Pertex versus GoreTex

Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/23/17 11:36 AM

Has anybody had any experience with raingear using these two fabrics (I'm looking for a comparison in performance, not information on technical aspects or selection pointers.)

I've got an OR Foray GoreTex rain suit, and recently switched to an OR Helium Pertex rain suit. I haven't had any serious problems with either one; both have been used in short showers as well as all-day light rains (no all-day downpours - I use glass rain gear, aka "Windows", when that's the forecast.)

Pertex is lighter, and doesn't seem as warm as the GoreTex to me (an advantage in summer, we'll see if it's a disadvantage in winter.) There doesn't seem to be as much condensation/perspiration buildup in the Pertex - whether it's because the fabric breathes better, or it's not as thick (thus not as warm), I don't know. However, the thinner material makes me wonder about it's durability over time, especially at the shoulders and waist, where pack straps and belt will rub on it. It also makes me wonder what grabbing branches, thorns, and such will do to it. Of course, I remember having similar concerns when silnylon began replacing the heavier materials that used to be used in tents and packs; those concerns turned out to be groundless.

Has anyone else made this conversion or have any experiences with Pertex products?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/23/17 11:53 AM

I far prefer just plain waterproof, not breathable, with plenty of ventilation. IMHO, there is no such thing as both waterproof and breathable. My experience with a number of different types of WP/B stuff is that it doesnt breathe worth a darn and lets the rain in. My rain gear is made of silnylon, and it's both very lightweight and a lot cheaper than the so-called breathable stuff. The jacket is a size too large for me, which means there's more ventilation room. And if it's so warm that I sweat in it, I just leave the rain gear off and get wet. My clothing dries in 20 minutes when the rain stops.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Love the "glass rain gear"! lol

Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/23/17 04:45 PM

I agree, Mouse - there is no really good answer to staying dry in prolonged rain except to get out of it. I've also used all three (WP, WB, and GT) and never stayed completely dry.

I really was just trying to gather information about people's experience with Pertex, especially those who had used GoreTex and switched to Pertex. I'll re-write my original post, to make that a bit clearer.
Posted by: Rick_D

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/25/17 10:40 PM

Unless the recipe has changed Pertex wets through with relentless rain, never mind seam-taping etc. I consider it in the softshell category.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/26/17 09:48 PM

Since you have both, you are in an ideal situation to test them out. Of course to provide adequate testing, you'll have to carry both and switch back and forth.
Posted by: connor45

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/28/17 02:16 AM

I have plain raincoat here that keeps the water out on not so heavy rain. I know one buddy here got Pertex and never heard complain.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 06/29/17 11:11 AM

Heck, OM, the test is half done already! smile

I've used the GoreTex rain suit (an OR Foray model) for about 5 years, with results pretty much like you'd expect. It keeps the rain out, even if the outer fabric wets out (which it does.) I've hiked in it during some hour-long downpours, and any number of day-long drizzles interrupted by heavy rain ("Yeah, it rained all weekend, but at least it was muddy...") Of course, keeping the rain out is something different than keeping me dry: as with any rain gear (breathable or not), if you move around a lot while wearing it, moisture from condensation/perspiration will build up. (It can't escape as fast as it builds up, even with the excellent pit zips and leg zips, in addition to the GoreTex fabric, in the Foray.) But the performance of my outfit was better than any other waterproof-breathable fabric I'd used (which included Marmot's Precip and Patagonia's H2No.) In fact, it came very close to the performance of a poncho with a cord tied around the waist to prevent the wind sail effect. The GoreTex provided a bit of extra warmth in colder temps, too, when I would use it as a light shell over long underwear in clear weather. The pants and jacket show no wear or indications of abrasion whatsoever. Overall evaluation: I'd gladly continue to use unless there is something a pound lighter that performs as well or better.

Enter Pertex: a pound lighter and a claim that it's better. (My version: the OR Helium 2 jacket and Helium pants.) So far, I've worn it in 3 all-day drizzles with periods of light showers. It has proven to keep that kind of rain out just as well as the GoreTex, with the same amount of wetting out (but no leakage.) There has been significantly less dampness due to perspiration/condensation - but so far, it's all been spring weather, no hot summer. I've also used it once on a cold day, over a down vest, as a shell when hiking; it had rained the day before, but didn't rain the day we started. It's performed flawlessly, so far. My main concerns are whether it will leak in prolonged heavy rain, and whether the lighter fabric will abrade and wear out quickly. I am realistic enough that, being a lighter fabric, I don't expect to get five years of performance out of it; however, it costs about a third what the Foray cost, so if I have to replace it every third year, I'm still money ahead.

So, I'll continue to test it this year and into next spring, and see how things go. I'm really hoping it will play out well. It's comfortable to wear, takes up very little space, and appears to be functional.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 07/23/17 02:46 PM

Hi, OM: just got a 2-hour test of the Pertex. A group of us planned a rain-or-shine day hike. Naturally, we ended up choosing the "rain" option. Just as we began the hike (in a typical midwestern woods, fairly mature, with one short stretch of old-growth), the sky opened up and we got one of those big-drop, full-on, buckets-of-rain downpours that lasted about an hour; after that it changed to a normal rain storm that stopped about 15 minutes before we got back to the trailhead; temperatures were in the mid-70s, and humidity remained high (75%, I'd guess.) I wore the Pertex jacket and pants throughout, over nylon shorts and a synthetic t-shirt. I was carrying an Osprey Exos 48 pack (trampoline suspension, so well-ventilated.)

