/ Gortex is it a lie? I feel a rant coming on!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
So, is Gortex like toilet hand driers? They don't work, yet they still seem to sell?

It was raining hard all day on Wednesday, so I decided I would go for a good long walk over kinder.

Soft shell trousers, and a long sleeve synthetic wicking top as a base layer. My "in a sale" £40 Event trousers, Karimor from Field & Trek, and as a jacket my über expensive Arc'teryx Beta Lite Gortex Pro.

Many hours later I strip off at the car. Legs bone dry, upper half saturated. Like chalk and cheese. Entire top was soaked. Now both garments were beading well as I set off. I wouldn't even say that the jacket leaked. But even if the wetness was condensation on the inside, the result was being drenched. I'm sure I have been here before but wet top and bottom, it's just the contrast this time when one garment seems to have worked and the other hasn't.

Is it just me, I try and keep an open mind, but my accidental product test would suggest Gortex is crap!

Is it the "Kings New Cloths" effect, we spend so much on this stuff we are too ashamed to admit to ourselves it doesn't work?
3
top cat - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Correct. And it is by no means the only product we con ourselves over..........what a bunch of fools we are. I mean, it's not like we don't have recurring evidence to the contrary, but we still persist in buying products at great expense that are bloody crap!

Go figure.
1
Doug on 20 May 2017
In reply to top cat:
Goretex & the like may be overrated but I don't think I'll be going back to my pre-goretex neoprene coated nylon waterproofs. Yes, they were waterproof but quickly became damp, then wet, if doing much more than standing still. That said, I prefer pile/pertex for Scotland most of the time - I might be wet but I'm still warm & comfortable.
Post edited at 09:41
olddirtydoggy - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Try the same hike and wrap yourself in plastric bags and see how wet you are inside. They don't work and they do. If you're powering up a hill and pouring out sweat then there is no way a jacket can expel that level of moisture. If the shell goes on I usually regulate the speed I travel at or drop a layer to reduce the sweat I generate. I usually return dry.
gethin_allen on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

You need a few controls in your experiment, try doing the same wearing a pvc mac or no jacket at all.
In my experience it's usually event that leaks but is more breathable but goretex stays waterproof but is less breathable.
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

Gents I agree that I would be drenched doing the same wearing a bin liner, but let's not miss the fact a bin liner costs 5p and that the accidental experiment showed the "cheap as chips" Event trousers to be way better in those conditions. Gortex brand owners/garment companies spend a lot of money telling me the material is going to breath and keep outside water out. I would be more tolerant of the performance of a plastic bag. It delivers what it promises.

I have owned lots of Gortex products over the years made by various manufacturers, all somewhat disappointing. I thought that was a good as it got, and beyond a certain point all products would just wet out. I may have to rethink that.
2
Dave Kerr - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I had a couple of event products and found them to be much less durable than gore tex in terms of water resistance.
DancingOnRock - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
Were you carrying a rucksack? The water needs to be vapour to escape. If the back, pits and shoulders start to get wet the wicking top will just spread the moisture around your upper body.
Post edited at 10:53
johncook - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Goretex has never worked for me either, so now I just buy cheap waterproofs to go over the top of warm clothing. I do sweat a fair bit, but have had similar experiences to you, where cheap waterproof cover area is dry, expensive goretex cover area is wet through!
Alan M - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
In my experience all of the big name waterproof materials are just as bad as each other.

My current go to jacket cost £55 craghopper something or other with some material I've never heard of performs better than the expensive stuff I own. The cut and style isn't as good and it is a little bit heavier but who cares it keeps me drier.
Post edited at 11:44
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

No rucksack, everything from the waist band of the trousers up was proper wet through. Everthing below, bone dry. I wouldn't have needed to share a rant if it was not so blatantly obvious that my top half and bottom half seemed to have been on two different walks.

Plus you seem to be suggesting you shouldn't carry a rucksack whilst wearing a high end mountaineering jacket........did I miss something in the small print?

I'm being slightly provocative sorry, but maybe you seem my point.

Wayne

1
nathan79 - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

You just need to find the Dyson Airblade of waterproofs!



Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to johncook and Alan M,

If I cast my mind back all the stuff that has worked for me has been unknown fabrics. Maybe the best jacket I had was a PU coated nylon La Fuma three way I got cheap from Go.

