As Gore-Texâ€™s newest fabric, Gore-Tex Pro, hits the shops in earnest we give you the lowdown on what it us and why you’d want it.
Gore-Tex, a major player in outdoor clothing fabric, has been whispering (and now shouting) about their new Gore-Tex Pro membrane technology for a couple of years. Earlier this year, I was one of the first journalists to get my hands on a jacket made with a prototype of the new fabric and I have been testing it ever since.
In recent months, I have been sent a few of the branded jackets designed and made with the new Gore-Tex Pro fabric. There are more than 17 brands launching Gore-Tex Pro jackets right now. I will be testing some of these in due course, but if you know anything about Gore-Tex youâ€™ll be aware they carefully oversee all brands that make use of their products. There are strict guidelines on what brands can do with the fabric, including overall design, pockets, zips and uses.
What is Gore-Tex Pro?
Replacing the Gore-Tex Pro Shell, the Pro â€“ which was in the creation process for some five years â€“ claims to be just as waterproof (100%), more breathable (10 to 28% more) and even more durable. Indeed, it is the new high breathability technology that is the defining factor with Gore-Tex Pro because many waterproof products struggle to offer excellent waterproofing AND good breathability.
The key to this new membrane is its ability to keep rain out and allow body sweat to evaporate effectively from the skin and through the jacket fabric.
The claims from Gore-Tex are:
- Extremely rugged
- Extremely breathable
- Durably waterproof and windproof.
Getting to know Gore-Tex Pro
The first jacket I was given was made by Arcâ€™teryx. It wasnâ€™t branded as such but you could tell by the design that it is Arcâ€™teryx. The aim of this prototype was to give outdoors journalists the chance to test the Gore-Tex Pro fabric.
The material feels lighter to wear than the Pro Shell. Noticeably so. It is also more flexible and stretchy but still appears very hardwearing. The outer looks a bit like soft suede and I have had many favourable comments about the look and feel of the jacket.
This is a waterproof jacket for keen walkers and mountaineers in autumn and winter conditions. It would also be a good choice for skiers, ski mountaineers and possibly climbers, although the Gore-Tex Active Shell might be a better choice depending on the conditions. See my Gore-Tex Active Shell review.
The Gore-Tex review jacket
Arcâ€™teryx designed a basic womenâ€™s jacket, tailored to fit the bumps and curves of the female physique. I have worn the jacket in a range of conditions including very wet and cold, very wet and a bit warmer, dry and warm and snowy. I have mostly walked Scottish hills and mountains and also popped the jacket on for a few snowball fights and sledging outings when the snow came.
I can report that the jacket is brilliantly waterproof and windproof and also copes well with high activity sweating. I wear lots of breathable baselayers under my waterproof jackets and this means that sweat can vapourise from my skin to the outside. The Gore-Tex Pro offered excellent breathability.
I found that there was no need to change my baselayer when stopping for a break on day-long mountain walks (normally I do so to prevent my body temperature dropping with the chill of damp baselayers).
While a good, snug fit, the slight stretch in the fabric allowed for excellent freedom of movement.
The Gore-Tex Pro is the most expensive fabric in the Gore-Tex range and itâ€™s suggested that such jackets will be 10 to 20% more expensive than the previous Gore-Tex Pro Shell. These are investment jackets made from a longer-lasting quality fabric.
Brands launch Gore-Tex Pro
As promised, the Gore-Tex Pro fabric has been offered to clothing brands to create and sell new jackets for this autumn/winter ranges. Look out for up to 20 different brands using Gore-Tex Pro in shops and on-line stores and check back for our reviews of several new Gore-Tex Pro jackets.