It sounds ironic: fibers from an item associated with the tropics are being used to create high-tech breathable fabrics for snowboarders and skiers. But if it involves a sustainable way to use discarded coconut shells towards keeping people warm and dry I'm ready to listen.
It all comes down to breathability. Normal winter weather gear might be waterproof to the elements from the outside but they actually trap the moisture from the body as it sweats during activity. Definitely not cool.
Pacific Northwest based snowboarding company Homeschool has stepped up to the challenge by combining fabric with the fiber from discarded coconut shells. The coconut shell fibers contain micro-porous structures that provide a greater surface area; when the body heats up the greater surface area helps accelerate the evaporation of moisture.
Homeschool has even patented the process calling it Cocona technology.
The fiber is reported to increase breathability by 40% and in an added plus is naturally odor resistant.
Fortunately the Cocona fiber can be washed just like any other piece of clothing without it changing performance.
Given that coconut water is the drink du jour these days there are likely piles ofcoconut shells out there that could go to good use. So a sustainable fabric technology that improves on performance seems like a good fit to me.