Poll: How do you feel about Goretex and its competitors?

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  1. #1
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    Default Waterproof Breathable?

    What is your opinion of waterproof breathable fabrics/clothes?
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What is your opinion of waterproof breathable fabrics/clothes?
    None work as I would like them to when I'm active (hiking).
    In camp, some allow for layers inside to dry out as body heat pushes the moisture out. Of these, I like eVent the best that I have tried.
    Just my 2 cents, YMMV.
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  3. #3
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    I chose the last option, because IME, when it wets out after 30 minutes, or even as quickly as 10, it's simply not waterproof, so it's a misnomer. And I don't see how it could breathe either while the face fabric is saturated in water. Let alone breathe freely enough in dry conditions to keep up with sweating.

    Seems like stuff that is theoretically wonderful, but the reality is that it's ineffective and impractical.

  4. #4

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    My Arcteryx rain jacket is Pro Shell goretex---it's purpose is to keep me alive in hypothermic conditions whereby my torso stays wet but warm. Warm wet is good, cold wet kills.

    Goretex obviously is not perfect but I'd rather use a good gtx rain jacket than a unbreathable urethane coated shell or one of those heavy rubberized jackets sailors favor.

  5. #5

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    Someone explained to me once that the breathability comes in when there's a temperature delta across the fabric; the higher temperatures inside (you) vs. the cooler temperatures (outside) provide the force needed to drive the moisture out.
    If true, I think this is why goretex, etc sucks in summer/warm weather.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What is your opinion of waterproof breathable fabrics/clothes?
    Varies conditionally.

    When we are working it well it tends to work well in apparel.

    Too often we too heavily rely on breathability of WP apparel though in maintaining comfort.

    Too often we take ourselves out of the comfort equation seeking to point fingers away from ourselves which typically results in blaming gear when perhaps we should be examining in greater detail our own abilities in using apparel optimally.

    Far outweighing breathability in WP breathability apparel comfort is proactively mechanically venting.

    When I stopped resorting to knee jerk blaming gear for not always being personally comfortable I started down a deeper path of being better able to thermoregulate...and staying drier.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    What is your opinion of waterproof breathable fabrics/clothes?
    Well, i sweat and stay wet even without a jacket , in my wool undergarments and those are as breathable as can be so any additional shell over those wont help.

    But in general it will be a great barrier during rain and will hold the warmth in...but thank god for pit zippers...


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Someone explained to me once that the breathability comes in when there's a temperature delta across the fabric; the higher temperatures inside (you) vs. the cooler temperatures (outside) provide the force needed to drive the moisture out.
    Might that not simply condense the interior moisture against the inside of the colder WP/B fabric?

    I think it might work better with a humidity delta rather than a temperature delta. Just a W.A. guess.

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    I voted "I'll pass" but was on the fence of voting what a waste.
    I fell into believing the pitch for a long time many years ago I guess not long after they started marketing the stuff. Back when I was doing a lot of hunting and fishing....gloves and boots mainly. Seemed like the stuff would be water proof-ish for a period of time, not very long...then would fail and leak...and I never really had the sense it breathed all that much.
    Now I understand a bot more about how it is supposed to work and that it really only works in a narrow range of situations. Back then I didn't understand it, except to think the sales pitch sounded plausible.
    I slowly gravitated to coming around almost to the idea that andrew skurka presented in his book regarding water proof boots/shoes vs faster to dry trail runners. Eventually came to hike in the rain with my raingear, which consisted of stripping off the shirt and hiking bareback when warm enough. Heck I was getting wet anyway, from sweat, from a leak, or from condensation. After reading his explanation of breathable and all of this it really clicked...makes so much more sense now.

  10. #10

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    Nothing is breatheable enough for strenuous exertion.

    Fabric like Columbias outdry has at least made dwr treated clothing obsolete now though, which aids in breathability in wet conditions.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Too often we take ourselves out of the comfort equation seeking to point fingers away from ourselves which typically results in blaming gear when perhaps we should be examining in greater detail our own abilities in using apparel optimally.
    This may be the core issue, knowing how to use this type of gear is not always a simple process given changing variables during a day. I recall having a heck of a time trying to balance internal moisture and warmth in cold weather until I figured out what fabrics I could use in layers and the amount of venting necessary so the outer layer could work.

  12. #12
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    A main factor in my vote (middle choice) is price.

    If someone were to keep me happily supplied with breathable gear, I'd wear it all the time. I got tired of spending hundreds of dollars on jackets and have them delaminate at the shoulders, or torn in a road rash incident on the bike.

