The 100 Year Hoodie is back! Made from an innovative Polartec 3-layer sandwich milled in the US, it took 2 years of R&D to build the third version of the toughest hoodie ever. Beat the elements: it now repels rain, wind, snow as well as fire. Here we go with an interview from co-founder Steve Tidball, as he reveals the secrets of development for the most interesting Vollebak product to date.
Questions: Nikita Osaulenko.
Answers: Steve Tidball [VOLLEBAK].
Edit, layout: Alexander Zabelin.
Photo: VOLLEBAK, Sun Lee.
As it's made from scratch, the 100 Year Hoodie has the same construction as the Polartec Power Shield fabrics. There is a 3-layer sandwich fabric which protects against the elements, but without the stiffness of a hardshell membrane. This section between the outer surface and the lining remains a bit volume of wind circulating inside the material, greatly improving movement moisture vapor and reducing the risk of excessive overheating of the body. The makeup of the material allows you to use the 100 Year Hoodie in way more active and variable conditions.
The previous generation 100 Year Hoodie is more like a "hoodie" than an "all-weather jacket", even though its material can survive at extreme temperatures ranging from 300°C to -200°C. The upcoming version has become more versatile with its design: full-length zip, innovative fabrics and construction.
[First things first. Why Polartec versus other companies?]

As well as being synonymous with outdoor gear, for the last decade Polartec have been developing flame resistant fabrics for the US military after their uniforms began melting in the intense heat of IED detonations. We wanted to look for a fabric that hadn't been used in a commercial context ever before and Polartec was designed for people facing IED explosions and rapidly changing combat environments in warfare, so they had a better performance and track record than anyone else we could find. Our aim was to let anyone benefit from this technology. So we worked with Polartec to rebuild our 100 Year Hoodie from scratch.
[Well, fabrics look like uber-jacket and no hardshell even needed right now. Please, reveal some secrets about this sandwich]

The outer layer of the 100 year hoodie is a stretchy, fireproof and windproof softshell. The middle layer is a waterproof membrane. And the bottom layer next to your skin is a soft, engineered fleece that keeps you warm, dry and comfortable. Even on its own the outer layer of the hoodie would be one of the toughest pieces of clothing you'd ever worn.

We've built a hoodie the way other brands have built jackets - the technology was already out there but nobody else had applied it the way have. We think normal clothing should have extraordinary capabilities, so it was a process of finding a technology that could match our vision and adapting it.
[You created a cutting edge hoodie. Like no one else before. What did you want to express with this particular piece?]

The world is becoming wildly unpredictable, from threats such as pandemics and wildfires, and because the planet has become so globalised it's very easy for local problems to become international ones. Clothing is our primary defence mechanism against threats, so we asked ourselves "how can people feel protected in a world which is increasingly exposing them to danger, that they can't plan for and they can't predict?". We're trying to make clothing that looks and feelings like normal clothing but has the functionality of a hazmat suit in order to help you cope with this.
[It was a huge leap towards futuristic mindset: an ordinary garment went the technical path. How did it come this way?]

When we start to think about the future it could either be easier, more technically advanced and civilised, or it could be increasingly complex, disrupted and violent. It's our goal to make clothing for either outcome because you have to plan for both. The 100 year hoodie is braced for Armageddon.
[100 Year Hoodie. During two years of development, what major shifts in construction have you done?]

We deliberately decided against any major shifts in the construction for Version 3 of the 100 Year Hoodie, because where we got to with Version 2 was the right balance. The idea for the 100 Year Hoodie was always to make it look and feel like any other hoodie in your wardrobe, but to have military performance capabilities.

So the full-length zip is rubberised and waterproof. The durable draw cords are more like rope in their texture and thickness, and are finished with heat-moulded rubberised ends. The hoodie has four large, super-practical front pockets for carrying extra gear. Large, two-way zippers connect the top and bottom pockets on each side so you can open and close the four pockets in any combination you want. If you want to keep the two higher pockets for keys, phone and kit, and the lower pockets free for your hands, you can. The zippers are all rubberised and waterproof. And the material started life in a warzone.
[What's your final thoughts on next gen. 100 Year Hoodie?]

It's an interesting question, because of course we have already started thinking about the same thing. This latest version of the hoodie is built with a material that can cope with rain and snow as well as temperatures 4 times hotter than the sun. So in terms of performance it's on a different planet from anything else you can get.

But we're always thinking about how we can beat our own work. In this instance it's all about projecting forward and thinking about the challenges that we could possibly be facing over the next decade. You almost have to think like the writer of a sci-fi film to come up with some problem that we need to solve, that when you say it out loud might sound crazy.

Of course if you'd said a year ago that the world would basically have stopped and everyone would be trapped at home and that before that large parts of the world would have been on fire, that would have sounded like you'd gone mad. So these are the kind of things we are thinking about when we design for our 100 year range – situations that seem extraordinary, but that will quite possibly become completely normal.
Read our previous parts of

100 Year Hoodie by Vollebak is available for purchase here.

Also, in our 4th printed issue released in summer 2018 we interviewed Vollebak founders Steve and Nick, these amazing future oriented outdoor enthusiasts and asked them about the company more in-depth.

Last copies of TECHUNTER 04 / 05 are available in our store with delivery discount.