Human beings have been in a search of protecting their bodies from the elements since the beginning of their history.
We have searched and tested and experimented with thousands of different materials, either natural, manmade, or a mix of both.
All this is to find the perfect material that can protect us from water, wind, and cold, while at the same time letting our skin breathe as naturally as possible. Also, sustainability and respect for the environment must be up there on the list of important things to keep in mind.
A lot of fabrics and technologies have been invented over the years. Here on our site we frequently focus on some of them, reviewing and comparing them, to learn more and at the same time to hopefully help you find the right clothes for your specific situation.
We have always been fascinated by the world of technical fabrics used in various sports and outdoor activities. That’s why we investigate them and try to better understand them as soon as a new fabric or membrane gets launched in the market.
We also like to see how a specific material measures up to the current industry standards. We usually do this in our comparisons.
And that’s what we’re going to do today: we’ll compare two types of fabrics, Fjällräven’s G-1000 and Gore-Tex.
While Gore-Tex can be seen as a high-tech fabric technology, G-1000 uses traditional waxing to make garments water-resistant.
We’ll see how they behave in different conditions in terms of breathability, waterproofness, and weight, while also learning about their history.
In the end, we’ll see which of the two would be the better choice and when.
So, let’s get started!
1. Fjällräven G-1000 Fabrics
The Swedish company Fjällräven launched the original G-1000 fabric in 1968. It was launched by the founder Åke Nordin himself. He created it by using the material of a rejected tent to create a durable jacket.
It was the main material of the iconic Fjällräven Greenland jacket.
Since the year of its debut in the market, G-1000 has seen new developments with new versions launched while at the same time remaining loyal to the original functioning principles.
G-1000 is made of a combination of Cotton and Polyester. It is 35% Cotton and 65% Polyester. To make it water-resistant the fabric is waxed with the Greenland Wax, which is a mix of paraffin and beeswax.
Image: Fjällräven Greenland Wax
The material comes pre-waxed and the level of waxing depends on its version (we’ll discuss G-1000 versions below). Depending on the use you’ll make of it, you’ll have to re-wax it yourself from time to time.
Another characteristic that sets G-1000 apart from other fabrics is its type of weaving. This weaving lets the air flow through the fabric making it breathable which is very important in outdoor activities as you probably know.
Types of G-1000 Materials
G-1000 Original: the original version of the fabric, a mix of Polyester and Cotton, is durable, water-resistant, wind-resistant, and mosquito-proof. It remains untouched, with no new versions until 2010.
G-1000 Lite: for warmer summer weather. A flexible version but with the same durability. With rip-stop threads, lightly waxed to resist summer rain and winds.
G-1000 Silent: many customers report that some fabrics make noise while moving around in them, especially those for outdoor activities. The G-1000 Silent version was born to reduce this noise. It’s soft and smooth to the touch while maintaining the same characteristics as the original version.
G-1000 Eco: this version was launched in 2011. It uses organic cotton and recycled polyester: an important step of Fjällräven to reduce its impact on the environment and increase sustainability. G-1000 Eco is currently replacing G-1000 Original in the newest products of the company.
G-1000 Heavy Duty: this version comes in your help when you need durability rather than breathability. It’s a very sturdy material, used for example in backpacks, and it’s waxed with Greenland Wax twice.
G-1000 Air: on the other hand, if you need breathability over weather protection and sturdiness, this is the version for you. Launched in 2017, G-1000 Air is lightweight, with a looser weave, not waxed, and great for hiking in warm weather.
G-1000 Air Stretch: if you need not just breathability, but also a lot of freedom of movement, this version is a good option for you. It is made of organic cotton and a part of its polyester is recycled.
We have also reviewed G-1000 here if you want to take a look.
2. Gore-Tex® Fabric Technology
Gore-Tex is used everywhere in outdoor gear: you surely have heard about it even if you’re an amateur outdoor enthusiast and have only hiked casually with your 3-4 friends on your free Saturdays.
Every major outdoor brand has at least a jacket or a pair of shoes that use Gore-Tex. Just think about The North Face, Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and Salomon: all of them have Gore-Tex products.
Gore-Tex has its origins in 1969. The material it is made of is expanded PTFE (ePTFE).
Expanded PTFE was discovered in 1969 by Bob Gore. It is an improved version of the PTFE material which was discovered in 1938 by Roy Plunkett due to a failed experiment. In the following years, it made possible many new innovations in the plastics industry.
So, as we said Gore-Tex uses ePTFE which is made of billions of micropores on the surface. These micropores allow moisture from sweat to get out, while also preventing water from rain to enter the garment.
Durability is another important characteristic of ePTFE, making it perfect for outdoor activities. In fact, Gore-Tex outdoor gear lasts for a long time.