At least I'm not alone in my newly found view of Gortex, though wierdly it does seem to work in footware, now in confused!



radar on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Nothing to do with your jacket or trews, Kinder is so wet on the top (courtesy of PDNPA creating dams etc) that the water has wicked up from the soles of your footwear - a bit like first year chemistry experiments using blotting paper, water and ink.

The Kinder plateau is beautiful now the restoration process is beginning to have benefits, it is just very very wet. Had a low-level bird's eye view courtesy HMCG/ Bristows 18 months ago (ex- MRT) and the plateau is green instead of a peat coloured moonscape
Malarkey on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I don't really sweat through my legs. If I go for a run or to the gym I sweat under my arms, my brow and between my shoulders.

Isn't the difference between your eVent trousers and your Goretex jacket just that you sweat much more up top?
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to nathan79:
I wondered if that would pop up.....I concede Dyson Airblades do work.

So why do 99 percent of toilets have the ones that have you wiping your hands on the arse of you trousers as you leave? What brainwashing must take place to sell these?

Maybe a new project for Mr Dyson, waterproofs that work.
Pursued by a bear - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Always been fine for me. If you believe that goretex will be like a magic barrier that keeps rain away while simultaneously leaving your skin talcum powder dry then no, it won't work as you think. If you sweat like a vicar in a house of ill repute whilst you wear it then no, it won't work as you think. If you adjust the speed of your walking and use the zips and press-stud provided to keep air moving around while you walk then yes, it will work; not talcum powder dry, but good enough except in times of great humidity when there just won't be the necessary gradient between you and the atmosphere to let anything much work.

But waterproofs aren't a one material suits all thing. It may be that Paramo or pile and pertex suit you better. Try and see.

T.

Andypeak - on 20 May 2017
In reply to nathan79:

> You just need to find the Dyson Airblade of waterproofs!

Have you ever used a Dyson Airblade? I would say gortex is the Dyson Airblade of waterproofs. Bright and colourful, promises a lot but at the end of the experience you are still wet.
4
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Malarkey:

I'm sure that is true to some degree, though I sweat pretty well most places when going for it. My point is I was sold a product that doesn't seem to match the hype, you will read tonns of tripe about brathability in high output activities blah de blah, I may have actually been dryer without the jacket or wearing some sort of softshell/pile jacket.
Trangia on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

My experience of Gortex Jackets has not been good with one exception and that was a The North Face jacket and separate over over trousers which I used successfully for three years when I worked as an instructor with Go Ape - out all days at times in atrocious weather. At times I got really sweaty, but I never had wet underclothing. Then suddenly and without warning it started to leak. Surprise surprise, the so called "life time guarantee" was not honoured because I apparently "hadn't been treating and washing it frequently enough"!! I had been washing it regularly in their recommended wash treatment - same as Paramo, see below.

Since then, I've switched to a Paramo Analogy jacket. This is over 4 years old now, gets a lot of use and I regularly wash it in their special Nikwax Tech-Wash and TX Direct. These products are not cheap, nor was the jacket but so far it's shown no signs of leakage (apart from into the pockets - don't keep your phone in one!). It wears very hot and if I'm walking hard or uphill building up a sweat I wear just a light wicking base wear under it which keeps me warm so long as I keep moving even in winter.

Of the two I feel that Paramo is the better, and it's lasted a year longer now than the best of my previous Gortex jackets, the other ones were crap, including a very expensive Berghaus one which I bought for the Himalayas and leaked the whole time in wet snow. It was only OK in temperatures well below freezing when snow just bounced off it.

On the other hand I have found Gortex lined walking boots to be very good unless the boots had become punctured by sharp rocks.

So long as it's not too windy I have found that the most breathable and rain proof piece of equipment for walking is an umbrella!!
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Wise words, and maybe it is cheap eVent stuff that works for my level of sweaty internal environment. Not really wanting talc dry, would have kept the rant inside for mildly moist even.
Trangia on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

As everyone seems to agree, to expect talc dry all the time and for a life time is probably expecting too much, and the manufacturers are misleading us with the description "waterproof".

What is more important is to be "warm". You won't die of hypothermia if you are damp and warm, even wet and warm. But you may become a hypothermia case if you are damp or wet, and "cold". Of course comfort/discomfort is a factor, but keeping warm is what is really important.
gethin_allen on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

> In reply to johncook and Alan M,If I cast my mind back all the stuff that has worked for me has been unknown fabrics...."

