A Solar Charged Puffer Jacket?

British startup Vollebak have just added a Solar Charged Puffer Jacket to their growing line of tech infused clothing.

The Solar Charged Puffer. It stores sunlight, glows in the dark, and keeps you warm down to -40°C.

Vollebak

Wow, impressive claims! So the jacket stores up the energy of the sun during the day and then pumps it out at night like an electric blanket?

Well no, not quite.

Highly Responsive Phosphorescent Material

The Glow in the Dark Puffer Jacket contains a layer made from a highly responsive phosphorescent material. This ultra-thin membrane rapidly absorbs any light that hits it, then slowly re-emits it over time.

During the day, the jacket looks completely white, you wouldn’t know there was anything different about it. As soon as the lights go down, however, the phosphorescent layer comes into its own.

If you wear the jacket out and about during the day, exposing the whole surface, the entire jacket will glow uniformly.

The material is so responsive though, that you can actually draw patterns on it using a torch or the flashlight from your mobile. This could be to draw funky patterns to impress your friends on Instagram, or potentially could have real utility in an emergency for communicating an SOS.

Solar Charged Puffer Jacket with light drawn pattern

It’s Not an Electric Puffer Jacket

If a Solar Charged Jacket that keeps you warm to -40 sounds sounds a bit incredulous, that’s probably because it is.

The jacket will keep you warm, but this doesn’t actually have anything to do with the phosphorescent glow in the dark membrane, but rather the tough outer shell, internal baffles and insulation.

While it may not be solar powered, the insulation does have some cool technology behind it.

Rather than using traditional feather down for the jacket, all the insulation is made from recycled plastic. Every single jacket uses around 15 half-litre recycled plastic bottles. The bottles are shredded into tiny fibres, which act like down trapping pockets of warm air.

No ducks were plucked in the making of this jacket!

A Hefty Price Tag for Phosphorescence?

The Solar Charged Puffer Jacket is available now for a RRP of €1145.

That’s a pretty steep price tag for a puffer jacket, even one that’s wind and waterproof, breathable, and keeps you warm at -40.

Many of the big brands we feature regularly on Gear Exposure offer high performance puffers for under €300.

Is an additional €800+ euros worth it to glow in the dark?

It’s good to be able to make yourself visible at night, but there are probably more cost effective ways to do so.

This really is more of a fashion statement / novelty than revolutionary outdoor gear. At least until the price comes down anyway.

That said, it does look pretty cool so if Vollebak want to send me one to test, I won’t complain!