Fire by hand drill

Fire by hand drill

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Gor-tex problems vs paramo solutions


I was having a chat to a fellow outdoors man about waterproofs and the merits of different materials.
As usual I had strong opinions.

A few years ago I went completely off Gor-tex and made the move to the Paramo system. Here is why.

I used gor-tex garments for many years. They do keep the rain out in a heavy down pour , they shed the wind, they create a micro-enviroment inside the jacket which helps keep you warm.there is no denying that fact.

However once you start to get warm and produce a bit of sweat the pores are overworked and become clogged. They work great in a lab where water vapour is forced through them. But once they are clogged with condensed water vapour(liquid water) they no longer work and the jacket becomes a sweat box. This is  big problem as you are making your under clothes wet which could lead to a dangerous position. Of course the water problem can be managed partially with ventilation zips etc but all you are doing is opening a big hole for the rain to come in.

End result an un-breathable jacket which is wet on outside from rain and wet on inside from sweat.

In my opinion it is better to have something  breathable no matter how hard you work.

I first started using Paramo when i went walking with a friend who raved about the system.

The rain that day was torrential and we walked to the top of a mountain and found shelter for lunch.
3 of us were clad in gor-tex and the fouth had a full suit of paramo.

In the shelter myself and the other gor-tex users tool off our jackets to reveal huge wet pathches from the sweat. Paramo man took his off and appeared to be bone dry.

The system works by having an outer which is not water proof but water resistant and wind resisitant.
The inner is called a pump liner and activly pumps water towards the outer. the potential for water to move away from your body is greater than the potential for water to move towards it thus making it effectivly water proof.

The first time I wore it I was amazed at the quiet fabric, the incredable breathability and the water proofness. I have 3 jackets now and they all get used. This being my favorite for everyday use.

The only thing is that they are thicker than a normal gor-tex but having used both while walking up hills I can say that because of the breathability vs the sweaty gor-tex enviroment they dont feel as bad.

These jackets dry incredibly fast and I have even worn mine in a rain storm, got into the tent, cooked some food by which time it wa nearly dry then crawled into my synthetic sleeping bag and it has dryed in about 15minutes. Could you do that in a gor-tex jacket? The beauty is that you dont loss heat by removing your jacket. Just stick a warm jacket over the top and the water vapour will move away form the heat. Simply physics really.

Definitly worth looking into.

Paramo clothing

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