Sunday, November 1, 2009

Event Fabric vs. Gore-Tex

A lot of people claim that Event breathes better than Gore-Tex. This demonstrations shows that they actually transfer water vapor at the exact same rate. Could it be merely psychological that people think Event is more breathable?

Event Fabric vs. Gore-TexSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

43 comments:

Nielsen Brown said...

Interesting video Jason, I am an eVent user, probably because in the early days of Goretex I was less than happy with the result of moisture transfer. I am looking forward to your series of videos as well as wondering about the military test that demonstrated eVent was much better. I have an open mind on the subject as I have gear in paclite and event "fabrics". Maybe each "fabric" has its use.

Jolly Green Giant said...

An easier test is to wear one of each in the same conditions and engage in moderate activity. When I did that, the choice was a no-brainer. eVENT is FAR superior to even Gore-Tex Paclite. Given the choice, I'd never choose anything other than eVENT at this point. Even today I went grocery shopping with an eVENT jacket. While my wife had to take her Gore-Tex jacket off and leave it in the cart while we walked around, I left mine on and felt perfectly comfortable.

Eric B. said...

I think Jolly's observations can fit with the observed results pretty easily. In the video clip, you hear that the driving force shows up under relatively large temperature differences and relatively large humidity differences. Duh! Paclite works great when I'm out hiking, generating heat and humidity inside my jacket, on a cool, relatively dry, Fall day. The question is, what happens during a warm, wet summer rain? Or when you wear your jacket into a heated grocery store? Good as GoreTex is, it just can't keep up without a large driving force.

Jason Klass said...

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Nielson,
Do you have a link to that test? If it's the one I heard about, they conducted it in 86 degree and very humid conditions (not what GT is really designed for). They gear their fabrics toward conditions where it's colder on the outside.

Jolly Green,
I agree with you on wearing both but to be fair, your wife and you probably have different tolerances to heat and cold so she might also have left an Event jack in the car as well. Also, there are different types of Gore-Tex (something I learned that I didn't know) that are designed for different activities. Most people think it's all the same fabric and they just put it in everything bu it's not.

Eric,
But it's my understanding that all breathable materials require driving force. In which case, nothing would breathe well in, say, the tropical rain forest.

Beep said...

While I have little doubt that you saw what you did, my first-hand experience under virtually identical hiking conditions says something different. In my usage under real world conditions, a GoreTex (Arcteryx) vs eVent (RAB) outer layer, the eVent jacket was far more effective at keeping me better vented despite the lack of pit zips. Over the course of my morning, I actually dried out my wet clothing while wearing the RAB eVent jacket (a SuperDru). The same conditions in an Arcteryx jacket (with the pit zips open) left me damp. My experience parallels that of the Jolly Green Giant.

Dana said...

Jason,

Thanks for the last couple videos. Very cool stuff. Looking forward to more insight.

Can you normalize the volume across your videos. There are often large spikes when transitioning b/t different locations/people. Not a huge issue b/c i can just turn it up and down where it needs adjusting, but at work (yeah i know) it'd be easier to hide my google reader addiction :)

Love the work. Thanks!

Jason Klass said...

Hi Dana,
Yes, I will try to balance the volume more. It's a little time consuming but I know it's annoying.

Jason Klass said...

Hi Everyone,
Just to clarify a few things:

1. I'm not suggesting that this one test ultimately proves that GT is better than Event or that they are the same. This was one of the only demonstrations I was allowed to film. They do have other tests they showed us that measure water vapor transfer over time but I was not allowed to film them. I just posted this because I thought it was an interesting demonstration. Please don't take it so literally.

2. I agree that actual use is a good measure of breathability; however, I got a ton of footage of what they do in the labs that I thought people might find interesting. So, I'm posting it because it's something most people don't get to see on a daily basis. I'm not suggesting that this is a substitute for experience.

