What happens when outdoor gear manufacturers use next generation technology in their product? Generally speaking you end up with a high priced product that almost always outperforms it’s old tech counterparts. The next gen tech that I am referring to in this instance is graphene. And while it is not exactly new technology, there are only a handful of brands that have managed to incorporate it into a few of their products, mainly because graphene is difficult to work with and extremely expensive to produce at scale. And Wear Graphene is throwing their hat into the ring, or should I say jacket or more specifically the Gamma Jacket – “An All-Season Graphene Infused Heated Jacket”. We will dig into the details and performance of the Gamma jacket, but first a bit of science….what exactly is graphene?
First Impressions of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
The Wear Graphene Gamma jacket sports a stylish, minimalistic design that weighs in at about 1 lb. It offers a regular fit and comes in only one color, which is a sleek shade of black, the reason for this is that graphene is very difficult to dye and is naturally black. The jacket fabric feels durable and consists of an outer shell layer and an inner layer with no form of insulation between the two.
Warmth of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
Graphene is known to absorb heat and be superconducting. Once you put the Gamma jacket on, you can feel it almost warm up and produce just a bit of radiating or reflective heat, all without the internal battery powered heating elements being turned on. This effect can be visibly demonstrated by placing your hand on the fabric, taking it away and then shooting the jacket with a digital thermometer. The heat of the hand print stays for a bit once the hand has been removed. The Gamma’s graphene infused fabric seems to move heat equally through its latticed structure, evenly distributing it around the body, where as I never felt a cold spot. To get down to brass tax; what is the temperature threshold for wearing the jacket and at what temp do you need to active the internal heating elements? Keeping in mind that everyone’s cold tolerance is different, I would say that the Gamma can be worn by the majority of people comfortably down to around 32 degrees Fahrenheit without the heaters. Using the heaters would likely be able to keep most people comfortable down into the 20’s, both of these temps being considered with no wind-chill factor.
Interestingly the jacket came with a booklet explaining care instructions and use cases and within the booklet are two sections titled “How To Best Use Your Gamma” and “When NOT to Use Your Gamma”, the surprising takeaways basically suggest that the Gamma jacket will not work in very cold or windy weather without the help of additional layers and are as follows:
- To optimally use your heated jacket in very cold or windy weather, we strongly recommend wearing a thick insulating layer beneath the Gamma.
- To keep lightweight and avoid the “bulky” look winter jackets have, Gamma does not have any insulation. This means that while the heaters will constantly generate heat and spread it through the graphene fibers, the heat will dissipate quickly.
- Because Gamma does not have insulation and because graphene fibers are very thermally conductive, if it’s very windy the jacket may not hold up well as the wind will pull the heat from your Gamma, even if the heaters are on.
- Gamma can only hold so much heat as it is not insulated. Because of this we do not recommend wearing Gamma without wearing layering both inside and outside to retain the heat generated from the heaters in extreme cold weather.
Built In Carbon Fiber Heating Elements on the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
The Gamma jacket is equipped with three carbon fiber heating elements built directly into the jacket. One is located in the middle of the back and the other two are located behind the front hand pockets.
When the temperature drops and your body heat isn’t enough, you can boost Gamma’s graphene layer at the push of a button. With three adjustable heat settings for a preferred level of comfort, you can pick the right amount of heat you want in the jacket. Just plug in a USB A power bank and push the integrated button and within seconds, the heaters will begin to warm the jacket, and the infused graphene will help distribute the heat.
Waterproof and Wind Resistance of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
Graphene’s tight atomic bonds make it impermeable to nearly all gases and liquids. But water molecules are one of the exceptions. And depending where you look on the Wear Graphene website you will see the jacket labelled as “water resistant” and “100% Waterproof”. I would classify the Gamma jacket as water resistant, it beads rain when there is a light sprinkle and will allow it to run off, but if you get caught in a down pour the rain will eventually soak through the jacket and get you wet.
