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EDITOR'S 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 mean?
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 energy.

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 body.
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.

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