Designed to provide comfort and trusted protection, GORE-TEX garments help you make more of every day, no matter what passions drive you.
What is GORE-TEX?
Whenever you walk into any outdoor gear shop looking for a durable garment, you are bound to hear the word GORE-TEX thrown around. Most brands carry a GORE-TEX line of equipment and rightfully so. It is a material that is durably waterproof, very breathable, and totally windproof. GORE-TEX garments come in a wide range of styles, for a huge range of activities, but every single one comes with the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise. So as a consumer, here’s what you need to know about GORE-TEX to help you make the right choice based on your chosen activity.
In 1958 Wilbert L. (Bill) and Genevieve (Vieve) Gore launched Gore in the basement of their home in Newark, Delaware. Bill left his job at DuPont to explore the potential of polymer polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). After about eleven years of material testing, in 1969, ePTFE, or expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, was created by Bill’s son, Bob Gore when he rapidly stretched PTFE under certain conditions. The result: an incredibly strong, microporous material that features low water absorption and good weathering properties. With this discovery, it wasn't long before they began to apply this property to outdoor garments.
Gore received its first commercial order for GORE-TEX fabric — the first breathable, waterproof, and windproof fabric on the market in 1976. Three years later, GORE-SEAM® sealing machines and GORE-SEAM® tape were introduced, adding greater waterproof protection capabilities for their garments.
How does GORE-TEX work?
Generally, creating a fabric that blocks rain and wind is relatively simple. However, creating a fabric that blocks rain while allowing sweat to escape is a different story.
The extremely thin, ePTFE is at the heart of every GORE-TEX piece. This membrane contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per cm². These pores give the fabric its ability to be waterproof, windproof, and breathable. Making it perfect to use in outerwear and footwear products.
As previously mentioned, traditional GORE-TEX is a versatile fabric that can be used for all kinds of activities, from mountaineering to everyday wear. GORE-TEX can come in 2-layer, 2.5-layer, or 3-layer constructions, depending on what it’s being used for.
This construction takes the outer face fabric and bonds it directly to the Gore-Tex membrane. Nothing is applied to the inside of the Gore-Tex, leaving it exposed and thus requiring an inner layer or lining in the jacket. This inner layer is often made from a light mesh fabric that is hung inside the jacket to protect the waterproof layer and provides comfort for the user. Alternatively, insulation may be placed in the jacket behind the Gore-Tex, separating the waterproofing from the user. It offers good levels of breathability, as less “glue” is used to stick the layers together, and they often feel softer and more pliable. This versatile fabric helps create garments that are made to be worn in cities, workplaces, trails, and more.
2.5-layer laminate construction is lightweight and packable. The Gore-Tex membrane is bonded to the outer shell and then covered by a durable protective layer. This protective layer is made out of an oleophobic material, which is anti-oil, and carbon. The protective layer makes having a separate lining unnecessary, which in turn creates an extremely lightweight, packable garment.
Regularly referred to as “hardshells”, 3-layer fabrics use a laminate, or sandwich construction of all three layers. This means the face fabric, waterproof layer, and lining are all stuck together to create a durable and hard-wearing fabric. This type of construction is commonly used for jackets that are expected to have a hard life and face continuous exposure to extreme weather while also being lightweight and highly breathable. Garments made using 3 layers are incredibly versatile and can be used all year round in almost any condition and in any environment. If you are looking for pieces that are able to do everything, this would be the best option.
Types of GORE-TEX
The key to GORE-TEX’s success is its wide range of applied features and membrane types.
As the name suggests, GORE-TEX Active is better suited to more energetic, stop-and-go activities such as skiing or climbing. With these kinds of activities, you want a jacket that breathes well, allows for plenty of movement and provides plenty of protection. GORE-TEX Active is lightweight, incredibly breathable and completely windproof.
GORE-TEX Paclite provides an extremely lightweight and packable construction making it the ideal solution for hiking, cycling, and other sports where weight and space are critical.
These garments are the most lightweight, breathable Gore-Tex makes. The unique water repellency causes rain to bead, preventing water absorption. Just a couple of shakes when you're ready to go will remove almost all of the water from the garment.
GORE-TEX Pro is engineered to be rugged, durable, and able to withstand extended use in extreme conditions. When you’re taking part in more extreme activities that subject you to harsh conditions, such as multi-day mountaineering, guiding, or free-riding, GORE-TEX PRO provides a robust 3-layer construction for maximum protection. This fabric is engineered with added durability to withstand abrasion in rugged environments while protecting against extreme and unpredictable conditions with frequent work-rest cycles.
GORE-TEX Technology Is Trusted By Many
Hopefully this information serves to guide you in making your next garment purchase. From jackets, over-pants, boots, and gloves, GORE-TEX is definitely built to last the test of time and weather. Some notable outdoor apparel brands that use GORE-TEX technology that are available at Appalachian Outfitters include Marmot, Patagonia, Outdoor Research, and Lowa. Check out a couple of the products below using GORE-TEX.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Patagonia Men's Calcite Jacket
Outdoor Research Gripper GORE-TEX INFINIUM Heated Sensor Gloves