Tested Products and Technologies

The icy continent gives these materials a really hard time. How did the tested products and technologies come through?

Heavy Duty Outdoor Shoes S50862 PREDATOR GTX

Producer: Prabos plus a.s.

Date of testing

January to March 2018

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading of swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Long hikes through rough terrain followed by scientific work (installing equipment, collecting samples, etc.); sailing open boats and riding quad bikes in low temperatures and strong winds. In Antarctica, the testers face a lot of challenges such as arduous and challenging work, homesickness, reduced comfort for the duration of the expedition, etc.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would wear the products only when hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

Most testers agreed on the shoes being exceptionally waterproof. One individual complained that after prolonged periods of time the shoes tend to become slightly damp on the inside (because of sweat or outside moisture). The anti-skid sole was evaluated as good or above-average except for extremely slippery and icy surfaces.

Some testers had problems with the size of their shoes (they were either too small or too big and often too wide); this could be solved by introducing half sizes. We recommend trying the shoes properly before the purchase.

The tested outdoor shoes S50862 PREDATOR GTX withstood the extreme conditions at the Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel on James Ross Island and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the Czech trademark “Testováno v Antarktidě".

Test carried out by

The shoes were tested by 17 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The testers’ recommendations concerned mainly the range of shoe sizes on offer. Other recommendations suggested replacing the insole (to improve sweat wicking and comfort) and changing the eyelets.

We advise the customers to try the shoes and carefully choose the right size before purchasing them.

Thermoregulatory Underwear CleverTex Merino

Producer: VÚB, a.s.

Date of testing

January to March 2018

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading of swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Long hikes through rough terrain followed by scientific work (installing equipment, collecting samples, etc.); sailing open boats and riding quad bikes in low temperatures and strong winds. In Antarctica, the testers face a lot of challenges such as arduous and challenging work, homesickness, reduced comfort for the duration of the expedition, etc.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would wear the products only when hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

Most testers agreed that the underwear’s ability to retain body heat was good. The testers differ in evaluating its ability to wick excess sweat during increased physical strain. With regard to strong Antarctic winds, some testers recommended making the top tighter around the neck or adding a turtleneck/zipper. Some expedition members complained about the cut of the underwear. They had reservations regarding the front/back rise of the bottom (some tester’s backs were exposed to the cold when bending over).

The feel of the material was regarded very positively together with several other features (longer back part of the top, thumb holes).

The tested thermal underwear Merino withstood the extreme conditions at the Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel on James Ross Island and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the Czech trademark “Testováno v Antarktidě".

Test carried out by

The thermoregulation underwear was tested by 12 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The testers' recommendations concerned mainly modifications to the cut (longer front/back rise, rubber waistband adjustment, adding a turtleneck to the top).

We advise the customers to try the product and carefully choose the right size before purchasing it.

Thermal-insulating underwear CleverTex Viloft

Producer: VÚB, a.s.

Date of testing

January to March 2018

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading of swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Long hikes through rough terrain followed by scientific work (installing equipment, collecting samples, etc.); sailing open boats and riding quad bikes in low temperatures and strong winds. In Antarctica, the testers face a lot of challenges such as arduous and challenging work, homesickness, reduced comfort for the duration of the expedition, etc.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would wear the products only when hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

Most testers agreed that the underwear’s ability to retain body heat was good. The testers differ in evaluating its ability to wick excess sweat during physical strain. With regard to strong Antarctic winds, some testers recommended making the top tighter around the neck or adding a turtleneck/zipper. Some expedition members complained about the cut of the underwear (they had reservations regarding mainly the front/back rise of the bottom – some tester’s backs were exposed to the cold when bending over). The feel of the material was regarded very positively together with several other features (longer back part of the top, thumb holes).

Some tester's complained that the underwear they chose according to the provided size chart was too small. The complaints regarding the cut came mostly from female testers.

The tested thermal underwear Viloft withstood the extreme conditions at the Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel on James Ross Island and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the Czech trademark “Testováno v Antarktidě".

Test carried out by

The thermal-insulating underwear was tested by 7 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The testers' recommendations concerned mainly modifications to the cut (longer front/back rise, rubber waistband adjustment, adding a turtleneck to the top). They also strongly suggested revising the size charts.

We advise the customers to try the product and carefully choose the right size before purchasing it.

Waterproofing Membrane FATRAFOL 810 (810/V)

Producer: Fatra, a.s.

Date of testing

Samples exposed since January 2015, testing will carry on until 2025.                                                                               

Testing conditions

The product tested was the FATRAFOL 810 waterproofing membrane made from plasticized PVC reinforced with polyester mesh for increased dimensional stability. It is intended primarily as a single-layer roof coating for flat roofs.

