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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-02-09, 03:31 PM   #1
PaulRivers
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Gore Windstopper vs. eVent raincoat for "breathability"?

Has anyone happened to have a chance to compare Gore Windstopper to an eVent raincoat (like the Showers Pass model) for breathability?

I was thinking of getting the raincoat for rain and a windstopper jacket for other conditions, but when I started reading about it it seems like people feel that windstopper isn't particularly breathable either. And apparently, it's very very similar to GoreTex in material, and that's not particularly breathable. Obviously, neither one is going to be as breathable as, say, pure wool, but if windstopper is no more breathable than the eVent rainjacket, maybe I would be better off just wearing the Shower's Pass eVent rainjacket and not worrying about switching back and forth? (in the winter - in above freezing temps, I already have a windproof front, non-windproof back cycling jacket)).

Just wondering if anyone has had any experience or thoughts on the breathability between the two.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 01-02-09 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 01-04-09, 11:25 AM   #2
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I have a MHW Windstopper Tech fleece jacket and a Marmot Exum Gore-Tex Pro hooded shell. Both work well. I have a PI Zephrr shell that I can't find a reason to wear, because it generates too much sweat accumulation, which causes me to feel clammy-chilled on long rides: I can actually wring out drops of water from my base layer shirt, whereas the MHW and Marmot cause it to be merely mildly damp.

The type of material is really not the issue: no windproof/water-resistant/waterproof material's vapor-transpiration rates can keep up with perspiration rates (not even eVent). It's my mountaineering jackets' pit zips that do the real job of dumping moisture.

eVent also works best with pit zips. See, for example Showers Pass's cyclist-dedicated lineup. These are excellent jackets designed in Portland Oregon where people know a thing or two about fending off rain and cold.

If you don't have pit zips, it shouldn't be expensive to have a seamstress sew you some. If you do have them, you're set.

http://www.showerspass.com/cart/index.php?cPath=21_25
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Old 01-04-09, 11:56 AM   #3
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It is my understanding, which seems to be confirmed by my windstopper jacket, that the torso is usually protected but the other panels (arms and back) are left for venting. My jacket blocks out wind very well and breathes pretty well around the rest of the jacket. I'd say get a windstopper and a rain jacket if you can afford it but there is no need for both. Are you truly going to ride in the rain? Stick with a windstopper only and buy a clear light pullover rain coat or something cheap like that. Then you can roll up the rain cover in your pack or tape it to the seatpost for those few occassions where you need it.
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Old 01-05-09, 10:31 AM   #4
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It is my understanding, which seems to be confirmed by my windstopper jacket, that the torso is usually protected but the other panels (arms and back) are left for venting. My jacket blocks out wind very well and breathes pretty well around the rest of the jacket. I'd say get a windstopper and a rain jacket if you can afford it but there is no need for both. Are you truly going to ride in the rain? Stick with a windstopper only and buy a clear light pullover rain coat or something cheap like that. Then you can roll up the rain cover in your pack or tape it to the seatpost for those few occassions where you need it.
Thanks for the thoughts!

Here's what happened - I walked into the LBS where I bought my bike (a 2007 Specialized SWorks Tarmac SL) and asked about winter biking pants. The sales guy I bought the bike from pulled a pair of Endura Event pants out of his bag and demo'd them, said he wore them himself biking to and from his job at the bike store, said they were windproof, waterproof, and still breath...etc etc. He highly recommended them for winter biking, he didn't say they would breath well enough for summer biking.

So my primary use for these is that I need, at the least, windproof pants for winter biking. The Endura Event pants are damn expensive ($250), but if I could actually use them for winter biking + midseason biking (40 degrees and snow slush everywhere - even with fenders you might get wet, and at the temp getting wet is borderline dangerous) + summer non-bike rain pants it might be worth it.

I figured with the colder temps in winter they might breath good enough, but if they don't breath well enough for some strenuous winter biking then they probably aren't worth it. I bike across town to friends and relatives places - I need some sort of windproof-front pants that aren't tights, as it's waaaay to uncomfortable to bike across town, then get in the car, go to a restaurant and walk in wearing tights.

So I figured that if windstopper and eVent rain pants are equally breathable, I'd just get the eVent pants and get the waterproofing as an added bonus. Plus, when biking at 2 degrees Fahrenheit, even pants that are windproof on the front and more open on the back might be to cold from the wind whipping around the back...
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Old 01-05-09, 11:07 AM   #5
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Go Event. Event. The Endura and showers pass Event clothing is the bees knees for cycling.