You may have a point here. The best waterproofs I've ever bought were Berghaus Deluge overtrousers and they are made of own brand Aquafoil 2 material. They are getting rather old now and have started to leak around the arse because I use them cycling to work but they've lasted years and I'll probably buy another pair if I see them on offer anywhere.
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Trangia:

All very true, might just be worth mentioning my jacket is not particularly old so I am pretty much describing off the shelf performance rather than any decline over time. Agree warm is the most important criteria.
mbh - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Maybe your top sweats far more than your legs? Maybe not, but when you next win the lottery, try Gortex legs and Event top.
ads.ukclimbing.com
WaterMonkey - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
I can't see how any wicking material will wick sweat when the outside of the material is wet.
It relies on the sweat permeating to the outside and then evaporating, this can't happen if the outside is getting wet.

I think scientifically it would be expected, under those conditions, to end up with a wet top and dry bottoms. You don't sweat much from your legs.
Post edited at 13:18
BnB - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Neoshell
Neoshell
Neoshell

The fact no one's mentioned it may explain why it's hard to find today. It doesn't seem to have caught on.

It's so good I bought 3 jackets before the stock ran out. So that's partly my fault.
2
Timmd on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
I generally leave my pitzips open, and work on the principle of generating a warm fug inside my goretex (XCR), benefiting from the windproofness of goretex to help keep me warmer. I used to use synthetic, but seem to like merino wool and a Howies waffle mid layer, I need the waffle layer to help keep me warmer with the merino base layer underneath. I've accepted the dampness and gone for being warm when damp I guess. It works for me.
Post edited at 13:32
1
wbo - on 20 May 2017
In reply to BnB: perhaps it's hard to find as its all worn out.

I've been pretty happy with all my gore Tex jackets bar one that was rubbish from the get go. And oddly the most expensive

r0x0r.wolfo - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Andypeak:

It's grey?
DancingOnRock - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I would try it out in the shower and make sure it's still waterproof and hasn't developed a fault/split membrane.
Robert Durran - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

The problem is that the marketing from outdoor clothing manufacturers is promotes totally unrealistic expectations - they would have us believe that a single garment will keep you perfectly dry and comfortable whatever the weather and whatever you are doing; this is, of course, complete bollocks.
climbwhenready - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
Someone needs Paramo...

The dislike button is somewhere over here ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------VV
Post edited at 16:20
1
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:
My expectations are not unrealistic, I just want the performance offered in the sales literature. It's not for me to guess which bits may or may not be correct.

"GORE produces some of the most well-known waterproof materials. Their range includes GORE-TEX Pro, which is designed to give waterproof and breathable protection in the harshest conditions, and GORE-TEX Active, which provides highly breathable and waterprsoof performance perfect for those moving fast and light."

This is off the web site of a well known retailer, which bit suggests I should lower my expectation of waterproof and breathable if I walk in typical British weather? You would read the same just about anywhere.

If I buy a pint of milk, that's what I expect. If waterproof fabrics don't achieve waterproof and breathable protection in the harshest of conditions, then don't describe them as such.

I don't see the issue is with my understanding or expectation.

Like you I am simply reacting to being fed bullshit.
Post edited at 18:18
kmhphoto - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I've often wondered why the jackets I pay for are never the same as the amazing ones reviewers get for free.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

As others have said, substantial rain on a warm day = sweat trying to leave a wetted-out face fabric. There's only so much moisture transfer a membrane can do.

People want high hydrostatic heads, lifetime durability and maximum breathability. You probably have to compromise somewhere, with the technology we have today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSyRDzBenCc

Other membranes exist, but they all seem to have major flaws too and GTX seems to be the best compromise.
Robert Durran - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
> "GORE produces some of the most well-known waterproof materials. Their range includes GORE-TEX Pro, which is designed to give waterproof and breathable protection in the harshest conditions, and GORE-TEX Active, which provides highly breathable and waterprsoof performance perfect for those moving fast and light."

> Which bit suggests I should lower my expectation of waterproof and breathable if I walk in typical British weather?

