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Gor-Tex v's the other guys-Jackets

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Got a simple question. I am in the market for a new ski jacket. I can afford the higher cost of Gor-Tex. My question is it worth it or are the other breathable/waterproof fabrics just as good.
post #2 of 26
Gore-Tex is a separate layer bonded to the outer nylon layer. A DWR is added to the outer nylon layer and that is what causes moisture to bead up. Some believe that other waterproof breathable membranes are better than Gore-Tex because they breath better. I've had good luck with Gore-Tex, Triple Point Ceramic and Marmot's Membrain. I haven't been able to tell the difference between. If I was in the market for a jacket, I would concentrate on the features and not be too concerned with whether it is Gore-Tex.
post #3 of 26
I've had better luck with my high-end Columbia jackets than I have with Other Big Name Brand Gore-Tex jackets...
post #4 of 26
I use my military issue gore-tex camo jacket when I ski. It does keep me somewhat more warm and dry compared to my lesser quality jacket but if you have to buy the gore-tex I don't think you will need it...
post #5 of 26
I've owned a marmot 3Layer goretex ($450 retail), Mountain Hardwear's Conduit (150 retail), The North Face's Hyvent (200 retail) they all repel the same water if you keep retreating the DWR. Nikwax makes a good wash in water-repellent. My Marmot has held up the longest, though is now dated at 8 years and I do consider it the toughest. I recently discovered Cabellas for reasonable goretex. their paclite jacket (in a LONG size if you want to cover your bum) is super lightweight and durable. I love it. less than 100 bucks too!!! which means I feel completely comfortable replacing it next year. just not many extra features like pass pockets or over-the-helmet hoods.
Mountain Hardwear's conduit is my least favorite. very flimsy.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Mountain Hardwear's conduit is my least favorite. very flimsy.
And not very breathable in my experience, patagonias h2no wins in that test.
post #7 of 26

GoreTex

Depends what you want, really. I have never owned a jacket MORE waterproof than Gore. I buy it because of that alone. I don't find breathability to be an issue with XCR, which I'd recommend.

I'd trust XCR, or Patagonia H2NO, myself anyway.
post #8 of 26
In my experience, the high-end Gore-tex XCR is by far the most breathable -- better than regular Gore-tex or the other manufacturers products by a large margin (and I believe the specs back that up). Well worth the extra money. My XCR shell actually breathes better than my old plain nylon shell, and the nylon shell was not waterproof.
post #9 of 26
I remember seeing somewhere that the difference between Gore-tex XCR and regular Gore-tex is a lighter PU coating on XCR, as Gore discovered that the material was more than waterproof enough without a heavy treatment. This alone was what gave XCR the breathability edge over standard.

My Patagonia pieces with their proprietary stretch materials and H2No have functioned spectacularly for the two months I've had them. Totally waterproof (that's the easy part) and breathable (the hard part) during biking, hiking, paddling, and skiing.
post #10 of 26
Sorry but the waterproof/breathable combination just does not exist. Maybe someday someone will solve this problem.

If you want a waterproof jkt the breathability will be low.
If you want a water resistant jkt, the breathability will be better.
If you want a hybrid, you will have a decent combination of water resistance and breathability.
If you want a true soft shell, it will offer decent weather resistance (but it will not be waterproof) and will have the best breathability.

I would never buy an expensive hard shell. It's not worth it. Why? Because the breathability of hard shells is so low that the difference between a high-end membrane like gtx and a lower cost membrane is very small and most likely you won't notice it.

Now, if you want something that really breathes you will have to get a soft shell. IMO a true soft shell does not have a membrane.
post #11 of 26
My 'Defender' Eider jacket is fine by me. Really water proof (thanks to well sealed seams. probably more critical for water-proofing than the fabric itself) and seems to breath fine compared to 'regular' goretex. Much cheaper than it's Goretex XCR counterpart in the Eider line.
I've never worn a XCR jacket though, so I can't compare directly.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw View Post
Because the breathability of hard shells is so low that the difference between a high-end membrane like gtx and a lower cost membrane is very small and most likely you won't notice it.
There is a big difference between different brands and I can tell it.
post #13 of 26
If you need REAL waterproofness, for heavy duty rain, and you also want the stuff to breathe, it has to be Goretex. Yes I know the others are good, but they've all failed me in real rain, if you're out all day, undoing zips, sitting on wet chairs.
Goretex doesn't fail. You can sit in a puddle for hours, and your bum stays dry. I spend the extra, knowing that I'm getting the real thing.

