5 Popular Alternatives to Gore-Tex (for Outdoor Gear)

Gore-Tex is a great technology that’s become popular among hikers, bikers, and all who enjoy being outdoors in nature. As amazing as it is, there are alternatives to Gore-Tex that work just as well at staying dry and comfortable!

Here are the best Gore-Tex alternatives that will get you through your adventure and keep you cool and dry!

Waxed Cotton

Waxed Cotton

Our first entry is a classic in the hiking community. Waxed cotton is a type of fabric that many different companies use for their outdoor wear, making it highly available at a great price point.

If you’re hiking somewhere that isn’t too humid or hot but still experiences frequent rainstorms, then waxed cotton might be the best and most affordable choice for you.

Waxed cotton is simply wax over the cotton fabric, and while it is great when it comes to being waterproof, it is a notoriously stuffy fabric. It isn’t as breathable as Gore-Tex and other materials,  which can be an important feature depending on the situation.

Pros of Waxed Cotton

  • It’s a cheaper more budget-friendly option
  • It stays cool and dry even in wet weather

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Heavy fabric

How it Compares to Gore-Tex

Even though cotton is cheaper and water-resistant, it doesn’t provide the same comfort and durability that you can get out of Gore-Tex.

eVent

eVent waterproof technology

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Similar to Gore-Tex, eVent fabric prides itself on being super breathable while also being waterproof. Even though it’s not an easy task to accomplish, it is highly effective at staying dry.

The difference between Gore-Tex and eVent is simply the polyurethane layer present in Gore-Tex fabric. eVent removes this layer, making it even more breathable and lightweight than Gore-Text.

The presence of the polyurethane layer in Gore-Tex helps to keep the fabric cleaner for much longer, allowing multiple wears between washes. On the other hand, since eVent lacks this layer, all of the sweat wicked off of your body remains in the eVent fabric, making it become much dirtier, much faster.

Pros of eVent

  • Extremely breathable
  • Extremely waterproof
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • The lack of a polyurethane layer makes the fabric require more washing than other waterproof fabrics.

How it Compares to Gore-Tex

The biggest difference between the Gore-Tex and eVent technologies is how often the products have to be cleaned and fully washed. eVent layering is just as breathable and waterproof as Gore-Tex, but build ups dirt and sweat very quickly in comparison.

FUTURELIGHT

FUTURELIGHT Waterproof jacket

The North Face recently created a brand new fabric that is said to be even better than the formally reigning champion of waterproof outdoor wear, Gore-Tex.

FUTURELIGHT fabric is created using a new technology that makes the breathability better than any waterproof fabric before, while not adding any extra weight.

The North Face describes FUTURELIGHT as Built to protect. Built to breathe, and that’s exactly what this fabric does. Not only that but FUTURELIGHT is featured in even more types of outdoor wear than Gore-Tex, including shoes.

Since FUTURELIGHT is the newest fabric on the scene, it can unfortunately still be a little on the pricy side.

Pros of FUTURELIGHT

  • Extremely waterproof
  • Extremely breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Available in all kinds of outdoor wear

Cons

  • Similarly priced to Gore-Tex, sometimes even pricier

How it Compares to Gore-Tex

A lot of the Northface gear that comes built with Futurelight can be slightly more expensive than the related Gore-Tex products. I’ve found that the waterproof quality fades faster than Gore-Tex and has to be replenished more frequently.

What Makes Gore-Tex Special?

Gore-Tex is not only warm and comfortable, but it also repels water better than most other fabrics on the market. The other upside to Gore-Tex is that it’s breathable, managing to be waterproof while also allowing water vapor to escape.

Unfortunately, it can be expensive, and when you’re purchasing a pack’s worth of hiking gear, it can be frustrating to have to spend a ton on waterproof clothing. Some of the above options are more budget-friendly and will still keep you dry and cool throughout the trip.

These options are all comparable to Gore-Tex, and allow you to try out gear that looks good and isn’t as expensive.

Is Anything as Good as Gore-Tex?

Gore-Tex is the best option on the market in terms of being waterproof, breathable, and long-lasting. There are alternatives that are comparable to Gore-Tex, but they each have a specific feature that isn’t as good as what Gore-Tex offers.

Since Gore-Tex is so popular it comes with the downside of being more expensive than the other available options. That’s one reason why so many hikers and adventurers test out other gear to see if Gore-Tex is actually worth the price difference.

Is Gore-Tex Worth the Extra Money?

With the emergence of new waterproof technologies like eVent and Futurelight, Gore-Tex isn’t worth the extra cost. The other available options are comparable to Gore-Tex for performance and are less expensive overall. Durability is one of the main reasons that people choose Gore-Tex over other brands, as it’s longer-lasting in terms of the effectiveness of being water resistant.

Final Thoughts

Gore-Tex is still a great choice for any serious hiker needing some waterproof pieces, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all waterproof fabric.

Waxed cotton, eVent, and FUTURELIGHT are all great gore-tex alternatives that have their pros and cons. All of the fabrics fit different needs for different hikers, so it’s a good idea to explore all your options before settling on a purchase.