View Full Version : Fabric

11-20-2014, 10:42
I have been reading descriptions of fabric and waterproofs at online websites.

It appears 2.5 and 3 layer "pu" mean Gore-Tex, in spite of different trade names in other countries.

Is it true? Is it "only" different trade names in different countries?

ref: Waterproof, breathable fabrics explained

Okie Dokie
11-20-2014, 12:47
The ladies that run the Rain Shed know their stuff...give them a call at the toll free number listed on their site... http://www.therainshed.com/ .
They'll sort it out for you very quickly...I've been a customer for nearly 25 years...

11-20-2014, 14:32
I have been reading descriptions of fabric and waterproofs at online websites.

It appears 2.5 and 3 layer "pu" mean Gore-Tex, in spite of different trade names in other countries.

Is it true? Is it "only" different trade names in different countries?

ref: Waterproof, breathable fabrics explained
I can't seem to open your link Connie, anyone able to open it?

11-20-2014, 15:30
Here: http://www.magazine.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/magazine/tscontent/editorials/gear-guides/2013/waterproof-breathable-fabrics-explained.html

11-20-2014, 15:59
Gore was the first to use this method of a 'waterprrof breathable' (Oxymornon imho). Event and other brand names use a different urathane coating than gore.

All of these type of fabrics will eventually wet out when the membrane gets dirty. They also have different hydrostatic heads - this is what you want to know about waterproof fabrics. with any woven fabric, the coating is what keeps it waterproof, and they will 'leak' when enough pressure is forcing water through the fabric - that's why if you kneel down of some 'waterproof fabrics' you get a wet spot - the pressure of your weight on your knee is enough to cause the water to leak through.

11-20-2014, 17:54
This is it.

I have been around for the history making to occur: REI already existed. Gore-Tex appeared on-the-scene.

The fact is, AFAIK, Gore-Tex made outdoor wear clothing mainstream. It looked like our mountaineering clothing. It had fashion colors. It looked nice to wear in town.

I am grateful, because it meant others joined in the "new" market, and, because it heightened awareness about getting outdoors.

1. There was "more stuff" for backpackers and mountaineers.

2. In Portland, OR "Columbus Day storm and earthquake" Greater Portland fared well. For the most part, they had "fashion" outdoor clothing that is lasting for awhile and they had camping gear.

Skiwear is skiwear. It never worked for me, mountaineering or backpacking. I admit I liked my Roffe pants, very nice! Not practical, however, for backpacking or mountaineering.

However, nothing was better for Pacific NorthWest rain than my Filson Wool Cape Coat, still made, or, my British Ventile REI mountaineering style jacket, still made. I don't know which came first: REI Pike Street store or that British Ventile REI mountaineering style jacket. I had one. It got wet, on the outside. On the inside, I was warm and dry. I had the two layer Ventile Jacket, in pale sage green with the greyish-green Ventile lining fabric. I understand, Ventile fabric was developed for the British military. I don't know for certain. It is great stuff. It wears, excessively, if it does not have "rolled seams" around a cord: edges fray. I have seen soft leather piping, as well as, binding at edges. This is not UL.

I also found that workwear, for fishermen, worked quite well: thin nylon jacket lined with thin flannel over a hoody. Hat and gloves.

The only lightweight jacket that had lasting value had a "pu" membrane, but it had a mesh lining, and so, it never felt "clammy". However, after a few washings, using the correct product, it was ruined. I liked that jacket but it was a "fashion" jacket.

The other lightweight jacket, I liked, was a Helly Hansen in pale sage green. Lovely. I have no idea how long it held it's use, because it was stolen. There was no "pu" membrane. It was a nice fabric. I have no idea what it was.

I am "not good" for long-lasting products, because only few "survive" thieves at car parks.

I use black duffle bags, now, in the truck or car.

