PHD Mountain Software

PHD's Fabrics, insulation and zips

Fabric / Insulation / Zips Description
Ultrashell The lightest of PHD's coated materials. This ripstop nylon provides complete wind block and good water resistance at minimal weight. Ultrashell provides a valuable payback in performance with very little weight penalty. Weight 40g / sm.
YKK Aquaseal zips and Riri Aquazips We chose YKK waterproof Aquaseal zips and Riri water-resistant Aquazips for our rainwear and some of our down jackets after a very simple test. We make up buckets of proofed fabric with various 'waterproof' and 'water-resistant' zips sewn in across the bottom. When the buckets were filled with water, the only one which didn’t leak at all yet was light enough for our clothing, was the YKK Aquaseal zip. Of the water-resistant zips the Riri Aquazip leaked the least.

YKK Aquaseal zips
Successfully used for years on dry suits, dry bags and marine sportswear, these fully waterproof Aquaseal zips are now light enough, smooth enough and flexible enough to be used with our lightweight waterproof fabrics.

Riri Aquazips
These zips are not fully waterproof and on raingear storm flaps are still needed. But they do provide an extra line of proofing when driving rain is searching to penetrate your clothing.
10X At 26g/sm 10X is PHD’s pick of the new generation of extraordinary ultralight fabrics. Soft feel along with good wear and downproof qualities.
HS2 HS2 is a 2-layer laminate, a high-spec option for taped shells on our down gear. This ripstop fabric strikes a good balance between lightness and durability: light enough to be the optional taped shell on our sleeping bags and tough enough for expedition use in our Omega clothing.

HS2 is waterproof to a much higher level than necessary (unless you are a deep-sea diver) and offers excellent breathability.

HS3 HS3 is a 3-layer laminate used for our Alpamayo shell gear. The old argument that a 2-layer fabric with a separate mesh inner was not only more flexible than a 3-layer, but more breathable too, has been overtaken by the performance of current 3-layer such as HS3. This new ripstop fabric also removes the disadvantages of mesh (which snags on velcro and can form an ice-trap in extreme cold) and makes the gear considerably lighter.

HS3 is waterproof to a much higher level than necessary (unless you are a deep-sea diver) and offers excellent breathability.

Note about 3-layer Waterproofs:

It is only fair to point out that high performance waterproof 3-layers are a great advance, but they are not miracle fabrics and HS3 has the same shortcomings as all the rest. 'No sweat' is a fiction. NO clothing (not even a string vest, let alone a proofed fabric) can transmit moisture vapour at the rate it is generated by a human body working hard. From our experience with all types of breathable shells moisture build-up will be caused either by exertion overload (unavoidable) or to a lesser extent by variations in design (lack of ventilation, multiple-layer panels, etc) and condensation inside your shells will ensue.

Of course the main difference with the upper echelon of modern breathables is that the condensation is temporary, and with the right layers underneath HS3 will do a good job of keeping you comfortable, alongside its main function of keeping the weather out.

Andy Kirkpatrick has an excellent article on his blog, 'THE TRUTH ABOUT WATERPROOF BREATHABLE FABRICS: TRYING TO CUT THROUGH ALL THE HYPE'.
MX A superfine mini-ripstop nylon with excellent tear strength, MX is the pick of the latest generation of superfine down proof materials . We have tested even lighter fabrics, but so far they have all had significant drawbacks, while our confidence in MX is based on several years of extensive use.

Our Ultra items in MX are the lightest kit we have ever made. It is also the standard inner in all our Minim and Minimus gear as well as in our high mountain lightweights, the Hispar sleeping bags and jacket.

We are so confident of its performance now that we are switching the inners of our hi-tech Diamir sleeping bags to MX, reducing both weight and bulk.
Drishell Ripstop nylon with an ultralight coating: achieves total windblock, along with high breathability and effective water resistance. Superbly efficient for a very light overall fabric weight.
M1 Microfibre Superfine silky microfibre. The close weave produces a tight solid fabric, but so light that it reduces weight and allows maximum loft.
Tempest A technically advanced waterproof breathable material. 100% Nylon. Good abrasion and tear resistance, yet high flexibility for such a tough material.
Taiga Fleece This warp-knit fleece is primarily for real activity use rather than the street scene, although its comfort and lightness give little indication of its robust performance. It will resist abrasion and cut the wind far better than normal weft-knit fleeces, shrug off a shower and dry very quickly after a soaking. If work or play takes you out into the elements, take Taiga fleece - you'll notice the difference.
700 Down Superb European goose down, lively and well processed. Fillpower average about 700 cu.in. Used in our Baltoro Sleeping Bags and most of our down clothing, where the extra fractions of fillpower are not so critical.
800 Down European goose down of rare quality. A truly excellent down with large clusters, consistent quality and lively long-term performance. The fillpower average is about 800 and the down has demonstrated remarkable performance in actual use. This is the filling for the Minimus clothing and for the Diamir, Minim, Xero and Delta sleeping bags.
900 Down A goose down of unique quality with exceptionally large lively clusters. Tested in 2007, then introduced in 2008 in a range of items.
Thinsulate Thinsulate is a synthetic wadding specifically made for outdoor clothing and gives excellent warmth/weight performance. Thinsulate is a blend of microfibres (for warmth) and thicker fibres (for resilience), thermally bonded together to avoid the use of heavy and inefficient chemical glues. Warm, soft and compressible it has all the chief virtues of a filling to a high degree. The long-term resilience and warmth/weight performance of any synthetic are no match for down. But when you and your kit are likely to get wet as well as cold, Thinsulate has a lot to offer.
Primaloft One PrimaLoft® One is the ultimate microfiber insulation. Ultra fine fibers are specially treated in a patented process and then combined into an insulating core that is incredibly soft, lightweight and water resistant.