My current jacket is a very non-technical rossignol Goretex XCR insulated, and you can spray a fire hose at it and you stay dry inside. Love it. You can dig snow for hours in it too, and it vents the moisture right out.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. The choice is Gore-Tex XCR. The Jacket is a Christmas present so cost is not a factor. So for an extra $100 I am getting a North Face Gore-Tex shell, that accepts zip-in jackets or vests. Something that works for skiing, hiking or just singing in the rain.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
Goretex doesn't fail. You can sit in a puddle for hours, and your bum stays dry. I spend the extra, knowing that I'm getting the real thing.
I respectfully disagree. I spent plenty time in the field (military) miserable and wet in full-on Gore-Tex. Seam sealed and the whole nine yards. Spend DAYS in it (like solid weeks) - you may think differently.

It was still better than the rubber fart-suits we had before that though... That said, I have two full suits - one for playing in the woods, and one for playing in the sand!
post #16 of 26
If you're interested in a technical comparison of the various waterproof-breathable membranes and fabrics, you can check-out http://www.shelby.fi/tips/breathability.pdf
post #17 of 26

how about windproof?

i have never skied much in the rain, and i dont think any of them breathe well enough during exertion (but i wouldnt buy one without pit-zips) but cold wind is very common. and although i have had gore-tex from northface, marmot, and dna, i have never had a jacket that was as windproof as phoenix
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
If you need REAL waterproofness, for heavy duty rain, and you also want the stuff to breathe, it has to be Goretex. Yes I know the others are good, but they've all failed me in real rain, if you're out all day, undoing zips, sitting on wet chairs.
Goretex doesn't fail. You can sit in a puddle for hours, and your bum stays dry. I spend the extra, knowing that I'm getting the real thing.

My current jacket is a very non-technical rossignol Goretex XCR insulated, and you can spray a fire hose at it and you stay dry inside. Love it. You can dig snow for hours in it too, and it vents the moisture right out.
Agreed. I have a Mountain Hardware XCR shell designed for ice climbing (b4 columbia BTW), and it is WATERPROOF. Enough at least for serious standing in the rain for hours and hours and not a drop on the inside. It's breathable enough that I wear it as a rain jacket in the summer without sweating in it. Actually, it breathes too well sometimes, and I get downright cold in it (yes, I know its a shell- I'm talking about summer).

I will buy XCR until Gore makes something they think is better. I will say that older Gore wasn't all it was supposed to be. I had a pair of Solstice pants with Gore-Tex, not XCR from the mid 90's. Dry for a year, then wet, and I mean THRU!! not "wetting out". However, newish ArcTeryx (sp?) pants in XCR from 3 years are completely bomber still, wet chairs and all. Of course everyone has an opinion, but I'm sold on XCR!
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw View Post
Sorry but the waterproof/breathable combination just does not exist.
Wrong. Longer lasting, more effective DWR treatments allow manufacturers to take a breathable piece and make it waterproof to the point that it beads water. This argument is one that midrange clothing companies like Columbia use to excuse their lack of effectiveness. How do I know? Not from any studies or graphs or manufacturer claims, but because I and all of my buddies are out there using it in every condition imaginable, exerting ourselves pretty hard in the process. Sure, XCR, H2No, MemBrain, and others aren't as breathable as cotton, but its a hundred times better than plain nylon and lightyears better than a rain slicker.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618 View Post
Wrong. Longer lasting, more effective DWR treatments allow manufacturers to take a breathable piece and make it waterproof to the point that it beads water.
I agree that dwr treatments cause water to bead up and roll off the garment. But please tell me which breathable fabrics you are referring to.
Do you really think that hard shells breathe? In my experience they do not breathe. I sweat like a pig and i end up soaking wet in gtx and other membranes.

