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New Clothing Options for Tomorrow's Jobsites?

September 27, 2016

Work wear worthy of combat and cool clothing—just in time for climate change!

This is my final installment of tools that I think are cool, hot, or useful from the National Hardware Show.

Held each May in Las Vegas, The National Hardware Show is where buyers from hardware stores, lumber yards, and home centers go to see the latest and greatest tools and products being pitched by the companies that make them.

Atlas 46 Work Wear Journeyman Aprons

This carpenter’s apron resembles military gear—and for good reason, the owner of the company spent 40 years producing tactical gear for law enforcement agencies and the military. Designed to be modular, it’s equipped with horizontal fabric loops to which optional pouches and holders can be attached.

Sold as a kit, this particular vest (A46-JCMD-KIT) is equipped with a drill holster, cargo pockets, and magnetic panels for holding ferromagnetic fasteners and tools.

Journeyman Aprons are made in the USA and available in black, coyote (tan), and of course, camo. The company also makes tool belts, work pants, overalls, and work shorts.

Accessories can be mixed and matched; this configuration goes for about $135.

Atlas 46 AIMS Journeyman Apron

This is the Journeyman Apron with some random accessories attached—hung from the horizontal fabric bands with loops with Velcro. In the military this system is referred to as PALS (pouch attachment ladder system). Atlas refers to its system as AIMS (Atlas Integrated Modular System).

Made from Cordura nylon, the apron can be equipped with nail pouches, tool holders, magnetic panels, drill holsters, and the like.

By itself it sells for about $59. Accessories can be purchased individually or in a variety of kits that include the vest. The most popular kits go for between $130 and $195.


The aprons are pretty cool, but this ZippKool stuff is even cooler...

ZippKool Jacket

This jacket looks puffy because a pair of fans on the back is filling it with air. The air passes out through the collar and sleeves, cooling the person (in this case a dummy) who wears it. Power is provided by a rechargeable Li-ion battery that stores in a belt pouch.

The jacket relies on evaporation so it works best in areas where the humidity is low. It’s available in cotton or polyester and with short or long sleeves and in a hoodie model.

Sold in Japan for 10+ years it is about to come here and is expected to cost around $230.

ZippKool Helmet Fan

A clever accessory that can be attached to most hard hats, the ZippKool Helmet Fan is a neck shade that provides cooling air. It uses the same fan and belt-worn battery as the company’s jackets to cool the wearer’s head by pushing air through the hard hat.

New to the U.S. market, this product is expected to sell for $89.


—David Frane is a freelance editor and a good buddy of ours. Formerly, he was editor of Tools of the Trade magazine and website. He lives in Northern California.



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