THE ARTIC TEST
- THE ARTIC TEST
Location: Svalbard, Arctic
Date: October 2018
Primary Objectives: 7L's Arctic Down Parka Test in Extreme Weather Conditions
Outershell Fabric: Schoeller 3 Layer waterproof with C_Change Membrane
Insulation: DownTek Goose Down 800+FP 90/10
All photographs: Taken by Benjamin Pothier (All Rights Reserved)
With every leading outwear brand, there comes a set of rhetoric questions about the functionality, durability and quality of fabrics used in garments that meet various weather conditions head on. Here at 7L, we are no different.
With a inherent inquisitive mind, founder Lundy started the brand off on the right foot, ensuring any block, pattern, fabric, membrane, insulation, utilised in a 7L design, the products performed correctly under the harshest of climates and environments.
Research & Development:
Jamie Lundy has 20 years experience in the design, materials and manufacturing industries. Some of his innovative designs in superstructures in London have won him awards.
He says “I’ve always had an eye for detail and doing things right first time. It's probably a good trait, instilled in me from my design and engineering days (prior to starting up 7L) that every product we produce, not only has to be engineered to be the very best it can be, it also has to perform to how we want it to perform and give the customer added value for money. No stone is to be left unturned”. He continues “Nylons, Polyesters, Hydrophobic, Hydrophilic, Permeable are all buzz words we hear in the outerwear industry, but at 7L we ensure we engineer these buzz words into our garments by design. Welding, bonding, stitching into not only a functional piece but a fashionable one too!”
Testing in the Arctic:
Following the first ever Down Parka prototypes in 2017, Lundy wanted to test them in the Arctic and was introduced to a French Explorer and Researcher, Benjamin Pothier. Pothier would later introduce Lundy to Ulyana Horodyski.
Finding the right people:
Ulyana Horodyskyj Peña is a geologist/glaciologist/climate change expert with extensive experience in science communication, as well as previous experience as a research associate with the Alaska Climate Research Center (University of Alaska Fairbanks) and visiting assistant professor in the environmental program with Colorado College. Ulyana received her Masters from Brown University, PhD from CU Boulder, and completed a post-doc with the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In 2013/14, she was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and lived abroad in Nepal for 10 months, finishing her PhD and launching a citizen science program called ‘The Sherpa-Scientist Initiative’.
When not at work, you can find Ulyana out in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, climbing the state's highest peaks.
Ulyana also teaches field geology courses (Moon/Mars analogs) for the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences and is a geologist/glaciologist specialist with Aurora Expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctica.
In October 2015, Ulyana graduated from Project PoSSUM, a citizen-scientist astronautics program aimed at studying elusive noctilucent clouds in the upper atmosphere, called the mesosphere. She's taken part in microgravity tests of Final Frontier Design commercial spacesuits with the National Research Council in Canada (2015) and Zero-G Corps/NASA Flight Opportunities Program (2017). In September 2016, she was chosen to command NASA HERA XII (human exploration research analog), a 30-day experiment at NASA Johnson Space Center that studied the effects of stress and isolation for future long-duration space missions. She was a semifinalist (top 120) for the NASA astronaut program in 2017.
Both Pothier and Horodyskyj are members of the world famous "Explorer's Club" based in NY.
Lundy says “I felt it necessary to thoroughly test our performance down parka capabilities. We had designed a technically advanced jacket, so it made sense to test the design and material construction in some of the world's harshest environments. It was vitally important, given the history and heritage of some of the worlds leading brands, that what we produced actually works.”
The expedition took place in and around Longyearbyen, Svalbard, the northern most town on earth. A Norwegian Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
Photograph of Longyearbyen in the distance. Taken by Benjamin Pothier.
"When I was initially asked by 7L CEO Jamie Lundy to carry out these tests in the arctic, I was super excited. Not only was he interested in testing their own products, he also wanted me to use the opportunity to carry out some investigational work including glacial movement tests and help gain more rifle training (Polar Bears) and field experience. The time spent in Svalbard with 7L gained more qualifying hours to achieve my official polar guide certification, of which I did this year (2020)!"
Polar Bear Rifle Training - Photo taken by Benjamin Pothier
Ulyana checking out her handy work on the shooting range - Photo by Benjamin Pothier
Ulyana continues "In extreme environments like the Arctic, it is critical to have clothing that works. (Looking good doesn't hurt either...laughs). I found that the 7L Down Parka wasn't only stylish, but also warm and functional. It's such a versatile coat which allows for ease of movement when walking or climbing etc. To my amazement, I never actually overheated, which I'm told is due to its fabric technology and C_Change membrane. Normally down jackets can leave you too warm and you end up taking them off and carrying them, but this 7L parka was incredible".
Ulyana testing the 7L Down Parka
"650 miles from the North Pole” Horodyskyj continues “at a time when the land was slowly entering into the 'polar night' phase, this shoulder season was very special - the sun would rise around 10am, then start setting again around 1:30pm, providing low light for beautiful shots both at the home base of Longyearbyen, a small coal mining town in Svalbard, and its glaciated outskirts.
Temperatures were ideal for testing clothing in extreme conditions. One minute it would be sunny, then raining, then snowing with freezing winds! I was very impressed by the 7L prototype’s (parka and base layer) they kept me warm and dry when required and seemed somehow to maintain my body climate. I would certainly recommend them for anything from extreme outerwear to just looking cool".
Pothier in his prototype 7L Down Parka in green and grey colour way. This prototype was lost in the 7L warehouse fire in 2022.
Red houses in Svalbard. Photo by: Benjamin Pothier
Santa is here?
Read how they both got on - More coming soon.