I like MEC supermicrofit cycling jacket for general winter cycling jacket though, MUCH more breathable than either of gore or event.
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Old 01-05-09, 11:34 AM   #6
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I use the Endura Venturi jacket and pants and find them the best solution yet as far as keeping water out and still being breathable.

Nothing is breathable in a downpour though.

I also use a pair of Windstopper fleece pants in very cold weather. They work very well.

For some reason, I find Windstopper fleece more comfortable than Windstopper shell garments. I have a Gore Bikewear Windstopper shell that can get very hot and sweaty. It has pit zips. It needs them. It's also vented across the back. It will keep water off for a fair amount of time. It's not a rain specific garment per se.

The Venturi jacket is vented across the back. This is important for biking, even in cold weather.

One thing with eVent is that you have to wash it often in order for it to be waterproof. It will leak otherwise; so it takes some upkeep. It doesn't just stop working completely but you will get some water in there.

Also, as eVent garments are geared towards breathability above all else, the fabric used is usually very light making it vulnerable to ripping and abrasion. It's a bit delicate. Just something to keep in mind.

The bike specific designed Windstopper items do seem to work better for their intended roles than the backpacking or mountaineering pieces I've pressed into service in the past.

Anyway, the Endura Venturi stuff is excellent IMO. It costs like blood however.

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Old 01-05-09, 04:01 PM   #7
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...One thing with eVent is that you have to wash it often in order for it to be waterproof. It will leak otherwise; so it takes some upkeep. It doesn't just stop working completely but you will get some water in there...
I thought you just had to wash it to keep it breathable, it didn't affect the waterproofness?
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Old 01-05-09, 05:31 PM   #8
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Mmm, it'll leak to some extent if you don't wash it. I've noticed this in heavy downpours; but then I've gone Two seasons without washing mine so there you go.
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Old 01-05-09, 09:29 PM   #9
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I've been thinking about getting one of these windstopper jackets to wear here in MN, BUT I wonder if they truely breathe as well as what I need because I sweat a lot.
Currently I use a showers pass Elite Event jacket with the pit zips and the vented back, under it I wear a midweight LS zipped T over a Patagonia LS capilene crew(I used to wear a silk crew but this got really soaked); if it's below 20-25 with some wind I'll throw on a wool sweater over the zipped T and the capilene. I either wear a smartwool skull cap or smartwool balaclava on my nugget.
I keep the pits open all the time and leave the front zipper open a bit (2-3") up near my neck. I still end up sweating enough to get chilled and my chest & back will be pretty wet when i return from a hour and a half to 2 hour ride.
SO...........
?Do you think the windstopper jacket will be that much better and keep me dryer than what I currently use OR do I stick with what I have and just grin and bear it?
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Old 01-05-09, 09:45 PM   #10
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Sounds like you are over-dressed. Are you cold?

Maybe try the capilene by itself or with a light vest.
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Old 01-05-09, 10:03 PM   #11
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I'm pretty toasty starting out but then as I get warmed up and start sweating I usually get a little chilled.
I'll try dressing down and see how that goes, if I get chilled right away I can always get home quick and put clothes on.

?What about the breathability of the windstopper fleece jacket would it be worth trying one if "dressing down" doesn't help?
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Old 01-05-09, 10:20 PM   #12
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Sounds to me like a windstopper fleece will just make you hotter. Windstopper is breathable but breathable is a relative term. It's not more breathable than something that lets the wind through.

If you dress so that you are a little cold when you start, you will find that you warm up as you go. You can always add a layer if you have to.

Sweating is the enemy. It will chill you to the bone no matter how many layers you wear.

None of these waterproof breathables we are discussing will keep you from sweating if you over-dress. Rather, you need to dress down to the point where you are putting out only as much water vapor as they can handle.

I bet you would be okay most days with just the Capilene and a wind shell, whether waterproof breathable or just breathable.

eVent just happens to be very breathable compared to some of the other stuff available at the moment. It's not as breathable as a plain old windshirt or shell without any sort of coating or laminate.

Try the Capilene by itself under the Elite jacket, then add the T if you are getting real cold.

I bet you don't.

