Last Updated on 05/02/2024
In this guide to the best gore-tex pro jacket, we share the most elite class of waterproof protection reserved for professionals and the world’s most extreme weather conditions. You will learn why Gore-Tex Pro is considered to be the best material for hardshell jackets and whether they are worth the money.
What makes Gore-Tex Pro so good for waterproof jackets? It isn’t just the fact that it is one of the most waterproof, lightweight, and durable materials there is; it’s the fact that it’s so breathable compared to other types of waterproof fabrics.
We started with over 20 different Gore-Tex Pro jackets and whittled that down to the seven we think are the best and reviewed them below
7 Best Gore-Tex Pro Jackets
Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket
The Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket is one of the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets in the world for hiking and outdoor pursuits—the Rolls-Royce of waterproof jackets. Unfortunately, the price tag makes it unaffordable for the average Joe, but if you want a Gore-Tex Pro jacket that is engineered in every way possible to keep you dry and comfortable, this is it.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: The Alpha SV Jacket is the most durable and rugged hard shell that Arc’teryx makes, and there are more than a few to compete against. It is made with a durable, 100-denier, 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro material that has a 28,000+ mm hydrostatic head and a breathability rating of 25,000 grams of water vapor per 24 hours.
COMFORT & FIT: The Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket feels like it is tailored to perfection with an ergonomic design that moves with your body. You will notice things like when you lift your arms up, the back of the jacket stays where it is, and the sleeves don’t ride up your arms. Or how the hood tracks the direction of your head, so you never have an obstructed view, and it keeps the rain out of your eyes with the laminated brim.
FEATURES: The technical features of this jacket are kind of mind-blowing. The zips alone use three different types for the pockets, front zip, and underpit zips – and that’s just the zips.
Other features include RECCO reflectors, custom TPU zipper pulls, and a variety of pockets. It is also compatible with Arc’teryx’s zip-in liners for added warmth. Overall, it is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a high-performance hardshell jacket that provides ultimate durability, weather protection, comfort, and features.
VERDICT: The Arc’teryx Alpha SV Jacket is highly technical and one of the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets that money can buy. It is also one of the most expensive, which will put most people off, but for anyone who spends half their life outdoors, it is more of an investment. Is it worth the extra money? I’m not entirely convinced, but there is no denying its performance and design are next level.VIEW ON REI
Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket
The Mountain Equipment Lhotse is a multi-award-winning Gore-Tex Pro jacket designed for mountaineering and alpine climbing. It’s what I put on when I know it is going to be raining all day, and it is considered to be one of the most waterproof lightweight jackets in the world. The Lhotse Jacket is suitable for year-round use as a rain/snow/wind outer layer.
One thing I will say is that because this jacket is designed for extreme alpine conditions, clinging to rock faces etc, durability has taken precedence over being an everyday wearer. In particular, the material is quite noisy and even crinkly when you move – not good for hunters or hikers who swing their arms a lot.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: The Lhotse Jacket is one of the most waterproof and protective jackets on the market. The GORE-TEX Pro Shell 3-Layer fabric is thin but as tough as they come, making it perfect for active use in extreme weather conditions. This jacket is designed to withstand the toughest alpine environments (like vertical rock faces) and will keep you dry no matter what.
COMFORT & FIT: The Mountain Equipment Lhotse Jacket is designed to be very adjustable, but the fit is fairly athletic, so maybe order a size up if you have a big chest, beer belly, or wide shoulders. The adjustable cuffs, hem, and hood ensure a perfect fit when you order the correct size, and the jacket is designed to move with you, providing maximum comfort and flexibility as you climb.
FEATURES: The Lhotse jacket features a helmet-compatible hood, which makes it great for climbing, skiing, and mountaineering. The adjustable cuffs, hem, and hood ensure a perfect fit, and the jacket is designed with plenty of pockets for storage. The Lhotse Jacket is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-performance hardshell jacket that is built to last.
