Suit up like a NASA astronaut with a ski jacket insulated by aerogel

Marcus Yam
Digital Trends

Some of our best outerwear material comes from our fellow Earth-dwelling mammals, such as goose down and wool. Two years ago, however, a trio of college students turned their gaze to the stars for material inspiration and formed Oros Apparel.

After getting its start on crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo, Oros Apparel’s Orion line, composed of a jacket, snow pants, gloves, and beanie, can now be ordered directly online.

What sets Oros’ offerings apart is its use of SolarCore Aerogel, the lowest conductive solid in existence, which is also what NASA uses to insulate its space suits. Thanks to this material technology, Oros claims that it can make the world’s thinnest and warmest jacket.

oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket series
oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket series
oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket series
oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket series
oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket collection
oros orion solarcore aerogel jacket collection

“The difference in all our outerwear is the SolarCore technology,” explained Michael Markesbery, CEO and co-founder of Oros Apparel. “There is no better insulator, and because it is literally made of air, there is nothing lighter. It’s up to eight times more effective than traditional insulation.”

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Oros says it would take 150 brick-sized pieces of aerogel to weigh as much as a single gallon of water. To test the insulating qualities of SolarCore, Oros blasted a jacket with liquid nitrogen to bring the outside temperature down to -321 degrees Fahrenheit, while the inside remained a toasty 89 F.

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In 2015, the startup released the Lukla Endevour jacket, and replacing it this season is the Orion series, which boasts upgraded Aerogel coverage, including in the hood, while also being 33 percent lighter. The Orion jacket also has six exterior pockets, two internal pockets, a powder skirt, and comes in both men’s and women’s styles for $360.

“We used feedback from the Lukla jacket to craft the Orion Jacket. [It’s] lighter, warmer, and more durable than its Lukla counterpart,” Markesbery told Digital Trends. “We have a whole new type of insulation called SolarCore. We put insulation throughout the jacket, including the hood. We actively selected durable, yet lighter fabric for the Orion Series. Along with that, we upgraded the zipper quality and waterproofing to make a more ergonomic and user-friendly experience.”

New offerings also include snow pants in both men’s and women’s cuts that cost $260 each, and feature a waterproof outer shell, six storage pockets, inner thigh vents, and adjustable ankle to fit over boots.

Unisex gloves run $130 and have touchscreen-compatible index finger and thumb. The beanie carries the lowest price of them all at $45, and features the aerogel insulation only around the lower band that goes over the ears.

Stay tuned to Digital Trends, where we will soon put this gear to the test.