Ask someone to name a fabric for outdoor clothing, and chances are they'll answer you with the words "Gore-Tex." Gore-Tex are well known around the world, and with good reason. Their range of high tech fabrics have been keeping adventurers, mountaineers, skiers, snowboarders, trail runners, hikers, and cyclists dry for so long now that it's difficult to imagine a time when literally nobody on Earth went off on adventures in a Gore-Tex jacket.
To help you distinguish between the different Gore-Tex fabrics, we've compiled together this collection of six Gore-Tex jackets. Each of them has been constructed from a different Gore-Tex technology range, and to help you make sense of that we'll be providing you with an explanation of the science behind each and the benefits it produces. Because, let's face it, the last thing you want is to wear the wrong Gore-Tex jacket for the occasion.
Gore-Tex // Berghaus Thunder Men's Waterproof
For a no-frills, no-nonsense, Gore-Tex waterproof look no further than the Berghaus Thunder. Made of your standard Gore-Tex, this product does exactly what you'd expect it to. It's waterproof, it's windproof, and it's breathable. Functionality is the order of the day here. Sure it's not going to blow your mind with what it does, but it will reliably do everything that's expected of it.
If you're looking for a good waterproof jacket that will protect you from the elements for less than £200, look no further than this one right here. The 2-Layer Gore-Tex fabrics, like the one used on the Thunder, are a versatile solution in that they offer the wearer comfort and protection. Perfect for an outdoorsy life.
Gore-Tex Pro // Arc'teryx Men's Alpha SV Waterproof
For the big time mountaineers, who are all about the big time, there's Gore-Tex Pro fabric. The Gore-Tex Pro technology isn't for people who's main experience of outdoor activities is walking the dog down at the park, or occasionally going for a low-octane hike. Instead, it's for the people who live their lives on the outer boundaries of adventuring. So if you're having a pop at the Himalayan mountains anytime soon, you should definitely think about getting some Gore-Tex Pro in your life.
The Arc'teryx Men's Alpha SV Gore-Tex Pro Waterproof, as the name suggests, uses Gore-Tex Pro in its construction. And, quite frankly, it's one hell of a good jacket. It's definitely not cheap, it's by Arc'teryx after all, but then if you're a hardcore mountaineer it's not really about doing things on the cheap is it? This thing is helmet compatible, and has some removable Hemlock inserts to keep the jacket in position when it's worn underneath a climbing harness (which should give you an indication of what sort of person this product has been made for).
Products made with 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro are incredibly durable, waterproof, and windproof. They're also extremely breathable. The ingenious construction of such garments will keep your body dry by reducing sweat during full-on physical activities. In a nutshell, you'll be kept cool during aerobic activities and warm during the cool-down. Mountaineers, back country skiers and snowboarders, mountain guides, and serious outdoor enthusiasts of course need to know that the jacket they're wearing is capable of withstanding abrasion in brutal, rugged, environments. 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro products will have you covered for that, and so much more.
Gore-Tex Active // Mammut Segnas Advanced Jacket
Gore-Tex Active is the perfect fabric for highly aerobic, done-in-one-day, activities. Durable, so as to be capable of handling the stresses and strain of a physical lifestyle, as well as being both waterproof and windproof; this technology ticks a lot of boxes. However, it's in the area of breathability where it really takes things up a notch. Put simply, Gore-Tex Active is to breathability in outdoor wear what FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi is to football.
Features of the Mammut Segnas Advanced, which utilises Gore-Tex Active 3-Layer, include reinforcements on the shoulder area, backpack and climbing harness compatible pockets (zip-up), helmet-compatible hood with a reinforced shield, and a snow skirt that's both detachable and stretchable. Getting straight to the point, this is a cracking climbing jacket for people passionate about mountaineering.
Gore-Tex C-Knit // Salewa Antelao Herren Jacket
Gore-Tex with C-Knit takes some of the hardcore elements of the more extreme Gore-Tex fabrics such as Pro, and blends it together with the far less intimidating standard Gore-Tex. Like the Thunder from Berghaus, Salewa's Antelao Gore-Tex C-Knit Herren is constructed from a 2-Layer Gore-Tex. The big difference though, and the thing that sets Salewa's product apart, is the inclusion of C-Knit backer technology.
C-Knit backer technology increases breathability by about 15%, meaning the products that use it are comfortable even when worn for physically demanding outdoor activities such as all mountain skiing, snowboarding, freeriding, hiking and trekking. It also adds additional durability to the product without increasing the bulk of it. If you're looking for a halfway house between 2-Layer Gore-Tex and 3-Layer Gore-Tex Pro fabrics, consider C-Knit in the form of this first class waterproof jacket by Salewa.
Gore-Tex Paclite // The North Face M Blue Ridge
For a decent lightweight four-season jacket that offers a good standard of water protection, you might want to consider a product that utilises Gore-Tex's Paclite technology. Products like The North Face M Blue Ridge Paclite Jacket, for example.
The jacket is extremely compressible, making it perfect for easy packing and travelling about with. It's a very versatile mountain shell, designed to be used in alpine conditions 365 days a year. Features like the ventilated hand pockets provide a good storage option and increase the air flow; thus eliminating the need for pit zips. It's waterproof, breathable, seam sealed and a great example of a Paclite jacket.
Gore-Tex Active With PBS // One Gore-Tex Active Jacket
Like a jacket from a science fiction movie, the One Gore-Tex Active is seriously futuristic waterproof jacket. Made with the latest Gore-Tex Shakedry technology, if you've heard anything about Gore-Tex Active with PBS (Permanent Beading Surface) you'll know why this product is such a big deal.
The revolutionary membrane on this thing, with its long lasting water and windproof attributes, as well as the construction behind means it's the lightest and most breathable bit of Gore-Tex kit out there.
If you're into running or cycling in a seriously big way, and will do strenuous activities such as these no matter what the conditions around you are doing, these purpose-made running jackets and cycling jackets, have been made with you at the forefront of its thinking. The rain might knock on the door, so to speak, but with this on your torso there's no way it's getting in.