They’re not in the big-box sporting-goods retailers. They’re not widely distributed. And unless you’re in the know, or deep into the paddling or watersport communities, you probably haven’t heard of SeasonFive — the Breckenridge company behind the SeasonFive Summit Games. But you should check them out; the gear is definitely worth a look.
The idea behind the watersport focused but extremely versatile apparel company is that all good clothing starts with the threads. Company founder Mike Fischer wanted an apparel line that was genuinely waterproof, quick drying but breathable. He brought his 15 years of work in the sports-apparel industry — everything from surf to mountaineering gear — to the table when he started SeasonFive five years ago.
“We developed from the yarn up,” Fischer said of his research-and-design process, has led to what he calls a new kind of waterproof or water-resistant gear.
“The basis for all fabric is the yarn, not just dumping a bunch of treatments on it,” he said.
Fischer was inspired to start the line based on what he said was an untapped marketing niche, a lack of technical watersports apparel.
“Neoprene and Lycra have been around forever,” he said adding that the technology hasn’t changed in 30 years. Fischer called neoprene great for scuba diving but not for sports like rafting or paddleboarding and definitely not for running or biking on account of its lack of breathability.
The two primary fabrics in SeasonFive’s line are what the company calls the Atmos LT and Atmos 1 materials.
The Atmos LT line is made of lightweight synthetic material — 50 percent recycled — that is breathable, quick drying and water resistant — even odor resistant. It’s a great shirt for paddling on a hot day or even running or biking. Pour a glass of water on it and the water will actually bead right off.
We got our hands on one of the shirts, and it’s been a go-to for a variety of sports ever since. Even a with full-on dive into a river, the shirt will dry in a surprisingly short time — handy should you ever find yourself looking to dry off after an accidental whitewater swim.
The other fabric, the Atmos 1, is not as versatile as Atmos LT and is geared more toward watersports. Similar to Gortex, Atmos 1 gear has a three-layer system — a waterpoof exterior, a breathable waterproof membrane and a cloth liner. The idea is that it keeps the water out but lets the body’s water vapor from perspiration escape. The reason that’s possible is that water vapor is less dense than, say, a raindrop, so smaller holes in the material allow one to escape while keeping the other out. We haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test anything with the Atmos 1 material yet, but we’ve seen it demonstrated and we’re looking forward to getting our hands on some.
As for the future of SeasonFive, Fischer says it’s bright.
“We’re growing year after year as word gets out. We don’t have a huge marketing budget, so we go off of gear testers and word of mouth.”
He said he plans to release a rain shell this summer. Word is it’s making an appearance at the Summit Games this weekend.
For now, SeasonFive gear is available on the company’s website and at a few area retailers, including Ten Mile Creek Kayaks in Frisco, the Frisco Bay Marina and Alpine Sports in Breckenridge. Fischer said he hopes to expand his distribution in the coming year.
More information on SeasonFive apparel is available at www.seasonfive.com