Garment Maker Touts New Hot Weather Uniform
“We developed this product that was specifically designed for [the] jungle but we actually found out that it was good in arid environments, hot environments,” said Jason Rodriguez, marketing communications manager at W. L. Gore & Associates’ military fabrics division.
Earlier this year it unveiled the product, which is part of its line of advanced combat fabrics. It provides high air permeability and it dries faster than standard battle dress uniforms, he said.
It was developed after Gore saw “a theater shift from Iraq and Afghanistan to the jungle,” and noticed increased military training in the Asia-Pacific region. The Pentagon has said it intends to pivot to the region in the coming years.
The fabric — which incorporates nylon, cotton and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, a highly resistant polymer — has been tested at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 80 percent humidity, Rodriguez said.
As for higher temperatures, “we understand that some of those [operational] areas could potentially be warmer and my guess is if it’s a hotter environment and less humid, chances are it’s going to dry faster,” he said.
“Gear and materials and fabrics have come a long way since” the Vietnam War when soldiers largely wore cotton-based clothing, he said. “Those guys were wearing cotton where it just absorbed a lot of moisture, and it never really dried fast.”
Gore, working with a company called Outdoor Research, developed a commercially available blouse and trouser garment known as Muzzle Brake using the fabric.
The companies would like to sell the garments to U.S. Special Operations Command,
“We look at the Special Operations community as the engines of innovation,” he said. They “are really the ones that get all the cool stuff, the ones that actually adopt products that will then be adopted by the larger services like the Marine Corps and the Army.”
The garment will be more expensive than a standard uniform, he said. Commercially, the shirt sells for $300 and the pants for $384. They come in sizes small to XXL. Rodriguez noted that the price could come down if a customer wanted to buy a larger quantity under a contract.