None of it. Precisely my point!
Post edited at 18:34
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to kmhphoto:

Funny that. Maybe Arc'teryx should send me half a dozen jackets for me to trial!
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think we are in full agreement, I like to labour a point sorry.
EarlyBird - on 20 May 2017
In reply to BnB:

Agreed. I have a neoshell rain jacket for road cycling where you tend to work up a bit of a sweat - it's brilliant.
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:
I understand what you are saying, but an alternative membrane was in the same environment and seemed to do better, admittedly on my legs. I can't say the comparison stands up to scientific scrutiny, but it suprised me somewhat.

By the same token if I ever need a fabric to produce bubbles if I pressurise one side with a pump, then Goretex is definitely the stuff! You can find similar test videos for eVent, and the other fabrics for what it's worth.

What I actually wanted was to stay dry walking. Which test mirrors actual use here?

Compromise, maybe. Or just go try an eVent jacket, I would be crackers to do anything else based on my current attainment of knowledge.
sjminfife - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

My son has a Keela Munro jacket and it keeps him dry in awful weather. I do agree they are heavy and he doesn't work overly hard in it but it does seem very waterproof.
Wayne S - on 20 May 2017
In reply to EarlyBird:

That's two recommendations for Neoshell, it's just a shame BnB has bought all the stock. Will keep an eye open.
jess13 - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Part of the problem I have found is many of todays jackets are cut too short and if you are walking with a sac on your back and its raining eventually the wet works its way up your back. Its all down to fashion and manufacturers hype. For walking in heavy rain the continentals still use ponchos - it doesn't matter if they are not breathable. Cover the top half and your sac -good waterproof leggings for lower half. Yes they dont look 'cool' and aren't so good in high wind but theyre cheap and effective.
Timmd on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:
My eVent jacket wetted out during hard cycling in very wet weather a few years ago, so I base layer was wet through. Rab do Neoshell jackets by the way. I've heard it can 'feel colder' when worn with the same things underneath as other membranes, and keeps one dry too.
Post edited at 20:29
wercat on 20 May 2017
In reply to Robert Durran:

Hence the Lake District Seller's strangest slogan "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing"

words fail me
girlymonkey - on 20 May 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

> You may have a point here. The best waterproofs I've ever bought were Berghaus Deluge overtrousers and they are made of own brand Aquafoil 2 material. They are getting rather old now and have started to leak around the arse because I use them cycling to work but they've lasted years and I'll probably buy another pair if I see them on offer anywhere.

I got some today in Go Outdoors for £35. Dunno how long the offer is on. I go through a pair of these a year (roughly), and they are great. They are my go-to work trousers.
gethin_allen on 20 May 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I got some today in Go Outdoors for £35. Dunno how long the offer is on. I go through a pair of these a year (roughly), and they are great. They are my go-to work trousers.

I noticed this myself after scaring myself looking at the price of new cams, unfortunately they were out of my size. I'll try and get my parents to pick some up in cardiff.
Andypeak - on 20 May 2017
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

With a bit of yellow
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 20 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I decided to try a non-goretex fabric jacket to save some cash - for use going to work / pub so not needing to ask much of it. Settled on a bergaus deluge jacket, with their own membrane. At only 60 quid I can't complain too much; but it's breathability is terrible. Sat still in a warm room I can feel sweat starting to build up.

So I've gone back to goretex when I replaced my 'main' waterproof (pro shell)- and it seemed to cope well even when marching briskly uphill in rain the other day. Need to manage layering underneath though- from experience if I wear more than a base layer then even goretex will not cope with my sweat output...
ads.ukclimbing.com
sheelba - on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Man goes out in rain gets wet shocker!!!
"It's like it was falling straight from the sky"
1
olddirtydoggy - on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Different materials can affect the inside wetting out. If I wear my softshell next to the raincoat it condensates less than a fleece. I've no idea why this is.
Wayne S - on 21 May 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
In sure there is a lot in that, and that the wicking properties of base and mid layers make a big difference.
Dauphin on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

One upon a time you had a dry set and a wet set.

Arcteryx is designed and worn for bagging off with the daughter of a tory M.P. Apres Montaigne.

