Breathable AND waterproof? Wiggy thinks not!

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cranmere

Settler
Mar 7, 2014
992
1
Somerset, England
Having tried Gore Tex once and been disappointed, I now only use Ventile or Paramo gear. Both work very well to keep the water out, both breathe well although I find that Paramo is better in that respect once the Ventil gets wet. Ventile is more robust and fireproof, however my Paramo has been surprisingly good in that respect and is easily mendable. In warm weather I sometimes just get wet, it's only a problme if you chill as a result.
 

Ed the Ted

Full Member
Dec 13, 2013
99
3
Scotland
I now use buffalo 99% of the time whilst walking in winter, but when winter/ice climbing still wear full hardshells with relatively little underneath and put on and off a big puffy jacket at belays to keep warm. The sheer inability to put waterproofs on mid-climb if the weather descends, the almost constant barage of spindrift, and the stop-start nature of it in strong freezing winds means that I always go for full 'battle gear'. I could probably get away with technically cut (windproof) softshells in many circumstances, but I just don't own them and can't afford to buy them, so use what I have.
 

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
3,290
0
Hampshire
Anyone thinking goretex is 'a con' should read this thread off arrse and see what actually goes into it and what its actually for, it might not be suitable for everybodys needs but its certainly got its place in the outdoor world.
http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/lenders-on-your-pro-boots-mate-a-visit-to-gore.220437/
Just read that - very amusing article. And - surprise, surprise - a guy treated to posh hotels, exquisite meals and a huge bundle of expensive freebies comes out speaking favourably about his host's products........................... That's what PR departments are all about - it's their bread and butter, and they have had decades to work out how best to influence journos, both consciously and sub-consciously! Even if the reporter is trying to be impartial etc etc (and ignores all the current and future freebies likely to accrue), the subconscious tends to mitigate against harsh criticism against a guy, and his company's products, who has been so friendly and accommodating. And being baffled by lots of "scientific facts and graphs" doesn't help matters either.

However, one item included in all the puff I thought to be very interesting. A pair of goretex-lined boots were filled with water and then spun around at high speed for a while - and no water CAME OUT of the boot.

Now correct me if I'm missing something here, but the feet are one of the sweatiest parts of the human body. Water vapour comes off the feet and then condenses into water, unless your socks wick away the sweat onto the lining of your boot, where it will then condense. But then the water in Goretex boots cannot escape - see the above comment, so the water remains inside the boot, and feet get wet, then cold. And the lining then takes an age to dry out, as anyone with goretex-lined boots that have got their lining wet knows all too well.

And that is supposed to be a good thing?
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
266
69
SE Wales
just read that - very amusing article. And - surprise, surprise - a guy treated to posh hotels, exquisite meals and a huge bundle of expensive freebies comes out speaking favourably about his host's products........................... That's what pr departments are all about - it's their bread and butter, and they have had decades to work out how best to influence journos, both consciously and sub-consciously! Even if the reporter is trying to be impartial etc etc (and ignores all the current and future freebies likely to accrue), the subconscious tends to mitigate against harsh criticism against a guy, and his company's products, who has been so friendly and accommodating. And being baffled by lots of "scientific facts and graphs" doesn't help matters either.

However, one item included in all the puff i thought to be very interesting. A pair of goretex-lined boots were filled with water and then spun around at high speed for a while - and no water came out of the boot.

Now correct me if i'm missing something here, but the feet are one of the sweatiest parts of the human body. Water vapour comes off the feet and then condenses into water, unless your socks wick away the sweat onto the lining of your boot, where it will then condense. But then the water in goretex boots cannot escape - see the above comment, so the water remains inside the boot, and feet get wet, then cold. And the lining then takes an age to dry out, as anyone with goretex-lined boots that have got their lining wet knows all too well.

And that is supposed to be a good thing?
^^^ yup ^^^^
 

mickeyluv

Full Member
Nov 2, 2010
79
1
derbyshire
Just read that - very amusing article. And - surprise, surprise - a guy treated to posh hotels, exquisite meals and a huge bundle of expensive freebies comes out speaking favourably about his host's products........................... That's what PR departments are all about - it's their bread and butter, and they have had decades to work out how best to influence journos, both consciously and sub-consciously! Even if the reporter is trying to be impartial etc etc (and ignores all the current and future freebies likely to accrue), the subconscious tends to mitigate against harsh criticism against a guy, and his company's products, who has been so friendly and accommodating. And being baffled by lots of "scientific facts and graphs" doesn't help matters either.