    If one is aware of the limitations of the stuff, it usually works as advertised. Out here in the arid West, that's most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Someone explained to me once that the breathability comes in when there's a temperature delta across the fabric; the higher temperatures inside (you) vs. the cooler temperatures (outside) provide the force needed to drive the moisture out.
    If true, I think this is why goretex, etc sucks in summer/warm weather.
    As I understand it, it's not delta T--it's delta RH.

  13. #13
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    Gortex can be a death trap. The stuff works OK..... UNLESS you are hiking. If you are hiking all day in the rain it will be a total failure. At the end of the day in cold weather you will be soaked to the skin and unless you are ready with dry warm clothing you will freeze to death. Plan on it.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    Well, i sweat and stay wet even without a jacket , in my wool undergarments and those are as breathable as can be so any additional shell over those wont help.
    But in general it will be a great barrier during rain and will hold the warmth in...but thank god for pit zippers...
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    You don't mention hiking in cold weather (like in a 35F rainstorm) but the secret to using a good gtx jacket is to wear it over minimal baselayers---a light top or a simple t-shirt if you can get away with it---thereby allowing these minimal layers to get wet so when you get to camp you can ditch them and the jacket for your warmth torso layers.

    Quote Originally Posted by moldy View Post
    Gortex can be a death trap. The stuff works OK..... UNLESS you are hiking. If you are hiking all day in the rain it will be a total failure. At the end of the day in cold weather you will be soaked to the skin and unless you are ready with dry warm clothing you will freeze to death. Plan on it.
    My experience IS JUST THE OPPOSITE as my gtx rain jacket has saved my butt on hundreds of terrible weather backpacking trips. A death trap? Naw, no way. The stuff works fantastic, especially when hiking.

    The purpose of a good rain jacket is, as mentioned, to keep you warm while hiking in miserable conditions---whether you are wet or not underneath. As you say---I may be soaked under the jacket but my hiking exertion is keeping my core warmth contained within the jacket.

    Your last comment ---" . . . soaked to the skin and unless you are ready with dry warm clothing you will freeze to death. Plan on it."

    This is alarmingly misleading as 99.9% of all backpackers have dry warm clothing in their packs so when they get to camp and set up their shelter all they have to do is get in the tent and remove their life-saving jacket and wet baselayers and don the dry stuff. The HARD PART is putting on the cold wet stuff on the next morning along with the jacket for another day of backpacking.

    Your comment could apply to DAYHIKERS but usually the end of the day for them means standing next to their cars at the trailhead.

    How valuable is a good rain shell? I like what expert backpacker Chris Townsend has to say when asked what's some of the most valuable stuff he carries in his pack. He says---

    "What three items are always in your rucksack?"---"Always? Waterproof jacket is one---I feel insecure without it, even on desert walks." Backpacker Chris Townsend.

    Amen, pass the pear slices and walnuts. Don't leave the car without it!!


  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    I think it might work better with a humidity delta rather than a temperature delta. Just a W.A. guess.
    High humidity is the greatest challenge our clothing and insulation face. All this marketing about stuff designed for mountaineering and "the toughest conditions on Earth" is pure crap. The conditions might indeed be tough from a human perspective(and gear not performing have the highest consequences!), but low temps and low humidity are where fabrics are *least* challenged, and are allowed to perform optimally as a result.
    Shoot, I've used cotton shorts, pants and t-shirts in the Sierras and SW Utah with no complaints, and if cotton works, just about anything will.
    What "works" in low humidity often flops in the Southeast, though. On the flip side, anything that does well here works much better out West.
    I went through more clothing combos in one day this week at ~100% humidity in TN, with fog, rain, wind, various degrees of exertion and barely 5F temperature range, than 7 days in CO, where temps changed by as much as 40F and elevation by >4k'. Because the humidity was typically <25%. It makes all the difference.

    I don't have a fixed opinion on WPB gear. It's all relative to the conditions it's used in, and the strategy for using it.
    Here in the South, the most important part of my "rain gear" is a set of dry baselayers to change into in camp-which is sometimes the only place my WPB gear gets used in warm rainy weather, too.

  16. #16

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    OwenM---My reference point is always in the high humidity and cold of the Southeast Mountains---and I still 100% recommend a good gtx jacket. I guess Arcteryx has both spoiled me and convinced me.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    I don't have a fixed opinion on WPB gear. It's all relative to the conditions it's used in, and the strategy for using it.
    Excellent point, and one strategy that works for me is to combine WPB gear with an umbrella.

  18. #18
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    Waterproof Breathable is an Oxymoron just like Army Intelligence.

    US Army 1668-70.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikermiker View Post
    Waterproof Breathable is an Oxymoron just like Army Intelligence.

    US Army 1668-70.
    That's a long hitch.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  20. #20
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    I like eVent for my bivy and so far having good luck with neoshell for a coat. Wife has pants and coat. These are cold winter applications. In the summer I just donít care anymore.


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