The results are mixed, and tend to support someone's earlier assertion that you should consider it more of a soft-shell than a full-on rainsuit.

I'm not convinced that the rainsuit actually leaked. My clothing was not soaked, but I noticed dampness on the shoulders of my T-shirt (where the pack straps came around)and the abdomen, and a little on the upper back (again, where the pack actually touched the T-shirt. However, on a hot muggy day, without a jacket, my T-shirt gets wet in all those places from perspiration. It was about the same amount of dampness as I get from perspiration, so I can't say that it leaked with any certainty.

However, when I held the jacket up and examined it, I noticed that there was liquid (drops, not soaking wet) on the inside in a few places, and that it corresponded to the shapes and locations where the fabric had wetted out. Again, all of those patterns pretty well coincided with the normal perspiration patterns, so I can't conclusively say whether it leaked.

My shorts and legs remained dry, except for a small amount of perspiration on my legs (again, normal for a hot, humid day.) I did not notice the patterns of liquid on the inside of the pants.

The rain jacket and pants dried pretty quickly; I had them spread out in the cargo area of my Honda CRV on the 20-minute drive home, and they were about 75% dry by the time I pulled into the garage.

I'll keep my eyes open for another drenching downpour, all in the name of science smile Maybe I'll just walk around the neighborhood, no pack, and see if the same wet patches appear. (If they don't, it may mean that it is just perspiration that can't escape where the pack belt, straps, and suspension block the fabric pores.
Posted by: Pika

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 07/24/17 10:43 AM

In my, so far unfulfilled, quest for the perfect rain gear I have sewn around ten hooded rain jackets. I have used Pertex, Goretex, kite Tyvek, silnylon, Shirley cloth and cotton/nylon blend as materials. So far, the best I have made is the Parcho offered by Quest Outfitters. It is made of silnylon, weighs 7 oz., is an unusually well ventilated coat and it can be worn over my pack.

Not too long ago I made three rain jackets of the same pattern (a modified Rainshed pattern) using silnylon, Pertex and Goretex. Weights ranged from 4.5 oz. in silnylon to 15 oz. in Goretex. None of them breathed particularly well although the Pertex and Goretex were advertised as breathable. Of the three, I liked the waterproof silnylon best; it kept the water out better and condensation was not much different from the breathable fabrics.

So far, at least as my experience has shown, if it is going to rain, you are going to get wet. The gear you choose may have some influence on comfort and wetness but you will still get wet. Pending some unforeseen tech breakthrough, the score is presently: rain one, technology zero😀.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 07/24/17 01:16 PM

I feel the same way--silnylon is less expensive, is much lighter, and (unlike the pricey stuff) actually keeps the rain out.

If the weather is warm, I leave the rain gear off and just get wet. My hiking clothes (wicking base layer top and lightweight nylon pants) will dry in 15-20 minutes just from my body heat when the rain stops. Obviously, in such weather, I'd be drenched with sweat inside the rain gear regardless of what it's made.

I sleep in my base layer (I do carry a second very lightweight top), put my hiking clothes in a plastic bag, and stick them inside my sleeping bag. They don't dry, but at least they are warm when I put them on and dry from my body heat in even less time.

If the weather is cool or cold, I of course wear the rain gear. In lower temps, sweating isn't a problem, particularly since I deliberately get my rain gear too big for me so there's more ventilation inside. If it's really cold and windy, I can snug down the rain gear so there's less ventilation inside.

I must admit that my outdoor days started long before the advent of Goretex or other so-called "waterproof-breathable" fabrics. About all that was available during my childhood and teen years were rubberized fabrics (waterproof, but weighed a ton). I did try the "WPB" fabrics when they came out, but found them neither waterproof nor breathable, just expensive. Since the advent of silnylon, the WPB fabrics are much heavier.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 07/24/17 01:19 PM

my experience has shown, if it is going to rain, you are going to get wet.

My experience is similar. It is helpful to wear clothes that will dry quickly from body heat alone. It is imperative to protect one's sleeping bag from water. An umbrella is a nice option when there's no wind. But the best case scenario is that the rain stops soon and that you are only damp, not soaked.
Posted by: Glenn Roberts

Re: Pertex versus GoreTex - 07/24/17 02:29 PM

LIke all of you, I started in the pre-GoreTex days, and I fully agree that rain wins every time, if you stay out in it long enough, regardless of your rain gear. I forgot to say, in my Pertex post just above, that the synthetic clothing dried very quickly - probably in 10 minutes or less in the car. In the field, even when I'm fairly wet, I'll be dry in half an hour after sheltering, regardless of the outside temperature. So, the real breakthrough in rain gear might not be the shell - it may be the ability to reliably get dry after you stop.

Since I already have the Pertex and GT garments, I probably won't replace them with coated nylon (unless a rash moment of ounce-paring sets in, and I have no adult supervision available.) I'm probably going to focus also on the suitability of the garments as wind garments, or a way to add a little warmth in a cold-weather hike - in which case, breathability becomes an asset (you don't need the WP, just the B.) I had that happen a couple of months ago, the day after a big rain, when the temps stayed in the 40s and 50s and there was one of those fog/mist/humidity days in the woods. The Pertex worked great for that: the light vest, long johns and shorts I was wearing stayed dry and I stayed just warm enough. Not sure that would have happened with coated silnylon - or 2 or 3 layer GoreTex, for that matter.

If there is a circle in hell for backpackers, it will be raining and our only choices will be WPB fabrics, I suppose. smile