However, one item included in all the puff I thought to be very interesting. A pair of goretex-lined boots were filled with water and then spun around at high speed for a while - and no water CAME OUT of the boot.

Now correct me if I'm missing something here, but the feet are one of the sweatiest parts of the human body. Water vapour comes off the feet and then condenses into water, unless your socks wick away the sweat onto the lining of your boot, where it will then condense. But then the water in Goretex boots cannot escape - see the above comment, so the water remains inside the boot, and feet get wet, then cold. And the lining then takes an age to dry out, as anyone with goretex-lined boots that have got their lining wet knows all too well.

And that is supposed to be a good thing?
Its my understanding that the membrane only allows water vapour through so if a foot was inside the boot, the heat would push the water out between the membrane and the boot.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,159
183
-------------
Just read that - very amusing article. And - surprise, surprise - a guy treated to posh hotels, exquisite meals and a huge bundle of expensive freebies comes out speaking favourably about his host's products........................... That's what PR departments are all about - it's their bread and butter, and they have had decades to work out how best to influence journos, both consciously and sub-consciously! Even if the reporter is trying to be impartial etc etc (and ignores all the current and future freebies likely to accrue), the subconscious tends to mitigate against harsh criticism against a guy, and his company's products, who has been so friendly and accommodating. And being baffled by lots of "scientific facts and graphs" doesn't help matters either.

However, one item included in all the puff I thought to be very interesting. A pair of goretex-lined boots were filled with water and then spun around at high speed for a while - and no water CAME OUT of the boot.

Now correct me if I'm missing something here, but the feet are one of the sweatiest parts of the human body. Water vapour comes off the feet and then condenses into water, unless your socks wick away the sweat onto the lining of your boot, where it will then condense. But then the water in Goretex boots cannot escape - see the above comment, so the water remains inside the boot, and feet get wet, then cold. And the lining then takes an age to dry out, as anyone with goretex-lined boots that have got their lining wet knows all too well.

And that is supposed to be a good thing?
Depends where the dew point is. The vapour should condense outside the membrane.
 

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
3,290
0
Hampshire
Depends where the dew point is. The vapour should condense outside the membrane.
You're assuming that the vapour won't condense until it has passed through the thick insulating lining and glue, goretex membrane and the leather outer? (ignoring the fact that goretex doesn't seem in practice to work at all at sub-zero temps anyway). Although actually to be fair I'm not sure which order the insulation/lining/goretex/glue goes - I'm fairly confident the leather goes on the outside!
 

Dave-the-rave

Settler
Feb 14, 2013
638
0
minsk
I get the cool in summer thing. I wore Pro boots all last summers hot spell on the bike and when camping. I expected them to be way to hot and sweaty and they weren't.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
Interesting thing about skin, it has an optimum moisture level. If there is no other source of moisture than from sweat the skin will try to maintain that optimum level. I don't have that 100% right I'm sure but I once read that this effect is why vapour barriers are acceptable in use. I've read about some ultra light campers use vapour barriers to get away with lighter, lower rated sleeping bags/quilts in the UK. One.article by such a person mentioned the moisture level being maintained.

If this is true could the main membrane function he to keep water out? Especially in the case of using cheaper or lower quality leather. You know how leather boots seem to be comfortable from the box now instead of the painful breaking in. One retailer once told me it's down to leather coming from younger animals and is naturally softer. This could mean the boot makers add membranes to compensate for lesser performance. Just an idea. Hard to get non-membrane versions of leather boots these days.
 

petrochemicals

Full Member
Jul 30, 2012
3,481
193
westmidlands
Anyone thinking goretex is 'a con' should read this thread off arrse and see what actually goes into it and what its actually for, it might not be suitable for everybodys needs but its certainly got its place in the outdoor world.
http://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/lenders-on-your-pro-boots-mate-a-visit-to-gore.220437/
A quote there from;

' A standard piece of material is stretched across a nozzle, air is sucked through and the amount measured. The material lets in around 900 litres of air per minute. A windproof Gore membrane is then tested, less that 1 litre of air per minute is sucked through."

It doesn't sound breathable reallyto be honest. And if goretex needs to be firstly proofed and secondly clean, how does one do that with it sealed in a boot that rubs off the coating
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
I haven't read the thread Mickey linked to but I have used Goretex. He's right. It has its place. I've had a couple of good goretex jackets and they are absolutely brilliant. Even my cheap army surplus is far far superior to old coated stuff.
Goretex lets water vapour through. If the outside fabric is saturated, that can't happen, so all you have then is a non-breathing waterproof. So most goretex garments have a water repellent treatment to make water bead up on the outside.
Best goretex jacket I had was a mont bell cycling jacket. I could wear that buttoned right up, ride hard and still not be drenched in sweat. It was 100% waterproof. Fantastic.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,004
441
Lancashire
A quote there from;

' A standard piece of material is stretched across a nozzle, air is sucked through and the amount measured. The material lets in around 900 litres of air per minute. A windproof Gore membrane is then tested, less that 1 litre of air per minute is sucked through."

