by Chris Hartley – Mountain Designs


If you ask any adventurer worth their salt about waterproof protection, chances are they'll soon start talking about GORE-TEX®. Read on to learn more about this iconic technology brand, why you want a GORE-TEX® garment on your back when the weather turns, and how Mountain Designs delivered an Australian first way back in 1977.


What Is GORE-TEX®?

GORE-TEX® is a waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric membrane that was invented in 1969 by Wilbert L Gore and his son, Robert W Gore, when Robert created expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE).

A strong, microporous material that is incredibly thin, it changed the way outdoor adventure gear was manufactured because of its low water absorption and enhanced weathering properties. If you're shopping for rainwear and you see a garment with the distinctive GORE-TEX® logo on it, you can be sure of its weatherproof protection.

How Is GORE-TEX®So Unique?

With approximately 9 billion pores per square inch, and with each pore being approximately 1/20,000 the size of a water droplet, the unique structure of the GORE-TEX® membrane makes it impenetrable to water but allows moisture vapour to pass through.

So this means when you zip on a product made with GORE-TEX®, it will keep rain on the outside where it belongs while allowing sweat to escape from within. These characteristics ultimately deliver superior performance for outdoor conditions by making your garment waterproof and windproof, but highly breathable at the same time.

An Australian First

Mountain Designs has always been at the forefront of innovation and when company founder Rick White started crafting handmade goods for his customers way back in the late 60s and early 70s, he was always looking out for the latest in technology.

Rick was passionate about quality in his designs and when he learned about GORE-TEX® and its exceptional properties, he was quick to adopt it into his products.

So quick in fact, that in 1977, Mountain Designs was the first company to introduce GORE-TEX® to the Australian market. Other industry-leading achievements included being the first manufacturer to use a GORE-TEX® waterproof foot on sleeping bags (1979) and being the first Australian manufacturer to deliver GORE-TEX® softshell to the market (2002).


GORE-TEX® PACLITE® makes our current Cumulus rain jacket thin, light and highly packable, but also durably waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable.

Mountain Designs & GORE-TEX® Products

Since those very first innovations, Mountain Designs has been incorporating GORE-TEX® technologies into a wide and ongoing range of products including rainwear, down and synthetic insulation jackets, softshell, fleece, sleeping bags and even tents. Over the years, our rainwear specifically has been engineered to perform with GORE-TEX®, from our earliest GORE-TEX® jackets – the Stormking and Andromeda Parkas in 1979 (pictured below, left) – to the original model of the popular Cumulus Jacket that first appeared in the mid-90s (pictured below, right).

Today you can get the performance benefits of GORE-TEX® in our 2019 Cumulus Rain Jackets range, which uses GORE-TEX® PACLITE® for lightweight and packable weather protection, as well as in our Alpine and Mountaineering gloves, and various footwear styles. As we rebuild our entire Mountain Designs range, plans are in place to rebuild our GORE-TEX® product offering too.

The Stormking (green, blue and gold) and Andromeda Parkas (red) from 1979.
The original Cumulus jacket first appeared in the mid-90s in teal colourway.

GORE-TEX® Rainwear Care

GORE-TEX® products are built to last but they're also easy to take care of too. Routine care and maintenance will ensure the highest performance from them and extend their useful lifespan. It's critical that you clean your GORE-TEX® product frequently, relative to the level of use, because dirt, perspiration, body oils and sunscreens can build up over time and affect performance. Follow the recommended care instructions found on the inside care label of your Mountain Designs GORE-TEX® product and it will be ready to go whenever you are. For more information, head to our Product Care Instructions for rainwear.

Restoring Water Repellence

A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish is critical to the performance of your GORE-TEX® product. 'Wet out' occurs when water saturates your garment's outer fabric layer above the GORE-TEX® membrane, as opposed to beading and rolling off, leaving you feeling damp and clammy (as if your garment was leaking, even when it's not).

A DWR finish is not permanent. Regular wear and tear - plus exposure to dirt, detergents, insect repellent and other impurities - can shorten its lifespan. The good news is that restoring the water repellence of your GORE-TEX® shell is easy. Simply machine wash your garment, rinse it and put it in the tumble dryer, being sure to follow the recommended care instructions on the care label attached to the inside of your garment. Washing removes dirt and other contaminants and the heat from the dryer helps redistribute the DWR treatment on the fabric surface.

Once the garment has been cleaned and tumble dried, you can test the DWR's performance by putting a few water droplets on the outer fabric. If it beads up and rolls off, you have effectively restored the DWR - if it fails to bead up on the surface and appears to soak into the fabric, the DWR treatment has reached the end of its useful life. You can restore the garment's DWR by applying a topical water repellence restorative (DWR treatment) for outdoor fabrics.




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