THE ICEMEN COMETH: The Woolmark Company is helping to dress three British polar explorers as they embark on a mission to research how plastic particles impact the chilly waters of the North Pole.
Woolmark has become an official technical partner for the Dark Ice Project, which is being spearheaded by explorers Alex Hibbert, George Bullard and James Wheeldon. Woolmark, together with Adidas Terrex, Byborre and Gore-Tex, has created a kit that aims to meet the athletes’ “physiological and environmental needs.”
The kit, which is still undergoing endurance tests, made its debut at ISPO, the largest trade fair for sporting goods and sportswear, in Munich on Monday.
The three explorers will embark on an unassisted six-month journey starting later this year, and their goal is to reach the geographical North Pole as the sun begins to rise in March 2021.
Research undertaken during the expedition is meant to shed light on how microplastics behave in Arctic water, snow and ice.
The explorers will initially set off by boat, and later they’ll ski and trek in temperatures reaching minus 50-degrees Celsius (minus 58-degrees Fahrenheit) with hurricane-force winds.
The Woolmark Company said it worked with the textile innovation studio Byborre to develop a wool-rich base and mid-layer system from technical Merino yarns from the Südwolle Group, to provide “comfort, breathability and enhanced protection” from the elements.
Outerwear includes weather protection technology from Gore-Tex, along with a wool fleece lining in the trousers and jackets for extra thermoregulation, to be worn during the ski phase of the expedition.
The kit is on display at The Woolmark Company’s stand at ISPO, which runs until Jan. 29, although it’s not finished yet. Woolmark said that feedback provided by the three explorers based on their experience will be used to make any changes.