VERDICT: I highly recommend the Lhotse for hikers, mountain climbers, and anyone else who wants the best waterproofing, toughest durability, and most lightweight jacket. If you want a jacket you can wear every day to the shops and things, then this might be a little OTT, but if you put staying dry as your number one priority, then this might be for you.VIEW ON REI
Mammut Nordwand Pro HS Jacket
The Mammut Nordwand Pro HS Jacket is designed for the most extreme alpine expeditions and has been used by professionals while climbing peaks like Eiger, Matterhorn, or Grand Jorasses. The first version of this jacket was developed in 1995 and has been improved many times over the years, leading to what is now considered one of the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets for mountaineering.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: The Nordwand Pro HS is made from a 70D Gore-Tex Pro-face fabric that is both tough and flexible. The 3-layer Goret-Tex Pro material provides a 28,000mm HH rating and comes with a guarantee to keep you dry as well as protect you from freezing cold winds, snow, and abrasions. High breathability and underarm vents also mean you don’t get wet from the inside either by allowing moisture to escape and air to circulate when needed.
COMFORT & FIT: The way this jacket has evolved into this latest version is with the help of the world’s most extreme athletes and explorers. Early on, when the Nordwand jacket was worn on an expedition, slight improvements were made to things like leave length, hood size, pocket height, torso width, and so on until there was nothing left to improve.
This has resulted in a Gore-Tex Pro jacket that fits like a glove and moves with your body even when stretching your arms to capacity. The material is somewhat stretchy and very flexible, meaning it’s less crinkly than, say, the Mountain Equipment Lhotse.
FEATURES: Because its intended use is for climbing and alpine hiking, the features are fairly minimal but well planned out. For example, the pockets are situated at the correct height to allow access with a hiking backpack or a climbing harness.
The jacket features a removable internal powder skirt, which makes it great for skiing. The adjustable cuffs, hem, and hood ensure a perfect fit, and the jacket is designed with plenty of pockets for storage. The Nordwand Pro HS jacket is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a Gore-Tex Pro hardshell jacket with minimal features but technical pockets.
VERDICT: The Mammut Nordwand Pro HS material feels very durable but also stretchy and very comfortable. The underarm pit-zips are massive and allow you to cool down very quickly and control the airflow inside the jacket. The only thing I don’t like is the big branding on the back; the more I pay, the smaller I expect the logos to be.VIEW ON BACKCOUNTRY
Mountain Hardwear Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket
The Mountain Hardwear Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket is a high-performance hardshell jacket designed for winter adventures as well as alpine climbing. This jacket is made with GORE-TEX Pro Shell 3-Layer fabric, which provides excellent weather protection and breathability; however, it doesn’t have pit zips which is a shame for hiking. The Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT is suitable for year-round use as a rain/snow/wind outer layer.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: The Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket is built to last and can withstand the harshest weather conditions. This is the most rugged Gore-Tex Pro hardshell that Mountain Hardwear makes and is built for whatever gets thrown at it. This jacket is also available in a Gore-Tex Paclite model, which is lighter and much thinner but nowhere near as waterproof or breathable.
COMFORT & FIT: The Mountain Hardwear Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket has a shorter torso length than the Mammut Nordwand, and so it might not be the best option for tall and thin people. The jacket is built with an ergonomic fit, which means it is not too tight or too loose and stays put even when you stretch your arms out.
The adjustable cuffs, hem, and hood ensure a perfect fit, and the jacket is designed to move with you, providing maximum comfort and flexibility. The large pockets have a mesh lining that doubles as vents, but the lack of underarm ventilation means you can overheat quite quickly if you aren’t fast to strip off layers of clothing.
FEATURES: The Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket has some great features that make it one of the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets on the market. The jacket features a helmet-compatible hood, which makes it great for skiing and mountaineering. The adjustable cuffs, hem, and hood ensure a perfect fit, and the jacket is designed with plenty of pockets for storage.
VERDICT: The Exposure Gore-Tex Pro LT Jacket from Mountain Hardwear is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-performance hardshell jacket that is built to last. The torso is a little shorter than some other Gore-Terx Pro jackets, and there aren’t any pit zips for ventilation, but the price is very reasonable and is half off at the time of writing this.VIEW ON BACKCOUNTRY
Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Pro Lite Jacket
The Norrona Falketind Gore-Tex Pro Jacket impressed me with its durability, comfort, and functionality. Norrona is a fourth-generation family-run business that was founded in Norway in 1929 that has built a reputation for making the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets and outdoor gear in the world. Check out their story here.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: The Norrona Falketind jacket is available in two different weights that are identical in design apart from the thickness of the material and the reinforcements on the light. They both use Gore-Tex Pro. However, the Lite version uses 40D nylon with reinforced patches on the shoulders and sleeves instead of 70D nylon (which is used for the original). I think I prefer the Lite version simply because I already have plenty of other heavy-duty Gore-Tex Pro jackets already.
In terms of waterproofing, they are second to none. My cousin actually stood underneath a waterfall for 30 seconds to prove how good it was. Turns out the force of a waterfall is greater than the 28,000mm HH rating, and water did seep in very slightly where the zips are. Rest assured; this jacket will withstand heavy and sustained rain remarkably well.
COMFORT & FIT: Norrona has put considerable effort into optimizing the fit and comfort of the Falketind Pro Lite Jacket. The articulated design allows for unrestricted movement, making it a great choice for activities like climbing and skiing, where mobility is key. The adjustable cuffs, hem, and helmet-compatible hood enable you to fine-tune the fit according to your preferences, ensuring comfort and function are not compromised in any situation.
I especially like the cut of the sleeves, which encourages rain to bead and drip straight of instead of hanging around and collecting around the cuff. The height of the chin protector allows you to really hunker down in bad weather, while the storm hood ensures you keep the rain out of your eyes (even while wearing glasses).
FEATURES: The Falketind Pro Lite Jacket comes equipped with practical features that cater to the needs of the modern outdoors person. The two large chest pockets are easily accessible even while wearing a harness and are situated closer to the middle than other jackets, which makes accessing them with the alternate hand as easy as can be. The downside to the easy access of being close to the zip is that they aren’t the best pockets for walking with your hands in your pockets.
Underarm ventilation zippers allow you to regulate your body temperature during high-exertion activities like hiking and climbing. The jacket also boasts a minimalist design with a focus on functionality and performance, making it an excellent option for those seeking a no-frills, high-performance shell.
VERDICT: If you are dedicated to wearing only the best Gore-Tex Pro shell jacket then you have to consider the Norrona Falketind. It costs a pretty penny, but you get what you pay for. For me, the only downside is that you don’t have any pockets for your hands to stay warm when you don’t have gloves on. Other than that, I think this is an elite option.VIEW ON BACKCOUNTRY
Outdoor Research Archangel Gore-Tex Pro Jacket
The Outdoor Research Archangel Gore-Tex Pro Jacket is a high-performance hardshell jacket designed with the help of climbing legend Graham Zimmerman for climbing the tallest mountains in the world. What makes this such an awesome raincoat for climbing is the stretchy upper back panel which gives you total freedom of movement with your arms without pulling around the pits or shoulders. So stretchy it makes a skinny guy like me want to flex in it.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: Built to withstand the harshest weather conditions you might experience at 20,000 feet up a mountain, it’s more than tough enough for things like hiking and other outdoor pursuits.
Made from GORE-TEX Pro 3L, 100% Nylon 70D nylon plain-weave face material with a GORE-TEX Pro Stretch 3, 90% Nylon 10% Polyurethane 40D Stretch Plainweave back panel. As with all Outdoor Research products, it is built to be used hard and last a long time.
COMFORT & FIT: The sizing is just right to fit a down or puffer jacket underneath without feeling baggy or loose anywhere. Everything is adjustable, from the cuffs and hem to the hood and visor, which ensures you can customize the fit to compensate for how many layers you have on underneath. The stretchy back panel is one of my favorite features, as it feels more comfortable than other options when flexing and stretching your arms.
FEATURES: The jacket features a helmet-compatible hood, which makes it great for skiing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. The jacket also features a removable powder skirt to keep snow out if you fall while skiing. Two large pockets on the outside sit at the right height for access while wearing a harness, and there is an internal chest pocket for valuables. I prefer when this is on the outside, but I suppose it does keep your valuables safer.
