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The Truth

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I have been writing about the so-called "waterproof/breathable" materials for several years, and in particular Gore-Tex.

I believe, without question, I have presented the truth about all of these materials. Recently I have presented information freely given from the Natick Army Testing Labs, attesting to the fact that the manufacturers misrepresent these materials. Keep in mind that I am referencing all of these manufacturers, not only Gore-Tex from Gore, but all of the manufacturers of these materials, and the manufacturers of the finished products. Now here is further proof from additional employees of the labs supporting my position.

I quote: "No, Gore-Tex is not breathable as in 02/C02. The breathability refers to the passing of moisture vapor only.
The military bivis do not zip closed because of that fact.
They can be pulled over the head and, if you notice, there are only Velcro tabs so you cannot get an air-tight seal. This provides ventilation; however, many folks roll the top of the bivi down and wake up with the need to breathe.

However, I do believe on the civilian market there are bivis which zip closed, military bivis do not. In a rainstorm, though, your protection from the elements does become compromised due to the fact you cannot seal the bivi closed. In situations where the bivi is either rolled closed or zip closed civilian model the C02 from breathing will build up, waking that individual. It is the same response that occurs when you hold your breath, which results in the feeling of needing to breathe. I have heard of a few incidents, in which campers were asphyxiated in bivi-like systems, I do not know if they were Gore-Tex but I believe it was also found they had abnormal responses to 02/C02 changes.

[Editors note: I do not know what this comment means. Were these dead campers some how tested before they used bivi bags to identify a possible problem? Certainly it would have been impossible after the fact.] The military bivis are not made in open-closed systems, they deliberately do not zip closed." A comment from a Gore employee referenced "open versus closed" bivis. It appears that U.S. military personnel are issued the "open" construction and European military are issued the "closed" construction. When asked if instructions were given with each bivi when issued, the answer was no. In view of all the information that exists, it seems to me, that troops should be told not to close the bivi over the face area. The folks at Natick are hopeful that the textile materials makers will eventually develop a "truly breathable fabric."

They at Natick "truly" know that Gore-Tex doesn't work as advertised, and I am quite sure those at Gore also know it too. As long as they get funding at Natick to find that "truly breathable material," they will continue to believe it is possible to be made. They just don't seem to be able to recognize reality, i.e., and the truth. There are those associated with the outdoor industry who believe that the waterproof/breathable material exists, as well as a host of other miracle fabrics. In the most recent addition of Sporting Goods Business (you can find them on the Internet, www.sgblink.com) I read an article by Emily Walzer. I would really like to know what her background is as relates to the textile business. It seems each issue has a new writer who deals with fabrics used for outerwear.

Reading her article one comes away thinking that the textile mills have created materials that actually do all the things necessary to keep one warm, dry, moving free as a bird, etc. What really gets me is the fact that she has focused the article on hunting apparel. I am being personal now, but I doubt if this person has ever hunted in her life. I know that because if she had, she wouldn't be using a garment made with any of the miracle fabrics more than once. The article is also an advertisement for the Gore Company, since 50 percent or more of it is about a new Gore product. Maybe someday the editor of SGB will hire a journalist who will do some research before writing an article. In such an event we may have someone who recognizes "truth." Don't hold your breath on that one. Several years ago I wrote to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that they stop Gore from using false advertising. The FTC does not tell you what action they will or will not take. Maybe now that we have so much information from a government agency, Natick Labs, they will stop Gore from their advertising practices.

Again, don't hold your breath. And now a follow-up of the possible deaths of two British soldiers, according to a Gore representative in Australia it is true. Also, according to the Gore representative Gore has developed a Gore-Tex film that does allow for 02 and C02 exchange after it is laminated to nylon. I am certain this representative is "blowing smoke." Please note that on January 17, 2001, a complaint was filed with the Ohio attorney general, alleging the possibility of suffocation when using a Gore-Tex bivi bag. "The complaint noted that Boy Scouts had bought the Gore-Tex bivi bags for Christmas. The complaint requests that the Ohio attorney general post public warnings about the use of the bivi bag, halt sales and investigate the safety problem towards children by using this bivi bag." Here is a letter I recently received, which I thought should be shared by all who still have an interest in buying a Gore-Tex or other so-called waterproof/breathable garment.

