Ever since hitting the market in 2007, GORE-TEX PRO textile technology has been setting the standard for waterproof, breathable and robust weather gear. Starting in the fall of 2020, GORE will be adding three new technologies to its GORE-TEX PRO product line. All are designed for greater durability, breathability and range of motion, with a reduced environmental footprint.
So far, so good. Dry facts are one thing, but there's just no substitute for real-life experience and testimonials. Especially when you're talking about new product innovations, hands-on testing is crucial.
Passing the durability test
My first experience with GORE-TEX PRO was during an event in Wales in 2012. Ever since, the yellow GORE-TEX PRO jacket that I tested has followed me everywhere. For the past seven years, it's protected me from the wind and weather all winter long while skiing on the Grossglockner and on countless other slopes. Not a single tear or hole and all it takes is regular, proper maintenance to keep it as good as new. This jacket is the best proof of the durability and longevity that GORE promises with its GORE-TEX PRO products. That's important in choosing a product that's built to last.
I've really gotten attached to my yellow GORE-TEX PRO jacket. I'm the kind of person who really sticks with something once it's proved itself. So now I've got a slight conflict of conscience. That's because there's now a cool new red GORE-TEX PRO jacket hanging in my closet right next to my trusty yellow one. The new red jacket was made using the latest GORE-TEX PRO technologies.
The three new GORE-TEX PRO technologies...
...all keep the GORE-TEX GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise. According to Mark McKinnie, Product Specialist for GORE-TEX PRO brand partners, these new technologies open up even more possibilities for designing sportswear that truly meets the needs of mountaineers. "If climbing is your priority, you might need a greater range of motion for your arms and shoulders, maximum resistance to abrasion in the elbows and shoulders, and optimal breathability through the torso. It's different when you're freeriding, where having the most robust material possible is a higher priority than say mobility or breathability."
First real-world test in Canada
I had the chance to put that red jacket to the test for a few days during the international GORE-TEX PRO launch in October 2019. This time the testing ground was the Canadian Rockies. With me: GORE athletes Stefan Glowacz, Tamara Lunger and Greg Hill, who swapped stories about their latest expeditions and adventures, and were also the perfect company for a few days of hiking and climbing.
In the cold and wet conditions on the trail alongside Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, under extreme windchill at the Ha Ling Peak overlooking Canmore, and under massive snow drifts on the Highline Trail in Lake Louise, that red test jacket really proved itself. The moment you slip the jacket on, you can just feel the improved range of motion thanks to the stretch technology used in the back. On the ascent, our group was moving pretty quickly, so we were definitely breaking a sweat. The perspiration was dispersed very effectively, so the improved breathability was noticeable. My skin stayed relatively dry, and I didn't even have to change clothes at the peak.
The jacket also kept the wind and weather at bay the entire time. Once, when I slipped while putting on my crampons, the spikes actually scraped across the outer surface of the jacket, without leaving a scratch. That shows just how durable and tear-resistant the laminate material is. It was actually developed in the cellphone industry. Gore modified it for use in textiles, where it had to pass the five-finger scratch test and withstand rigorous field-testing by Gore athletes.
In addition to the jacket's improved performance, it also impresses me with its sustainable production methods. It's lined with Micro Grid™ material that uses a spin jet coloring process to conserve water and significantly reduce CO2 emissions during production. At the same time, its durability and performance are actually improved.
Author: Petra Rapp
Petra has been working as a freelance journalist and copywriter for the past 20 years. She writes for mountaineering and skiing magazines as well as daily newspapers and has been following developments in the Gore product range since she started. A passionate sportswoman, Petra takes full advantage of the mountains near her home in the Inn River valley, where she spends every free minute outdoors pursuing multiple sports. In wintertime, the former racing competitor and skiing teacher keeps busy with skiing and ski touring. In the summers, she enjoys mountain hiking and biking.