so...Anyone want to have a discussion on the merits of the various technical fabrics?
The more I read, the less I can understand why any of the smaller labels use Gore-tex. The patent expired years ago. Are we all really slave to a label that much? The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the high quality garment manufacturing factories are somehow tied up with gore-tex. This was hinted at in the article Spatlese
earlier in the thread. Errolson Hugh certainly seems to think that the details of manufature in Arcteryx (pretty much exclusively Gore-tex) warrant accolade - things like the waterproof zippers, laser cutting, microseams, taping etc etc all contribute to the quality of the garment, even if the starting fabric isn't any better than that of its competitors.
Some thoughts based partly on my experience, and partly on reading up:
- Goretex double layer outer shell is very light, very waterproof, if a little delicate. OTOH, it's kinda noisy
- The gore-tex patent has expired and there are many branded and unbranded companies offering the same or better fabric (DWR coated type) for cheaper than gore tex.
- From what I understand, Ventile is not as waterproof, but is more hard wearing and is much quieter than the coated (gore-tex type) fabrics. Ventile can become soaked in very, very heavy rain - while it will keep the water out, the fabric itself becomes saturated which can cause you to cool down rapidly.
- Ventile is also a branded product. There are many other fabrics that work on the same principle; very fine fabric so tightly woven that water droplets can't pass through, but water vapour can. I believe the Ma.strum micro sateen comes under this category. Grenfell fabric is another example. The same general theme; these are usually harder wearing than the DWR type fabrics, don't require re-coating, and are quieter. On the other hand, they are usually not quite as waterproof.
- The degree to which these things need to be waterproof is far, far overstated, unless you're living under a waterfall. Most of these fabrics will keep you dry in even the strongest of rain.
- Another thing to keep in mind is that the design of the garment itself can often help with ventilation. This means that some, say waxed or rubber fabric garments can often expel humidity even without being technically breathable. A poncho, for example, has many entry and exit points for air.
Each product has its strengths and weaknesses. Most will keep you dry, but none of them will keep you warm. The general theme is that, beneath your waterproof breathable outer layer (whichever fabric you spring for), a nice thick insulating layer (a warm knit, for example) will keep you warm, and beneath that a wicking material (e.g. a merino baselayer) will wick away your sweat and keep it from cooling you down when you stop moving. Add in a smock between the insulating and waterproof layers, and it should keep you warm in most places above freezing, so long as you also have appropriate legwear.
I realise most of you don't care because these are fashion garments, but it's still nice to know how you should wear them in the zombie apocalypse.Edited by hendrix - 7/30/12 at 3:59pm