Phat, glad to see you back!
My parents' tent, bought in 1941, was made of waxed Egyptian cotton. It weighed about 12 lbs., which was considered lightweight back then for a 3-person tent. You could touch the sides without starting a leak. The tent material that couldn't be touched was unwaxed canvas. The tent finally met its demise in 1962 when a large branch fell through it during a 90 mph windstorm on Puget Sound. We had already left the tent for a nearby picnic shelter when the wind and rain started to pick up, long before the branch came down.
I personally avoid Goretex. Inside Goretex I sweat as much as with non-breathable coated nylon. I also had two different (expensive) Goretex jackets wet through where the pack straps rub after a couple of trips. I now use non-breathable rain gear. Not the old-fashioned oilskins, but silnylon with seams sealed. I got it plenty big so it's loose for more ventilation. If it's warm rain, I don't bother with rain gear while I'm actively hiking. My nylon shirt (or base layer top) and pants dry out on my body in 15-20 minutes once it stops raining.
Edited by OregonMouse (10/27/11 11:44 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey