The quality of fabric technologies in your gear is very important if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.
Today, we’ll explore and compare two famous technologies for waterproof jackets, footwear, and other outdoor equipment: Gore-Tex® and Dermizax.
From waterproofness to breathability, we’ll discuss all the features and differences between these two synthetic membranes to determine which is better and when.
So, if you’re wondering which one should you choose for your next outdoor adventure, keep reading to find out!
- Gore-Tex is composed of expanded PTFE (ePTFE) with billions of micropores for sweat vapor to escape while preventing water from entering.
- Dermizax is a waterproof and breathable membrane made of polyurethane. It combines hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials. Some versions are microporous.
- Both have different versions designed for various activities and sports.
- Both are used by top outdoor and sports brands for their clothing and gear.
- Gore-Tex is slightly more waterproof, while Dermizax is more breathable (specific values in the article).
- Gore-Tex is stiffer, while Dermizax is stretchable and more comfortable.
- Your decision will depend on factors such as fit, style, price, and brand preference, not just on a few rating points of waterproofness and breathability.
If you like outdoor sports and activities, you’ve probably come across the renowned fabric technology, Gore-Tex®. This material is widely used by many popular outdoor companies, including Patagonia, The North Face, Salomon, and Arc’teryx, in a variety of their gear.
Primarily used in jackets and footwear, Gore-Tex was invented in 1969 and is composed of expanded PTFE (ePTFE), an improved version of PTFE (PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), which was discovered by Bob Gore in the same year. PTFE was discovered by Roy Plunkett in 1938 and had already revolutionized the plastics industry with new innovations.
Gore-Tex’s ePTFE material consists of billions of micropores that allow for sweat vapor to escape while preventing water from entering the garment. Additionally, Gore-Tex is highly durable, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
Gore-Tex can be viewed as a combination of a breathable and water-resistant/waterproof membrane with micropores, a laminate that can be attached to other fabrics, and a fabric technology that can be tailored to different performance levels for various purposes and use cases.
Learn more: What is Gore-Tex® and How Does It Work?
Various Gore-Tex Options Available
As a versatile fabric technology, Gore-Tex can be customized into various versions to suit different outdoor activities and sports. Throughout the years, the company has developed numerous versions of this material.
Gore-Tex is broadly categorized into two main ranges:
the Original Gore-Tex range, for waterproof clothing and gear;
and the Windstopper / Infinium Gore-Tex range, which is designed for non-waterproof clothing and gear and dry, windy weather.
The Original / Waterproof Gore-Tex range has various options, including:
Paclite: the lightest option, it’s packable and primarily designed for casual and daily wear.
Active: the most breathable option, ideal for intense sports.
Pro: highly durable and suitable for a range of outdoor activities.
Shakedry: comes with high water repellency, it’s light and breathable, ideal for sports in rainy conditions, for example, cycling.
DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Coating
In some versions of Gore-Tex, particularly jackets, a DWR (durable water repellent) coating is applied to the outer layer of the garment to enhance its water repellency for added water resistance.
However, conventional DWR coatings are known to be environmentally unfriendly. Therefore, Gore-Tex has been striving to replace them with less harmful alternatives.
Additionally, DWR coatings tend to lose their water-repellent qualities over time and require reapplication to the garment.
Toray Industries, a prominent Japanese chemical company with roots dating back to the 1920s, introduced the first Dermizax membrane in 1995.
Toray Dermizax official website
Dermizax is a waterproof and breathable membrane made of polyurethane (PU). Its construction differs from Gore-Tex as it is not microporous, although some versions are.
Instead, it relies on the hydrophilic nature of its molecules to transport sweat vapor from the interior to the surface of the membrane, where it exits the garment, providing excellent breathability. The speed at which water vapor is transported to the surface is a critical factor.
Over time, Toray has developed various versions of Dermizax suitable for different outdoor activities. These versions combine hydrophilic and hydrophobic materials and incorporate microporous membranes.
Dermizax’s breathability is highest when the wearer perspires heavily during intense activity in cold, dry weather. In contrast, the breathability of hydrophilic membranes typically suffers in hot and humid conditions. Like Gore-Tex, Dermizax garments feature DWR coatings.
Dermizax is primarily used in snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and mountain activities gear. Many users appreciate its elastic and comfortable feel.
Different Dermizax Options Available
As previously mentioned, Dermizax is available in multiple versions designed for various activities, including:
Dermizax: the original waterproof and breathable fabric suitable for a range of sports.
Dermizax EV: designed for intense activities, this version boasts a higher level of breathability.
Dermizax NX: offers even greater breathability, making it ideal for intense sports in extreme weather conditions.
Outdoor Gear Brands Using Dermizax
Here are some of the outdoor gear brands that use Dermizax:
Kjus: a brand from Switzerland founded in 2000.
Ziener: a German brand founded in 1946, offers gloves and outdoor apparel.
Dainese: a famous brand from Italy born in 1972 that makes winter sports gear.
Descente: a sports apparel company from Japan founded in 1935;
Now that we’ve covered these two fabric technologies separately, let’s move on to the specific comparison.
The ability to protect from water is a crucial aspect of outdoor clothing and equipment. When trekking through remote mountainous trails, a waterproof jacket is essential to shield you from the rain.
Dermizax boasts a waterproof rating of 20,000+ mm water column, while Gore-Tex can achieve a rating of 28,000+ mm water column in its most protective variations.
So, Gore-Tex appears to have a slight advantage in this category. But, the garment construction is also a significant factor to consider, as the two membranes are nearly identical.
Hence, the type of seams, zippers, the presence of a hood, and other features will be critical in determining the effectiveness of the garment.
Breathability and Resistance to Wind
Regarding breathability, both membranes are highly regarded for their ability to allow air to pass through.
Gore-Tex has a breathability rating that begins at 15,000 g/m2/24h and can increase to 25,000 g/m2/24h in some of its versions.
Dermizax, on the other hand, starts at 10,000 g/m2/24h and can reach up to 50,000 g/m2/24h with its Dermizax NX option, making it superior in this aspect.
However, even in this scenario, the jacket construction is important. For example, pit zips and zips inside the pockets, from which sweat vapor can escape more quickly are important features.
As for wind resistance, both technologies offer windproof versions.
Comfort and Durability
Gore-Tex is famous for its exceptional durability, which is attributed to the use of ePTFE material. Similarly, Dermizax is also highly durable and long-lasting, resulting in a tie between the two.
Regarding comfort, as previously mentioned, Dermizax is favored by its users for its stretchability and comfortable texture. Conversely, Gore-Tex is recognized for its stiff and non-stretch nature, resulting in Dermizax being the winner.
However, Gore-Tex has recently introduced more stretchable variations, such as Gore-Tex Pro Stretch.
Both membranes are expensive, but this is reasonable for high-quality technical clothing that can last for multiple seasons.
Also, you should consider that the outdoor market now offers a broad selection of brands, making it easy to locate equipment that fits any budget.
4. Which is Better? Gore-Tex or Dermizax?
Both Gore-Tex and Dermizax are exceptional fabric technologies utilized by top outdoor and sports brands for their clothing and equipment.
Gore-Tex is slightly more waterproof, while Dermizax is more breathable. Also, Gore-Tex is known to be rigid, while Dermizax is stretchable and more comfortable. Based on these characteristics, it should be simpler to make a decision based on your garment requirements.
However, these two membranes are nearly identical for the majority of outdoor sports and activities, regardless of experience level.
Therefore, other factors such as fit, style, price, and brand preference will also influence your decision. Not just a few rating points of waterproofness and breathability.
And that’s all! Which of these technologies do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.