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Lightweight Design

Jack Wolfskin’s ideal product would provide maximum functionality, be virtually indestructible and weigh virtually nothing. It’s no secret that the less you have to carry, the more you can enjoy your route, hike or trek. They’ve not got there yet, but they’re working on it. They’ve come close on several occasions, but at the end of the day Jack Wolfskin products represent a combination of different factors, and are not subordinated to just one element. What we mean is, they seek to make their products as light as possible, but not at the expense of reliable weather protection, durability or important details. You can still rely 100% on their lightweight tents and lightweight clothing, of course. Anything less would be unacceptable.


Apparel: The main way to save weight is to work with lighter fabrics. For example, Jack Wolfskin can dispense with a protective lining by using weather protection materials with a protective layer bonded to the waterproof, breathable coating/membrane. For insulation, they often select materials that trap greater amounts of warm air, but weigh less, for example highloft fleece or down.


Of course, all fabrics are subject to certain limitations. For example, the particularly robust fabrics they use in their trekking apparel are generally slighter heavier. They compensate for this on their lightweight products by using laminated (lighter) reinforcements at critical wear points, such as the shoulders.


Their lightweight products also have a more minimalist design and stripped-down detailing. However, certain details can help reduce weight. For example, water-resistant zips do away with the need for a double covering flap over the zip (less material is required).


Equipment: Their lightweight products are designed with purists in mind, people who like to travel with a minimum of kit. Details are kept to the essentials and fabrics are lightweight yet still extremely robust.


Take for example, the tents they’ve designed for Summer 2011, made of lightweight, silicon-coated ripstop nylon fabric combined with ultralight aluminium poles. The collection would not be complete without a range of lightweight sleeping bags. Here, they use high quality down for its outstanding warmth-to-weight performance.


Weight can often be saved by focussing on a variety of smaller details. The combined results can make a surprisingly big difference.


Footwear: Shaving grams off footwear is a tricky business. Stability, grip and cushioning are non-negotiable. However, there are few techniques that can be used to keep the weight down. Jack Wolfskin lightweight models are mostly made exclusively of synthetic materials, which are normally lighter than leather. Further details such as abrasion-resistant coatings instead of rubber toe/heel caps, perforated cushioning and lighter shock-absorbing inserts in the midsole, all make important weight savings.


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