Testing Gore-tex

2:25 a.m. on September 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I bought a used REI Gore-tex coat from Goodwill. What is the best way to determine if the Gore-tex is still any good? Would standing in my shower work, or is there a simplier way to test it? I don't want to wait till I am outside in a downpour to find out something is wrong with the jacket.

7:32 a.m. on September 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Shower would work or have someone spray you with a hose. Goretex in my experience(military issue stuff only) only leaks if there is a rip/tear/hole etc.

Gore-tex breathability claims are far exagerated, I typically reserve mine for winter or late fall use because I would sweat to death any other season.

9:23 a.m. on September 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I agree with TheRambler, testing in the shower works for me.

I also sweat to death in gore-tex, I'm sure part of that is due to the 100% humidity we have where I live, but regardless I try not to wear Gore-tex except in the colder, less humid winters we have. The jacket I have has pit zips, and I can leave the jacket unzipped a little, but it doesn't do any good in high humidity.

That's the trick isn't it? Get wet from the outside, or get wet from the inside. You have to find something that balances that out and works for you. I hope your coat works out Gary!

12:19 p.m. on September 11, 2010 (EDT)
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It is too bad that there has yet to be a jacket that repels water as well as the Gore stuff AND is TRULY 100% breathable. I can't wait for the day. I get (almost) just as wet sweating under the jacket than I would if I didn't have one.

I would say the garden hose method would work well....something about standing in the shower with a jacket on just feels wrong to me.....

10:23 p.m. on September 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I hear Event jackets are light years ahead of jackets made with gore-tex. I havn't seen any first hand accounts yet, but have been eyeing them at REI etc. The price tags keeping me away for the time being.

Supposedly Event fabric works so well that that is the reason none of the jackets made out of it have pit zips.

10:43 a.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Gary - To test the Gore-Tex you might boil up some water, pour it into a mug and then lay a piece of the Gore-Tex over the top of the mug. There should be visible steam rising through the fabric.

I have an old Gore-Tex bivi bag that I sewed many years back ('77) and the GoreTex still works. (By comparison the coated nylon floor has needed to be replaced.- due to delamination of urethane coating)

GoreTex was initially available by the yard if one was fortunate enough to have access to a shop that sold various 'outdoor' fabrics. However Gore Industries stop selling bulk fabric in , oh I 'll say, the early '80s.

10:50 a.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Gore-tex too has always been expensive. Even when it first came out in outdoor gear in the late 70s its seemed expensive. My first Gore-tex jacket from Sierra Designs in 1978 was $80. And my North Face Gore-tex pants cost $60. TNF later tho replaced my pants in 1986 when they started leaking around the knees under warrenty. But Sierra Designs would'nt warrenty their first generation jacket, when the shoulders had delaminated in 1984. Later they and TNF put a heavy cordura nylon on the shoulders where pack straps constantly rubbed.

I was only making about $50 a week with minimum wage being $1.35 an hour in Arkansas in 1978. My down sleeping bag from EMS cost $180 back then too. And my North Face VE24 was $300 in 1979. That was all a lot of money in those days. Gore-tex was on of the first good raincoats. And for me they worked fine and I didn't sweat under them without it breathing like it was supposed to.

10:26 p.m. on September 12, 2010 (EDT)
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Goretex and eVent will accumulate dirt and body oils (just like any garment), for need occasional care. The dirt and body oils will make the garment leak, as will, of course, tears, rips, aging of the seam taping (when it starts coming loose), and other normal wear and tear. My Marmot Alpinist 3 finally had to be retired after many winters of backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and several trips to places like the Alaska Range and Antarctica. If the wear is not too serious and you do the washing and renewing the DWR when needed, it should last for years.

There are several products that have been developed for washing and for renewing the DWR (that's the water repellency that makes the rain bead up on the exterior and not wet-out the fabric). Doing the washing and reviving the DWR (per the directions on the products - NikWax and McNett are the most readily available of the good products) will make gtx and eVent products last for years, doing their thing of shedding water and breathing. They aren't perfect in the breathing area, though eVent is better than Goretex of the same generation, plus pit zips and judicious use of zippers and chest vents help a lot.

And yes, an occasional shower test (and rain when you are using it) will tell you if wetting-out is developing (first sign you need to wash and renew the DWR).

12:18 p.m. on September 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, after having and (trying) to abuse my Arc'teryx Theta AR for over a year now, I finally put up my review for it. I hope it is thorough and gives a good idea about the jacket. I gave it a pretty good testing over the last year!

2:32 p.m. on September 30, 2010 (EDT)
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5 mins in the shower is equivilant to good rain storm. I usually wear a cotton t-shirt and jeans underneath when testing rain gear as they make pinhole leaks easy to detect afterwords.

1:03 p.m. on October 15, 2010 (EDT)
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So I just happened to see this thread and thought I would add my 2 cents.

First off, I think what a lot of you are running into is the fact that Gore-Tex is actually a diffusion based fabric. What this means is that it workes best when:

A)There is a significant temperature difference between your micro-climate and the outside (such as when you are working out on a cold day) and

B)There is water actually on the Gore-Tex material (such as when it is raining).

Bill S is absolutely right in saying that they all fabrics need their occasional care and if you follow his instructions, you should definitely get some good results in that manner.

11:28 a.m. on October 17, 2010 (EDT)
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Since posting the inquiry about how to properly test the jacket, it has rained and it worked okay. But I think when I get around to it I will was it as Bill S said to improve its working order. Snow tho now is more the precipation here in Flagstaff so it won't be raining much longer.

February 21, 2017
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