When looking for waterproof clothing, you will most likely come across clothing made from Gore-Tex fabrics which are waterproof, windproof and breathable. These Gore-Tex fabrics are actually guaranteed to keep you dry, but how does it work?
Construction of Gore-Tex Fabrics
These waterproof fabrics are constructed by laminating a special membrane layer to other high performance textiles. Then they are sealed with an innovative solution.
The Gore-Tex Membrane
This is the layer of fabric that really creates the waterproof barrier. For every square inch of membrane fabric there are over nine billion microscopic pores. You would think having that many small holes would be bad for waterproofing, but each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water. So there is no way that water is getting through this layer.
This membrane remains breathable though as each microscopic pore is 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. This allows perspiration to evaporate from the inside of your Gore-Tex clothing. You will not be uncomfortably warm just so that you can stay dry. This is a must for any active people.
There is also an oleophobic (lacking affinity for oils) substance that is integrated into the Gore-Tex membrane. This prevents body oils and insect repellent from penetrating the membrane. If these oils were to penetrate the membrane, they could clog up the pores and prevent breathability.
The Gore-Tex membrane is bonded between high performance fabrics which are highly breathable. Depending upon the application, different outer fabrics are used. Different outer fabrics have different advantages such as weight, texture and abrasion resistance.
Many jacket manufacturers overlook the vulnerability of seams and stitching. These small holes could have the perfect spot for water to leak in. That is why Gore-Tex garments completely seal seams and needle holes. They use unique Gore-Seam Tape for absolute waterproofness and liquid resistance.
The Gore-Tex Guaranteed to Keep You Dry Promise
"If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of a GORE-TEX® product then we will repair it, replace it, or refund your purchase price."
What other company can stand behind the waterproofing of its fabrics like that? All Gore-Tex garments carry this promise. So no liquid from the outside will get to you on the inside. This includes when you're kneeling on wet grass to getting caught in a sudden squall.
No matter what conditions you're in, clothing made of Gore-Tex fabrics will definitely keep you dry. Also you will benefit from the windproof and breathable characteristics of these fabrics. Many companies manufacture clothing using Gore-Tex fabrics. So there are a wide variety of garments using Gore-Tex fabric including jackets, pants, rain suits, hats, gloves and even boots.