GORE-TEX Vs eVent Waterproof Material Comparison
When you’re embarking on any kind of outdoor adventure (particularly in places where it rains more than half of the year), the first thing anyone says to you is “Make sure you get a good waterproof!” It sounds simple but what actually makes a waterproof “good”? Even heading to your local outdoor shop, you’re faced with a wall of waterproofs made from a range of waterproofing materials—so how do you know which is best? Does it come down to two main contenders – GORE-TEX Vs eVent, or something else entirely?
In this guide, we’ll explain the difference between these waterproofing materials and help you discover which is best for your outdoor needs. So buckle—or should I say—zip up!
Why invest in a good waterproof jacket?
The first and perhaps the most obvious question you might have is why bother with a decent waterproof at all? It can be tempting to think that one of those cheap mac-in-a-bag’s will provide all the rain protection you might need. But without high-performance materials and reinforced construction, water will soon find a way in.
Check out our MEGA LIST of the 33 best waterproof jackets for hiking
No matter how many warm clothes and layers you have on—if they get wet, they’ll stay wet. Not only will they chafe against your skin and feel uncomfortable, your body will also start to lose heat very quickly. None of this makes for good adventuring. With a good waterproof jacket, you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain, and in fact, you might even start looking forward to it!
What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant jackets?
Silly question, right? No actually! There are water-resistant jackets, also known as “showerproof” or “rain jackets”. There’s also fully waterproof jackets, also known as “hard shell” or “laminates”.
A water-resistant jacket has a waterproof treating applied to the fabric, while a waterproof jacket is made from a waterproof material with sealed seams. So in simple terms, a waterproof jacket will keep you drier for longer than a water-resistant jacket.
Fully waterproof jackets contain “laminate”: a membrane made from two or three layers of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, plus polyurethane (PU) and polyester films. The outer layer of the fabric is coated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. Well-known laminates include GORE-TEX® and eVent® but there are plenty of other options from independent brands.
What is GORE-TEX® fabric?
GORE-TEX is a household name since they created their first breathable waterproof in 1978, but you’d be forgiven for not knowing what it actually is. In technical terms, it’s a membrane with 9 million microscopic pores per square inch. Each pore is an unimaginable 20 thousand times smaller than a drop of water, but 700 times bigger than a moisture vapor molecule. In simple terms, this means water can’t get in, but heat can get out—making the jacket breathable. There is also a handy PU layer applied, which repels oil, grease, and dirt.
What is eVent® fabric?
Like GORE-TEX® and other laminates, eVent is a waterproof membrane that consists of millions of pores to prevent water from entering. But in eVent® fabrics, there is no PU layer, and their patented Direct Venting™ technology enables sweat to escape through the fabric directly.
What is the difference?
The main difference between GORE-TEX Vs eVent waterproof and breathable properties is the makeup of the layers of fabric.
In GORE-TEX®, the PU layer is solid to prevent oil and dirt from entering, but this means that sweat has to be removed in two steps: first, the sweat modules adhere to the PU film and then they diffuse through the fabric slowly. This makes GORE-TEX® jackets warmer and slightly less breathable, but the PU layer means in-built protection from oil and other mucky substances. This makes GORE-TEX® durable and hardy.
In eVent®, the sweat is removed in just one step as there is no solid PU layer to contend with. This makes eVent® more breathable and quicker drying than GORE-TEX®. It also means you lose body heat quicker in cold conditions. Although eVent® products do contain an oil-resisting coating, the lack of a solid PU layer means you may need to wash and re-waterproof your eVent® jacket every 4-6 months.
Both materials are 100% waterproof, so it’s worth noting that neither are perfect in terms of breathability.
What other options are there?
GORE-TEX® and eVent® are by no means the only players at the table, despite being the big dogs in the industry. There’s also a plethora of other waterproof materials by most of the reputable brands that choose not to choose not to use Goretex or eVent. Here are some of the other waterproof materials which we will be reviewing in more detail in the future:
- Pertex Sheild+
- Polartec’s NeoShell
- Nikwax Analogy used by Paramo
- Mountain Hardwear’s Dry.Q
- Patagonia’s H2No
- North Face’s DryVent
- and the list goes on…
These jackets follow similar approaches to Gore-Tex vs eVent and are also laminate hard shells, though many of them make the claim of being more breathable than GORE-TEX®. This remains to be seen as most of them are yet to undergo our field testing. Look out for related articles in the future – subscribe.
GORE-TEX Vs eVent – Final thoughts
With many waterproof jackets being made from two main materials – GORE-TEX and eVent – it is a common question to ask, ” which is better, GORE-TEX or eVent?”. Well, as always, I cannot give a straight A or B answer. They are two different materials that have different strengths and weaknesses. Instead, I will explain which materials I would use in some four broad categories.
Lightweight and Packable – Garments made with GORE-TEX PACLITE® material are incredibly lightweight and compact. They are totally waterproof and windproof but can pack into a stuff sack the size of a pair of hiking socks. Perfect for backpacking, hiking, cycling and other sports where weight and space are important factors. Some examples of GORE-TEX Paclite jackets.
Maximum Waterproofness – If you are serious about being outdoors in all weather then you need something that is going to keep you dry. It is worth investing in a decent GORE-TEX Pro hard shell jacket which is going to give you the best protection against driving rain. Some examples of GORE-TEX Pro shell jackets.
Rugged Activities – Again the GORE-TEX Pro range offers great durability with high performance 3 layer material. You can also get a cheaper version that still uses a GORE-TEX 3 layer construction as well as eVent hard shells being very tough, if fractionally heavier. Some examples of GORE-TEX Pro hard shell jackets.
Maximum Breathability – As we mentioned earlier in the article, eVent offers some of the best breathability for waterproof jackets because of the way it allows moisture to disperse through the micropores. The eVent DV Lite range by Rab offer the only fully waterproof but wind permeable jackets on the market which are also ridiculously lightweight..
Over time I plan on looking deeper into all the different waterproof materials in the outdoor industry and passing my findings onto my readers. Thanks for reading our GORE-TEX Vs eVent Waterproof Material Comparison – Subscribe for more posts like this.