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Outdoor Retailer: Gore-Tex Active Shell promises waterproof fabric with high breathability

by Tom Mangan
January 23, 2011

gore tex logoLight and fast are the operative terms for Gore-Tex's new Active Shell fabric, built as the competition between waterproof-breathable fabrics heats up.

Gore-Tex claims the new three-layer fabric manages perspiration more effectively by integrating a lighter, thinner, more breathable Gore-Tex membrane with a moisture-wicking backing material. The result is a combination of high breathability with waterproofness, in a lightweight, soft, quiet fabric.

Active Shell already has believers in Arc'teryx, Mammut, and Adidas, all of which were showing Active Shell products for the first time at Outdoor Retailer.

Gore-Tex's drive to reduce weight was obvious from the moment I picked up Mammut's Felsturm Half-Zip Jacket at the Gore-Tex booth. It looks stylish and functional, as expected in a premium jacket, but it is surprisingly light.

Here are quick looks at three Active Shell jackets:


 Arc'teryx Alpha FL Jacket

  • Alpha FLWeight: 1.8 oz / 308 g (size M)
  • MSRP: $399
  • Release: Fall 2011
  • Sizes: S-XXL (men's)


  • Minimalist alpine shell for climbers and serious alpinists who travel fast and light (that's what Arc'teryx's new FL designation stands for)
  • Quiet, lightweight nylon Gore-Tex Active Shell face fabric to shed precipitation and provide durable waterproof and windproof protection while on the move
  • Reinforced hips and shoulders
  • Single chest pocket opens with a laminated WaterTight zipper
  • Helmet-compatible Storm Hood
  • E3D anatomical fit and articulation facilitates reaching for holds and other climbing-specific moves
  • Packs in its own stuff sack

Active Shell is also available in Arc'teryx's Beta FL Jacket for backcountry skiing and light and fast ascents: 11.9 oz / 338 g (men's M), $450


Mammut Felsturm Half-Zip Jacket

  • Weight: 10.5 oz / 290 gFelsturm Half Zip
  • MSRP: $390
  • Release: Fall 2011


  • Gore-Tex Active shell promises maximum breathability and reliable weather protection
  • Innovative zip: spiral is placed directly on the outer material in order to reduce weight and avoid sewing puncture holes.  Designed to be extremely easy to open and close
  • Three-point hood adjustment system with horizontal and vertical drawstring
  • Hood rolls up to protect the neck
  • Reinforced hood shield to withstand strong gusts of wind
  • Frontreach sleeves, ergonomically tailored to climbing movements
  • Front access pit zip for optimized thermal regulation
  • Front pockets positioned to allow easy access even when wearing a backpack or climbing harness
  • Elastic at the hem and sleeve hem


 Adidas Terrex Gore-Tex Active Shell Jacket

  • Adidas Terrex Active ShellWeight: 13.1 oz / 370 g (size M)
  • MSRP: $395
  • Release: Fall 2011
  • Sizes: S-XL (men's); XS- L (women's)


  • Gore-Tex Active Shell for high-pulse activities with next-to-skin comfort, easily packable
  • Convertible jacket with detachable sleeves
  • FORMOTION design for performance and comfort while in motion.
  • Adjustable helmet-compatible hood