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The GO Outdoors Guide To GORE-TEX®

What Is GORE-TEX®?

GORE-TEX® , made by W.L. Gore & Associates, is a breathable membrane laminated to a face fabric of any garment that needs to be waterproof and windproof, yet breathable. 

  • 100% waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Very breathable
  • Extremely light
  • Able to insulate at cold temperatures
 

The Membrane:


A GORE-TEX® product is a membrane that can release moisture vapours, whilst also preventing substances such as oil, dirt and stains, and wind or rain penetrating. 

This is created with a wafer-thin expanded Polytetrafluoroethelene (ePTFE), in which each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, yet some 700 times larger than a body moisture molecule, allowing evaporated body moisture (perspiration) to escape whilst blocking the entry of rain and snow.

The Laminate:


The Laminate of GORE-TEX® is the above membrane, bonded with the main body fabric, usually a synthetic. It is laminated to either one or two surfaces, the different processes then being described as two- and three-ply. 

Three-ply is more durable as there is no friction on the actual membrane and it is completely protected. 

A two-ply fabric is more susceptible to abrasion on the inner surface.

Sealed Seams:


Sealed seams are used to offer complete weatherproofing. A special tape system is used to seal off the holes created when the garment has been stitched during manufacturing. 


Membranes are efficient in that they can out-perform a similar garment that has been coated to be waterproof - such as a DWR- by about 25-30% greater efficiency on moisture movement and control. 

GORE-TEX® is the most established brand of microporous membrane and is a fabric GORE-TEX® say that it is Guaranteed To Keep You Dry.


Types Of GORE-TEX®

GORE-TEX® offers three benefits, as it is breathable, waterproof and windproof.

 GORE-TEX®  are constantly upgrading their membrane to improve on durability, weight and breathability. As such there are many different types of GORE-TEX on the market today. 

The three main types of GORE-TEX® technologies are:

  • GORE-TEX® - Stylish, Versatile and Durable
  • GORE-TEX® Active - Extremely breathable, lightweight, minimalist design
  • GORE-TEX® Pro - Extremely Rugged, Versatile, Breathable

GORE-TEX In Boots and Footwear

GORE-TEX® is commonly used in both fabric and leather boots as a lining material. GORE-TEX® it is more breathable in a leather than a fabric boot because in the fabric boot it is glued to the cordura and the adhesive impedes its breathability. However, in a leather boot it is fixed only at the heel and toe and breathability is able to function fully. 

However both leather and fabric boots can benefit from GORE-TEX® liners. 

The main purpose of the GORE-TEX® lining in a leather boot is to aid after-use drying; as a by-product it also makes the boot waterproof. GORE-TEX® liners also help a leather boot to dry out during general wear, providing a barrier to sweat, and also providing a ‘back-up’ for the waterproofing qualities provided by the treatment of the leather should this wear down. 

In fabric boots GORE-TEX® liners are used in order to make the boot or shoe waterproof as outer fabrics usually have little to no water resistance. GORE-TEX® linings can lose their waterproof and breathable capabilities either if the boot becomes waterlogged following prolonged use in wet terrain.

GORE-TEX® and DWR

GORE-TEX® designed for use in the outdoors is also coated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) at the final stage of manufacturing. A DWR treatment is used to keep the breathable pore based fabric of GORE-TEX® free from beads of moisture and rain, allowing them to fall away.

DWR typically has a shorter life span, and retreatment is necessary.

Whilst the GORE-TEX® pore construction is still working, you may notice leaks and seeping of moisture. If your GORE-TEX® garment doesn’t seem to be in as good of a condition as it once was, you need to retreat the item in order to increase its water repellency.

 

Treatment To Enhance GORE-TEX®

To re-treat a GORE-TEX® product, simply wash it and then apply a reproofer, which can be a wash-in or spray-on water repellent. Granger’s Extreme Wash-In contains a flouro-chemical and is water-based and is the GO Outdoors recommended product for all GORE-TEX® products.

This coating should be applied ‘little and often’ after the initial breakdown of the DWR coating. 

After the treatment has been applied, apply your GORE-TEX® wear to a heat source (eg. an iron) which will encourage the activation of the water repellent properties.