Last edited by jwbnyc; 01-05-09 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-05-09, 10:40 PM   #13
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FWIW, an REI salesperson told me the Event material is far superior to GoreTex, and GoreTex is outdated technology. Gore does not breathe well with moisture and Event does.
Granted, he wanted to sell me an expensive jacket.
I'd want to confirm this elsewhere. Just passing on what I was told.
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Old 01-06-09, 03:48 PM   #14
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Ok, I appreciate everyone's feedback. It sounds like, if possible, buying something with a windproof front and open back would be the best way to go for winter biking, though this still leaves me carrying extra gear for that mid-30's biking where I'd need something truly waterproof. (If it starts raining 20 minutes into a 1.25 each-way ride at 35 degrees, "toughing it out" is obviously out of the question for reasons of hypothermia)

However, I'm still curious about my original question - has anyone compared eVent waterproof fabric to Windstopper for breathability? I've read some stuff that says that Windstopper is basically goretex without seam sealing and other stuff, so it would actually breath worse than eVent stuff (though better than traditional rain gear)...
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Old 01-06-09, 03:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jwbnyc View Post
...For some reason, I find Windstopper fleece more comfortable than Windstopper shell garments. I have a Gore Bikewear Windstopper shell that can get very hot and sweaty. It has pit zips. It needs them. It's also vented across the back. It will keep water off for a fair amount of time. It's not a rain specific garment per se.

The Venturi jacket is vented across the back. This is important for biking, even in cold weather

One thing with eVent is that you have to wash it often in order for it to be waterproof. It will leak otherwise; so it takes some upkeep. It doesn't just stop working completely but you will get some water in there.

Also, as eVent garments are geared towards breathability above all else, the fabric used is usually very light making it vulnerable to ripping and abrasion. It's a bit delicate. Just something to keep in mind.

The bike specific designed Windstopper items do seem to work better for their intended roles than the backpacking or mountaineering pieces I've pressed into service in the past.
Thanks - I'll keep all that in mind when shopping.

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Anyway, the Endura Venturi stuff is excellent IMO. It costs like blood however.
haha, yeah, it does!
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Old 01-06-09, 08:19 PM   #16
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I googled Gore-tex vs eVent and unfortunately needed to sift through a lot of worthless hyped up crap.

A very good unbiased article with reasonable explainations was found here

I'm sticking with my Gore soft shell for now.
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Old 01-06-09, 10:23 PM   #17
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Sounds to me like a windstopper fleece will just make you hotter. Windstopper is breathable but breathable is a relative term. It's not more breathable than something that lets the wind through.

If you dress so that you are a little cold when you start, you will find that you warm up as you go. You can always add a layer if you have to.

Sweating is the enemy. It will chill you to the bone no matter how many layers you wear.

None of these waterproof breathables we are discussing will keep you from sweating if you over-dress. Rather, you need to dress down to the point where you are putting out only as much water vapor as they can handle.

I bet you would be okay most days with just the Capilene and a wind shell, whether waterproof breathable or just breathable.

eVent just happens to be very breathable compared to some of the other stuff available at the moment. It's not as breathable as a plain old windshirt or shell without any sort of coating or laminate.

Try the Capilene by itself under the Elite jacket, then add the T if you are getting real cold.

I bet you don't.
Thanks for the advise I'll try it next time out. This weekend looks to be a bit to cool for me with highs only from 7-12! Maybe the following weekend will be more tolerable. Thanks again.
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Old 01-06-09, 11:54 PM   #18
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Sorry if I wasn't clear.

In my experience eVent is more breathable than Windstopper or Gore-tex.

I ended up trying eVent because I found Windstopper and Gore-tex to be uncomfortable in a lot of common Winter biking situations.

I like Windstopper for gloves, head and neckwear, and on the legs.

Bike weight shells made entirely of Windstopper do not breath well without heavy venting through pit zips and the like. They work okay in a narrow range of temperatures with appropriate layering, Again in my experience.

I will use a pair of Windstopper fleece full zip pants when it gets cold. But these can get hot too.

I am getting ready to try some of the lighter bike-specific Windstopper pieces, in particular the Craft WS tights which use Windstopper sparingly in strategic places on a lighter fleece garment.

Windstopper fleece, at least in active sports/mountaineering weights, on the torso tends to lead to overheating and heavy sweating on the bike, although it's great in the Thirties or so for other outdoor activities.

