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What is Gore-Tex and How Does it Work?

Why should I buy a GORE-TEX ski jacket when I go to extreme environments? Why do you need a pair of GORE-TEX sneakers when you walk in water? Why are the products with GORE-TEX so expensive? What are we pursuing in the pursuit of GORE-TEX? With this series of questions, today we will talk about the GORE-TEX thing.

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What is gore-tex?

Gore-tex film has 1.4 billion micro-pores, which are 20,000 times smaller than water droplets, but 700 times larger than water vapor, so that water cannot pass through, but can maintain good breathability and heat dissipation properties.

How was gore-tex created?

GORE-TEX fabric is a light, thin, strong and durable film invented and produced exclusively by W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. in the U.S. It is waterproof, breathable and windproof, breaking through the shortcomings of general waterproof fabrics that cannot breathe, so it is known as the “cloth of the century”. GORE-TEX fabric is not only widely used in aerospace, military and medical fields, but also used by the world’s top brands to make a variety of casual clothing series, which is ranked as one of the best 100 American products in the world by Fortune magazine and highly respected.

Why is gore-tex breathable?

When you sweat, your body produces water vapor, and the gas molecules in water vapor are able to move freely in and out of gore-tex. By evaporating and expelling the water vapor from your body, you are able to prevent the accumulation of water vapor in your clothes, which can lead to the soaking of the warm layer.

Is gore-tex waterproof? 

Technically speaking, Gore-Tex is “waterproof”. However, in reality, no material is capable of accomplishing waterproofing given enough time and under the right conditions. If moisture is allowed to remain on the outer layer for any length of time, the membrane will lose its waterproof and breathable properties. Typically, to prevent this from happening, Gore-Tex jackets or boots must be coated with a waterproof material, typically DWR, which prevents water from soaking into the outer material and pooling on top of the inner membrane. DWR wears out with use, so it must be reapplied frequently.

What is gore-tex used for?  

GORE-TEX fabric has a wide range of uses and is synonymous with almost all outdoor products. Most brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, and Arc’teryx use this technology to make their outdoor products lighter and achieve higher performance. Includes trench coats, casual wear, pants, hats, gloves and shoes, and more. Clothes made of GORE-TEX fabric are suitable for various activities, whether it is traveling, hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, golfing, skiing, etc.

How does it work?

Gore-Tex is polytetrafluoroethylene, a plastic resin. These materials are very common and can be found everywhere around us. Gore-Tex has a reputation for “keeping you dry” and is waterproof and windproof. The amount of sweat in the human body is so small that when we start to sweat, water vapor can pass through the membrane, keeping it breathable and comfortable. To manufacture Gore-Tex products, Gore-Tex film is often used as a laminate between the liner and the outer textile layer, and this process can be done in different layered configurations: usually 2-layer construction, 3-layer construction, and Z-Liner construction which can also be called 2.5-layer construction.

The 2-layer Gore-Tex film is laminated to the outer textile layer, which can be lined with an insulating material.

The 3-layer structure Gore-Tex film is laminated between the outer textile and the lining, which makes this structure more durable and ideal for soft-shell jackets.

The 2.5-layer structure is similar to the 3-layer structure, but it uses an extremely lightweight textile for the outer layer, which is usually suitable for more complex winter outerwear.

Advantages of gore-tex

Gore-Tex membrane fabrics offer many other advantages over traditional waterproof fabrics.

Lightweight – Combined with the right fabric, GORE-TEX membranes can finally be made into lightweight gear, and Gore-Tex is significantly lighter than other materials. The film is compact and can be quickly rolled up and put in a backpack!

Durable – A well-cared-for Gore-Tex product will last for years. The film is bonded to other materials to create a very durable garment. Garments perform well in the harshest conditions, even salt water won’t affect the membrane.

Waterproof – GORE-TEX membrane pores are 20,000 times smaller than water droplets, making the membrane completely waterproof. This ensures that the body and feet stay dry, even when it snows or pours with rain.

Breathable – GORE-TEX pores are also 700 times larger than water vapor molecules, which allows sweat to escape through clothing, especially during strenuous exercise. It is really comfortable to wear clothes made of this special film, because this film allows the body’s sweat vapor to escape into the atmosphere. In order for it to work perfectly, it is important to wear the right clothes underneath. Wearing natural fibers is essential. The best breathable one recognized by most outdoor enthusiasts is a lightweight sweater made of merino wool.

Disadvantages of gore-tex

Expensive – Most gear that uses Gore-Tex technology, whether it is a branded product or not, is usually more expensive.

Maintenance – Equipment that uses Gore-Tex technology requires regular maintenance because its performance will degrade over time, inhibiting the breathability of your equipment.

Do you need it for skiing?

If you are going to be skiing on the slopes, then it will definitely cause you to sweat a lot as well as you will be in a hostile environment for a long time. Choosing a Gore-Tex fabric is an essential decision; this fabric is virtually waterproof, breathable, and strong enough to easily use the harsh conditions that come with skiing.

But if you’re at a ski resort on a sunny day and don’t sweat much, you can also skip the Gore-Tex fabric to keep you dry.

How to wash gore-tex

We wear ski jackets to go skiing and usually a full day of skiing results in a dirty shell and possibly sweaty smell that we need to wash. The gore-tex fabric is quite special, pay attention to the following points:

1. Wash separately to avoid being scratched by sharp objects.

2. Wash with warm water.

3. Only a small amount of detergent is needed, do not add detergent.

4. Use low-speed washing mode to reduce wrinkles.

Final Thoughts

I believe you have a preliminary understanding of GORE-TEX film, but also a better understanding of how to choose their own outdoor equipment, after all, outdoor sports when choosing equipment is quite a torturous thing, choose the right equipment for yourself, so you can be more comfortable to enjoy the beauty of the mountains is also very important!

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What are the disadvantages of using Gore-Tex?

GORE-TEX has the disadvantage that, in order to remain waterproof, it must be kept clean—and cleaned correctly. As sweat from your body seeps through the fabric over time, it can lead to a buildup of surfactants (chemicals that resemble detergents), which lessens the waterproofing’s efficiency.

How long does Gore-Tex stay waterproof?

If you take good care of your Gore-Tex apparel, it should continue to be waterproof for three to five years. If you store it carefully and don’t wear it that much, it should easily last 10 years or longer. Of course, friction and heat can hasten the DWR’s demise under regular vigorous use.

Is Gore-Tex good for hot weather?

To prevent overheating, Gore-Tex is a highly breathable, waterproof textile. They are a little less breathable because of the Gore-tex lining (thus a little warmer). I continue to wear them year-round since waterproofing is more crucial than being fashionable if you are going on any long walks that require dry feet.

Why does Gore-Tex leak?

After only a few minutes in the rain, if you discover a lot of wetness inside your GORE-TEX coat, you could have a leak or a more serious issue. A faulty seam, a fabric issue, or harm to the clothing are examples of potential reasons.

Is GORE-TEX for cold weather?

Gloves and shoes may now be warmer while being lighter thanks to GORE-TEX THERMIUM® product technology. A waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX membrane is paired with improved insulation technologies to provide cold climate comfort in a variety of weather situations.

Does salt water damage Gore Tex?

GORE-TEX fabric is impervious to contamination, pore clogging, decreased breathability, alteration, and damage from salt water. So set sail, paddle, and cruise with assurance! Since salt is a desiccant, it will draw moisture to it and hide the garment’s DWR.

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