It doesn't sound breathable reallyto be honest. And if goretex needs to be firstly proofed and secondly clean, how does one do that with it sealed in a boot that rubs off the coating
What that test is showing is the standard material is not windproof but the fabric with the ptfe membrane is highly wind resistant, enough to be called windproof. Breathability is not about air passing through the fabric but moisture vapour or sweat in vapour form before it has condensed. That involves a different test, there is a standard for that which has been accepted the world over, not a US standard but another country's standard. That you can not stuck air through an outer layer, shell fabric is generally a good thing. Ventile would surely have a low value too, same with heavier weight fabrics. Makers of windproof jackets and fabrics actually state the wind speed their fabric can resist, you can probably work that out from that 1litre or 900 litre figure if you had the area of the sample in the mount.

Goretex is no more a con than ventile, Paramo, Pertex or pile/Pertex fabric claims. Pertex classic or Pertex 5 as it is also known as was once called windproof. It now is sold as resisting 50mph winds IIRC. Does that mean all of you with 20 year old buffalo mountain shirts with Pertex 5 have been conned when you look back at the windproof statement of "fact" on the label? I think you'll look back on all the times you felt it worked well and forget the hoollies where you felt a bit cold and possibly had to add another layer. I remember buffalo wearers putting goretex jackets over the top in strong winds.

All solutions for being outside in all weather's are a big fat compromise. Find yours and forget about all the blox that gets spread around the internet. Whatever works for you works, whatever doesn't move on to what does. Simples.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,159
183
-------------
You're assuming that the vapour won't condense until it has passed through the thick insulating lining and glue, goretex membrane and the leather outer? (ignoring the fact that goretex doesn't seem in practice to work at all at sub-zero temps anyway). Although actually to be fair I'm not sure which order the insulation/lining/goretex/glue goes - I'm fairly confident the leather goes on the outside!

Am I? You have heard of "Dew Point" in relation to vapour transmission and insulation have you? Its quite a common phrase in housebuilding.

When I say, "It depends where the dew point is" that quite unsurprisingly means it depends where the dew point is.:)
 

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
3,290
0
Hampshire
Am I? You have heard of "Dew Point" in relation to vapour transmission and insulation have you? Its quite a common phrase in housebuilding.

When I say, "It depends where the dew point is" that quite unsurprisingly means it depends where the dew point is.:)

Yes, you mentioned dewpoint. Directly influenced by temperature and relative humidity.

But you didn't mention where it was, or should be measured, to allow water vapour to pass through the boot before condensing as water! On the skin of the foot, the sock or socks, airgap between sock and inner layer of material in the boot, inner layer and insulating material, inside insulating material, outer layer of insulating material, goretex plastic membrane (depending on where it is placed in boot), between lining layer and leather of boot, outside the boot?

For a boot to remain dry inside, the water vapour has to pass through ALL those layers, including the leather, before condensing.
 

Dave-the-rave

Settler
Feb 14, 2013
638
0
minsk
I've found Gortex lined boots to be cold in winter when sat around. I've always suspected they trap moisture between liner and leather.
 

mickeyluv

Full Member
Nov 2, 2010
79
1
derbyshire
I've found Gortex lined boots to be cold in winter when sat around. I've always suspected they trap moisture between liner and leather.
They possibly do but surely thats better than having it trapped between the leather and your foot (wet sock). sorry to keep posting links to other sites but if you look at tip 6 this guy says having a plastic bag under your socks is the best way to keep your feet dry (this probably only works when its really cold)
http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=6903
 

cbr6fs

Native
Mar 30, 2011
1,620
0
Athens, Greece
Couple of things worth pointing out.

Goretex is NOT the only waterproof shell type material, there are many others.
Saying something like a Neoshell or Event shell doesn't work because some tried a goretex jacket 20 years ago is like saying i've never buy the new range rover cause i drove a series 1 defender 20 years ago.

Secondly, as i said before the best choice of clothing depends on you and the type of activities you are doing.
Everything will have to be a compromise, maybe a 3kg ventile jacket is great round the camp fire on a car camping trip, for others it wouldn't be ideal on a hiking trip where we are covering 20 miles a day with 1000m elevation gain daily.