VERDICT: I really like the Outdoor Research Archangel Goretex Pro Jacket, as well as the bib you can get for your lower half. It is tough, stretchy, and just as waterproof as the other GTX Pro jackets in this guide, but I do think the stretchy back panel sets this apart from others for climbing and mountaineering.VIEW ON BACKCOUNTRY
Rab Latok Alpine Gore-Tex Pro Jacket
The Rab Latok Alpine Gore-Tex Pro is a British-made high-quality raincoat for climbing and hiking in very wet weather. The updated model has made a few changes, like a second chest pocket and a three-point adjustable hood. This tested as being one of the most breathable jackets for hiking, which means you can wear it all day long if you have to without having to keep taking it off to cool down.
DURABILITY & WEATHER PROTECTION: Constructed with GORE-TEX Pro fabric, the new Rab Latok Alpine Jacket provides outstanding durability while maintaining a lightweight profile. This advanced three-layer fabric offers superior waterproofing and breathability, ensuring you remain protected and comfortable even in the most extreme weather conditions. It would take a strong amount of force or a lot of heavy use to damage the material, which can handle being used on jagged rock faces when climbing.
COMFORT & FIT: All of Rab’s clothes have an excellent fit for an athletic figure. They just seem to get the proportions right every time. Articulated sleeves and a slightly longer back panel allow for unrestricted movement, making it an ideal choice for climbing, skiing, and other activities that require flexibility.
FEATURES: The Rab Latok Alpine Gore-Tex Pro Jacket features a helmet-compatible TriPoint Hood that can be fully adjusted at three points instead of the standard two. There are two fully venting pit zips as well as a two-way zip with a press stud at the bottom so you can really air it out as you are moving. The extended cuffs with hook and loop adjustment are great for ski gloves, and you get two internal pockets as well as the large chest pockets on the outside.
VERDICT: The new Rab Latok Alpine Gore-Tex Pro (updated late 2022) is incredibly lightweight and perfect for any kind of arduous rock climbing or long-distance hiking. A favorite feature of mine is that the hood can be adjusted in three places so that it keeps the rain and fabric out of your eyes, whichever way you turn your head. Rab is like the UK’s Patagonia and so quality is guaranteed.
What is the Difference Between Gore-Tex and Gore-Tex Pro
The main difference between Gore-Tex and Gore-Tex Pro is the number of fabric layers used, with Gore-Tex Pro having a full three-layer membrane that makes it more durable and suitable for extreme outdoor activities. Other types of Gore-Tex will most likely be a two or 2.5-layer membrane. Gore-Tex Pro uses a Micro-Grid backer fabric, which is more durable and breathable than the Polyurethane used in regular Gore-Tex.
Gore-Tex jackets are 100% waterproof and more than enough for most people. But when you really need your gear to hold up as your life depends on it, then Gore-Tex Pro is the one to get. Gore-Tex Pro jackets are more waterproof, breathable, and durable than regular Gore-Tex jackets. Find out if they are worth the extra money further down.
What is Better Than Gore-Tex Pro?
Gore-Tex Pro is considered one of the best waterproof and breathable fabrics on the market, but the closest competitors include:
- eVent: a waterproof and breathable fabric that offers excellent breathability and durability but can be heavy and stiff.
- Polartec NeoShell: a newer fabric that is highly breathable and stretchy, making it ideal for high-intensity activities, but it may not be as waterproof as Gore-Tex Pro.
- H2No: a proprietary fabric from Patagonia that offers excellent waterproofing and breathability but may not be as durable or breathable as Gore-Tex Pro.
Having tried pretty much all the different waterproof materials out there, I have come to the decision that Gore-Tex Pro is as good as it gets before you make the leap to fully waterproof but nonbreathable fishing gear.
How Waterproof Is GoreTex Pro?
Gore-Tex Pro is designed to be 100% waterproof with a hydrostatic head of 28,000mm (the highest in the industry), even in the most extreme conditions. The fabric is made up of a Gore-Tex membrane sandwiched between a durable face fabric and a protective backing. The membrane contains microscopic pores that make it impossible for water to get in but possible for moisture vapor to escape from the inside out.
How Breathable Is Gore-Tex Pro?
Gore-Tex Pro is designed to be highly breathable with a tested rating of 25,000 (g/m2/24 hours), allowing sweat to escape from the body and evaporate through the fabric. The fabric is made up of a combination of ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene) and nylon, with a special microstructure that allows air to flow through while keeping water out. In lamens terms, this is Gore-Tex’s most breathable membrane, which manages moisture on the inside very well.
