Space-age adventure gear: the must-haves for 21st century explorers
Harder, better, faster, stronger – the Daft Punk anthem sums up the items created by garment pioneer Vollebak. Founded five years ago by twins Nick and Steve Tidball, both athletes and former ad men, the label is known for fusing Willy Wonka-ish innovation with scientific smarts. Utilising materials such as carbon fibre and copper, it is beloved by early adopters for what Steve calls ‘the most fascinating environments on and off our planet’.
In partnership with Swiss textile pro Schoeller, Vollebak was the first to apply ceramic particles normally used on jet-engine blades to an ultra-tough T-shirt. Another top, made from eucalyptus and algae ink is next-level eco – it biodegrades in eight to 12 weeks. Products are rigorously tested, often by the label’s customer base, ‘the people shaping and predicting the future – rocket scientists, explorers and visionary billionaires’, says Steve. The graphene jacket, which acts like a radiator when worn, was put through its paces in Nepal.
The brothers see human arrival on Mars as ‘a when not an if’ and aim to fabricate the wardrobe for the first travellers to the Red Planet. After creating the Deep Sleep Cocoon, a self-contained micro-habitat/suit in 2019, they rented a billboard outside California’s SpaceX HQ that read, ‘Our jacket is ready. How is your rocket going?’ As for what’s next, they’re researching anti-gravity attire and developing kit for the ultra-intense climates – floods, freak snowstorms – 21st-century explorers may face.
THE SURVIVAL SHIRT
Designed with ex Royal Marine commando Aldo Kane for use in unknown terrain, this water – and dirt-repellent, bacteria-resistant model has an anti-mosquito collar, a multitude of gadget loops, reinforced stitching and shatterproof buttons.
Wear it for: Amazon-rainforest trekking.
Planet Earth Shirt, £245
THE LIGHT-SOURCE JACKET
Due to an ultra-thin membrane that can be charged by any type of light (the sun, an iPhone torch), the fabric transforms to glow neon at night.
Wear it for: remote mountain expeditions – it could prove a lifesaver visibility-wise.
Solar Charged Jacket, £395
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE TROUSERS
These high-performance pants are made from fireproof material originally developed for the military. They passed the Martindale abrasion resistance test for a lifetime of wear and tear without a single fibre breaking.
Wear it for: wild camping – threads of kindling for firemaking are hidden inside a nylon paracord loop in case you’re short of supplies.
100 Year Pants, £495
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