How Does WeatherWool Fabric Compare to Gore-Tex®?
Really well. If we thought otherwise, we would not be doing this!
This page needs more work, but the essence is here now.
Gore-Tex claims to be windproof, waterproof and breathable ... really, that is what it is all about ... Gore-Tex does not make any claims about warmth, fire resistance, toughness, etc. (We have a separate page, Testing Outerwear, that discusses the many aspects of evaluating outerwear.) Windproof and waterproof it may be ... those are easy ... add in breathable, tho ... and then you'd really have something! But so far, in the opinion of myself and many others, the combination of the three does not exist. That is, lots of people who have plenty of experience with Gore-Tex, including me, do not believe it breathes in any meaningful way. Which means you get unduly sweaty on the inside. Outerwear made for active use absolutely must breathe, and sorry, any Gore-Tex I've ever worn does not breathe. And the sweat condensing inside the Gore-Tex can be a really big problem on a cold day.
Another problem with Gore-Tex ... the supposed breathability of Gore-Tex is created by the affinity of the outer layer for moisture, which ideally would pull vapor from the inside to the outside because it attracts moisture. So ... what happens if you are strolling around on a chilly, misty day. Or a day with light rain. Or a day when it has stopped raining and all the trees and bushes are drippy. The Gore-Tex is busy sucking up all the water it can and that water sits on the outside of the jacket, draining heat out of the person wearing the wet Gore-Tex. Wool is far, far better behaved.
There is a LOT of material readily available on the web that is interesting ... Wikipedia, an absolutely wonderful resource in my opinion, has pages on Gore-Tex and breathability The Gore-Tex page opens with the statement that Gore-Tex is waterproof and breathable. And the breathability page talks about various lab tests. But the test that counts is on your back in tough conditions ... and THAT is the test we want to take!
On the days when you truly need something completely waterproof and/or windproof, pure storm shells are easy to slip on, and easily packed.
Something else that is important to a lot of people, although not related to performance, is origin, environmental impact, sustainability. Gore-Tex is produced from petrochemicals.
11 December 2018