If you've ever browsed a store that sells outdoor gear, you've probably heard a salesperson use the word "technical" to describe something that doesn't look technical at all -- clothes. But it's not just sales speak. Many of the materials used in outdoor clothing were invented by scientists. And they could save your life. Wearing weather-appropriate clothing is key to survival in the wild. Clothing must keep you warm in extreme cold, keep out water in wet conditions and still be breathable enough to ensure your overall comfort.
Materials like Gore-Tex, eVent and Reflexion are just a few of the many used by outdoor clothing manufacturers to keep people warm and dry out in the wet and cold [source: Acord]. For example, Reflexion, a spin-off from the space program, uses aluminum to reflect heat back to the body. And Gore-Tex repels rain and wet by virtue of the fact that its pores are 20,000 smaller than a drop of water [source: Gore-Tex Technologies].