D
Si_G - on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Have you tried a poncho instead? Desperately unfashionable, but waterproof and well ventilated.
James Jackson on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

Another vote of support for NeoShell here. I spend most of my time doing high-aerobic activity in the mountains (ski mountaineering), and have moved from softshell back to a natural wool thermal layer with lightweight neoshell hardshell on top. I also carry a lightweight down jacket for lunch stops. Winning combo! My kit is Jottnar; not cheap but it's bloody good.
ActionSte on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

From what i know, its generally a case of finding the right waterproof membrane to suit you. Generally its a minefield.

E-vent doesnt have a PU coating (the stuff on the outside that makes the water bead off) and so allows for more breathability in the fabric. This also however means it isnt quite as hard wearing as goretex.

Gore-tex pro is their most waterproof product, but isnt the most breathable as it has a thicker PU coating on the exterior of the fabric.
Goretex Active for example has a much thinner coating allowing the actual goretex membrane to breathe at a better rate.

Generally though all waterproof membranes use the same concept. Water can escape one way as vapour, but water droplets cant get through as the gaps arent big enough.
One way this can stop working is in humid, damp conditions. If its humid inside the jacket and its humid outside the jacket, your sweat is going nowhere as its not going to evapourate.

Other issues with breathability can be the jacket not being clean. Tiny particles of dust & dirt can clog up the pores in the membrane so vapour will struggle to escape.

TobyA on 21 May 2017
In reply to ActionSte:

Isn't the PU coating on the inside of the membrane? You are mixing it up with the DWR I think. But the newest Gore Tex doesn't have it either if my understanding is correct. It's why neoshell is less windproof.
BnB - on 21 May 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> Isn't the PU coating on the inside of the membrane? You are mixing it up with the DWR I think. But the newest Gore Tex doesn't have it either if my understanding is correct. It's why neoshell is less windproof.

Neoshell certainly is less windproof. I believe the membrane is has millions of tiny perforations to facilitate the breathability. Don't ask me how it stays waterproof. I remember you belaying me up the final pitch on Gable Crag in full "Scottish" clad in the Jottnar neoshell without a belay jacket. I was impressed at the time and remain so. In my rush to sweep up another winter hardshell before stocks vanished I picked up a Bergelmir in the sales and it is a proper piece of kit. Soloed Tower Ridge in April, so a fast moving and sustained winter outing, and never overheated, nor needed an extra layer while my pal dug a tunnel in the snow on the subterranean pitch.
TobyA on 21 May 2017
In reply to BnB:

I think the stiffness of the material regardless of the membrane makes a big difference here - the Bergelmir weighs quite a lot more than the Hymir with the latter being a much softer drape. The Hymir feels more air permeable than the Bergelmir as a result. Currently testing the new version of the Hymir which I think is a bit stiffer than the MK1. It will be interesting to see if that makes it feel more windresistant.

For anyone who hasn't used Neoshell, I don't want to leave the impression it isn't windproof, its just more air permeable than old school goretex. I'd be interesting if anyone has noticed the newest Gore tex pro is more airy than old Pro/XCR because I believe they removed the PU layer too, to make it more breathable.
verticon on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

I might have the solution to your problem: next time, buy an Arc'teryx Beta Lite Gore-Tex Pro instead of the expensive knock-off "Gortex" jacket you own now :p
angry pirate - on 21 May 2017
In reply to Wayne S:

By the same token, I spent a very wet Sunday on Kinder in driving rain over Easter and was bone dry except round the neck of my mid layer where rain had found its way between the hood and my face. This included schlepping up and down from Edale at a fair pace twice. On the same day, I ran a few km round the plateau to meet a group stupidly forgetting to remove fleece etc and was quite soggy from sweat. Quick change of base layer back at the motor and dry again all day.
I do remember the earlier iterations of Goretex and not being uber impressed. I now have a Goretex Pro jacket and the breathability is spot on.
Timmd on 21 May 2017
In reply to angry pirate:
That's more or less been my experience too, I've just gone over to merino because it's greener and warmer when damp (re my post further up about dampness).
Post edited at 19:32
Wayne S - on 21 May 2017
In reply to verticon:

I think it's the knock off iPad with dodgy autocorrect which is the issue, I was a fair way in before I noticed myself!
Toerag - on 21 May 2017
In reply to Trangia:

>.On the other hand I have found Gortex lined walking boots to be very good unless the boots had become punctured by sharp rocks.

You're pretty lucky then, every single waterproof-lined boot I've owned has started leaking well before the rest of the boot is worn out.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.