YMMV

Generally, I find that, if I keep my feet, hands, head, and neck warm and out of the weather, I don't need nearly as much insulation to be comfortable.

Vis a vis your original post:

I would not bother getting a Windstopper shell in addition to the Showers Pass jacket.

JMO.



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Ok, I appreciate everyone's feedback. It sounds like, if possible, buying something with a windproof front and open back would be the best way to go for winter biking, though this still leaves me carrying extra gear for that mid-30's biking where I'd need something truly waterproof. (If it starts raining 20 minutes into a 1.25 each-way ride at 35 degrees, "toughing it out" is obviously out of the question for reasons of hypothermia)

However, I'm still curious about my original question - has anyone compared eVent waterproof fabric to Windstopper for breathability? I've read some stuff that says that Windstopper is basically goretex without seam sealing and other stuff, so it would actually breath worse than eVent stuff (though better than traditional rain gear)...

Last edited by jwbnyc; 01-07-09 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 01-07-09, 12:07 AM   #19
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One thing that's rarely mentioned is that if you wish to use the fully capability of breathable jackets you need a breathable base layer. As I commute to work in street clothes I prefer something with a bit more active ventilation.

After trying many, many, jackets over the years (Showers Pass, J&G, Lowe Alpine, etc, etc, etc,) I've found the Taiga Cyclopede to be damn near perfect. A lot of thought has gone into the design of this jacket, especially into the collar which can be either opened for ventilation when it's warmer, or can stand up to your chin for colder temps. It's expensive, but it's top quality, made in Canada. Prices are in Canadian dollars.

https://www.taigaworks.ca/cart.php?m...t_detail&p=162

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Old 01-07-09, 12:24 AM   #20
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That's a good point about base/mid layers.

A base layer designed for duck hunting isn't going to be very good for biking.

Also, a lot of heavy winter jerseys - PI Kodiak comes to mind - are too heavy as a mid layer in all but the coldest conditions and even then they don't breath very well.

I find myself using the lightest stuff that gets the job done, usually a light base layer and a light long sleeve jersey, supplemented by a warm vest, or an extra light layer, in the pack for stops or those times where I'm just caught out by the temperature.

The shell protects from the wind and precipitation as well as adding warmth.

It's the primary protective and insulating layer.

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Old 01-07-09, 09:59 AM   #21
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Sorry if I wasn't clear.

In my experience eVent is more breathable than Windstopper or Gore-tex.

...

I would not bother getting a Windstopper shell in addition to the Showers Pass jacket.

JMO.
Thanks! I'd love to hear other people's opinions, to. But that takes an all-windstopper garment out of the running at least, and narrows it down.

$150-$250 is a crapload of money to spend on a pair of rain pants, and $230-$300 is a crapload of money to spend on a rain jacket. I might be able to justify it because I could use this raingear outside of biking. It's hard to find good rain pants, and I particularly need a pair that's also windproof for the boundary waters (I'm not to hard on the pants, though I'd stick with something cheaper for the raincoat as the rubbing of the pack straps on the coat is probably pretty hard on the jacket). On the other hand, if the eVent stuff doesn't stay waterproof 100% of the time, maybe it's not a worthwhile investment. I mean, needing maintenance after 5 years is one thing, but 2 years seems like a rather short period of time. Hmm. I'm pretty sure I'll try to find some "windproof on the front, more open on the back" stuff first.

Anyone else have experience comparing eVent fabric to Windstopper for breathability?
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Old 01-12-09, 10:09 AM   #22
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Here's an unbiased take on eVent vs. Gore-Tex.

http://www.climbers-shop.com/Waterproofs.aspx

Basically, eVent passes water vapor faster than Gore-Tex. A tradeoff is loss of warm body air. Not mentioned, but likely also, is admission of cold air. For example, Granite Gear dry bags with eVent bottoms can be compressed (excess air removed) by rolling down the sealed tops. The air passes through the eVent fabric quite rapidly.

There are good reasons why companies like Arc'Teryx, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, and Outdoor Research use Gore-Tex Pro, and Craft (Swedish experts in winter sportswear) uses Gore Windstopper.

Gore fabrics keep you warmer in than eVent, when the same underlayers are used. Gore-Tex doesn't clog up like eVent, thus requires less-frequent washing, which increases garment longevity.

