Why is Gore-Tex So Expensive: A Complete Guide to GTX
Since 1969, Gore-Tex fabric has been making waves in the outdoor clothing business. This two-in-one material is not only waterproof but windproof as well. It is a popular option for waterproof jackets, shoes, gloves and backpacking gear in general. However, many people wonder, why is Gore-Tex so expensive?
The answer to that directly reflects the quality of the waterproof fabric. It’s incredibly durable, thoroughly tested, and reliable.
Continue reading to learn more details about this popular fabric.
Table of Contents
Is Gore-Tex High Quality?
It wouldn’t be the most popular waterproof material if it weren’t high quality. The company creates each piece of material with such pride that they even test other companies’ products with their material. If it doesn’t pass the test, it doesn’t continue to production.
The quality and durability tests are more intense than many other companies. Gore-Tex runs tests in a laboratory and puts each item to the test in the real world. This allows them to see how the materials react with the environment and exactly how they fit.
It is also important to remember that some companies use Gore-Tex as a laminate. While you can still count on the Gore-Tex to last, you should also pay attention to what fabrics are sealed to it.
Does Gore-Tex Last Forever?
I would love to say yes, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Forever is a long time! With proper care and touch-up treatments of DWR, you can expect a Gore-Tex product to last for about 10-15 years.
The guarantee is for the useful life of the product and only applies to the original owner and for products purchased from a certified retailer.
Returns, exchanges, and repairs are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Is Gore-Tex 100 Percent Waterproof?
If a product comes with the Keep You Dry Promise, it is completely waterproof. However, it is still your responsibility to treat the product accordingly to ensure it stays waterproof over the years. Some fabrics, for example, the Infinium, are not waterproof and do not come with this guarantee.
The truly waterproof ranges from Gore-Tex have a microporous structure, with approximately nine billion pores per square inch. These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet and 700 times larger than water vapor, aka sweat. This waterproof membrane is what makes it impossible for water and cold weather to enter while keeping the garment breathable.
Additionally, as an extra layer of protection, the seams are not just sewn, but taped.
With So Many New Options, Is Gore-Tex Still the Best?
The North Face has created its own fabric called FutureLight. It is made from a nanospun fabric that is also waterproof-breathable, water resistant and windproof. While it is more expensive than Gore-Tex, it is lighter and more compact.
When comparing Gore-Tex with Pertex Shield, the first thing you’ll notice is that Pertex Shield is more affordable. However, even though it still has a great waterproof rating (20,000mm water column), it’s not as waterproof as Gore-Tex (28,000mm water column). Gore-Tex also wins in terms of durability, but Pertex Shield is an outer layer that is less stiff, making it more comfortable.
Finally, from Patagonia, the H2No material is highly praised for its overall comfort. It is waterproof but less than Gore-Tex and has decent breathability. Again, in terms of durability, Gore-Tex is the winner.
Even with all of these great new options, Gore-Tex still shines. As they are always improving their technology, a few other Gore-Tex lines offer similar compactness and comfort, similar to these competitors.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Gore-Tex?
Yes, Gore-Tex has a few disadvantages, but we don’t consider them to be deal-breakers. One of the most notable disadvantages is the price of this fabric. Many people wonder why Gore-Tex is so expensive. However, it’s not all for naught. It is a great invention.
Secondly, to function well, the material requires upkeep. Even though there is an exterior PU coating, sweat and body oils can still accumulate inside the rain gear/garment and block the fabric’s pores from functioning properly.
Another thing that some people see as a disadvantage is having to reapply the DWR (durable water repellant) finish every so often. For every 12 days of intense activity with the garment, you should reapply the treatment.
If you’ve lost track, you can also see if water droplets are beading off on the outside of the Gore-Tex jacket. If it’s not, it’s being absorbed, and you need to reapply the treatment.
How to Wash Gore-Tex Outerwear?
It needs to be kept clean to function at its full potential. For example, for outerwear, you should zip and close all of the pockets, machine wash it around 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a small amount of liquid detergent, then rinse twice. Do not use fabric softener, bleach, powder detergent, or stain removers.
Afterward, tumble dry the garment on low or hang it to dry. After it’s dry, toss in the dryer on low for an extra twenty minutes to reactivate the DWR treatment. If you don’t have a washer, you can use an iron.
In Conclusion, Is Gore-Tex Worth It?
Now that we have answered the question, “Why is Gore-Tex so expensive?” you can decide if it’s worth it to you.
If you are pinching pennies and looking for outdoor gear that works decently without a long-lasting guarantee, the investment might not be worth it for you. If you are willing to make the investment in a great high-end product and know that it will last you for years with proper care, Gore-Tex is absolutely worth it.
Gore makes Gore-Tex gear that are built to last, which aids sustainability, creating a cleaner Earth. Gore-Tex fabric is made from expanded PTFE fabric with a PU coating. It is comfortable, reliable, and durable. Stay dry, stay happy, keep enjoying the outdoors.