Hikers can keep things light with BlackYak’s 70-gram Emergency jacket

Emergency jackets and rain protection are among the gear that no hiker, climber, or camper wants to bring along but must shove into the bottom of their backpacks anyway in case of inclement weather. The lighter and less noticeable these items are, the better. The relatively unknown South Korean outerwear company BlackYak has gone above and beyond what other brands have ever done with the BlackYak Emergency Jacket, the lightest jacket in the world.

BlackYak received 11 IPSO Awards — the most won by a single company since 1970 — at the event that took place in Munich, Germany, in January 2017. The Emergency Jacket is part of the Pali line, which is the result of three years of research and innovation. Well-known among high-elevation sports enthusiasts including alpinists, backcountry skiers, and hikers, BlackYak collaborates with athletes to produce garments boasting top-of-the-line textile construction techniques with a specific purpose.

The Emergency Jacket is made from Dyneema — a fabric that is taking the outdoor industry by storm. It’s 15 times stronger than steel, completely waterproof and windproof, and so light that it floats on water. Dyneema fiber is is made from ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PET), and is spun and stretched to maintain a special molecular alignment with low density and uniquely high crystallization.

The jacket features a half-zip design, reflective detailing, and the smallest possible packing volume. Although dubbed an “emergency” jacket, the product is popular among ounce-counting ultralight backpackers and alpinists who appreciate a relatively unnoticeable garment that will spend the majority of its time at the bottom of a backpack. The emergency jacket is the epitome of simplicity — the garment features no pockets, bells, or whistles — just built-in elastic tape that serves to keep it close to your body and a hood with an elastic hem. The jacket is highly flexible so that wearers can pair it with heavier layers.

Tipping the scales at just 70 grams, the BlackYak Emergency Jacket is available for purchase through a number of specialty outdoor retailers, but Backcountry serves as the primary channel for BlackYak’s U.S. distribution. The Emergency Jacket was released in September 2016 at a price of $450.

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