Gore-Tex is one of the biggest outdoor wear clothing brands in the world. Offering a massive range of products from jackets, pants, footwear and gloves for all sexes and ages as well as accessories and more, Gore-Tex has been a key player in the ruggedized clothing market for over 55 years.
The most well known application of Gore-Tex technology, however, is as a lightweight, protective, breathable fabric that is commonly used in rainwear and their range of waterproof and water resistant clothing. In this article we’ll take an in depth look at the history of Gore-Tex and examine the proprietary fabric technology that has led them to become an innovative global leader in protective clothing.
The Gore-Tex Story
The original company behind Gore-Tex was founded over 55 years ago on January 1st, 1958, by Wilbert and Genevieve Gore. The company, then known as W. L. Gore & Associates, was founded in the basement of the Gore family home, and originally targeted the electronics market. The creation of the main component of Gore-Tex’s success, the patented Gore-Tex fabric, was invented as a joint exercise between Wilbert Gore and his son Robert Gore.
The Gore-Tex family company made their commercial debut by selling insulated computer cables to the computer industry and quickly became recognized as a quality supplier of reliable insulated wires, with the city of Denver, Colorado awarding them a huge contract for 7.5 miles of ribbon, and in 1969 insulated Gore-Tex cable was used on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
In 1969, Robert Gore was experimenting with new methods of polymer production, specifically stretching heated rods of polymer to create expanded polytetrafluoroethylene.
The discovery of the process of creating the Gore-Tex material was in fact an accident- frustrated with the slow process of stretching the heated material, Robert Gore gave the material a hard yank, which unexpectedly stretched over a large area in a microporous configuration that was over 70 percent air. Immediately seeing the potential commercial and consumer applications of the material, Robert Gore patented the material
The Gore-tex material quickly found applications in a diverse range of industries, including the medical, fabric, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive, mobile electronics, music and semiconductor industries.
Gore-Tex products are now used around the world, keeping outdoor adventurers warm and dry, reducing carbon emissions, and even helps transmit signals from the Mars Rover back to earth.
The patented Gore-Tex material is not only used for fabric- technological developments by Gore-Tex over their 55 years of business operation have led to Gore-Tex being able to offer their product in a wide variety of structures, shapes, thickness and surface geometries, in a strong permeable, rigid or flexible, thin or wide configuration that has an endless amount of applications.
Gore-Tex is now used in filters and vents to contain liquids, solids and fine particles in the manufacturing industry, vents to preserve audio quality in smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets, textiles used in space exploration, over 40 million medical devices worldwide, and a huge flagship range of windproof, durably waterproof and breathable fabrics that are manufactured and distributed by Gore-Tex directly.
The most obvious application of the durable and waterproof properties of the Gore-Tex material is in the creation of high quality and effective weather-proof clothing. The most popular clothing item devised by the Gore-Tex team is their classic Interstate Jacket, with the base design remaining the same for several decades.
The Gore-Tex Interstate Jacket combines a fashionable style with advanced technical features and is constructed almost completely from the breathable Gore-Tex fabric. Offering comprehensive protection from wind and rain and provide long-lasting durability, the Interstate Jacket is covered by Gore-Tex’s unique ‘Guaranteed to Keep You Dry’ customer satisfaction promise.
Three layers of Gore-Tex material bakes the Interstate Jacket waterproof, breathable, windproof and lightweight, and is excellent for a wide range of typically wet outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, snowboarding, skiing, freeriding and camping.
The Gore-Tex interstate Jacket is complete with one chest and two hand pockets, a storm hood, and side helms to help keep wet weather out of the wearer’s face. The Interstate Jacket retails for $449.00 MSRP and comes in three colours- Corvo Blue, Black, Guar
One of the key factors in Gore-Tex’s unparalleled success as a wet-weather gear manufacturer is their ‘GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY promise’.
All products that carry the Gore-Tex branding are covered under this policy, which states that if a customer is not satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of their purchased Gore-Tex product, Gore-Tex will will repair it, replace it, or refund the purchase price.
Gore-Tex don’t pull any punches with this policy; the guarantee explicitly states that ‘No water from the outside will get to you on the inside’ of an official Gore-Tex product, with the lifetime of the guarantee determined on a case-by case basis
Gore-Tex’s product performance rates very high when compared to other outdoor wear companies.
The nature of the Gore-Tex fabric means that it doesn’t deteriorate over time and is guaranteed to endure all sorts of wear and tear with no ill effect, such as repeated laundering, flexing, abrasion, or exposure to body oils or insect spray.
Gore-Tex Pricing & Availability
As with anything in the free market, high quality means high price. Gore-Tex definitely offers excellent value for money, and provide a long-lasting product that is covered by a comprehensive guarantee that likely works out more-cost effective in the long run.
Purchasing a single jacket from Gore-Tex can cost upwards of four hundred dollars, but considering the product is guaranteed to protect the wearer and keep them completely dry for it’s usable lifetime- which is in some cases several decades- Gore-Tex is a sensible choice when planning for the long run.
Gore-Tex products can be ordered from the Gore-Tex website, and is stocked in thousands of retail outdoor and clothing outlets across the United States and many other countries.