It you take part in any activities in the outdoors you’ll know all about Gore-Tex. This is not the only waterproof fabric in the marketplace but it’s easily one of the most popular. In recent years, Gore-Tex have streamlined their product range to include three main headings: Gore-Tex products, Gore-Tex Activewear and now the new-comer Gore-Tex Pro. (Gore-Tex Pro is in fact the replacement for Gore-Tex Pro Shell.) Gore-Tex Pro has been many years in development. The fabric manufacturer wanted to create a material that would be just as waterproof and windproof as the Pro Shell but more breathable. Gore-Tex claim that the new Pro fabric is durable, rugged and 10 to 28% more breathable than the Pro Shell. While the average person will find it difficult to test the 10 to 28% claim, Gore-Tex have gone to great lengths to show how they have come up with these figures. The breathability of Gore-Tex Pro is the defining factor of this new fabric – and the aim is to offer an 100% waterproof fabric that also allows up to 28% of body sweat to evaporate effectively from the skin and through the jacket fabric. The Gore-Tex Pro material also feels lighter to wear and is more flexible and stretchy than the former Pro Shell but still appears very hardwearing.
Autumn 2013 sees Gore-Tex pro in the shops
While Gore-Tex make the fabric, it’s the clothing brands such as Haglofs, Patagonia, Marmot, Mountain Equipment, Berghaus etc that use it to create their jackets and trousers. Designs and manufacture are closely overseen by Gore-Tex to ensure that the fabric does what it says it is capable of. This autumn, the first of the new Gore-Tex Pro products are available for purchase. These items are pricier than Gore-Tex (general) products and Gore-Tex Activewear but that’s because they are aimed at the more extreme market. So Gore-Tex Pro jackets are meant for people who enjoy mountaineering in winter, skiing, snowboarding, rugged climbing and more.
Five top Gore-Tex Pro walking jackets
I have not tested all of these jackets but I like what I see. I have been wearing a prototype Gore-Tex Pro waterproof walking jacket (made by Arc’teryx) since earlier this year and I have also reviewed a Berghaus Gore-Tex Pro jacket. The jackets here are chosen for their features as well as good quality.
Berghaus Antelao women’s waterproof jacket
A great women’s fit jacket that is flattering but isn’t too tight. The jacket also has good arm and torso length and a hood that stays up in high winds with great peak coverage. It comes with two useful outer zipped pockets and an inside stow-away zipped pocket. The addition of pit zips makes this a versatile walking jacket. See Berghaus. There is a men's version, too.
This is the alpine climbing jacket of choice for balancing light-and-fast with enhanced durability and waterproof/windproof and breathable protection. Tons of features include:
- Pressed-pleat torso pockets to make the jacket streamlined so you can see your feet
- Watertight zippers for clean and easy pit-zips and pocket openings
- Underarm gussets keep the jacket down when you raise your arms.
Mountain Equipment Men’s Lhotse jacket
A great-fitting jacket that offers a lovely athletic cut tailored for great freedom of movement whether walking, mountaineering or climbing. I like the attention to detail in this jacket, including articulated sleeves, a two-way moulded Aquaguard front zip, two-way pit zips and a peaked, helmet-compatible hood. See Mountain Equipment Haglofs Men’s Roc High jacket
Okay, so looks shouldn’t really matter but this jacket is instantly attractive. It could be the colour way or perhaps the sleek fit but whatever it is, I reached out to touch this jacket in the shop! The technical detailing is up to the usual standards of Haglofs with highly durable face fabrics, a two-way water-resistant front zip and inner stretch mesh pocket. This jacket also has seamless shoulders, sides and inside sleeves for extra waterproofing in extreme conditions and a three- way, climbing helmet compatible adjustable hood with laminated and wire reinforced peak. See Haglofs
Marmot Women’s Speed Light Jacket
Lightweight yet still offering the appeal of Gore-Tex Pro waterproofing and breathability this jacket is really rather gorgeous. Further label reading reveals that the Speed Light has a helmet-compatible, gale-force hood with a laminated wire brim, as well as harness and pack friendly pockets boasting water-resistant zippers. I also like the pit zips with water resistant zippers and the “angel-wing movement” that allows full range of motion in the arms so jacket doesn't ride up whatever activities you’re doing in the great outdoors.
Have you bought a Gore-Tex Pro jacket? Tell us what you like – or don’t like – about this new fabric and jacket range.