Yesterday I rode in the 40s with a thin merino undershirt and my GT Pro shell mostly unzipped top and bottom and pits wide open. After 3 hours, my shirt was damp, but not wet. I decided to switch to a dry polypro shirt and added a fleece as the sun went down and temperatures dropped into the 30s. I also zipped up a bit. (In theory, hydrophobic polypro worn under more-hydrophilic polyester or wool transports water from your skin to the midlayer most efficiently.) Dry clothing per se makes you feel instantly warmer.

In super-cold conditions I carry a down jacket for safety. If I have to fix a flat, for example, and stop generating heat, and also have to take my winter gloves off to work, down keeps me from getting miserably chilled. Also Outdoor Research Alti Mitts. They're flexible enough to brake and shift without difficulty.

(For future reference, if you're still riding after your hair turns mostly gray, you'll find that your hands get painfully cold and stiff with remarkable ease. )

Finally, an unconventional, but very effective way to keep your legs warm in frigid Midwest winds or Northwest winter rain is the bottom half of a surfsuit.
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Old 01-12-09, 11:34 AM   #23
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I have come to love my Foxwear jacket. It is made with Powershield(98% windproof and rain resistant) and Powerstretch(venting) fabrics. The front and and shoulders are P-shield and the lower back and under arms are P-stretch. Just a small amount of wind creeps in but helps maintain body temps. The back panel allows for heat and perspiration to escape. It also does well in rain. It CANNOT handle heavy rains. For those I wear a Bell Aqua-No jacket with zipper pits and back. That jacket is great at keeping the rain off but does not vent well.
Today I rode in 22F temps with the Foxwear E-Vap Jacket, a very thin wool sweater and thin poly top under. I was a fine. I actually sweated some and it vented out. The jacket has the greatest temperature range of any jacket I have used. All of my other jackets only hang in the closet now.
These jackets are custom made, inexpensive and WELL made. I had Lou(owner and seamster) add a little extra reflective material to the back. Cost: $80.00
http://www.foxwear.net/products_jackets.html
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Old 01-20-09, 02:01 AM   #24
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Here's a pressure chamber demo of eVent v. GTX.

http://vertexpress.com/tag/gore-tex

It shows that eVent lets bulk air pass through, which is used intentionally by Granite Gear's dry bag bottoms to push air out of the bag to compress its volume, i.e. this is a compression sack for minimizing the volume of your clothes for camping, kayaking and other traveling. GTX only allows air molecules to pass, which don't form bubbles, but rather go into solution in the upper water chamber in the demo video. (The video doesn't disclose this phenomenon: air does pass GTX, but at an invisible nanometer level.)

There are several reasons the Elite works well to give the wearer less skin dampness.

First and foremost, the jacket has two pit zips and a rear vent, which most cycling jackets and other rain shells don't. This three-vent design maximizes bulk air and water vapor bulk egress, which is far and away of greater magnitude than the through-the-membrane transpiration rate. It is why owners of eVent shells without the vents complain of getting very damp/wet with exertion.

Secondly, the vents' effectiveness is maximized by the large bulk flow of fresh non-humid atmospheric air through the front open zipper, and a sizable diffuse flow throughout the PTFE matrix on the ventral (frontside) torso and arms.

Thirdly, except in very warm humid atmospheric conditions, this large airflow cools the skin and decreases sweating, which reduces skin wetness by decreasing water production.

eVent's weak point is cold weather. High breathability means that cold air passes into the jacket very well, albeit often too well even with all the zips closed. Warmth can be protected by adding more underlayers, but the cost of this, in addition to buying more clothes, is bulkiness and potential binding.

The main reason why smaller sportswear manufacturers are using eVent, while the majors use GTX (Lowe Alpine's European group switched from GTX to eVent in 2003, then switched back) is not a Goliath vs. David story. eVent is made by General Electric, which dwarfs WL Gore & Associates by two orders of magnitude. GE is selling eVent cheap, and this is attractive to the small garment cos because they can underprice the majors' GTX products, which helps them get a toehold in the sportswear market against established name brands. For example, GTX Pro jackets run $400-600 MSRP, and until this year's sagging economy, it was hard to find them on sale. GTX' Paclite has been priced competitive to eVent, but it isn't as durable as Pro.
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Old 01-20-09, 02:22 AM   #25
Dtuns
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I have the showers pass elite 2.0 with EVENT fabric and have rode in 28 degs with just a longsleeve underarmor under neath and had no issues with cold breaths really well. Havn,t used in gortex stuff
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