Here is an example:

eVent® Lightweight 3 Layer

More breathable than a cotton T-shirt
148g/m˛ 40 x 90 denier Nylon 6.6 cotton touch
Waterproof to a minimum of 30,000mm hydrostatic head with a minimum MVTR of 22,000g/m˛/24hrs
Laminated to oleophobic, air permeable hydrophobic ePTFE and Nylon Tricot
eVent® fabric is an advanced waterproof and breathable barrier that uses Dry System Technology™ to dramatically reduce interior clamminess while providing unparalleled levels of breathability and user comfort

no mention of membrane:

PERTEX® Microlight Mini-Rip-stop

52g/m˛ 100% Polyamide mini rip-stop weave
Air permeability 1.0cc max (JIS L 1096 / ASTM D737)
Spray rating 80 / 20 (JIS L 1092)
Abrasion resistance 40,000+ at 12.5k PA (BS EN ISO 12947-2)

I have paid as much as $500-$600 for a 2.5 and 3-layer jacket. Never again. Neither was any better than any Gore-Tex for wetting out, and especially, for sweat eventually degrading and clogging the membrane making it useless. Then, I only had a jacket shell, and, a not very good one at that.

I want to hear, if eVent has the same problems.

I want to hear if Pertex has the same problems.

I want to hear about the other "proprietary" name-brand "pu" or membrane fabrics, if they have the same problems.

Do they all have the same problems, some taking more time to be ruined?

If designed with vents, nore than "pit zips" but side zips for jackets and hip zips for pants, are they taking more time to be ruined?

Wet-thru is one thing. Sweat-thru is the most damaging, in my experience.

Wearing a turtleneck was my first strategy...

11-20-2014, 18:04
Here: http://www.magazine.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/magazine/tscontent/editorials/gear-guides/2013/waterproof-breathable-fabrics-explained.html
Thanks a bunch.

Just Bill
11-20-2014, 18:26
As Heartfire mentioned, the membrane (the WPB) part is what makes it work. It is too weak on it's own and must be bonded to something. That something is what you see on the outside, typically nylon and coated with a DWR (durable water repellant)

So outer, and membrane is two layers.

But the membrane is also vulnerable from the inside.
Original GoreTex required a second liner shell to be used. This is called three layer. (outer, WPB, and inner shell)
Newer styles in various flavors use a bonded matrix or coating right to the membrane in place of a liner shell. These are called 2.5 layer.
The different coatings are what make all the new "brands".

If you get to a decent outdoors store you can easily see the difference in hand. The WPB is white, on a 2.5 layer you will see it covered in dots, grid, etc. On a 3 layer you won't see it at all (some TNF jackets used mesh for a bit)

All of them though require the DWR to work, which wets out eventually. 3 layer is typically only used in winter shells- three layers is too hot.
All of this also assumes you won't sweat faster than the jacket works.
It does work sitting around camp or for light activity.
None of them work above that level yet.

Just Bill
11-20-2014, 18:31
FWIW- the PU is the technology in Gore's membrane- the membrane is always the same- it's just the "stuff" on either side that changes- to clarify your original question.

Off hand, I believe they are all PU, except for E-Vent, which uses a different chemistry I can't recall.
I believe the big difference is that it doesn't require an inner shell/liner/etc.
Some like E-vent more, some don't.

I only wear WPB shells around freezing, most would say 50 or so. Above that- it's a wash- you get wet from rain or wet from sweat.
Most choose rainwater over stewing in their own juices.:)

11-20-2014, 18:39
I do like DWR because I can renew it, with Nikwax TX Direct.

I do not like "pu" or membrane becaue, in my experience, they clog. But I haven't tried them all.

They all clog? Eventually?

When clogged, they become a "sweatbox".

If all, I suppose I could make a purchase with the understanding it will only last until it "clogs".

I think, I would rather have items having no "pu" and no membrane and use Nikwax Direct TX, or, go "heavy" with the older products.

I am undecided.

11-20-2014, 19:19
The fabric I use (LightHeart Gear) in my rain wear is silicone coated on the outside PU coated on the inside - it is waterproof, not breathable, it will not wet out, it is lightweight, waterproof, and long lasting. it is clammy feeling on the inside, silky and soft on the outside.

Just Bill
11-20-2014, 19:35
I think you are getting your PU mixed up Connie.
It is a coating on fabric, like Lightheart sells.
It is also the term for the actual WLGore membrane. Not sure why it came up as PU for you on the searches you listed in your OP, but the official name is "Expanded (i.e., stretched) polytetrafluoroethylene, or ePTFE"
Apples and Oranges.

FWIW- many backpackers forgo WPB gear, because of cost and weight. But some like it for camp.
A DWR only shell like a Patagonia Houdini is popular, but wet's out in under an hour. You can refresh the DWR as needed, but it's still just DWR, IE not waterproof.

