Trekking in the Nepalese mountains tech CEO and adventurer Nikita Gushchin lost his way while heading to the Muktinath temple. Having been taken off route by waterlogged rice fields and rock falls he started heading deeper and deeper into the mountains. Exhausted and soaked to the skin, with no tent, no sleeping bag, no firewood and no path to follow, he found himself with around 30 minutes more daylight.
With night descending and snow coming in, and with no clear route on and no clear route out, his first thought in his own words, was “fuck, I’m dead.” He describes it as “ice cold acceptance without a shadow of emotion.” It sounds fun. While his next thought could easily have been his parents or girlfriend, it was his Graphene Jacket. It’s light. It takes up very little space. He takes it on every adventure. And he remembered it was simply waiting in his bag.
With 30 minutes to go until he lost the sun, he took his jacket out, held it up to the sky, and used the graphene side to catch the last rays of sunlight like a solar sail. With the jacket heated, he then changed into his dry clothes, reversed the Graphene Jacket so the graphene side was now facing in towards him, and put it on.
Graphene can not only store more heat than any other material, but it also conducts heat better than anything else on Earth and can carry heat around your body without any power source. Lab tests have shown that not only can it regulate your skin temperature – sending heat from the hot bits of your body like your head, to the cold bits like your hands – but it can also increase your skin temperature by an average of 2°C.
While 2°C in a lab is an interesting data point, in the remote mountains of Nepal it can be the difference between making it out alive or being chiselled out of an ice block by curious scientists in a couple of thousand years. As he climbed on through the night, the Graphene Jacket kept him warm, dry and alive. And Nikita became the first person we know to use the jacket like a solar panel and turn it into a life-saving device.