Is Gore-Tex Noisy (And What To Do About It)? 

A man hiking in Gore-Tex in winter.

Gore-Tex fabric is probably the most famous waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric. However, are these advantages of Gore-Tex at the cost of some other features? More particularly, is Gore-Tex noisy?

Gore-Tex can be a bit noisy and there is nothing much you can do about it. Some Gore-Tex products make a slight rustling noise. Outdoor enthusiasts, except for hunters and wildlife photographers, usually don’t mind this type of noise. Washing Gore-tex products too often and using a fabric softener will not help soften the material or reduce the noise. 

We will talk more about Gore-tex shortly. If you are hungry for more info on Gore-tex, check out our blog to find out if Gore-tex is too hot for summer.

What is so special about the Gore-Tex?

Even if you’ve heard about Gore-Tex before, chances are that you are not really sure what all the fuss is about. Gore-Tex is often used in the production of outdoor gear, from jackets to hiking footwear and gloves. What makes this fabric so special are some of its properties. Gore-Tex’s magic is all about blocking the rain, while at the same time allowing the sweat to escape. Next are some of the features that are key to Gore-Tex’s success.

The membrane

Despite being extremely thin, the Gore-Tex membrane consists of a staggering 9 billion pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. Due to such a membrane, all of the original Gore-Tex products are waterproof.

On the other hand, since these billions of pores are 700 bigger than a moisture vapor molecule, they allow your sweat to escape outside. If you want to learn more about Gore-Tex membrane, including how long it lasts, make sure to check out our blog.

The laminate

The Gore-Tex membrane is laminated onto a support material or a face fabric. This is essentially a Gore-Tex laminate. It comes in three forms:

  1. 2-layer fabric creates a comfortable feel and is less expensive than other versions. It is a 2-layer sandwich of the Gore-Tex membrane laminated to face fabric on the inside. There is also a lining layer that is non-laminating. This layer is nylon, mesh, or microfiber and it protects the Gore-Tex membrane. It can be paired with insulation and is generally warmer and heavier than other constructions.
  2. 2.5-layer fabric is the lightest of all three waterproof, breathable constructions. It is also a 2-layer sandwich of the Gore-Tex membrane laminated to face fabric. What is special about this version is a half-layer on the inside that makes the membrane more durable. This half-layer is in the form of a spray-on or printed backer.
  3. 3-layer fabric is a three-layer sandwich that consists of the face fabric, membrane, and knit backer. This construction is lighter than 2-layer fabric, despite having more layers. It is unlined and uninsulated. Nevertheless, it is the most durable of all three versions.

Sealed seams

Sealed seams are what prevent Gore-Tex products from leaking. They also provide complete weatherproofing. Sealed seams are important because, unlike taping, they don’t compromise breathability. If a waterproof jacket has strips of tape that seal any gaps around the stitching, it will be less breathable.

Is Gore-Tex still the best?

Gore-Tex is such a famous brand name that it has been used interchangeably for every breathable waterproof fabric for decades. Gore-Tex has also partnered with a lot of outdoor brands in order to create the most waterproof gear available on the market. Even though it’s the most recognizable brand on the outdoor gear market, it is not the only great brand. If you want to learn the difference between Gore-Tex and Thinsulate, make sure to read our blog.

Gore-tex is also well-known for its guarantee that it will keep you dry. In case you are not happy with how waterproof, windproof or breathable your product is, Gore-Tex will repair it, replace it or even give you a refund.

The advantages

We will present you with both some upsides and downsides of Gore-Tex and let you be the judge of whether it is the best brand on the market. These are some of the advantages of Gore-Tex:

  • Waterproof
  • Windproof
  • Breathable
  • Taped seams
  • Guarantee you stay dry
  • Comfort

The disadvantages

However great Gore-Tex is, it still has some disadvantages and here they are:

  • It is expensive.
  • The DWR treatment wears off with time.
  • It requires special products for cleaning.
  • It is made from chemicals.
  • Some of the products create a rustling noise.

