The Oros Orion Parka uses NASA-inspired aerogel to keep you warm without the bulk

I do not like the cold. I grew up on a tropical island, and though I appreciate the beauty of the first snow and winter festivities I will do everything in my power to avoid going out once the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Needless to say that when Oros, an outdoor apparel company, offered to let me try its $300 Orion Parka with ‘NASA-inspired’ insulation, I was curious.

You may have heard of aerogel before. One of the lightest man-made materials and greatest insulators, it’s what NASA uses to insulate things that need to go to space. If you’ve never held a piece of aerogel, it’s a surreal experience: it’s rigid and looks like frosted glass, but feels almost completely weightless. It’s like holding a little force field in your hands.

Credit: Nasa,.gov

So why doesn’t every outerwear company use it to insulate their coats? It’s brittle, for one, shattering like glass under pressure. It also tends to disintegrate in water. Not exactly something you want in a coat, unless you happen to be an indoor statue.

Oros claims to have solved these problems. Its proprietary ‘Solarcore’ tech claims to maintain aerogel’s insulating properties while being flexible, water-repellent, durable, and breathable

Of course, existing coats have exhibited similar properties for eons. Oros just thinks it can make an even warmer coat – all without the usual bulk associated with winter wear. It’s not the first or only company to use aerogel, but unsurprisingly, it thinks it does so best.

Credit: Oros