It’s –455 degrees F in outer space, so something that insulates the Mars Rover should be good enough to keep us warm during frigid mountain days in Aspen, right? Turns out you can put that theory to the test yourself with outerwear from Oros, which developed its own proprietary Solarcore insulation.
Founded by Michael Markesbery and Rithvik Venna, who are equally as enamored of both science and outdoor adventure, Oros uses insulation made from aerogel, an extremely lightweight, highly porous substance that has powerful heat-retaining properties. In a college lab project, Markesbery and Rithvik incorporated particles of aerogel—which is too brittle to be used on its own—with a composite material to produce a wearable insulation. Now the company uses Solarcore in a variety of performance clothing for men and women: jackets, ski pants, base layers, gloves, and mittens.
I wasted no time putting the new Orion parka to the test, wearing it first at an outdoor concert at night in mid-December. It kept me impressively comfortable despite the frosty temps, and on cold days (here’s looking at you 7 degrees F yesterday morning), I’ve worn it ever since. The best part? The Solarcore insulation in the sleeves and body consists of a 3-millimeter-thick, quiet, pliable layer, making the parka not only non-bulky but even sleek. It works for everything from my sub-freezing morning commutes to wearing over dressy layers on my way to nighttime parties.
The parka has a slightly stretchy, waterproof-breathable shell, but given its mid-thigh length, I’ve used it around town rather than on the slopes (for that, there’s the Endeavor jacket). The hood comes in handy, though it cuts down on my peripheral vision. Other noteworthy features include ample pockets and stretchy, sewn-in cuffs that help seal out cold.
Oros sells its products only its website. Right now, the Orion is on sale for $280 (from $350). Snap one up so, you, too, can feel like you could wear it to the moon—or Mars—and back.