On the wind resistant side of things, the Gamma preforms nicely and is able to keep the wind out and at bay. The jacket is great for casual bike riding, windy hikes, and even breezy beach strolls. Even though Gamma is lightweight and thin, its graphene infused technology is claimed to be effective up to 50 Miles per hour / 80 Kilometers per hour winds. But keep in mind that as the wind chill temps drop the jacket may not hold up well as the wind will pull the heat from the Gamma, even if the heaters are on.
Breathability of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
Graphene’s semipermeable structure is able to expel heat without letting cold air inside the jacket, so you’ll never feel that sticky, sweaty feeling you get from some rain jackets and outer shells. The Gamma is a good jacket for the warmer weather in spring and fall as it will keep you cool when the sun comes out by releasing excess heat. When using the jacket on more high output activities the graphene helps pull heat and moisture away from the body, and will evaporate through the material. When you’re pushing the pace the Gamma will keep you feeling cool while maintaining your core temperature.
Graphene is also bacteriostatic by nature, meaning that bacteria can not grow or reproduce on its surface so the jacket will never hold onto those lovely after adventure smells. As well as being bacteriostatic, the graphene membrane is also known to be hypoallergenic and anti-static, and is certified as non-toxic.
Durability of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
The durability of the Gamma jacket is one of the places that it truly shines. As it’s only a single atom thick, graphene increases the strength of the jacket in all scratch and abrasion tests. Everything from brambles to briars, dog claws to crampons the Gamma jacket has come out of the some rough environments and adventures without a mark on it. Is it bulletproof, of course not, but for adventures in the backcountry it has proven to be scratch-proof, tear-proof, and abrasion-proof. The Gamma gives you that extra protection without the weight of a heavy canvas jacket and I would expect it to still look great even after years of heavy use.
Pockets on the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
Another area that this jacket excels in is pockets, ten of them to be exact. The many pockets allow you to carry just about anything and everything you would need for an outing.
The Gamma also has two hidden pockets that can keep valuables safe when you are traveling. Always having everything you need within arms reach offers the versatility and practicality that come together with Gamma’s multi-functional pocket design.
Fit and Sizing on the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
The Gamma jacket is designed for a comfortable fit yet tailored look. Going by the size chart measurements on the Wear Graphene website I fell right in the middle for the medium measurements, which is the size jacket I fit into 95% of the time. However once the medium arrived, it was far too tight across the back and limited my range of motion. I ended up exchanging it for a large, which turned out to be a much better fit. If you fall into the middle or at the high end of the measurements on the chart, I would recommend sizing up on this jacket. The Gamma jacket does offer some adjustments to help with comfort and protection from the elements, such as adjustable drawstrings in the hood and waist to lock in heat and protect against wind and Velcro cuffs and built-in fingerless gloves to offer a bit of warmth for the hands without hindering dexterity.
Features of the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
- Graphene Infused – Thin, strong, and flexible
- Built-In Heating – Add warmth with the push of a button
- Thermoregulating – Helps distribute heat evenly across the body
- 10 Pockets – Multi-functional and secure.
- Extremely Durable
- Water and Wind Resistant
- Antimicrobial and Anti-odor – Helps keep you fresh
- Ultra Light and Thin – Less than 500g and easily packable
- Breathable – Channels air out and wicks moisture
- UV-Proof – Protects from harmful sun rays.
- Non-Toxic and Hypoallergenic – Resistant to allergens
- Machine Washable
Final Thoughts on the Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket
The Wear Graphene Gamma Jacket is a very durable, unique piece of gear that has some amazing properties due in large part to the graphene infusion. However the fact that it is toted as “the only heated jacket you’ll ever need all-year round” really can only work if your climate never dips well below freezing. Don’t get me wrong I think the Gamma jacket is a nice piece of kit and will continue to get used, especially hiking on the trails and in cooler weather. But at a price of $395 and the fact that it will not be replacing my ski jacket or winter coat, it is hard to give it a solid recommendation for “the only jacket you’ll ever need all-year round”.
MSRP $395 For more information visit weargraphene.com