Omni-Tech vs. Gore-Tex: Which is Better for Hiking?

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, choosing the best fabric for your outerwear is an essential step in your sporting experience – and an exciting one.

The Omni-Tech vs Gore-Tex decision can be confusing. So, we’ve outlined the similarities and differences between the two fabrics to make your life easier! We’ve even selected our favorite amongst the two.

Read on to see which one we chose and why we chose it.

Columbia Jacket

The Similarities Between Omni-Tech and Gore-Tex 

Omni-Tech is the popular outerwear brand, Columbia’s answer to the demand for a water-resistant and breathable fabric. While Gore-Tex is a well-established fabric that uses membrane-based technology for impressive waterproof capabilities.

Both fabrics are extremely durable and breathable, making them ideal for outdoor sports. Let’s explore some other similarities that place these two fabrics at the top of the quality outerwear list.

The Garment Options

There are endless coats, jackets, pants, and the like made of either Omni-Tech or Gore-Tex fabric. Plus, they come in various sizes and styles. So, if you’re looking to dress head to toe in one of these materials, you absolutely can.

Breathability 

We all know the struggle of a waterproof jacket that conceals your body heat with no capacity to breath – and it’s not pleasant. Thus, both fabrics are designed with breathability in mind.

How To Wash Hiking Boots

Through Omni-Tech’s three-layer system and the membrane with billions of pores of Gore-Tex, both fabrics offer advanced solutions that achieve passing waterproof ratings without compromising on breathability.

The Differences Between Omni-Tech and Gore-Tex

Price 

It’s common knowledge that sporting wear isn’t cheap. Both these materials are made to last so we tend to think of them as a long-term investment and therefore, worth the price!

However, Omni-Tech offers many more affordable options whereas Gore-Tex is always going to be premium regardless of the garment.

Waterproof Rating

Waterproof ratings are determined by how much water pressure a material can endure before it begins leaking. You can read more about how waterproof ratings work here. To be deemed “waterproof”, a material must achieve a minimum rating of 10.000mm with anything higher implying better waterproof capability.

Gore-Tex has a waterproof rating of 28.000mm while Omni-Tech’s just hits the passing 10.000mm mark. So, if you’re just looking for something that won’t let a standard rainfall in, Omni-Tech will suffice. But if you’re heading out on an adventure with the possibility of torrential rain or snow, Gore-Tex is a safer bet.

Wearability

A durable, resistant jacket is great, but less so if you can’t move properly in it.

Gore-Tex is stiffer than Omni-Tech because of the nature of the material. Omni-Tech is more malleable which is an important consideration if you’re, for example, going on a camping trip with limited packing room.

This may also be an important factor if your sport is something like rock-climbing where you’ll need to be able to move freely with no resistance.

Which is Better: Omni-Tech or Gore-Tex?

Though you can’t really go wrong with either choice, we chose Gore-Tex as the winner in this Omni-Tech vs Gore-Tex comparison. The main reason for our selection is the difference in waterproof rating, where Gore-Tex undeniably outshines Omni-Tech.

If you’re comparing these two fabrics, you’re likely a hiker, camper, or interested in a similar sport that requires durable equipment. In this case, we recommend choosing the most waterproof option available.

Nothing is worse than having your equipment slow you down or force you to turn back because it isn’t performing well, so choose the material that will keep you dry so you can do your thing with no distractions!