As for the breathability of eVent vs. Gore PacLite, my experience is rather similar to that of the Outdoors Magic test done some time ago--there isn't much practical difference:
This has not been my experience at all. One example I would give is a trip I made to the Olympics in Washington mountain biking. It was raining a slow drizzle that slowly increased throughout the day. My options were to either get soaked or wear a jacket and get slightly less soaked. I knew that a Gore jacket would leave me drenched (as has been my experience in the past, including PacLite), but I was wearing a Pearl Izumi eVENT and hadn't really pushed it to its limits. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.
I frankly thought that I would be shedding it a mile down the trail, but this was not the case. I actually wore it the entire 18 miles and was only slightly damp at the end. I was definitely dryer than if I were to have not worn it. Mountain biking is a strenuous activity, far more than simply hiking. This caused me to reflect on how amazing it was that I was only damp. I was impressed to say the least.
Since I am on the road a lot, I tend to do some pretty low key tests as I drive. One of these is wear different w/b shells. If, at the end of my trip, I feel clammy in any way, I make a note of it. Every time I wear a Gore tex jacket, not matter if it's XCR or Paclite, I feel slightly clammy. However, all of the eVENT jackets (including a new Westcomb softshell jacket that uses a stretch woven outer material laminated to an eVENT membrane, which is then laminated to a light-weight Merino Wool layer; only one of its kind), I have never felt clammy. The most important reality is that I simply wear my eVENT shells where I don't my Gore shells anymore.
Second, I've found that the scrim on all the eVent stuff I have is much more prone to abrasion (from Velcro and other rough stuff) than the tricot used on garments made from Gore and H2No. Others have commented that the scrim can conceiveably be made from tougher material, but I haven't seen it yet.
I personally haven't seen any difference in the tricot durability between Gore and eVENT. I think it's pretty standard stuff as far as I can see. I'm not discounting your experience, just sharing mine.
Third, I haven't seen the eVent stuff from RAB in person, but all the rest of the jackets and pants in eVent are underwhelming (to me) in the fit and features department.
Check out this jacket
. It is like no other available incorporating an iPod controller using copper-infused material as the 'wire' to transmit the signal to the iPod. It is cutting edge technology almost relegating the eVENT membrane to the back seat. It is constructed as well as any jacket on the market and is the only true competitor to Arcteryx. I say this and repeat it here only because very few people have even heard of Westcomb. I barely heard about it a few months ago. Since then I have toured the factories in Vancouver and have used several of their jackets in different conditions. It is as good as stuff as I have ever seen (I'm pretty picky) and the fit is the best I have ever worn (size medium). I am working hard to get it into more stores so that it can be seen by the general public. I believe they have ideas beyond eVENT that will revolutionize the outerwear market. They have already won 2 Polartec Apex Awards
and ISPO BrandNew Award for 2007
. It's a brand to keep your eye on for sure.