GARMENT PURPOSE AND DESIGNS FOR THE OUT OF DOORS WITH KURT GRAY
NOTE: Kurt Gray of Boulder, Colorado, designs merchandise for the
outdoor ski industry as well as Wrangler and the U.S. Special Forces.
He specializes in garment engineering and fabric technology.
QUESTION: What does garment engineering and fabric technology
ANSWER: Garment engineering means to refine the garments' fit and
to make sure the garments are ergonomically correct. Fabric technology
involves choosing the correct fabric that has the best properties and
the right desired performance and comfort level for the chosen sport.
QUESTION: What are the new trends coming in hunting clothes?
ANSWER: Apparel will move more toward layering. You will see price
points fall for tactically excellent fabrics. You are going to see more
physiology-based apparel -- where clothing is less of a barrier between
our environment and us. You are now starting to see tennis players and
golfers using some of the clothing technology once only used by adventure
sportsmen and hunters. This crowd would never wear polyester in other
conditions, but because the polyesters are specially treated, the fabrics
keep the players cooler.
QUESTION: Hunters have known for a long time that the wicking
effect keeps the body dry, especially in cold climates. And now we are
seeing tennis and golfers use that same technology, right?
ANSWER: The comfort of the human body is directly related to the
humidity of the skin and the skin levels. When you are wet, you are uncomfortable.
That is why many people prefer to wear cotton. Cotton has a very-high
moisture regain. That term refers to how much moisture the fiber itself
can actually absorb. We are wet animals. We secrete moisture all the time,
and the skin is sensitive to perspiration. The cotton absorbs that moisture
and keeps the humidity level at your skin drier than the larger environment
where you are.
QUESTION: Tell me about the 10 pulse points on the body -- what
they are, and where they are located.
ANSWER: I am making the name pulse point up. I don't actually know
of a name for these areas. The body has certain areas like the wrists
and ankles that are especially sensitive to the temperature and will cause
the body to have a metabolic reaction. When people come in out of the
cold, people often will hold their hands up to the fire and rub them together.
You don't really get any heat into your body through your hands. You merely
warm them in order to fool your furnace into kicking on. When your skin
temperature goes up, you feel more comfortable.
QUESTION: What are those 10-pulse points you've identified?
ANSWER: These zones or pulse points include the wrists, the top
of the ankles, the backs of the knees, the area of your back from scapula
to scapula to the small of your back, the C1 through C2 vertebrae underneath
your skull and the corneas.
QUESTION: Those are the areas where the body determines how hot
or cold it is, right?
ANSWER: Right. You are what a biologist would call homothermic.
You struggle to maintain a particular temperature that is warmer than
your environment, thus, the body excretes energy. There is a little furnace
going on in you. You are like a 5000-watt lightbulb. You generate heat,
so the body needs to do something with that heat if you are in a climate
colder than you are. But the body is always struggling to stay in this
temperate zone. For example, your feet can get very cold before you actually
feel uncomfortable. The same is true with your hand temperatures. Your
overall core temperature will be about 98.6 degrees while your hands are
90 to 91 degrees. The body monitors the temperature at these points, and
when the temperature of the skin drops, the body reacts. There's no sensing
through the head. So your head can be in very warm or very cold temperatures
without a metabolic reaction. In school we were taught that the body pays
attention to its core temperature. When the core temperature goes up or
down, the body will react. The body is paying attention to particular
spots and the feedback back and forth to those particular spots. Your
body pays attention to your wrists and how much warm blood it sends to
your wrist. When the core temperature goes down, the blood being sent
isn't as warm anymore, and the temperature continues to fall at the wrist.
At that point, the body starts to consume energy, sugar or fat to increase
the core temperature to send warmer blood until the wrist gets warm. So
by insulating or venting certain areas of the body, we can conserve metabolic
QUESTION: How does this information relate to the hunter?
ANSWER: A comfortable athlete is a successful athlete. If you are
comfortable, you are confident. You have one less thing to worry about.
You don't think about yourself. You are in the zone. You can pay attention
to something other than yourself. You need the ability to conserve energy
so you can go longer.
QUESTION: So, now instead of designing big bulky coats to keep
you warm, you are designing coats and clothes for specific areas of the
ANSWER: We emphasize certain areas of the body with our coats.
We are not replacing jackets. We are emphasizing them or morphing them
into more efficient shapes. And at the same time, we are paying attention
to ergonomics -- how clothes bend and flex and the features of the fabric.