Guide to Gore-Tex Pro Jackets
When buying the best Gore-Tex Pro jacket, there are several factors to consider:
Gore-Tex Pro jackets are made from a combination of ePTFE and nylon, with a range of face fabrics to choose from. These fabrics vary in weight, durability, and breathability, depending on the intended use of the jacket. An example of a lightweight Gore-Tex Pro jacket would be one that uses a $0D nylon, and a heavyweight Gore-Tex Pro jacket would be the Norrona Recon which uses an 80D nylon face fabric.
Gore-Tex Pro is designed to be highly durable, withstanding the rigors of extreme weather and outdoor activities. The fabric is designed to resist abrasion, punctures, and tears while maintaining its waterproof and breathable properties. You may notice that most of the jackets on this list are designed with rock climbing in mind which often involves dragging your body over sharp rocks… So you know they are tough.
Gore-Tex Pro is completely waterproof, withstanding heavy rain, snow, and sleet without allowing any moisture to penetrate the fabric. Sealed seams and waterproof zips make up a big part of today’s waterproof jackets, with all Gore-Tex Pro jackets being seam sealed. This makes it ideal for wet environments and activities, such as mountaineering, hiking, and skiing.
Gore-Tex Pro is highly breathable, allowing sweat to escape from the body and evaporate through the fabric. This helps to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating, even during intense activities. What makes Gore-Tex Pro the champion of all waterproof fabrics is not just how dry it keeps you from the outside but also how well it breathes.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets are designed to be comfortable to wear, with a range of features to enhance conveniences, such as large mesh-lined pockets, adjustable cuffs and hems, and helmet-compatible hoods. Because Gore-Tex Pro jackets are designed for professional outdoors people, articulated sleeves that don’t ride up if you stretch your arms make these jackets such a pleasure to wear.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets come in a range of sizes and fit, from slim to relaxed. It’s important to choose a jacket that fits well and allows freedom of movement without being too tight or too loose. In my experience, Gore-Tex Pro jackets have a fairly slim and athletic fit with articulated joints and seams. So, if you are on the edge of ordering a size up, just make the jump. This way, you can still layer up underneath.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets come with a range of adjustments, such as adjustable cuffs, hems, and hoods, to help customize the fit and improve performance in different conditions. The hood is the most important adjustment point to get right (in my opinion) because there is nothing more annoying than a floppy hood when you are trying to hike in the rain.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets typically come with a helmet-compatible hood, which can be adjusted to fit snugly around the head and provide additional protection from the elements as well as fit over most climbing or caving helmets. The hood may also have a brim or visor to help shield the face from rain or snow.
I always test the hood of a jacket when I try it on for the first time. What I do is tighten it up at the top, back, and front so that it feels snug. Then I correct the peak or visor to how I would wear it in the rain. The test is to look from side to side, up and down, and in every direction to see how the hood tracks your movements. Ideally, the hood will move with your face so that your view never gets obstructed by fabric.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets may have adjustable cuffs, which can be tightened or loosened to help seal out wind and moisture. Some jackets may also have thumb loops to help keep the sleeves in place during high-intensity activities. If the cuffs are a big deal for you, then look for brands that have what you are searching for.
Gore-Tex Pro jackets may come with a range of additional features, such as waterproof zippers, ventilation zips, and pockets for storing essentials. Two big ones for me are pit zip vents under the arms and having pockets I can fit my hands in to keep warm. You might be more interested in having press studs over Velcro or the feature of thumb loops.
Is Gore-Tex Pro Worth It?
Gore-Tex Pro is a high-end fabric that offers exceptional waterproofing and breathability, making it ideal for extreme outdoor activities. However, it comes at a higher price point than, and may not be necessary for less demanding activities. People who certainly should get a Gore-Tex Pro jacket are mountain rescue teams, ski instructors, long-distance hikers, rock climbers, and so on. I also think it’s ok to get one if you are an outdoor gear enthusiast or millionaire searching for the best.
In my opinion, Gore-Tex Pro is totally worth it. For waterproof hard shells especially, there is nothing better.
We hope you have gained a lot from reading this guide to the best Gore-Tex Pro jackets. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.