Gore-Tex? What the heck is it?

What is Gore-Tex?

Being a biker in the UK means you're constantly battling against one major enemy: rain. It's like an unpredictable foe, showing up whenever it feels like it, whether it's a supposed-to-be sunny summer evening or a chilly winter afternoon that was supposed to stay dry. But hey, back in '76, W.L. Gore dropped a game-changer in our fight against soggy rides: Gore-Tex.

Gore-Tex is like the superhero of outdoor gear. It's the go-to for making tough-as-nails motorcycle jackets, boots, and gloves that can handle anything Mother Nature throws at you. All the big outdoor brands swear by it because it's lightweight and seriously tough, perfect for all your outdoor adventures.

But it's not just jackets and boots. Gore-Tex can bond with pretty much anything, so you'll find it in hats, gloves, socks, and even bags. And sneakerheads, listen up – Gore-Tex is making its mark in the sports shoe game too. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance are all about that Gore-Tex life, especially for their winter kicks. Keeps your feet dry and cozy, no matter how nasty the weather gets.

So, here's the lowdown on how Gore-Tex does its magic.

They say it's "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry," and they ain't kidding. Basically, Gore-Tex is like your ultimate shield against water and wind. The super tiny pores in the Gore-Tex membrane are like Fort Knox – water droplets can't even think about squeezing through. But when it comes to sweat, it's like a VIP pass – those tiny moisture vapor molecules can breeze right through.

And get this – the membrane's molecular structure is so fancy that even air molecules can't figure out how to sneak in. It's like a force field against the elements.

To make stuff with Gore-Tex, they slap that magical membrane between layers of fabric. Depending on what you're making, they can tweak the process to dial in different levels of performance. It's like customizing your own superhero suit.

Alright, let's break down the common ways they put together Gore-Tex gear:

  1. Z-Liner: This one's like the OG of Gore-Tex setups, especially in motorcycle gear. It's kinda like the 3-Layer setup, but with a twist – the Gore-Tex membrane hangs out between the outer fabric and the lining, sorta like it's floating. This setup works great for making those beefy winter jackets with all the layers and insulation you need to stay toasty.

  2. 2-Layer Construction: Here, they bond the Gore-Tex membrane straight to the outer fabric, skipping the lining. That means you can have a separate lining inside, maybe with some cozy insulation like down fill, to amp up the warmth factor.

  3. 3-Layer Construction: This is the heavy-duty setup. They stick the Gore-Tex membrane to both the outer fabric and the lining, creating a seriously tough fabric. It's perfect for those lightweight shell jackets that still need to stand up to whatever nature throws their way.


Here's the deal with that "GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY" tag on Gore-Tex products: it's not just for show. When you snag a Gore-Tex item with that square tag, you're getting more than just a cool label – you're getting peace of mind.

W.L. Gore & Associates, the brains behind Gore-Tex, hooks you up with a limited guarantee, no extra charge. And get this – it's on top of any warranty already given by the product manufacturer. So if you ever find yourself with a soggy Gore-Tex item that's supposed to be keeping you dry, they've got your back.

Let's talk about the flip side of Gore-Tex:

Maintenance Required: Gore-Tex is awesome, no doubt about it, but it's not maintenance-free. As you wear your Gore-Tex gear and sweat in it, gunk can build up in those tiny pores, messing with its waterproofness and breathability. That's why it's important to give it a good clean every now and then using the right stuff and hit it with some water repellent spray to keep it in top shape.

Glove Grip Dilemma: Here's a snag specifically with motorcycle gloves. When you're cruising in the rain with heated grips, things can get a bit tricky. See, normally moisture passes from your warm hands out through the Gore-Tex membrane to the cooler outside. But if those heated grips are warmer than your hands, moisture can sneak back in, leaving your mitts damp. Some glove makers are trying to tackle this by designing gloves with special pockets for heated grips, which help keep your palms at the same toasty temp as the grips, stopping that reverse moisture flow.

So, why does Gore-Tex cost a pretty penny? Well, because it's totally worth it.

Here's the deal: Gore-Tex isn't just any waterproof fabric – it's the top dog. It's super waterproof, tough as nails, and lets you breathe easy even when you're working up a sweat. When you're making the best fabric out there for jackets, it's only fair to charge a bit more, right?

Sure, there are other waterproof membranes floating around, but none quite match up to Gore-Tex. These guys are like the veterans of the industry, constantly testing and innovating to stay ahead of the game. And get this – Gore-Tex fabrics are exclusively made by Gore themselves. That means they control everything from the colors available to the production process.

When it comes to making stuff with Gore-Tex, they don't mess around. Every little detail, from the zips to the vents, has to meet their sky-high standards. That's why only the best of the best get to slap that Gore-Tex label on their gear.

And here's the kicker: because Gore-Tex holds their products to such a high standard, they're the only waterproof membrane with a lifetime guarantee. So yeah, that extra cost? Totally worth it for the peace of mind and top-notch performance you get with Gore-Tex.