Dan Innamorato
04 January 2001

Wiggy's Inc.

Greetings, What would be optimal conditions for Goretex performance, as the manufacturer describes the function of this material? Its claim is to pass water vapor but not water molecules. Using these characteristics, one could deduce from general physical science that the greatest transfer of vapor from inside a Goretex garment would be when the differential between the inside and outside temperatures and humidity is also greatest. The inside will be body temperature and the outside environment will be cold and dry- winter conditions.

The bodily water vapor would have the greatest ability to reach equilibrium by transferring through the fabric since the temperature (and therefore vapor pressure) would be higher inside (pushing vapor out), and the low ambient humidity would allow this vapor to be immediately carried away from the garment surface.

How does Gore demonstrate this remarkable property of micro-porous waterproofness and breathability? They seal a scrap of Goretex fabric over the mouth of a beaker of water and place this over a burner to boil. The steam can be seen escaping through the fabric. Can a human body produce 212 degrees F heat to boil water? Is a Goretex parka sealed around a human body? So please explain how a human body will raise surface perspiration to that temperature and vapor pressure? How a parka open at the waist, cuffs, neck will achieve any pressure above ambient sufficient to drive water vapor through a tightly woven and coated fabric rather than out the myriad openings sized many thousands of orders of magnitude greater?

Let Gore perform this demonstration: epoxy (i.e. totally seal) a scrap of Goretex fabric over the mouth of a beaker half-full of water and then seal this assembly to the mouth of a duplicate, half full beaker of water. Set this on a burner and bring to a boil and lets see if the steam now has sufficient pressure to drive through the fabric that has liquid water on the other side. My guess is that no vapor will pass from the high pressure/low density side to the low pressure/high density side. The large, heavy molecules of water on the top will prevent the transfer of small, light vapor from the bottom. And in a rainstorm when the parka is fully wetted-out on the outside, how will the vapor escape through unsealed fabric, under the much lower pressure gradient generated by a human body?

On New Years Day 2001, I hiked in the low Maryland mountains north of Frederick, in Cunningham Falls State Park. The ambient air temperature that morning was about 20 degrees F, winds were 20-30 with gusts to 40, so the wind-chill was substantial and evaporative cooling was accelerated. I wore an EC2 long sleeve mesh shirt, an EMS medium weight Bergelene Zip-T, fleece pants, fleece headband, Smartwool socks over poly liners, OR gaiters to keep out snow, light weight glove liners and OR mitts that were almost immediately removed due to overheating. The wind shell was an L.L. Bean Goretex All Conditions Parka. Environmental conditions couldn't have been more perfect for waterproof and breathable fabric to perform perfectly. What were the results?

The packed-snow trail leaving the visitors center climbs steadily toward Wolf Rock and within a very short time the mitts were off and the hood pulled back slightly. Only the hands were slight cold due to the high winds, and the hood was constantly being replaced as wind gusts chilled the head. Moisture could be felt in the small of the back against the pack, and the pants were vented at the side zips. As the gradient leveled and activity lessened, hands were returned to mitts for a short while and the pants closed. Torso began to feel cold where against the inside of the parka although this was not objectionable. The trail alternately climbed, descended and ran along a ridgeline over about a five-mile circuit. At mile 1.0, a more exposed area was reached where the gusts swept over the ridge from the north and chilled any exposed skin uncomfortably. Hands were protected by merely withdrawing them inside the parka sleeves, and this was the state of affairs until mile 2.5 when the torso became very cold.

