New Gear for the Next Season
Breathable, strong, light weight and waterproof are the keys to helping clothing and footwear for commercial fishermen last. And manufacturers are continually refining their product lines to meet these needs.
Patrick Jaquet, General Manager of Guy Cotten USA, reports that the use of the company's Hybridpro+ technique will be expanded on new products in 2017. He says it has no equivalent on the market. It is a combination of two fabrics that are considered incompatible: PVC for all the areas of the garment subject to most wear, with less exposed areas such as back and upper sections using a 100% waterproof but highly breathable fabric.
"We are the only company in the industry to master this technology and will continue to apply it on new garments in the future," he says. "The HybridPro+ technique is a leap forward in comfort at work. The outside temperature (condensation) and activity intensity (perspiration) no longer influence the comfort of the fishermen while still keeping the recognized toughness of our rain gear. Making these garments in our own factory in France allows us to control closely the quality of our products with very few returns."
Guy Cotten's Dremtech+ bibs, which have this HybridPro+ technique, are available in yellow/red, and in yellow/blue, which can be worn with a Drempro jacket. The breathable fabric is in the shell for the upper body. The Dremtech+ bibs can also be paired with a pullover in yellow/red called Dremtop; it comes with neoprene cuffs and it is available in sizes S to XXL.
Working to refine lightweight, waterproof fabric is a continual process, depending on what fabrics are available. "Unfortunately, right now, the lightweight breathable is not so waterproof, especially in salt water," says Jaquet. "For us, we prefer to have a combination of PVC and breathable so that the breathable is in the upper part or in the parts that are not really taking the abuse, so it stays breathable and waterproof." The trade-off for fishermen is in the lifetime endurance of the gear. "That's the reason why we still see PVC – because they know that's the only thing that works right now. There's a trend to have a lighter fabric, but they still want something that is tough."
In 2017, Guy Cotten will add new 4mm neoprene waders to their existing line of PVC waders (Cotbot and Ostrea). Guy Cotten will also add a new pair of boots to the present line of Polyurethane boots (GCU Ultralite and GCT Thermo); they will be high end PU boots with a redesigned sole for an excellent grip on all surfaces and a fiberglass toecap. "These boots will have an exceptional grip in extreme environments such as smooth floors covered with grease. This non-slip outsole has a higher resistance to abrasion, chemicals, oils, etc.," explains Jaquet.
In other Guy Cotten news, the company's Neptune 50 Newton flotation vest which was EEC certified under standard EN393 (in Europe) has recently been certified ISO12402-5, which is the international standard for 50N flotation devices. In addition, the High Visibility line of clothing has also been certified ISO20471.
The company's Shark bibs and Bering jackets in Fisher fabric will be phased out and will be replaced by the Barossa Fisher bibs and the Gamvik jacket in the same fabric. The Barossa will have a pocket for knee pads; the Gamvik jacket has an adjustable hood with visor, a front heavy duty nylon zipper under a flap with hidden snaps, as well as concealed elasticated cuffs. These new options are available now. Jaquet says zippers are becoming more popular than snaps because when it's cold, the snaps can often pop out.
Guy Cotten is also pleased to announce that it recently signed an agreement with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Guy Cotten will donate five percent of the retail price of its rain gear, boots, and fleece wear to this foundation. All products will be clearly marked with a BCRF sticker. "We will also launch a new merchandising line called "FISH In PINK" T-shirts and sweaters to promote this event, and 10 percent of the proceeds will also be donated to BCRF," says Jaquet.
Mat Jackson, Grundéns general manager of North America reports that the Neptune line of foul weather gear is a successful collection for the company. Sales of that product line and several others are steadily increasing. The goal for all Grundéns gear is to always be functional, lightweight and strong so that fishermen can rely on them as critical tools to help them perform at their best.
Jackson has found that the routine layering system that some commercial fishermen have relied on for years is still taking place – using cotton base layers underneath their heavy duty, commercial-grade gear. "Our product director Eric Tietje, who has years of experience designing performance apparel for The North Face, has helped us redesign our base layer program to be more effective," says Jackson.
Grundéns has produced popular synthetic and wool base layers called Fiske Skins and Arctic Skins for many years. Grundéns recently introduced a new base layer called GrUndies that uses a hollow core wool yarn that provides insulation even when damp. The layering system can be worn underneath 100 percent PVC items that don't breathe, enabling users to stay warm. "The base layers also have four-way stretch, so it has a tighter-to-the-body fit, performance fit," Jackson explains. "It removes moisture off of the skin and provides warmth even when wet, something that cotton can't do.
Grundéns has also developed a women's line and is slowly expanding it. The Maris hoodie and leggings are both insulating layers constructed out of breathable 200g/m2 poly fleece that are designed to be worn under bibs and rain gear. The leggings have a moisture wicking interior, while the hoodie has a high neck drop hood, thumb loop cuffs and zippered front pocket pouch. Grundéns has also recently launched a women's Weather Watch line of waterproof, breathable rain gear, and the women's Sedna line of commercial grade PVC jacket and bibs will continue to be available in 2017.
Flow molded construction of rubber boots is the newest invention at Bogs Footwear, according to Bill Combs, Founder and CEO. "It's about 30 percent lighter than typical rubber boots," he says. "So for someone who is on their feet all day, that's a big deal if you work in your boots all day."
The first boot line will be available this fall for outdoor wearers (men, women and children), then next spring, Combs expects to have a new line available specifically for commercial fishermen.
Typically when a rubber boot is constructed, the rubber is laid on, then vulcanized in an oven. In this process, there is no vulcanization. The rubber is heated and flows around the shape of the boot, so it eliminates all the layers and a lot of the cement, all things that create weight. The process also saves money by eliminating oven energy use.
The new boots also have enhanced flexing durability and lasting comfort that performs well in extremely cold temperatures. Most boots after too much wear and tear will eventually crack where the foot bends. "Since there are no layers there to rub against, you can also control the rubber compound better," says Combs. "When you do laid-on rubber vulcanization, there's always a chance that the layers don't get pressed together and it creates an air bubble, and it can create a leak. This way, there are no layers. There are no seams. It's all one piece, so you just don't have to worry about that."