and a patterned zip up hoodie. If you’re going for the baggy skate and surf look, you’ll want to finish off at the top with an O’Neill tee or a jumper style hoodie. O’Neill surf clothing will give you the perfect crossover street cred for the laid back look: Jack O’Neill helped invent street board sports as well as being instrumental in the golden age of surfing, and his company’s threads have kept that underground theme going.

Accessories are a must for the total surf look. Big watches go great with hoodies, tees and shirts. If you’re looking for a complete ensemble don’t forget your rucksack – perfect for packing everything in for a day at the beach, or a weekend in the urban jungle!