If you’ve ever had anything to do with the great outdoors, camping, fishing, horse riding, motorbike riding or anything else that requires being in great amounts of mud and rain, you’ve probably heard of GORE-TEX®. This iconic fabric technology brand has been keeping Aussies dry since 1977 when Mountain Designs introduced it to the masses. Since then, GORE-TEX® has been used in a huge number of products and is now the name the professionals mention when advising people about the best products to use.
What Exactly is GORE-TEX®?
GORE-TEX® is named after inventors Wilbert L Gore and his son, Robert W Gore who created expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) in 1969. It’s a strong, thin and breathable material that’s both waterproof and windproof, making it an amazing replacement for a large number of materials that were either waterproof but heavy, or windproof but absorbent, or resistant to weather but weak.
The versatile, microporous nature of GORE-TEX® changed the face of outdoor adventure gear for the better. These days, if you see the GORE-TEX® logo, you can be assured of a quality, long lasting and weatherproof product.
Why is GORE-TEX® Unique?
This innovative fabric features a unique membrane that’s completely waterproof and windproof, but also allows moisture vapour to pass through from the inside-out, keeping you dry from sweat too. It’s made up of around 9 billion pores per square inch, with each pore being approximately 1/20,000 the size of a water droplet, which gives it its special properties and superior performance.
An Aussie First
Rick White, founder of the well-known outdoors brand Mountain Designs, started handcrafting products for his customers in the late 1960s. Rick always endeavoured to use the very best technologically-advanced materials in his craft, which is why he started manufacturing exceptional products from GORE-TEX®, introducing it to the Aussie public in 1977.
Mountain Designs also achieved other industry-leading efforts using GORE-TEX®. For example, in 1979, they were the first manufacturer to use it to create a waterproof foot on sleeping bags. They were also the first Australian manufacturer to introduce GORE-TEX® softshell to the market in 2002.
GORE-TEX® and Mountain Designs
Mountain Designs have continued to use GORE-TEX® in innovative and inspirational ways in a large range of their products, from their rainwear, softshell, insulated jackets (down and synthetic insulation), fleece, sleeping bags and tents. From the first GORE-TEX® jackets – such as the Stormking and Andromeda Parkas (1979) and the very popular and enduring Cumulus Jacket (mid-90s) – to the most recent Cumulus Jackets range, Mountain Designs have been engineering their gear with GORE-TEX® and durability in mind.
For instance, the GORE-TEX® PACLITE® technology gives products superior weather protection in an ultra-lightweight form that’s easy to pack and lasts. This technology is also used on various footwear designs, as well as Alpine and Mountaineering gloves.
It’s Easy to Care for GORE-TEX® Rainwear
The beauty of GORE-TEX® products is that they are enduring, but also simple to care for – especially if you perform routine maintenance. To ensure you get the greatest lifespan out of your GORE-TEX® product, it’s important that you regularly clean it to remove dirt, body oils, perspiration, sunscreen and other grime, relative to use. These things can build up and prevent the GORE-TEX® technology from working efficiently.
The inside care label on your Mountain Designs GORE-TEX® product will outline the proper care instructions and you can find further care tips on the Mountain Designs Product Care Instructions page. Following these easy care instructions will ensure your Mountain Designs product is always working and ready for use.
Bring Back Water Repellency Over Time
Your GORE-TEX® product comes with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, which allows water to bead and drop off, rather than causing a ‘Wet Out’, where water saturates the outer layer of your fabric above the GORE-TEX® layer. A Wet Out can make you feel damp, sticky and like your garment is leaking when in fact it’s not.
Unfortunately, while GORE-TEX® fabric always remains waterproof, the DWR eventually wears away with regular usage, especially if exposed to impurities such as dirt, insect repellency repellents and detergents. If it has reached the absolute end of its useful life, you won’t be able to restore it using the below instructions, but you will be able to add a topical water repellency restorative (DWR treatment) for outdoor fabrics.
Thankfully, until then, you can easily restore your GORE-TEX® garment’s water repellency by machine washing it, rinsing it, then putting it in the dryer. Ensure you follow the care instructions on your garment for best results.