I am being asked a lot of about KUIU’s rain gear. The requests are to make it quiet, light, packable, durable, breathable, 4-way stretch, inexpensive and dependable. Quite a punch list! I agree if we could develop rain gear that meets these requirements we would have the ultimate product.
The market for waterproof and breathable laminates was created in 1978 when W.L. Gore stretched Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) AKA Teflon and created Gore-Tex. Most of us are aware of the breathability advantages of WP/BA in wet conditions during a climb. Over the past 32 years there have been some nice advancements to Gore-tex and PTFE laminates as well as the introduction of additional waterproof breathable technologies.
The link below is to an article hosted by REI and is a great synopsis of current raingear technologies.
The downside is that it tends to focus on PTFE (Gore-tex & eVent) and only touches on other technologies. As I am researching I am finding a marketing slant to studies, articles and publications pushing the laminate found in the garment they are selling. Those other technologies include:
-Polyurethane (PU) Films
The overlooked advantage to these other technologies is cost and stretch. Something I will research in greater detail as we move forward with the discussion.
This article is a good start to have a better understanding of WP/BA technology. It will help as we dig into more detailed information in future posts.
If any readers have links to great information on WP/BA studies or information please post back in a comment. I would love to read it.