3. Please keep in mind that everything is relative. Many people say that Conduit is terrible. I have worn Conduit for a couple of years and it works fine for me. I honestly can't tell a difference (empirically) between Gore-Tex, Conduit, Event, etc. But others seem to notice a difference. This could be due to the fact that everyone is different when it comes to sweat, tolerances to heat and cold, etc. If you want to make a claim that one is technologically superior to another, then you need a scientific test to back it up. I will be posting some of the other tests I saw there just because I think they're interesting. I'm not trying to undermine anyone's empirical experience. I'm just relaying what I was lucky enough to witness.

Cephas said...

First of all, great info Jason. I am an all time GT user, but reading the comments i cannot say that one or the other is better or worse. I think that it depends on the use and the user. I myself am happy with GT, but i have friends that use other fabrics and are happy too, so, to each one his own. :)

Jason Klass said...

Cephas,
Very well said.

Philip Werner said...

Another option is to let the market decide. Is there any truth to the buzz that Gore-tex, as a company, prohibits manufacturers that use their product brand name from manufacturing and selling products made with eVent?

Jason Klass said...

Philip,
I have no idea about that. But it wouldn't surprise me if they did. That's pretty commonplace in a lot of markets.

Nielsen Brown said...

Jason, to answer you question take a look at BPL.com that is

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00316.html

I am also aware that a test will prove one thing, whilst a different test will prove something else. So in the end it is what works for you (or YMMV)

Gerry Molnar said...

Did the goretex swatch have its liner attached in this video?
As you may know, the big difference between the eVent and goretex is that eVent repels body oils but goretex absorbs them, significantly reducing breathability. As a result, all goretex incorporated into clothing has a "liner" of some poly... something, which further impairs breathability. Its this liner that often gets clammy and damp.

I didn't see the liner under the goretex swatch. Without it, the test is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

i know for my self event keeps me dryer. not that hard to feel the difference. what i'm concerned about is the durability... any report on that?

Jason Klass said...

Anon-
Well, supposedly Gore-Tex is more durable and that's the main benefit. I have had a lot of Gore-Tex jackets but never an eVent so I can't comment on eVent's durability. Anyone else?

I have a Mountain Harwear jacket with Conduit fabric and I haven't noticed any durability issues yet.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, but I'm a chemical engineer and a scientist and this test is flawed. a) not representative conditions and b) not at all quantitative. Is this a joke?

Jason Klass said...

Anon,
You don't have to hate to say it. You're right. This is not a scientific test. It was an impromptu demonstration that came out of a meeting. But it doesn't automatically reject the similar performances of GT and eVent. See my other videos for how GT scientifically tests their fabrics and wares. I just thought it would be interesting to share this casual demo.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

i am an employee at an outfitter that sells both GT and eVent. the company gave us a tester that is one half eVent and one half GT, they are taped together and then placed over the opening of a jar. water is then placed on top of the fabrics. a blood pressure pump is then used to pump in air from underneath to simulate the pressure of air pushing through the fabrics. both swatches have the 3rd layer on the so they are equal.
after pumping the pump by hand you can immediately see air bubbles coming through the eVent and not the GT.
My first conclusion was that with this test even if eVent was even slightly more breathable then obviously it would naturally go straight to eVent. so we did the next natural thing, throw a real GT pro shell(arcterx) jacket over the jar. it balloned up and almost popped never letting any air through. the same thing happened with paclite.

as a user of GT and a heavy sweater( always soaked after wearing GT) i must try eVent in order to find out if it works for heavy sweaters like me.

also after watching customers try the jackets on customers would tell me they feel more comfortable in the eVent than GT (start sweating)just trying it on in the store.

don bowie said...

All great conversations- thanks for bringing up this subject. As a high altitude climber I continually seek out the best gear I can, then pursue those companies for sponsorship based on performance (not by potential sponsorship budget). A few years ago I received a garment made by a company called Loki for field trial. I tried these garments out on 2 subsequent expeditions and was totally sold on eVent. Since then I only use eVent products for outerwear and sleeping bags. In the Himalayas, nothing breathes better- especially when sweating hard during very cold conditions. My old GTX products would form a ice crust internally. I've never had this occur with eVent, even at -40F. The biggest difference seen is comparing Dryloft sleeping bags next to eVent (literally, in a the same tent) After a few days of cold sleeping, the Dryloft bags are a brick of frozen down internally. Such is the case with down filled outerwear. Just my experience.

