If the sun can power our chargers and flashlights, why not our winter coats and jackets? We've already been using batteries and electrical cords to help us stay warm in frigid temperatures for years. I remember my mama used to have a pair of heated socks that required, like, three C batteries hanging off the side of each one to get them warm. Now even with much smaller battery packs powering heated clothing and gear we still have added weight and bulk, plus constant recharging to deal with. But ThermalTech believes they have developed a fabric with built-in heating properties, one that is able to absorb solar heat, and hold onto it, without the aid of batteries or electricity.
ThermalTech smart fabric is made of stainless steel mesh threads able to capture the sun's UV rays (plus energy from artificial light sources) and convert them into an additional 18 degrees F of warmth in a few minutes' time. Despite its metal content, ThermalTech says this solar fabric is paper-thin and lightweight; it will add no heft or drag to the coats the company proposes to incorporate it into.
ThermalTech is currently seeking IndieGoGo funding for their first application of the solar-powered fabric, a line of winter jackets. Available in Street, Explorer, and Extreme designs for both men and women, the jackets suck in heat from the sun both to warm you up faster and keep you warm longer without sacrificing the lightness and breathability of similar down or synthetic insulated winter coats. All 3 ThermalTech jackets are also waterproof.
Street jackets are ideal for daily use in temperatures from 50 to 32 degrees F. Explorer jackets have a little more storage space and a removable hoodie for longer outdoor excursions in temperatures from 55 to 30 degrees F. Extremes are ThermalTech's heaviest duty coat for winter activities, appropriate for temperatures of 14 to -4 degrees F.