Question: My top end eVent jacket, which you recently suggested as a tough alternative for pack use and scrambling, is essentially knackered after two years of use. This compares to my previous Lowe Triple Point Ceramic jacket which, while heavier and less breathable, was almost ''as new'' after over eight years! What replacement for the eVent jacket would you suggest, with more emphasis placed on durability than absolute light weight and (subjective) breathability?
Answer: Hi there,
The name is Gear, Richard ''Durability'' Gear. As a quick aside, one of
the negative points of the lightweight revolution is that lighter
fabrics and materials do tend to last less well when used regularly.
The pay-off is reduced weight and less effort and work on the hill.
Another factor that isn''t often
considered, is that pack straps and harnesses vary in how abrasive they
are. The smoother the fabrics used on the inside face of the harness,
the less damage they''re likely to do. Some of the mesh-based fabrics
feel very rough indeed - try rubbing them over the soft skin on the
inside of your wrist and see what you think - so simply using a
different pack might actually make a difference.
There are two factors I''d look at when choosing a jacket for regular
pack use. First, I''d be looking for a jacket with reinforced areas
where the pack contacts the jacket, so shoulders, yoke and hip areas
for starters. There are plenty of options out there, but you want a
jacket with a fabric using a heavier, more abrasion-resistant face in
those areas. Tougher fabrics feel stiffer and slightly rougher, try
fondling some and you''ll see what I mean.
The other factor is the fabic generally - eVent materials have
excellent breathability, but I suspect that Gore fabrics undergo more
testing and development. Visiting a Gore test facility is a real eye
opener. All the face fabrics they use are lab tested for abrasion
resistance before being approved and Gore brands have access to
Another reason Gore-Tex might be a better option is that the woven
backer or liner used for three-ply Gore-Tex Pro Shell is significantly
tougher than the knitted backer used in Gore-Tex Performance Shell and
eVent fabrics as well as being lighter and sliding more easily over
If you''re feeling flush, you might want to look at Arc''Teryx as an
option. The uncompromising Canadian brand actually rejects virtually
all of Gore''s standard face fabric options and specs its own, tougher,
more abrasion resistant fabrics instead. The result is a properly
bombproof material, which while it costs more to buy in the first
place, should last significanty longer under abrasive use to the point
where the savings eclipse the initial price premium.
A final option is Paramo, which tends to be heavier than conventional
waterproofs and also warmer, but is very durable if it suits your