Champion Supersuit Unveiled!

The past few months, while covering Expedition Hanesbrands’ upcoming Mount Everest bid, we’ve been hinting at something big coming down in the apparel category. This week, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, Hanesbrands will unveil that big news. Indeed, the product, a svelte shell jacket, is touted as “the thinnest extreme weather suit ever developed.”

Champion Super Suit Illustration.jpg

Dissected view of Champion Supersuit

When paired with its to-be-unveiled shell pant, the outerwear package will be dubbed the Champion Supersuit. The jacket on display this week in Salt Lake, which was designed for a summit bid on Mount Everest, employs a super-insulating nanotechnology called Zero-Loft Aerogel. The special material, made by Aspen Aerogels of Northborough, Mass., allowed Champion to design outerwear pieces that retain heat while still remaining much thinner than the puffy goose-down suits commonly used on Mount Everest.

How does it work? The Zero-Loft Aerogel product is derived from silicate materials and based on decades-old chemistry involving the polymerization of silicic acid. But the structure of the stuff is actually composed of “more than 99 percent air,” according to the company. This makes it a highly-effective insulator, as hot air is trapped in a matrix of microscopic chambers. Champion touts it as four times as warm as goose down — but much thinner.

Champion SuperSuit Small Photo.jpg

Battle against the puff: Regular down versus the Supersuit

Beyond the gel, the Champion jacket has a waterproof/breathable polyester face fabric, a radiant layer to reflect back body heat, and an inner wicking layer. The four-layer jacket will be only a few millimeters thick.

Champion is touting its Supersuit as having “the potential to change the entire outdoor apparel industry.” The goal is to make an outerwear suit that is comfortable, non-bulky, and performance-driven.

Champion SuperSuit CloseUp Small Photo.jpg

Close-up of Champion Supersuit jacket

Beyond the jacket, the company has designed custom apparel for Expedition Hanesbrands from the socks on up. (See the full spread here: The goal — “to build a better mountaineering suit” — brought a group of designers and textile scientists together at the company to form a special R&D team.

So far, the team, led by climber Jamie Clarke, has tested the apparel and outerwear on Mount Pumori in Nepal. This spring, Expedition Hanesbrands heads to Mount Everest. With good weather, hard climbing — and nanotechnology on their backs — Clarke and his crew are counting on the Supersuit to help them make it to the top.

Commenting on post : Champion Supersuit Unveiled!
Posted by Jode - 01/26/2010 04:11 PM

Look’s promising. I was never into the michelin-man look of down jackets, not to mention their poor wet weather performance.

Posted by jerry smith - 01/26/2010 05:25 PM

How about using this material in a dry suit for winter kayaking.

Posted by Shannon - 01/26/2010 06:53 PM

this is using c_change I believe!

Posted by michael - 01/26/2010 09:23 PM

How does it fare under compression, such as when wearing a pack?

Posted by Joe - 01/27/2010 10:50 AM

This is exciting…I’ve known about Aerogel for a while…it’s a billionaire expensive…wonder how they make it affordable?? Maybe it’s not??

Posted by Joe - 01/27/2010 10:58 AM

Yeah, that’s one sweet jacket, if it performs. Do you know the price point yet?


Posted by Nick Behr - 01/27/2010 11:36 AM
Posted by Mike A - 01/27/2010 12:27 PM

I am Director of Research for Hanesbrands.

The aerogel is completely hydrophobic so it won’t get wet and will keep it’s thermal properties under water.
We are using c-change membranes from Schoeller.
The clo value of aerogel actually improves under compression. All other insulation depend on captured air, aerogel isn’t dependent on air and under compression any trapped air is pushed out improving the clo value.
We don’t have a price point yet but expect it to be at a price lower than down for equal or better performance.

Great to get the questions, let me know if there is anything else you would like to know.

Posted by Darran - 01/30/2010 02:25 PM

Let’s cut to the nitty gritty, SLEEPINGBAGS!

Posted by Logan - 02/03/2010 05:47 PM

What about weight? It seems like it should be pretty light, but how does it compare to down?

Posted by Gary - 02/19/2010 08:24 AM

I too would like to know weight figures on this item. It seems like the weight of aerogel should be negligible. When are we going to see production runs?

Posted by Darin - 03/04/2010 07:09 PM

Mike- I have a GREAT idea for a coat that many would want. I would love to share it with you. Please drop me a line!

Posted by Greg Godfry - 04/15/2010 07:18 PM

This looks like we are really getting into the 21st century with all of the technology that is goin into the clothes and all of the other stuff mankind has come up with.

Posted by Chris L - 05/27/2010 03:02 AM

As I understand it aerogel preforms very poorly under shearing loads, but is very good under compression.

Posted by jerry lee - 07/12/2010 01:24 PM

Is this the Zeroloft aerogel licensed from E21 sports? Thank you in advance.

Posted by Patti - 11/11/2010 12:59 PM

When and Where will these products be for sale?

Posted by Doug Berry - 11/30/2010 01:34 PM

We put aerogel into a shoe/boot insole, called Toasty Feet, as well as a seat pad for hunters, ice fishermen, stadium seating, etc. It’s the best insulator we’ve found, we are MCR Safety out of Memphis.

Posted by colin - 02/07/2012 08:06 PM

it looks great.let me know where I can buy one

Posted by Bryan - 11/18/2012 06:40 PM

Dear Mike of Hanes Brands, I work in the oilfield of Prudhoe Bay Alaska. It gets pretty damn col up here and as water truck driver or laborer/ surveyor/ pipe insulator etc one is outside quite a bit in mega below zero weather sometimes to -60 and that’s not factoring in wind chill! Is this material warm in theses conditions AND durable ( like punctures, rips etc.). Also can you make a fire retardant versions like NOMEX?

Posted by Margarita - 02/14/2013 02:51 AM

Where we can buy it? Thanks

Posted by nikila - 06/14/2013 02:29 AM

i also want to where i can buy it ?

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