When it comes to technical clothing for outdoor activities, the choice of materials plays a fundamental role in the athlete’s protection and comfort.
In this article, we will look at the differences between two industry-renowned materials: SALEWA’s Powertex and Gore-Tex.
Both offer exceptional performance in terms of waterproofing, breathability, and durability, but have distinctive characteristics that make them suitable for different needs and conditions.
We’ll explore their compositions, constructions, and performance to help you make the best decision when choosing your technical clothing for outdoor adventures.
Let’s get started!
1. Powertex Cordura®
SALEWA Powertex Cordura – official website
SALEWA’s Powertex technology was developed to offer a highly robust patented fabric, ideal for tackling the challenges of backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering.
This 3-layer laminated fabric offers protection from the elements, thanks to its abrasion resistance, durable waterproofness, and high breathability.
The presence of a very thin polyurethane (PU) membrane helps move sweat vapor toward the outside, while the CORDURA® nylon material gives the fabric high resistance to abrasion.
Also, the environmentally friendly and water-repellent PFC-free finish ensures that water droplets drip out, supporting the function of the membrane.
This is for Powertex 3L. There is also Powertex 2L (two layers) with different characteristics and lower performance.
Powertex 3L Characteristics
- Durable waterproofing to protect from rain and snow
- Abrasion resistance for greater durability
- High breathability for optimal comfort during physical activity
- Thin polyurethane (PU) membrane to promote sweat evaporation
- External material: 94% nylon (polyamide) CORDURA® for greater abrasion resistance, 6% stretch elastane for flexibility and freedom of movement
- Eco-friendly, water-repellent PFC-free finish to repel water and support membrane function
- Performance: Powertex 3L in nylon: Waterproofness (Water column) 20,000 mm; Breathability 20,000 g/m2/24h
- Use: skiing, snowboarding, trekking, mountaineering
Gore-Tex was invented in the 1970s and since then new versions have been added to the original technology.
The Gore-Tex membrane is made of ePTFE (expanded PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), a microporous and resistant material, known for its ability to resist bad weather and low water adsorbency.
This thin membrane features over 9 billion pores per square inch (1.4 billion pores per square centimeter) and is laminated between outer fabrics and lining depending on the version.
Gore-Tex technology offers waterproofness, wind resistance, and breathability, maintaining these properties over time and exceeding the standards required for wind resistance. The Gore-Tex membrane is highly breathable, allowing moisture to escape and effectively regulate body temperature.
In some Gore-Tex options, particularly jackets, an application of a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating is administered to the outer layer of the garment to increase water resistance and repellency.
- Made of ePTFE, a microporous and very resistant material, a membrane with billions of pores
- Waterproof, breathable, windproof, and very durable
- It offers several options, such as Paclite, Active, Pro, Shakedry, each designed for specific outdoor activities
- Some variations of Gore-Tex include a DWR coating to increase water repellency
- Performance: Waterproof (water column) over 28,000 mm; Breathability over 15,000 g/m2/24h
- Use: trekking, skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, cycling
3. Comparison and Differences
Let’s now see the differences between Powertex 3L and Gore-Tex:
Powertex 3L is made of CORDURA® nylon and stretch elastane, while Gore-Tex is made of ePTFE (expanded PolyTetraFluoroEthylene), a microporous material.
Powertex 3L is a 3-layer laminate, while Gore-Tex is a laminated membrane between external fabrics and lining, depending on the version.
Powertex 3L offers a waterproofness (water column) of 20,000 mm and a breathability of 20,000 g/m2/24h, while Gore-Tex offers a waterproofness of over 28,000 mm and a breathability of over 15,000 g/m2/24h.
External water-repellent coating:
Powertex uses an environmentally friendly, water-repellent PFC-free finish, while some Gore-Tex options use a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating application to the outer layer of the garment to increase its water repellency.
Abrasion resistance and durability:
Powertex offers abrasion resistance for increased durability thanks to the CORDURA® nylon material, while Gore-Tex is known for being very durable thanks to its ePTFE material.
Powertex is more widespread in the world of winter snow sports (skiing, snowboarding), while Gore-Tex, being also more popular worldwide, has a wider diffusion including various outdoor activities.
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