A WPB shell will never officially leak, it just stops breathing after a bit, some don't mind as they only wear them in camp, where they do work. But if you actually want it to stay dry all day it won't unless it's cold enough for you not to sweat it out- so....

You might as well buy an actual waterproof jacket like Heartfire sells. A PU coated Sil-Nylon is waterproof, won't wet out or wear out any time soon. With a Merino Top on to take care of any clammy feeling- it's a pretty good combo at a reasonable cost.

Different stuff for different uses- eventually- you'll probably have one of each.

11-20-2014, 20:20
yes and PTFE is the stuff most know as Teflon, the type used on pots and tapes for your taps ...

11-20-2014, 21:50
HeartFire, The fabric I use (LightHeart Gear) in my rain wear is silicone coated on the outside PU coated on the inside - it is waterproof, not breathable, it will not wet out, it is lightweight, waterproof, and long lasting. it is clammy feeling on the inside, silky and soft on the outside.
Maybe that white open-netting material I had on that jacket, in years past, that avoided that "clammy" feeling inside? If "clammy" when stop walking, easily chill.

I did the OP, because I found "pu" coating and membrane, reading product information carefully, at each worldwide website I link, and, add to links at my own website, I just got back up, and, I am updating links there.

I have seen 2-layer with no mention of "pu" coating or membrane, likely bonded fabric, or, indicating a lining? Is it the fabric, or, a bonded chemical layering that will "clog" so the garment becomes a "sweatbox"?

I did decide I will only list well-ventilated pu-coating or membrane products.

That is my choice, because I already have purchased and used pu-coating and membrane products that did not perform for, what I consider, is a reasonably long time for the money involved.

I do not want to leave out a great product, however, because it has a pu-coating or a membrane, is well-ventilated, and, the lifetime of the garment is reasonably a long time.

If anyone has coated or bonded eVent or Pertex, for example, that lasted a reasonable long time, I do want to hear about it.

However, I do consider one or two seasons a "fashion" garment. For my money, I want more seasons.

But this thread isn't only about me.

I think other people want to know about durability: Have you experience with eVent, with Pertex, with ??? Is it your thru-hike? Do you frequently backpack? Do you occasionally backpack?

11-20-2014, 22:35
E-Vent, which uses a different chemistry

I am interested. Does it eventually "clog" to become a "sweatbox"?

I am also interested because I have to decide about a windshirt and jacket or anorak. I like an anorak with side zips. If the fabric serves the purpose and is durable, I'd rather have an anorak for Montana.

11-21-2014, 11:39
I hope people read up further on this thread. I will "bold" the questions.

I have been "mining" the outdoor products websites for information. It isn't easy finding answers. I was reading further.

Snarky Nomad comments about travel clothing piqued my interest enough to read further.
He carries only a carry-on. He likes our tech clothing, but also looking good enough for town.
I was only just looking at miracle fabric tech clothing, with an ugly "card pocket" on the sleeve with waterproof welded seams!

Kismet. This is what he rants about.

I agree. I don't want the best clothing for backpacking looking like it is for a science fiction, or, action adventure, or, high tech and violence tv series.

I would like to be able to look reasonably well in town. I want to wash it out and have it drip dry and looking presentable and odor-free again by morning.

I once had nylon supplex hiking pants that would do this. Those were my walk-dry pants, for reasonably warm rain. I had those pants for a few years, so the cost was reasonable.

I want the best fabric.

Snarky Nomad wrote: Fabric. It's the fabric.
Here is some of what he has to say about travel pants: http://snarkynomad.com/so-these-are-probably-the-best-travel-pants-on-the-planet-right-now/ and http://shop.bluffworks.com/ for the example.

Hey, I can add DWR.
DWR is renewable. Learn how to add DWR. http://www.ultralightbackpackingonline.com/products1.html has links how to renew DWR. The identical information "reads" how to add DWR.

I had just ran across a lot of decent looking high tech fabric tops and trousers, but, is there a chemical layering that will "clog".

I read and read. Any help? Got answers?

11-21-2014, 11:55
Gore was the first to use this method of a 'waterprrof breathable' (Oxymornon imho). Event and other brand names use a different urathane coating than gore.

All of these type of fabrics will eventually wet out when the membrane gets dirty.

