By: randosteve|Posted on: October 30, 2009|Posted in: Gear, Gear Reviews | 26 comments

Okay folks, I hammered the crew from W.L. Gore with some of the questions you gave me and here’s what their responses were. And while many of the future technologies were kept secret, they say that in the future, they are continuing to focus on developing new products for light-and fast endeavors and increasing durability of its components. One thing to note is that when talking about breathability, it is more in relation to the ability of water molecules to pass through the membrane, and not air….which would be more akin to ventilation and who’s molecules are much larger than water.

Is the Event fabric really more breathable than Gore-Tex?

In some environmental conditions, Event is more breathable than Gore-Tex. What are those conditions? Unfortunately they are in extremely dry conditions that are realistically very hard to find and not when you would probably really be wearing a waterproof/breathable garment. In addition, Gore-Tex is much more durably waterproof…meaning its waterproofness lasts for a much longer time.

One thing W.L. Gore notes is that the placebo effect plays and important role in people’s perception of breathability. They have also done studies where a person is handed two garments and told that one is more breathable than the other, when they are actually the same fabric. The result? People tend to agree that the fabric they were told is more breathable…is…when it realistically and scientifically isn’t.

Is OutDry far more superior to Gore-Tex when used in gloves?

OutDry is a new technology out of Italy in which the a waterproof/breathable membrane is directly bonded to the inside of the gloves shell (as opposed to just being sewed in by the finger tips and wrist), therefore having no dead airspace which can inhibit breathability and will also provide more dexterity since all the layers move together as one.

OutDry is a polyurethane product, and while initially quite waterproof, unfortunately also is inconsistent in it’s waterproof/breathable characteristics and is not nearly as durably waterproof as Gore-Tex. Also, it is impossible to glue a two dimensional fabric to a three dimensional shape without incurring overlaps and empty spaces. Also, due to all the glue involved in the process of affixing the OutDry membrane to the shell, it creates a much stiffer product.

To improve dexterity in gloves that use Gore-Tex, W.L. Gore will be introducing a technology called X-traFit, in which the Gore-Tex membrane is bonded to the glove liner which is then glued in both the palm area, as well as at the finger tips. This provides much less movement between all the layers, making it easier to work with your hands while wearing gloves.

Why don’t more hunting companies use Gore-Tex?

W.L. Gore has recently released a new technology called OptiFade, which has a camouflaged outer fabric. The big to do about this fabric it the camo pattern, which focuses making you less visible to ungulates by focusing on the characteristics of their vision, as opposed to trying to make you blend into the surroundings. This digitally patterned technology is taken from W.L. Gore’s experience working with the US military and making both desert and forest camouflage clothing. Look for Opti-Fade in future hunting outerwear.

What is the point of putting Gore-Tex in full leather boots which don’t breathe anyway?

Well, much like our own skin, leather actually does breath. And putting Gore-Tex in a leather boot is really more about adding waterproofness to the boot…as opposed to adding breathability.

Can W.L. Gore improve the durability of its “durable water-resistant finish” (DWR)?

While W.L. Gore is constantly looking to improve its DWR coating, they do state that in many cases…and with proper care…the DWR finish can be revitalized. This is done by washing the Gore-Tex with a small amount of soap, doubling the rinse cycle, and then putting it in the dryer for a short period of time. While washing the fabric removes dirt, it is the actual drying of the fabric that redistributes the DWR and a gets the ‘pegs’ of the DWR to stand up again…keeping moisture off of the face fabric. For those that don’t have access to a dryer, spray-on products from Nikwax and Grangers can be used to add DWR to the garment.

One thing to note is that although the face fabric may “wet-out” and feel clammy with decreased DWR effectiveness, the Gore-Tex membrane will continue to be waterproof, though may give a clammy feeling to the user.

Why has Gore-Tex abandoned it “Guaranteed to Keep You Dry” promise?

I’m not sure where you heard this, but W.L. Gore continues to back up its “Guaranteed to Keep You Dry” promise which is still printed on it’s hang-tag and will stand behind any product that uses Gore-Tex and provide a warranty if you are unhappy with it’s product…no matter who manufactured it. If you have problems, all you have to do is contact W.L. Gore customer service and they will help you.

Why doesn’t W.L. Gore allow manufacturers to use welded and glued seams (instead of seam-tape), which claim to be lighter and more durable?

While welded and glues seams are strong, testing shows that they do not nearly provide the long term durability of a taped seam. In addition, W.L. Gore believes that the weight saved, which is very small) by using welded and/or glued seams is not worth the higher costs it takes to produce garments with this technology, which requires CAD devices to make.

Is W.L. Gore doing anything to compete with Schoeller c-change, which claims to be able to adjust its breathability according to your exertion level?

While specifics about future Gore-Tex products were not reveled, representatives state the many fabrics out there (including cotton) already have properties that will allow them to expand and contract with relation to temperature…making this characteristic not very revolutionary and probably more marketing hype than anything else.

What is W.L. Gores philosophy in relation to protecting the environment, reducing waste and using non-toxic materials?

W.L. Gores philosophy is science based, revolves around setting lifecycle benchmarks and providing a consistently durable product. Since 1993, W.L. Gore has offered and End of Life recycling program where the Gore-Tex membrane is recovered and reused in other applications. In addition, since 1999, W.L. Gore has set higher standards in relation to chemical limits imposed by the Oeko-Tex, which sets limits on the amount of certain chemicals can be used. In addition, W.L. Gore also uses what is called Gore Cover Composting Laminates, which if I understood correctly, is used to increase the biodegradation process in landfills.

One thing to note is that since the Gore-Tex membrane is far superior to many other waterproof/breathable fabrics out there, it lasts for a much longer time, therefore greatly reducing its overall “footprint” on the environment. In addition, W.L. Gore is very much product based and you will not see its environmental initiatives included in its advertising and marketing programs.

that use Gore-Tex on SALE at