And FYI, here is the link to the aforementioned Army breathability study:

http://www.shelby.fi/tips/breathability.pdf

Jason Klass said...

Thanks for sharing your input and the link Don! I've never had that experience with Gore-Tex but then I don't think I've had it in -40 before.

Carl said...

Hi Jason,

Your video inspired me to try and make one on my own.

http://www.bchuntingblog.com/2010/02/event-vs-gore-tex-waterproof-breathability/

I used two cups of boiling water and simply covered one with my Gore-Tex gaitor and the other with my eVent jacket from ID. The difference in between the two visually was absolutely night and day. eVent clearly transfered more of the water vapor.

I am new to video so maybe you could do the same test but better quality than mine? I will try to make it better but as of right now from what I have seen with my own eyes eVent can stand behind their claims.

Carl

Jason Klass said...

Hi Carl,
GREAT video! I'll be the first to admit that the demo the guy at Gore-tex did was not scientific (he would admit to that to); however, I'm not convinced yours was either. You compared a jacket against a gaiter. There are 2 problems with this. One is that the outer material on a gaiter is most likely more robust than that of a jacket, thus creating more resistance and impeding breathability. The other is that there are different types of Gore-tex membranes. Most people don't know this and think Gore-tex is Gore-tex. But I would like to know exactly which version of the GT membrane it was to see if it was actually a fair comparison. BTW, I like your video style and hope you continue to produce more.

Carl said...

Hi Jason,

My test was certainly far from scientific. But after seeing the breathability first hand with my own eyes there is definitely something to the eVent claims.

The Gaiter I used was from MEC.

3-ply GORE-TEX uppers with flat filament nylon lowers. I don't know which gore-tex fabric is used.

The ID eVent Jacket is a trilaminate nylon outer as well.

I also tested against Keelas Waterproof Membrane and
the Helly-Tech in my Helly Hansen packable jacket and neither transfered any of the steam very well. Dissapointing considering that helly jacket was a $200 jacket!

When you put the eVent jacket over the cup with the steam and the vapors coming through are visible almost immediately.

Most of my hiking is done while hunting Sheep in BCs northern rockies. I carry a 60+lb pack with me on these trips and have yet to find a waterproof breathable that could even remotely keep me comfortable at a moderate pace while climbing. The eVent has definitely got my hopes up.

As for Gore-Tex the Gaiter is all I had laying around. I will ask some friends and see if I can get a high-end Gore-Tex product to test it against.

Thanks Again!

Carl

Jason Klass said...

Hi Carl,
I could send you a Gore-Tex Jacket if you want to test it out.

Carl said...

Hi Jason,

Sorry for the delay. What did you have in mind regarding the gore-tex test. Do you have fabric samples you would send?

Carl

nick said...

Through my experiences with Gore-tex over the years and also with using some Event products these past few years, there is no way i would never not go with the gore products. In the end Gore to me will always have a lot longer water repellency finish and also the durability of the fabric and membrane have proven to always be superior for me. Gore is defitnitley the way to go.

BadTux said...

The basic issue with Gore-Tex for most people is that it is a "wet" membrane. That is, the interior of the membrane is sprayed with a very thin layer of polyurethane, which is a hygroscopic fabric, in order to protect the pores of Gore-Tex from being clogged by your body oils, dirt, etc. The humidity within the garment rises until condensation occurs upon this polyurethane due to the cooler outside temperature, at which point the PU absorbs the moisture and then since the membrane is also at a higher temperature than outdoors, it can evaporate through the Gore-Tex pores. What this means is that the interior of the garment is always going to be at a high humidity level, which makes most people feel damp and clammy once they start sweating no matter the efficiency of this process.