We can think of Gore-Tex as a mix of three elements because it has a threefold nature:
- it is a membrane because of its billions of micropores that give Gore-Tex its breathability and water resistance;
- it is a laminate because, depending on its version, it is usually bonded with other layers of fabric in garments;
- and lastly, it is a technology because it can be “configured” for different uses by modifying its water resistance and breathability levels.
Image: Gore-Tex threefold nature
Gore-Tex, as we mentioned above, has different versions and options suitable for various types of products and outdoor sports and activities.
There are two main ranges:
- the Original Gore-Tex range that is intended for waterproof clothing;
- and the Infinium Gore-Tex range, launched more recently, intended for dry conditions and providing non-waterproof apparel.
The Original Gore-Tex range offers several options, such as:
- Paclite: light and packable for everyday comfort (our in-depth review of Paclite here);
- Active: very breathable and light, ideal for high-intensity sports;
- Pro: rugged and durable, high protection for extreme conditions;
- Shakedry: also light and breathable, with high water repellency, ideal for running and cycling in rainy weather conditions (our review of Shakedry here).
Some Gore-Tex versions use DWR coatings on jackets and other clothes to make them improve their water repellency.
DWR materials components tend to be persistent in the environment and can be harmful to natural ecosystems. However, in recent years, Gore-Tex and many other outdoor companies are making efforts to move to less harmful DWR materials.
Image: waterproof fabric
3. Comparison: G-1000 vs Gore-Tex®
Let’s now take a look at how these two types of outdoor fabrics compare to each other, and their differences, while trying to understand which one is better.
One of the most important features of outdoor fabrics is their waterproofness. If you get caught in the rain in the middle of nowhere you need a jacket that you can trust, and that can comfortably protect you until you reach the nearest shelter.
Fjällräven’s G-1000 is not waterproof, it is marketed as water-resistant.
Gore-Tex on the other hand is waterproof, or at least some versions of it. So, just with this, Gore-Tex wins when it comes to waterproofness.
And it not only wins, but it wins by a lot. It has a waterproof rating of 28000+ mm water column in its most protective version, surpassing also many other waterproof outdoor materials by other brands.
Breathability and Wind Resistance
When it comes to breathability, both fabrics have options that are very breathable, such as Gore-Tex Active and G-1000 Air.
Gore-Tex can reach levels of 15.000 g/m2/24h of breathability and above.
Overall, we think we have a draw, and how much the fabric will let air flow will depend on the option of these materials that you choose and the design of the garment. For example, pit zips can play an important role in letting the garment breathe.
When it comes to wind resistance, both materials have options that are windproof.
Durability and Comfortability
The ePTFE membrane of Gore-Tex is known to be a bit stiff and non-stretch making it less comfortable. However, the company has released recent versions that are more stretchable such as the Gore-Tex Pro Stretch.
We’d give the comfortability point to G-1000 here, even though we know that it’ll also depend on the garment’s design, how it fits on your body, sizing, etc. In addition, a lot of outdoor brands use Gore-Tex so the range of clothing designs using it is larger.
As for durability, the ePTFE membrane is renowned for being extremely durable, making Gore-Tex last for years.
Sustainability and Environmental Impact
Gore-Tex is completely synthetic while G-1000 has 35% cotton in it, making it feel more natural.
Gore-Tex uses also DWR coatings that can be harmful to the natural environment, even though the company is moving to better and more sustainable alternatives recently.
Overall, when it comes to sustainability, we’d give the point to G-1000.
Fjällräven is known for having quite expensive products and G-1000 follows the company’s pricing. We have discussed why Fjällräven is expensive here.
On the other hand, Gore-Tex products usually have a high price tag too.
So, when it comes to cost, both are quite pricey.
Design and Style
Gore-Tex clothes and footwear have more modern and futuristic designs overall. This also depends on the particular brand that is using the Gore-Tex membrane.
G-1000 follows Fjällräven’s style which has a more retro look.
This is a personal preference, so no winners or losers here.
Which One is Better? Which Should You Choose?
Image: a close-up of a waterproof Gore-Tex jacket
As usual, it depends on what you’re looking for.
Gore-Tex is waterproof, breathable, windproof, and durable. Some versions are stretchable too. It is completely synthetic.
Fjällräven’s G-1000 is water-resistant, breathable, and durable. It has versions that have some stretch and options that are windproof. It uses 35% cotton, so feels more natural.
Moreover, G-1000 needs to be re-waxed frequently to resist water from getting in and this can be a nuisance to some people.
In the end, we’d choose Gore-Tex for more rainy or snowy conditions, and more extreme outdoor activities, like skiing, cycling, and mountain climbing.
We’d keep G-1000 for lighter activities like hiking, camping, fishing, or for wearing it casually in the city.
And that’s all for this comparison! What do you think of these two materials? Let us know in the comments below.
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Other comparisons that you might like:
Columbia Omni-Tech vs Gore-Tex Technology: A Comparison
DryVent vs Gore-Tex Technology: Which One is Better?