A park comfort station afforded a stopping place out of the wind and the pack, parka, and gloves were removed. The gloves were wet and could not be put back and since they became very cold and stiff, so a spare pair was used for a short time. These were no longer needed an hour later as the day warmed to 29 degrees F. The two wicking shirts were soaked and the inside of Goretex parka was wetted-out. How could this be possible when such a huge delta-t and delta-h (temperature and humidity differential between the microclimate inside the parka and the environment) should have made vapor transfer massive and rapid? In -20 degree F temperatures, I would have expected frost feathers to be forming on the outside of the parka where the vapor was freezing as it outgassed; assuming of course that this frost wasn't sublimating immediately in the steady wind. Steam-like vapor should have been pouring out of that parka and visible as my condensing breath.

What was occurring? The vapor was passing through the warm shirts and reaching the dewpoint on the inside of the cold Goretex fabric. It then condensed and soaked into the shirts whenever the condensate clinging to the parka touched the clothing. The parka wetted-out on the inside and the clothing became soaked from contact--despite no rain to wet the outside of the jacket, and extreme system deltas. If Goretex functions as advertised, this is an impossible result! I put a fleece jacket over the wet shirts so they could assume body temperature and cease to chill. This jacket also buffered against the cold parka fabric and the remainder of the hike was warm, though moist.

All wet clothing was removed at the car and replaced by dry clothing, but this would have been uncomfortable on an overnight if such extra clothing was not carried, and the process of exchanging wet for dry would have been chilling in such windy conditions. Goretex works as well at trapping heat and moisture as a urethane-coated rain parka, although at significantly greater cost. It may be waterproof, but it was not breathable despite optimal conditions for vapor transfer."


Last winter I reported that some Russians and Finns had cheated me. The Russians ordered over the Internet using credit cards belonging to people in Finland. As a consequence I will not accept any orders from people in either country unless they send U.S. currency money orders. Indonesia now is joining them.

During the past two months I have received a few orders from people in Indonesia or from people here in the United States shipping to someone in Indonesia. Another scam. The credit cards are drawn from U.S. banks and a German bank. The difference this year is that I have gone to the authorities here, FBI and Secret Service and been able to give them locations and e-mail addresses. Actually, I have given them more information than they had. It appears other retailers have no interest in working with the authorities. I seem to be one of a very few merchants to come to them. In the event the perpetrators are apprehended, I will be filing charges. I expect that I will no longer receive orders from these folks.


During the past year I have provided my "hootch" to Natick Labs for field evaluation. It may replace the poncho, shelter half and bivi bag. After six months or so of testing I was asked to make some additions to the basic hootch, which they like.

The additions are as follows: Poles, there are two, 24-inch shock corded poles for creating an "A" frame shape. Mosquito netting at each end, and two snap on parts, one a floor and the other an inner liner, which basically makes the hootch black outlined.

I was pleased when I saw the finished product. For any one who happens to own one of the originals, I can retro fit it with these additions. I am still working on the cost.

The second new product is gloves and mittens that have a palm fabric that has incredible gripping surface. The first test was holding a 25-pound muskie taken off of the hook. I also have pairs being used by king crabbers located in Alaska. These will sell in the $70.00 to $100.00 price range. They will be made with the laminated flotation foam material for use by watermen, and Supplex for landlubbers.

I am also making a new catalog that will show a new hunting outfit. It will be a system that will give the hunter a single outfit that will work from bow season to hunting Polar bear. The catalog will be available sometime in April 2001.

Aside from showing this outfit it will also show several other clothing items and have tips on how to dress for maximum comfort, regardless of the temperature. I have been an active hunter for ten years, and during that time I have seen what many hunters wear and have been asked a multitude of questions such as why the $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 worth of product they are using leaves them cold. The hunters clothing catalog will answer the greater portion of questions posed to me, and I can always be called if something is not clear.

If you want the new catalog call, write or e-mail me now, so you will be on the list to get it as soon as it is printed.

Truth is the recognition of reality; reason, man's only means of knowledge, is his only standard of truth.
-Ayn Rand, Galt's speech, Atlas Shrugged, 1957

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