Jack Wolfskin’s ‘No Tape Technology’ claims to improve breathability, while eliminating more than 60 feet of excess material per jacket.
Making apparel more comfortable, durable, and sustainable with a single development isn’t easy. It takes creativity, calculation, and innovation — and some good ol’ fashioned German engineering certainly doesn’t hurt.
All of that and more went into Jack Wolfskin’s new Tapeless Jacket. The sustainably minded German outdoor brand saw an opportunity to improve the standard design for waterproof apparel by eliminating seam tape from the design.
The brand claims the Tapeless Jacket provides even better breathability, durability, and reliability than similar taped-seam jackets. Here’s what we know.
Jack Wolfskin: Why ‘Tapeless’ Jacket?
When constructing most apparel, different panels have to be stitched together. Stitching, by nature, punches holes into the fabric, opening up thousands of little opportunities for water to seep through. Traditionally, the solution has been seam tape, a layer of polyurethane film placed along the interior seam to plug those holes.
It’s in almost every rain jacket and pant out there — turn the item inside out and you can see for yourself. The strip that follows the seams is the seam tape protecting your gear from flooding.
However, seam tape is by far the weakest point of any waterproofing. Sometimes it fails and needs to be replaced. It also adds weight to a rain jacket or rain pants, and it reduces the breathability — and even durability — of the product.
It isn’t a perfect solution. But there also haven’t been better options for apparel makers to waterproof the seams of their products.
Jack Wolfskin’s Tapeless Jacket marks the first product into which the brand will incorporate its No Tape Technology. Instead of using that small strip of polyurethane to seal seams, it used its proprietary three-layer waterproof-breathable fabric and welded the seams shut instead of taping them.
Jack Wolfskin will sew panels of this waterproof-breathable fabric together, without punching holes all the way through. The needle only penetrates the shell layer, while the inner layer is welded with water-resistant adhesive. The result is a continuous, fully sealed membrane layer within the jacket.
According to Jack Wolfskin, that maximizes the waterproofing and also eliminates “double-layering.” This, the brand claims, makes the jacket more breathable and tougher than taped-seam equivalents.
Traditionally welded seams (which companies like Arc’teryx have been experimenting with since the ’90s) don’t offer as much breathability. They can also be prone to blowing out when the adhesive degrades, and repairing them can be difficult.
Jack Wolfskin says its proprietary three-layer fabric and hybrid welding/stitching technique solves those problems and “won’t fail or leak.”
On top of that, by eliminating roughly 60 feet of seam sealing tape per jacket, Jack Wolfskin reduces the carbon footprint of every Tapeless Jacket.
At $480, the Tapeless Jacket is notably more expensive than its other waterproof jackets. It’s available in Hedge Green and Phantom (black), weighs 13.5 ounces (size medium), and can be purchased online.