A pair of Nike Gore-Tex shoes, during winter (not summer).

Are Gore-Tex pants noisy?

The answer to this question is rather subjective. Some people claim that Gore-Tex pants and jackets are typically very noisy and that there’s nothing much that you can do about it. Others don’t seem to mind the noise and say that Gore-Tex becomes quieter and softer with time. There are those who also say that they just got used to the sound and that it eventually became a sort of white noise for them.

You may come across a piece of advice that tells you to wash Gore-Tex pants and jackets more often and use a fabric softener in order to reduce the noise. We don’t recommend that you do that. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In the case of Gore-Tex, they tell you that you shouldn’t use the fabric softener.

What type of pants should you wear hiking?

If you feel that Gore-Tex pants are too noisy for you, you may want to check some other brands and also read our blog to find out if hiking pants should be baggy. Hiking pants shouldn’t be too baggy or too tight, but comfortable on your legs and waist. Next are some factors that you should consider when buying your pair of hiking pants.

Convertible or standard hiking pants

We should first differentiate between convertible and standard hiking pants:

  1. Convertible hiking pants – this type of pants has a zipper that allows you to transform them into shorts, depending on the weather conditions. That makes them more breathable, but remember that a zipper will add to the weight of the pants.
  2. Standard hiking pants – they are a better choice for colder climates and cannot be converted into shorts. They are also lightweight and have a sleeker appearance.

Fit

When choosing the right kind of fit for your hiking pants, it is extremely important that they feel comfortable, as you will be walking in them for several hours. You should make sure that your pants are comfortable around the waist even without a belt since a belt will add extra weight as well. A lot of hiking pants have an elastic waistband to ensure the right fit. And you can always add a belt if the pants still feel loose.

When it comes to the length of your hiking pants, go for the length that covers at least the top of your footwear. This way you will protect your legs from scratches and cuts, as well as insects. Your hiking pants shouldn’t be too long either, to avoid the risk of tripping over them. Some pants have a cuff around the ankle. By tightening it, you ensure the right fit.

Material

Most hiking pants are made of nylon, but it’s the quality of nylon that counts. High-quality nylon pants will cost more but will also last you longer in the long run. They are also softer to the touch and make no sound. A quality pair of hiking pants can last you a couple of years and are worth investing in. Read our blog to also learn if you can hem nylon pants.

Are Gore-Tex hiking shoes worth it?

Some hikers prefer non-waterproof footwear simply because of its breathability. Others would always rather choose waterproof footwear since they prioritize protection. If you fall into the second category, you might want to read our blog on how to keep your feet dry while hiking. When it comes to Gore-tex hiking shoes, they are waterproof and breathable, but also costly. If we take a look at the next three factors, we can safely conclude that Gore-Tex hiking shoes are worth it.

Waterproofing

Gore-Tex hiking shoes and boots consist of a waterproof membrane and an outer shell. The membrane is made of ePTFE which stands for expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. This membrane is positioned between a lining and a knit backer. The waterproof membrane, together with a DWR coating is what secures waterproofing in Gore-Tex hiking footwear.

Breathability

When it comes to allowing moisture to escape from your shoes, the Gore-Tex membrane works well in cold and mild climates. However, in warmer and more humid climates, you may feel that your feet are slightly damp despite the Gore-Tex breathability. Non-waterproof shoes are still unmatched when it comes to breathability since they have more breathable mesh liners and ventilated uppers.

Price

Waterproof shoes typically cost and weigh more than non-waterproof shoes. Gore-Tex shoes are pricey, but so are most other waterproof shoes. The waterproofing feature simply comes at a price. But if protection from rain and snow is what interests you the most, then Gore-Tex shoes are the way to go.

To conclude

Gore-Tex is the number one waterproof brand for a reason. Gore-Tex pants and jackets can produce a bit of noise and their breathability may be compromised in extremely hot weather conditions, but Gore-tex is unparalleled in keeping your feet dry in rain and snow. Finally, it’s your call whether it’s the right choice for you.

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