The only difference between the various "types" of Gore-Tex is the thickness of this PU layer applied to the membrane. Over the years Gore has managed to reduce the thickness of this layer significantly for its more "technical" fabrics, thereby increasing its ability to carry water vapor across the PU barrier. Its basic mechanism of operation, however -- condensation, absorption, evaporation on the other side -- has not changed.

eVent changes this paradigm entirely. eVent actually *vents* -- water vapor never condenses anywhere inside the garment. There is no polyurethane "wet layer" to cause humidity inside the garment to rise, and the result is that most people *feel* dryer even under conditions that would have them feeling miserable with Gore-Tex. As a result, like the others here, I feel much dryer in my eVent jacket than in a jacket with a PU "wet process" membrane such as Gore-Tex, because the interior humidity of the jacket is so much lower -- Gore-Tex doesn't move water vapor across the PU barrier until the humidity reaches condensation point at the barrier, while eVent starts moving water vapor immediately and the humidity never reaches condensation point.

So maybe Gore-Tex with a very fine/thin PU layer *can* move as much water vapor as eVent -- but only under conditions of high interior humidity that most people interpret as "damp and humid". That's just the nature of a "wet membrane" process such as used by Gore, regardless of which Gore-Tex fabric you get.

John W. said...

BadTux, thanks for adding a scientific explanation to the anecdotal claims that Event feels drier than Goretex.

Paul said...

To extend BadTux's point. In the video, you see the moisture transfer on the outside, what I wonder is if you flipped the fabrics over, would the gore-tex, having a hydrophillic (water absorbing) membrane, have condensation on the inside, and the eVent have no condensation on the inside. That is my experience with in field testing both, while the gore-tex breathes (i.e. fogs up glass) its clammy on the inside. My eVent jacket also breathes, but is much dryer on the inside. Its not so much the "breathability" but the having the inside dry to touch while the garment is breathing.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, your video did NOT show that they transfer moisture at the same rate.. Just that they both transfer moisture.

Are you really that gullible?

Brad said...

I have used an REI Shuksan for almost a year. In the beginning it worked great. But as I used it longer the waterproofing/breathability degraded. It says you need to wash it often in order to maintain those factors. For me, unfortunately, I was in the backcountry for months at a time so I could not wash it. Because of this I have replaced it with a Gore Tex Paclite shell. The Arc'Teryx Beta SL. It is also half a pound lighter than the eVent. I will report back if I have similar issues the with Gore Tex. But so far it is performing flawlessly.

Shane Shin said...

It is impossible to say they both transfer moisture at the same rate just by looking at some steam on glass. Real quantitative tests are required, and this wasn't even close to being scientific. Also I must point out that this was not an objective test, and that all the audience members were bribed with a fair amount of free gear, food, hotel stay, and I don't even know what else.

Adam Andersen Læssøe said...

As has been mentioned above, this 'test' is not really a demonstration of anything, other than both materials lets vapor pass through.
In my searches I've come across this somewhat more scientific approach.
http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/clothing.html#rainshell
He has links to some quantified tests from some military institute. What these tests show, is that at high humidities Goretex XCR works almost as well as Event. But at low humidities Goretex works very poorly compared to Event.
In other words events water vapor resistance is practically constant at all relative humidties, whereas Goretex only works when the humidity inside is high.

These findings are in accordance with the anecdotes described here. The description of being rendered 'damp' in Goretex clothing makes sense, since Goretex only starts working when the humidity inside the jacket is high, i.e. you are damp.

Anonymous said...

I would agree that Event breathes better. I never use my Gore-tex Proshell jacket now that I have 2 different weight Event jackets. For the relatively warm skiing and backcountry conditions of the northern Sierras, Event is more comfortable. I also purchase some Rei Event pants last year and they are the best shell pants I have ever had.

