Taiga Science

Tough testing in the Taiga Climate Lab

The world’s worst weather – all in one place

In order to continuously test our clothing and clothing systems, we need bad weather. And instead of travelling to wherever the world’s worst weather is at any given time, we bring that weather to us. We simply create it in our Taiga® Climate Lab. At the Climate Lab, which is unique of its kind in Sweden, we are able to subject both our clothing and ourselves to extreme working conditions in a controlled environment. This is done both for research and training purposes. And it’s not only for in-house use. Customers, suppliers and other partners are also welcome to step into the cold. Or the tropical heat.

Taiga Climate Lab

Icy polar winds – the cold chamber

The cold chamber in our Climate Lab has a 4,600 watt cooling unit capable of forcing the ambient temperature down to -30 °C. With the help of three large fans measuring 60 cm in diameter, we can also create a wind chill factor down to -55 °C. The purpose is to check that our garments can handle the stress factors they are designed to deal with. The cold chamber also enables us to test new garments and systems under various degrees of physical activity. For example, stationary bicycles are used to check our clothing systems’ ability to wick body moisture and release surplus heat in cold conditions. We also replicate specific work situations to give us and our customers valuable information about what clothing system they need. To further improve the Climate Lab, we have conducted tests using an IR camera. The resulting pictures show whether and where the garments and clothing systems leak heat. Fields of colour in the pictures indicate which parts of the garment insulate effectively and highlight any weak areas.

Taiga Climate Lab

High air humidity and tropical heat – the hot chamber

If you ask professionals who work a lot outdoors, most of them prefer extreme cold to extreme heat. Cold is experienced as more manageable; you can raise your body temperature by putting on more clothing or moving around. Extreme heat combined with high air humidity poses a far more complex challenge. High air humidity is not uncommon even in Scandinavia. On a hot summer day, even 60 percent air humidity can cause considerable discomfort, especially during physical activity. The body suffers heat stress, which in simple terms means overheating. This not only feels uncomfortable, but we also get tired quicker and memory and spatial orientation capacity are impaired. Our hot chamber with a temperature of plus 30 degrees and 80–90 percent air humidity is the final stage in the process to ensure that our clothing systems function in all climate zones during all 12 months of the year. Here we test how the garments affect body heat and their ability to maintain a tolerable level of comfort in extreme environments such as tropical rain forests. The number of garments required in a clothing system is determined from case to case. Ultimately, the wearer needs to perform a job – often with specific risks and external factors such as electric arc, fire or liquid-borne contagion, which require special protection standards.

Taiga Climate Lab

Rain all year round – the rain chamber

Our test facility has a special rain chamber where we can activate torrential rain on demand. At maximum capacity, a total of 16 nozzles can release 260 litres of rain per minute. The purpose is to test the garments’ water permeability and water resistance under specific extreme conditions, both in terms of their fabric and design. Among other things, we check how much water a clothing system can resist and for how long, and we make detailed studies of the garments’ water resistance while various work tasks are performed. Stationary bicycles in the room are used to examine how the clothing systems release excess heat and wick body moisture in rainy and cold conditions at various degrees of physical exertion.