This Month's Gear Guru Question:by Backcountry Bob
Q. Today, about every major outdoor clothing wear company has their own waterproof breathable (treated) fabric similar to GoreTex. How do you choose? - Michael from Pennsylvania
A. Good question Michael. A few years ago Gore Tex came out with the new XCR fabric. When they did so, they stepped out ahead of the other companies' materials. Most of the high end companies' fabrics match regular Gore Tex in terms of breathe-ability and water proofing. HyVent (The North Face), Epic (Mountain Hardwear), Precip (Marmot), and others fabrics are of really good quality and will work great in most situations. Beware of low end companies copycat attempts. They're not up to par with the big boys yet.
The real world difference between XCR and these other fabrics really depends on how you use your gear. The time when the XCR really shines is when you are working really hard (running, skate skiing, climbing, mountain biking, etc) and when it is really really wet (big storms). If you are just being rained on and while you are out for a morning stroll around the neighborhood or lift skiing on a nice powder day, then the other materials are going to perform just as well.
It is also worth looking at the layering of materials. A three layer fabric will breathe much better and last longer than a two layer fabric. However, the two layer will be a lot lighter.
Is the XCR better? Definitely. However it is usually much more expensive. It really comes down to whether or not you will use the jacket hard enough to notice the difference.
Check out some jackets made with these fabrics right here.
This month's Gear Guru question was submitted by Michael from Pennsylvania. He will receive a Nalgene bottle for his question. Enjoy Michael!
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