The waterproofing membrane has been placed on the roof of one of the buildings of the Czech polar station of J. G. Mendel in Antarctica. It  has been exposed to frequent and extreme changes in air temperature (the change in temperature from day to night is often up to 30°C, while the extremes reach from +15°C to -35°C), strong gusts of wind carrying sharp rock dust and ice, snowstorms, thick layers of melting snow and, above all, increased UV radiation. These conditions are simply incomparable with the regular climate in Central Europe; therefore, they should accelerate the degradation and decrease in the durability of all polymer materials. In order to compare the product’s durability, a reference sample was placed on the roof of the library at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University (in Brno, in Central European climate). The tested samples are always compared with regard to their original state before the exposure and also with each other. The evaluation of changes in the product is carried out a) visually, b) microscopically and, above all, c) by means of instrumental analysis which reveals any physical changes in the structure of the material. The foil samples are being tested in the adverse Antarctic conditions not only during the Masaryk University expeditions but throughout the entire time period since 2015.

Testing results

The overall evaluation revealed that after being exposed to the climatic conditions in both Antarctica and Brno (samples collected after 1 and 3 years of exposure), the waterproofing membrane remains without any substantial physical changes. A chemical change has been confirmed, however, it only concerns the surface of the exposed samples reaching the depth of just 0.1 mm. Because the overall thickness of the waterproofing membrane is around 1.5 mm, this chemical change does not affect the membrane’s properties in any way. Both the samples from Antarctica and Brno exhibited physical properties similar to the reference sample.

The roof waterproofing membrane FATRAFOL 810 passed the test after three years of exposure to the extreme weather conditions at the Czech polar station of J. G. Mendel in Antarctica. Therefore, the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the “Tested in Antarctica” EU trademark owned by Masaryk University. So far the test results indicate that the product will retain its functionality over longer periods of time even in the harsh Antarctic conditions.

Test carried out by

The FATRAFOL 810 membrane is continuously analysed in the Fatra laboratories and the results were confirmed by the CEITEC VUT laboratories.

Recommendations

No advisable changes to the product have ensued from the evaluation so far. It is recommended to carry on with the tests; another sample collection is planned for 2020.

Socks VoXX Stabil

Manufacturer: Fuski BOMA s.r.o.

Testing conditions

January and February 2016, 6 weeks

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading across swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Rapidly changing weather.

Czech Scientific Station CzECO Nelson on Nelson Island in Antarctica, conditions similar to those at the J. G. Mendel station. Icy wind, hard work in the open, occasional short trips into the sea (seawater of -2°C).

Expedition of the Chilean National Antarctic Program to King George Island and nearby islands); temperatures ranging from +5 to -10°C, strong wind, intermittent snowfall, frequent rides in a rubber motor boat.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would use the products for hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

The vast majority of the evaluators were happy with the socks. They appreciated the feel of the material and high comfort. Most evaluators were also satisfied with the thermal comfort both in the interior of the polar station and outdoors in lower temperatures (slightly below zero). In freezing weather, one had to keep warm by walking. The evaluators were also satisfied with the breathability and moisture wicking effect of the socks.

Subjective evaluation of the sock’s anti-bacterial properties (no unpleasant smell) was also very good. Most evaluators stated there was either no or very faint smell after a couple of days of wear.

Despite being used daily, the socks did not show any significant signs of wear.

The overall level of satisfaction with the product was very high. In freezing temperatures, it is necessary to keep moving or wear another pair of socks. Thermal comfort also strongly depends on the type of shoes one wears.

The tested socks VoXX Stabil withstood the extreme Antarctic conditions well and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the "Testováno v Antarktidě" trademark owned by Masaryk University.

Test carried out by

The socks were tested by 13 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The evaluators gave the manufacturer only one recommendation regarding simplification of the sock's sizing.

The Stabil socks achieved great results in the test. We recommend that customers make sure to combine the socks with the right type of footwear for the given weather and terrain and consider wearing an extra pair of socks if the conditions require it.

Socks VoXX Vision

Manufacturer: Fuski BOMA s.r.o.

Date of testing

January and February 2016, 6 weeks

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading across swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Rapidly changing weather.

Czech Scientific Station CzECO Nelson on Nelson Island in Antarctica, conditions similar to those at the J. G. Mendel station. Icy wind, hard work in the open, occasional short trips into the sea (seawater of -2°C).