I found that soft shells which do not have a membrane breathe. I mean they really breathe. I tested them and i never overheated. My soft shells have dwr treatments which cause water to bead up and roll off the garment. Do you think that a dwr treament makes them waterproof? IMO the membrane makes the garment waterproof, not the treatments. DWR treatments cause the water to bead up and roll off the garment so that the garment does not feel heavy and will not lead to heat loss. If the dwr treatment wears off, the outer fabric will absorb water but it won't pass through the microscopic pores of the membrane. So it is waterproof even if you feel wet. Heat loss is caused by condensation. This is bad.

Manufacturers had to come up with something to deal with (read hide) these problems thus the dwr treatment. A membrane does not need a dwr finish to be waterproof. If a dwr finish is soo good and makes the garments waterproof why would manufacturers use membranes which inhibit breathability? I do not think that a dwr treatment affects the breathability of a garment. So they could use very durable dwr treatments and we would have fabrics which breathe. Well, we do have some fabrics which work this way -the true soft shells which breathe, but they are very rare.

IMO the dwr treatment makes the fabric water resistant (in all instances) because it is not permanent. The membrane is. I could say that unless the garment has a membrane, it can be considered water resistant.
post #21 of 26

Partially agree

I agree that hard shells don't usually breathe as well as some/most soft shells. And they don't breath like a sweater or sweatshirt. But mine breathes well. It does have a limit though- if you are sweating like a pig, open the vents, or unzip for a while. You are right- you can sweat in one. But it breathes. Try a PVC rainsuit if you want to see what NOT breathing feels like. Clammy, cold, wet. XCR is nothing like that, and given it is waterproof like PVC, it's really nice that it doesn't feel like PVC.
post #22 of 26
Spot-on, Warematt. And people need to decide which thing is most important. Waterproofness, or breathing? I find goretex XCR is brilliantly waterproof and breathes well. However, if you want ot wear it when you are sweating hugely, chances are it won't be pouring rain. So get something more breathable and less waterproof.

I trust Goretex, above all others.
post #23 of 26
I don't know much about what is better or worse, but I just read a blip of a review on "The Gear Junkie" website about a jacket from Spyder they just came out with called: "Spyder Refugee Shell Jacket" it has a new intelligent technology called "DiAPLEX". An intelligent fabric. Thermal vibration occurs in the DiAPLEX membrane above a pre-determined temperature, opening micro-pores that allow water vapor and body heat to escape. Permeability increases as body temperature rises, allowing greater garment breathability as the wearer's exertion level intensifies. In non-intensive activity, DiAPLEX permeability is low and body heat is retained. DiAPLEX boasts a high absorption/emission rate, absorbing moisture before condensation can occur.

Water Resistance Rating: 20,000-40,000mmH2O
Breathability Rating: 8,000-12,000g/sqm/24hrs

I don't know if this is garbage or maybe it's worth checking out if you want a highly water proof/ breathable material, anyway check it out on Spyder.
post #24 of 26
Looking at this from a completely different "angle" (lame pun coming up, which is intended), my fly-waders are Goretex. They don't get rained on, snowed on, or hosed on. Rather, they are immersed for hours at a time in the river. Legs stay dry because they are waterproof. Legs stay dry because they allow perspiration to evaporate.

The same material is used on jackets. And in my experience, the same results follow. The cost differential between a jacket made with Gore technology and a jacket made with a manufacturer's competing, high-end, proprietary technology is usually deminimus, so I go with what I know.
post #25 of 26
Warematt, i agree that hard shells breathe but from my point of view they feel like they don't breathe. I need a very breathable garment and only a soft shell can accompish this. I found the Schoeller WB-400 and Dryskin the best soft shell fabrics for me. I tested them in temps well above any skiing conditions and they worked extremely well. I couldn't tell a difference between them in terms of breathability.

Great chart on breathability from www.verber.com http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/...a-testing.html
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw View Post
Warematt, i agree that hard shells breathe but from my point of view they feel like they don't breathe. I need a very breathable garment and only a soft shell can accompish this. I found the Schoeller WB-400 and Dryskin the best soft shell fabrics for me. I tested them in temps well above any skiing conditions and they worked extremely well. I couldn't tell a difference between them in terms of breathability.

Great chart on breathability from www.verber.com http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/...a-testing.html
I'm fine with that

I *know* my soft shells breathe better. No question. Depends on what you need really, and that's the best reason to have both!! Heck, why stop at two!
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