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Waterproof Jackets

6 of the Best Gore-Tex Alternatives 2016/17

We take a look at six waterproof jackets made with alternatives to Gore-Tex fabrics.

Gore-Tex isn’t the only fabric in the waterproof jacket universe, there are plenty of different materials and technologies out there. Many of them do a great job and are well worth considering as an alternative to the ‘Big G’ if you’re looking for a new shell jacket.

So, to give you an idea of what else is available, we’ve taken a look at six waterproof jackets that are constructed with non Gore-Tex fabrics

If you’d like a little more info on any of the fabrics you can check out our waterproof jackets buyer’s guide where you can also find tips and advice on purchasing a new jacket.

Paramo Alta III Jacket (using Nikwax Analogy Waterproof)

The Alta III jacket is the brand’s latest all-round hill walking and mountaineering jacket made from its own distinctive fabric system, that’s protective, soft and highly breathable too. It’s ideal for damp, cold, British winter conditions.

Magic Plus: It works brilliantly in classic cold and damp UK winter climates like the Scottish highlands.

The Alta III, like all the brand’s waterproofs, is manufactured using Nikwax Analogy Waterproof technology, which is radically different from most other fabrics.

It works differently from conventional membrane fabrics by giving excellent humidity management when things get hot and sweaty using the Nikwax Analogy’s directional moisture control qualities.

The downside  is that it’s significantly heavier than more conventional waterproof fabrics like Gore-Tex and not everyone likes the Paramo look.

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Jöttnar Asmund Jacket (using Polartec NeoShell)

The British – yes really – brand’s lightweight mountaineering shell, the Asmund jacket is designed for strenuous mountain activity with high levels of breathability, but without weighing you down. It’s a great choice for fast and sweaty mountain use.

Magic Plus: Probably the most breathable waterproof fabric out there. Ideal if you run hot.

It uses Polartex NeoShell, arguably the most breathable fully waterproof fabric available, which is fully vapour permeable, allowing moisture to pass freely outwards in steam form but keeping rain, wind and snow out.

The idea is that you don’t get wet from the inside or outside. The fabric’s available in a spread of weights, but Jöttnar has chosen the lightest available version to keep the Asmund’s weight as low as possible.

 

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Rab Muztag Jacket (using eVent)

The first of two products from Rab in this non Gore-Tex feature, the Muztag jacket is a lightweight climbing / hill walking jacket aimed at combining protection with high levels of  breathability on the move. It’s a fully featured mountaineering jacket, but not as outright durable as shells made with heavier fabrics.

Magic Plus: eVent uses a similar technology to Gore-Tex, but in subtly different way to give super-competitive breathability.

The waterproof fabric brand eVent has three technologies and the Muztag uses the DVStorm intended for ‘moderate weather climates and intense activities’.

It uses a similar membrane technology to Gore-Tex but with important differences that mean historically it was more breathable, keeping comfort levels higher when the going got hot.

The downside is that eVent needs regular cleaning to keep it working at its best, so be prepared to invest some time and money in maintenance.

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Rab Flashpoint Jacket (using Pertex Shield+)

Previously featured in our best light waterproof jackets and best waterproof cycling jackets round-ups, it’s no wonder that Rab’s lightest ever waterprooof shell also made it into our list of 2015’s best gear. It’s intended as a jacket that’s light enough to carry with you, but still capable of giving full protection when needed.

Magic Plus: Very, very light, but also deceptively tough and impressively breathable with a proper hood and adjustments.

One of the main reasons why we think the Flashpoint is so special is its use of the super lightweight, breathable Pertex Shield+ 3-layer fabric, which makes the jacket one of the lightest full shells on the market at under 200g.

How does the fabric technology work? It’s a sandwich of an ultra-lightweight, but still tough outer fabric, a PU middle-layer in the middle and an ultra lightweight inner face fabric.

The PU keeps water out, but pumps moisture vapour away from your body keeping you impressively comfortable even when working hard.

It’s so lightweight for a 3-layer waterproof shell that you’d have reservations over its durability, but so far our long-term test jacket has stood the test of time impressively.

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Dannah Alpine Jacket (using Porelle Dry)

New UK mountain gear start-up,  Dannah has set out to make versatile products that work well in UK conditions. The brand’s inaugural Alpine Jacket is intended – despite the name – to do just that and be suitable for anything from mountaineering and hill-walking though to paddling.

Magic Plus: Modern, high-tech, PU-based fabrics are right up there in performance terms and this has been carefully chosen.

Richard Dannah is bucking the fabric trend by using Porelle Dry technology a microporous polyurethane membrane, which – as per usual – lets the sweat out, but keeps rain and wind at bay.

Dannah chose the fabric for its consistent and long-lasting performance and ability to be ‘cooling when you are active and warm when you are at rest’.

Dannah is an outdoors performance sportswear designer with 20 years experience, who wanted to produce garments that would not only perform well, but last too. Good stuff.

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Columbia OutDry Ex Diamond Jacket (using OutDry Extreme)

The Columbia’s OutDry Extreme series may have a distinct sou-wester vibe going on, but tastes vary and, let’s be honest, a mountain waterproof jacket’s main function is to keep you dry and comfortable. Looks are secondary.

Magic Plus: OutDry Extreme needs no reproofing and gives consistent, all-day performance.

And while, the Ex Diamond might not be conventionally beautiful, the OutDry Extreme technology it uses is revolutionary.

It was the first breathable waterproof jacket to move the waterproof layer to the outside, rather than sitting in the middle of a laminated sandwich, hence the distinctive, slightly rubbery looks.

Why? Whereas the outer fabric on conventional waterproof fabric can eventually soak up water and stop your fabric from breathing, that never happens with OutDry Extreme, so no matter how long you’re out for, performance remains consistent.

The unusual aesthetics may put some people off, but the technology and function have the potential to be a genuine game-changer and since the fabric launched, Gore-Tex has unveiled a similar, but lighter technology called PBS.

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