Expedition of the Chilean National Antarctic Program to King George Island and nearby islands; temperatures ranging from +5 to -10°C, strong wind, intermittent snowfall, frequent rides in a rubber motor boat.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would use the products for hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

All evaluators were satisfied with how comfortable the socks were (they praised their thickness, cut and functionality). With regard to thermal comfort, their opinions differed slightly (some evaluators felt cold when standing or moving slowly, others were comfortable).

When evaluating breathability and moisture-wicking properties of the socks, all evaluators were extremely satisfied. Subjective evaluation of the sock’s anti-bacterial properties (no unpleasant smell) was also very good. Most evaluators stated there was either no or very faint smell after a couple of days of wear.

Despite being used daily, the socks did not show any significant signs of wear. There was only very slight wear and tear (the socks were washed in a heavy duty washing machine and tumble dried).

The overall level of satisfaction with the product was very high. In freezing temperatures, it is necessary to keep moving or wear another pair of socks. Thermal comfort also strongly depends on the type of shoes one wears.

The tested socks VoXX Vision withstood the extreme Antarctic conditions well and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the "Testováno v Antarktidě" trademark owned by Masaryk University.

Test carried out by

The socks were tested by 13 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The evaluators gave the manufacturer only one recommendation regarding simplification of the sock's sizing.

The Vision socks achieved great results in the test. We recommend that customers make sure to combine the socks with the right type of footwear for the given weather and terrain and consider wearing an extra pair of socks if the conditions require it.

Nano waterproofing of textile and leather

Manufacturer: IMPRE CZ s.r.o.

Testing period

4-6 weeks

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel or, more precisely, the glaciers and snowfields in its surroundings; heavy snowfall and thick layers of snow, occasional wading across icy creeks, sharp volcanic rocks, sticky mud, temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C and strong winds.

The evaluators were often moving through heavy rain and thick snow, they were wading across swollen creeks and they also came into contact with seawater (e.g. when riding in a boat).

The evaluators followed the instructions and applied the waterproofing only to dry and clean gear. The number of applications of the waterproofing is stated in each protocol.

Tested products: Gore-Tex jacket, two pairs of shoes, camera bag, jacket, trousers, backpack, trousers made from regular material, trousers made from waterproof material.

Testing results

All the evaluators agreed on the products remaining waterproof and keeping their bodies and the contents of their bags dry. All products retained their breathability.

The waterproofed shoes coped well even on muddy surfaces and in seawater – the shoes remained clean and dry.  Thanks to the waterproofing, the tested trousers acquired better properties. They repelled rain and water and they were more resistant to dirt. Any stains were easily removed with just a napkin.

The waterproofing was easy to apply to most of the products (except for the softshell materials) and did not leave any stains.

The tested waterproofing of textile and leather withstood the extreme Antarctic conditions well and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the "Testováno v Antarktidě" trademark owned by Masaryk University.

Test carried out by

The waterproofing was tested by 3 members of the scientific expedition on various types of materials and equipment.

Recommendations

The evaluators were extremely satisfied with the waterproofing and did not come up with any recommendations or suggestions for improvement.

Knitted Merino Hat AW54

Manufacturer: K A M A spol. s r.o.

Date of testing

January and February 2016, 6 weeks

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading across swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Rapidly changing weather.

Czech Scientific Station CzECO Nelson on Nelson Island in Antarctica, conditions similar to those at the J. G. Mendel station. Icy wind, hard work in the open, occasional short trips into the sea (seawater of -2°C).

Expedition of the Chilean National Antarctic Program to King George Island and nearby islands); temperatures ranging from +5 to -10°C, strong wind, intermittent snowfall, frequent rides in a rubber motor boat.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would use the product for hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

The evaluators were generally very satisfied with the hat. They appreciated the material, its softness, design and how comfortable it was to wear. However, the hat did not fit some of the evaluators, which was caused by the fact that all expedition members were provided with the same size. Regarding its waterproof qualities, the opinions of the evaluators differed. Some of them could not test this property as it wasn't raining. What the evaluators appreciated the most was the product's windproof quality which was perceived as high even in very strong wind or when riding in a fast boat. Most evaluators described the thermal insulating properties of the hat as outstanding. Some considered the product too warm during increased physical activity.

Despite being heavily used and exposed to seawater, the hats did not show any significant wear and tear.

The evaluators were generally very satisfied with the hat and recommend it for very cold and windy weather.

The tested Merino Hat AW54 withstood the extreme Antarctic conditions well and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the "Testováno v Antarktidě" trademark owned by Masaryk University.