Does this apply to uncoated eVent or Pertex, for example, that reportedly have good water resistance because of the thread and the fabric itself?

Do water-resistant fabrics without non-renewable coatings have water-resistance testing, as well?

Do the uncoated eVent or Pertex last more than 2 seasons?

Just Bill
11-21-2014, 15:23
Membranes don't clog like filters and need to be discarded. Body oils and dirt cause them to "clog", a wash with a quality soap will remove these items and renew the garment. They should last for a decade or more.

DWR can be field renewed with a tumble on low heat, or even a restroom hand dryer. Treatments last a season or more depending on use. However, they will wet out in as little as 15 minutes of heavy rain. Typically though they will keep you dry for about an hour. They are water repellant, not water proof.

E-vent has an oleophobic coating to resist clogging from body oils, making it able to be used without a liner.

Pertex is a coated fabric, not a membrane. There are several flavors.

In Montana-
Warm Shoulder- http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/mens-alpine-houdini-jacket?p=85190-0
Cold shoulder to winter- http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/womens-m10-jacket?p=84176-1
Patagonia has a lifetime warrantee that is very generous, if you have an issue you need only contact them in the future.

You are correct, this is a very complicated topic.
If you simply want a product recommendation that is fine, you have several.
If you would like help to choose "this or that" feel free to post.

If you want us to help you fact check or fill out information on your website- you are in the wrong place.
Please do your own research and consider if your current knowledge warrants your publication via that website as a source of information on ultralight backpacking. As you have discovered, misinformation on websites can be very difficult to sort through. Many of these manufacturers publish technical data and fact sheets to research, as does REI and other quality vendors. These vendors would be better sources of information for you and others.

11-21-2014, 16:38
I take care of my gear. I have never had GoreTex last 10 years.

I think a $19.95 Paclite shell makes sense, but not one product $110 - $600 GoreTex or H2No or Marmot membrane product I have owned made sense.

Include Arc'teryx soft stretch jacket, as well. It was not a windbreaker. It did not shed a light rain. It wasn't a warm jacket. It didn't breathe well, not even when it was new.

The stretch membrane is all hype, as well, AFAIK. But I read each description hoping it is true. Nevertheless, I won't make that expenditure, again.

I have researched all the links for my informational website, the past 10 years.

This year, I found over a dozen names for waterproof and water-repellant products that "read" like Gore-Tex, and, that is somewhat overwhelming. I did find one excellent information link, I posted in the thread.

I have no income from my website. I allow no ads, no cookies, no trackers. It is strictly my "special interest" website to support backpacking.

I don't think it is inappropriate to find out about durability, here. Others ask what is the best _________ .

I contribute to help, in this forum. Why not help, for me?

Thank you, for information about eVent and Pertex, I cannot afford to purchase, certainly not, if it will not last more than 2 seasons.

Thank you, for names of products that might replace my stolen gear.

11-21-2014, 17:05
Here is another link useful for information about waterproof and water repellant fabrics: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4556

Just Bill
11-21-2014, 17:54
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
I note a bit of an accent in your typing?

Anyway- all the questions you asked have pretty well been answered.
The article you just posted also answered most of them.

The original patent ran out on Gore-tex- there are now many copycats or even new patents based on the first technology, including some by WLGORE.
Gore-Tex and any other membrane technology mentioned will likely last a decade.
E-Vent is basically 2 Layer Gore-Tex.
Every product mentioned likely will as well.

Two things happen- products get dirty and sweaty- you need to wash them.
In using and washing them, the DWR application will wear out and needs to be renewed every season or two.
Most backpackers will sweat out a WPB product before they need to worry about keeping them dry. The only choice is how to be warm and comfortable when wet. I would personally rather spend my money on quality base layers than shells.

If cost is all you care about-
These are very popular with budget conscious hikers- they typically make it on a thru hike. They will not last forever, but 2200 miles and 6 months is a long time for most people. If they are stolen you don't need to worry.

Judy's Jacket-

You can find literally hundreds of jackets from Patagonia to Marmot that have some type of WPB membrane in 2.5 layer versions for under $100. You can still buy Helly Hanson or Rab too.

Here is a very popular jacket, with a lifetime warrantee for $129- it is often on sale for $80.

11-21-2014, 21:41

This is a really good article on the WPB fabrics

11-21-2014, 21:42