Sunday, April 3, 2011

TECHNICAL FABRICS: WATERPROOF/BREATHABLE PERFORMANCE



Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Part III - eVent®

Performance fabrics garnered center stage at the recent Outdoor Retailer show---and as it was Fall/Winter 2011 gear and apparel on deck, we focused on the starring breathable/waterproof samples that got major buzz –and command the premium prices too.

GE Energy’s performance eVent®---a waterproof/breathable membrane---is not brand new---…but it’s strategy allowing outdoor apparel companies to pair its membrane technology with a wide range of textiles and backers---and brand the unbranding so-to-speak, for themselves--- was new, and smart IMHO.

eVent® itself---was explained to us as an “automatic pore structure allowing moisture to directly vent through the laminate” (“DIRECT VENTING ™TECHNOLOGY)-eliminating the “phase change” of having to turn next to skin moisture into drip worthy moisture first---before it moves through/out to evaporate. A two-step inefficient process…banished via millions of tiny pores that breathe---allowing sweat to collect $200 and pass “GO” in one easy step. Metaphorically speaking.




Footwear with eVent® including Uggs

The result is a “noticeable change in comfort level”---- the technology works as soon as a garment/kicker with eVent® is put on…thereby “eliminating the need for zip pits as the direct venting works immediately” versus the build-up of heat.







































This was something we heard about the day before actually---at a preview of Fall 2011’s garment/gear by the well respected outdoors brand Mountain Hardwear®.

Once we got over the shock of emerging from the Salt Palace trade show floor during show hours, in blazing daylight sun---for the first time ever…we enjoyed sitting down for a relaxed hour---gettin' the scoop on what’s new, courtesy of MH brand managers----

Where we learned just how their company’s partnership with GE Energy---lead to the proprietary DRY. Q™ waterproof/breathable collections----starring fabrics developed in collab with primo suppliers, in-house design innovators etc.

Though ‘breathability’ in a waterproof garment can be scientifically measurable, and (re)calculated after a certain number of washings (a point of serious debate/bones of contention--- brought up by several attendees)---

In our experience---that comfort function is really subjective---as one’s intensity/sweatability varies, A LOT.

 STILL, bottom line--- DRY.Q™ is “air permeable” ---that the build up phase of heat/moisture/yucky feeling-- perspiration----before the fabric breathes out---is eliminated.





















For a runner or climber with explosive bursts of activity--- wearing a DRY.Q™ Active lightweight jacket from the Excel Sportswear Collection--- with the wicking finish on the core, side panels, forearms and shoulders, coupled with an under arm/jersey knit stretch ---is different physical challenge--- than what a multi-day trekker exerts carrying a 42lb pack---outfitted in a DRY.Q™  ELITE or DRY.Q™ CORE three or two layer shell from the Mountain, Snowear or Alpine Collection--- layered over base garments. 






Back at the eVent® exhibit---we got to eyeball a bunch of other apparel and footwear using the membrane in various modalities….

Including one of our fav OR lines that we don’t review (yet)---RAB…a Brit outdoor apparel maker with queues that start early---for their floor sales…
And is also a huge user of eVent® as in their highly rated Momentum and Latok Alpine Jackets.

Another line we reviewed, 66• North, also extensively uses eVent®--- their Fall 2011 apparel debuted at a NYC fashion outing.