Test carried out by

The hats were tested by 16 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The evaluators for whom the hat was too warm would appreciate if the Windstopper layer was covering only the area around ears (like a headband). This might improve thermal comfort during increased physical activity. Some evaluators would like the hat to be slightly longer around the ears or, alternatively, having earflaps. KAMA is making an entire line of hats of various cuts and sizes. We would, therefore, recommend that the customers try the hats on and choose the correct size and type to meet their individual needs. The evaluators recommend the hat KAMA AW54 for very cold and windy weather.

Manufacturer's note

We would like to add the following statement to the evaluators’ recommendations. The entire inside of the KAMA AW54 hat is lined with the licensed GORE WINDSTOPPER windproof membrane and it was chosen for the tests with the assumption that it will be worn in extremely low temperatures and in windy weather. If some of the evaluators stated that it would be sufficient for the membrane to be sewn in as a headband or that they would prefer a different cut covering the ears or that the hats should come in different sizes, it needs be said that the manufacturer offers all these options and it is purely a matter of customer's choice.

Hiking shoes Prabos Vagabund S70658L 

Manufacturer: Prabos plus a.s. 

Date of testing

January and February 2016, 6 weeks

Testing conditions

Czech Antarctic Station of J. G. Mendel; temperatures ranging from +15 to -15 °C, strong winds, heavy snowfall and a thick layer of snow, frequent wading across swollen icy creeks, scaling mountains and glaciers, terrain covered in sharp volcanic rock or sticky mud. Rapidly changing weather.

Czech Scientific Station CzECO Nelson on Nelson Island in Antarctica, conditions similar to those at the of J. G. Mendel station. Icy wind, hard work in the open, occasional short trips into the sea (seawater of -2°C).

Expedition of the Chilean National Antarctic Program to King George Island and nearby islands); temperatures ranging from +5 to -10°C, strong wind, intermittent snowfall, frequent rides in a rubber motor boat.

The tested products are used intensively during the expedition. The load they have to withstand (they are worn and washed repeatedly) is much heavier e.g. in comparison with a regular user who would use the product for hiking; the usage is more similar to that of work clothes/equipment.

Testing results

Most of the evaluators agreed that the shoes fitted with Vibram soles exhibit standard anti-slip properties under regular conditions but tend to slip on icy surfaces. The evaluators mostly described the shoes as well-fitted; some said they were too loose at the ankles and heels or complained about a slight discomfort around the heels. Most evaluators agreed that the shoe is comfortable and the overall impression is very good but they had reservations regarding e.g. the shoe being too soft, too loose around the heels or having an insufficient grip on icy surfaces.

The waterproof properties of the shoe were evaluated as excellent (e.g. the shoe remained waterproof throughout the entire Antarctic expedition even during long hikes in really wet conditions). In some cases, the necessity of additional waterproofing was mentioned (the shoes were waterproof at first but after several trips, they started leaking and it was necessary to wax them). The perception of moisture inside the shoes after a whole day of wear differed among the evaluators; however, the results were very good and it was the highest-rated parameter.  

Many evaluators mentioned slight wear on the shoes' surface. The leather did not entirely withstand the sharp Antarctic rocks. The evaluators mentioned slight scratches, cracks, etc. Four of the evaluators did not like the shoelaces (too thin).

Regarding the specific influence of the Antarctic conditions on the shoes, the evaluators’ opinions differed. However, there was a common denominator – even though the shoes were generally rated as good, they were deemed by most as being too soft for the rocky Antarctic terrain. Therefore, the shoes are recommended for use in a less difficult terrain e.g. as 3 season shoes for European mountains.

The tested hiking shoes Prabos Vagabund S70658L withstood the extreme Antarctic conditions well and the manufacturer is entitled to mark this product with the "Testováno v Antarktidě" trademark owned by Masaryk University.

Test carried out by

The shoes were tested by 14 members of the scientific expedition.

Recommendations

The evaluators’ recommendations regarding the shoes’ design concerned mostly the soles/treads (modification of which could improve the shoe’s anti-slip properties) and improving the fit around heels (better padding). They also recommended using a different type of shoelaces (thicker and stronger).

We recommend these shoes for use in European spring, summer and autumn for easy and medium terrains. The shoes were rated as very light and comfortable. However, because of their relatively soft ankle and upper, the shoe is not suitable for rubble.

Sample form regarding the testing of a product/technology

Our objective is to transparently inform consumers on the conditions and the results of the tests.

 

Producer/maker:

Date of testing

                                                                                                                                                                      

Testing conditions

 

Testing results

 

Test was carried out by

 

Recommendations

 

Contacts

Masaryk University
Technology Transfer Office 
Žerotínovo nám. 9, 601 77 Brno, Czech Republic

Phone: +420 549 49 8016
ctt@ctt.muni.cz