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more waterproof breathable lunacy

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“Gill Fishing, the manufacturer of foul weather and technical apparel for anglers, introduced its latest collection of breathable waterproof fabrics with XPEL technology blocking stains from contaminants found in the water.

“Unfortunately, many breathable jackets that claim to be waterproof eventually let water in, while the old-school rain slicks made of impermeable materials, which effectively block water and are easy to clean, can be incredibly uncomfortable because they trap body heat and sweat,” said Dominic McCarthy, commercial director, Gill North America. “We’re proud to put an end to compromising. Like all Gill products, anglers can trust our new jackets and bibs to keep them dry during the nastiest weather while providing the performance benefits of modern breathable fabrics. And now, they can quickly clean them with a spray of water.”

I have reprinted the above two paragraphs of an article in Sporting Goods Media online publication I get daily. Having read the article, I saw Gill is using a technology I never heard of “XPEL” so I researched it. Here is what I found.


Endless Possibilities Our paint protection films are available in a wide variety of widths and lengths that are perfect for any project. From cars to trucks, to motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and more, XPEL film by the foot has you covered no matter what you need to protect.”

You can do as I have done by researching the material yourself.

This product is NOT going to do anything different than all that have come before it since the inception of goretex. Dominic McCarthy is a late blooming snake oil salesman. Is there no end to the perpetuation of the greatest lie ever told and now continuing to take place in the textile, garment industry?

What follows is the first newsletter I ever published about the fallacy of goretex.

Wiggy's Inc. Newsletter
Issue #1 | January 1996

Several years ago I was given the following article about waterproof breathable fabrics. The writer was an employee of the Marathon Rubber Products Co. Marathon produces rainwear apparel as well as other rubberized products and is located in Wausau, Wisconsin. It is obvious that the motivation for this arti­cle was the introduction of Goretex to the rainwear mar­ket, although the Goretex name never appears in the article.

"Breathable" fabrics, in our opinion, have several serious deficiencies - so serious, in fact, that we could never rec­ommend these overpriced fabrics for any sportsman needing truly waterproof and windproof protective cloth­ing.

#1 - A basic law of physics states that heated air has a greater affinity or holding capacity for moisture or humidity. Since your body temperature inside clothing heats up when you are active, air temperature inside next to the skin can often rise easily above 100 degrees F. Rarely when it rains, if ever, is the temperature out­side 100 degrees F. Therefore, if anything, a “breathable" fabric will actually allow more moisture to gather inside the rain garment! The exact opposite of what is claimed.

#2 - No pressure buildup is possible inside a rain gar­ment, therefore, there is no reason for moisture laden air to pass through any kind of barrier, much less a microp­orous one. Think about the screen door - with holes that big there is still no movement of air through the door unless there is a breeze or some pressure built up by fans, etc. A rain garment will ventilate through the neck opening, sleeve openings, and around the waist, and even through the front zipper or snaps first ... not allow­ing pressure to build.

#3 - Water surface tension, or film that holds rain drops together, or that you see creeping up the inside of a water glass will easily bridge or cover the micropores of any breathable fabric. Blocking up the pores won't allow any air to pass, therefore, the breathable fabric becomes clogged in the rain just when you need it.

#4 - Fabric itself absorbs perspiration, not the breathable coating. Fabric provides an extra insulating barrier to reduce condensation inside a garment. The same effect can be achieved by wearing a long sleeve shirt...much less expensive too.

#5 - One product in particular has been advertised to the sporting goods industry as breathable, yet it is also advertised to a different market as a joint sealant imper­vious to liquids and gases. Marathon sells to both sport­ing goods as well as heavy industrial markets, and so we discovered this "unusual" marketing technique. Which story is correct?

#6 - Wind chill/hypothermia concerns are obvious with a “breathable" fabric as wind would produce enough dri­ving force to penetrate the rain garment and chill you inside through evaporation.

While the article, I believe, is extremely enlightening, the writer has made a minor error. He refers to fabrics as breathable, but it would be more accurate to have stated "vapor permeable".

Item #1 refers to heated air retaining moisture. That is correct. If you were on the north slope of Alaska, you would discover that arctic air is so dry there is no mois­ture in the air.

Item #2 explains that the moist air developed by the body will not escape through the microscopic holes of the film laminated to the shell fabric if there are larger open­ings for it to move through.

Item #3 I especially like. When the U.S. Army field test­ed the Goretex with temperatures below O degrees F they found that frost built up on the inside of the rain garments. The moist vapor was condensing and then freezing, never having gotten out of the garment. In warmer conditions the moisture will only condense and bead up on the interior of the garment, never escaping.

Item #6 is also not quite right. If your skin surface is wet due to the lack of vapor permeability of the garment you are wearing and you are faced with excessive wind, the pressure of the clothing being pushed against your skin surface will give you a chill very quickly. This is because the moist vapor your body was producing couldn't evapo­rate and was trapped against your skin surface as well as in your clothing. Depending on the circumstances it would lead to a hypothermic situation.

As always, you are welcome to call me at 1-866-411-6465 if you have any questions.

So, all you angler who think you are getting the next best thing to sliced white bread [which we now know is not particularly good for you] think twice about spending your money on Gill rainwear or you can buy it and then you will be joining the lunacy crowd.

The bottom line on waterproof and breathability or lack there of continues to be a pipe dream which will never change. 

P.S. In all these years neither gore nor any other company mentioned as selling a bogus product has ever stepped forward to counter what I have said. Can you guess why?

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