My ice climbing buddies back in Duluth, Minnesota all use Event as well. With Gore-tex they had ice forming on the inside of their jackets on cold days and this never happens with Event.

Tahoebum

biker/skier said...

I gave eVent a try last year after decades of with Goretex and after a year's use, I can't be happier. If the durability of eVent is good, I'll never look back.

I agree with many here that the most important test is how the end user likes the material. I don't care how many times someone tells me Goretex is better or just as good, my own experience tells me otherwise, and my old Goretex coats will remain in the closet.

Anonymous said...

Here is eVENT tests by Macpac (NZ) and US Army test :

Home / Shop for Gear and Clothing / Tents / Trek / Alpine Cocoon eVent - http://www.macpac.co.nz/shop/en_nz/gear-and-clothing/tents/tents-trek/11900.html
(two buttons at the bottom of a page)

Here is direct links, just in case...

US Army Test - http://www.macpac.co.nz/product-popups/fabrics-event-test

Macpac (NZ) Test - http://www.macpac.co.nz/product-popups/fabrics-event

Ruslan
(ruslan.ivanjushin_at_gmail.com)

Anonymous said...

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/rainwear+how+it+works.html

Probably the most comprehensive discussion accessible to the public

Anonymous said...

This is a popular demonstration for Gore to use. Reason being, at high temperatures and high humidity, Goretex is able to vent moisture at a high rate (as has just been demonstrated). The is because there's essentially a lot of "pressure" pushing the moisture through the fabric. The problem is, you won't encounter those temperatures in use, and when you do have high temperature and high humidity inside your shell, you've already lost the breath-ability game and are going to be wet.

eVent's real party piece is being able to just as effectively vent moisture at low temperature and humidity as at high temperature and humidity. With this ability you're able to avoid making a sauna inside your shell in the first place. In the same conditions Goretex is comparable to wearing a plastic bag.

Of course Gore will show you a demonstration where Goretex performs at its best, and eVent is at its least remarkable.

Anonymous said...

I have been a Gore-Tex user for 20 years, and I love it. However, I purchased my first eVent jacket almost two years ago, and I'm forced to admit that it vents moisture NOTICEABLY better. A lot is also being said with regard to durability. There are many different denier weights to these fabrics, and when comparing apples to apples (equal denier to equal denier), This argument doesn't hold water (no pun intended). My eVent jacket has been bulletproof, so far, and stands up as well as Gore-Tex XCR/Pro Shell. Like me, I know many of you are highly invested, but it's time to get over it. I'm sure someday, another fabric will come along and beat eVent, and we'll have to get over it again.

Anonymous said...

BTW, even Gore's slanted demo showed eVent venting better (if you look closely) even though Gore's shill did his best to yank the samples away as quickly as he could. And like others mentioned, only one side of the fabric was shown. Reminded me of some weak carnival trick. Check the military testing results that some of the others have provided. Better yet, put both fabrics on, and run around in them for a while.

Eric Thompson said...

Thanks for the info on GT vs eVent.
I'm a 41yo North West rock climber who is constantly in the alpine environment going hard.

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1080659

Above is a link of me setting the solo speed record on the Torment-Forbidden traverse. Notice, I'm wearing event not GT.
I'm also a former Army Airborne Ranger.
I tell my friends that "Gore Tex kills" and it's only half a joke.
Because we used to say "cotton kills"
Gore Tex had a good run but it is all the way over and has been over for a minute. The only reason manufactures still use Gore Tex is because they're under a long contract.
Take any garment that you're going to wear in motion over to a mirror.
If you can't blow your breath through the garment onto the mirror, then don't wear it in motion outside. It's just that simple.
People do have to realize that if you're hot you will sweat even if you have no shirt on, bare skin will become wet with sweat. So if you have a base, mid then shell you will still sweat but it's what happens next that's so important.
Some other fabrics are coming out that rival eVent.
The Army testing is not done by "dumb Army guys" it's done at the Army Reasearch Labs by a bunch of civilian PHD's and is spot on.
Eric