Picture this: You’ve been lugging around a heavy pack for hours in the pouring rain, trying to make the most of the bad weather. And to your surprise, you notice that underneath your waterproof jacket it doesn’t feel like a sauna, even though you’ve been sweating like mad. How’s that even possible? Well, the jacket seems to be doing its job: protect you from the rain and wick moisture away – no matter the weather!
Presumably, your jacket’s got a Dermizax logo on it. How did we know? Well, Dermizax is quite the reliable membrane! Not only is it totally waterproof and windproof, but it is also highly breathable.
Dermizax was developed in Japan by the company Toray. Compared with other membranes such as Gore-Tex and eVent, this membrane boasts incredibly clever characteristics that really shine in functional outdoor clothing.
What makes Dermizax different?
In contrast to several other membranes, the polyurethane Dermizax membrane is absent of pores, so there is nothing that could get clogged up. The fabric is “hydrophilic, which – simply put – means that there are tiny molecules with a strong affinity to water in the membrane that transport moisture to the outside. These hydrophilic molecules move more quickly through the membrane at higher temperatures, regardless of whether its the surrounding temperature or your body temperature that is high. So, if the humidity and warmth increases on the jacket’s interior, the difference between the inside and the outside temperature causes the molecules to transport more moisture to the outside.
Like all membranes – regardless of whether they have pores -, if it weren’t for the difference in temperature, there wouldn’t be any breathability. For example, if you were running through the jungle on a day with temperatures around 34°C and 90% humidity, no membrane in the world could provide the breathability you need. In milder or cooler climates (where we spend most of our time) and in wet weather in particular, Dermizax leads the pack, though, especially in terms of its breathability.
As already mentioned, Dermizax is made of polyurethane and thus 100% recyclable. Unlike PTFE membranes, which produce harmful by-products in the manufacturing process, Dermizax is much more environmentally friendly.
The nonporous construction serves to provide more breathability as the intensity of your movements increases and allows for more moisture and heat to be transferred to the outside. When you take breaks or are out on cold days when you don’t sweat as much, the membrane will keep you from getting cold because heat can’t escape through the pores. Thus, with a Dermizax membrane, you’re getting a membrane that is very variable in terms of its breathability. In fact, it works much in the same way as Sympatex.
Another advantage of nonporous membranes is the fact that there aren’t any pores that can get clogged. The pores on conventional membranes are usually clogged by dirt or salts. The salts accumulate on the membrane as a result of our sweat and end up reducing its breathability. Thanks to the nonporous construction of Dermizax, jackets and trousers crafted with this fabric are capable of retaining their breathability over longer and more intense tours. Even after long periods, the function of the membrane won’t deteriorate.
Caring for the membrane is really easy as well. It doesn’t require any special detergent. Plus, you can wash Dermizax clothing as much as you want without diminishing its functionality in any way. This will certainly come in handy on longer adventures, seeing as most of us don’t lug around special detergent for membranes. Porous membranes, on the other hand, take a hit every time you wash them with regular detergent. With time, the detergent will end up clogging the pores, thereby reducing the functionality of the membrane. This doesn’t happen with Dermizax.
What makes Dermizax so special
Dermizax has a waterproof rating of over 20,000mm. That’s pretty good, seeing as garments (in Switzerland) are considered to be waterproof with a rating of 4,000mm and above. In other words, no need to worry about Dermizax – it’s absolutely waterproof.
Not only is Dermizax waterproof, but it boasts quite the high level of breathability as well. This is measured by determining how many grams of water vapour can pass through one square metre of fabric within 24 hours. Dermizax NX, for example, is pretty much the leader of the pack in this category, boasting a breathability rating of 30,000-50,000 grams/24 hours.
Another advantage of clothing with a Dermizax membrane is how it feels. The fabric is stretchable in all directions. So, not only is the fabric comfortable and robust, but it will also give you the mobility you need for outdoor activities. In fact, the membrane can stretch up to 200% in all directions without you having to worry about it getting damaged.
Thanks to the very thin and soft membrane, garments with a Dermizax membrane feel great against the skin – a tangible plus in terms of comfort.
There is a variety of ways in which Dermizax is constructed. Usually, the membrane is part of a layered construction. The layers are constructed as follows:
2 layers: Two layers are laminated together. There is a loose mesh lining that provides comfort, wicks moisture away and protects the membrane from wear. This construction can be found in the Flya Insulated Jacket or in the Breheimen Neo Pants.
2 1/2 layers: This group doesn’t have a lining. Instead, there is a surface treatment on the inside of the membrane. Even though this fabric is not as durable as other Dermizax fabrics, it is incredibly lightweight. It is also used less often than others. You can find the 2 1/2 layer Dermizax fabric in the Civetta Jacket.
3 layers: Extremely robust and durable: The outer layer, the Dermizax membrane as well as the mesh lining have been laminated together. This means that the material is considerably more durable and abrasion resistant. The best-selling garments in this group are jackets and trousers in Bergans’ Storen Series: the Women’s Storen Jacket and the Women’s Storen Pant.
Dermizax is now being used by a wide array of outdoor clothing brands. The very well-known Scandinavian outdoor company Bergans of Norway loves Dermizax! The Scandinavians place much more emphasis on the functionality and reliability of membrane than marketing. Plus, you can be sure that whatever material is capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of Norway will be perfectly suited to meet the requirements of your outdoor adventures. Dermizax is a membrane you can rely on. You’ll never have to worry about the functionality of your clothing again. Just enjoy your adventures and let Dermizax take care of the rest.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask our experts in customer service. They are available during the week from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 03 33 33 67058 or via e-mail.
There’s a lot going on in the climbing and outdoor industry. New products are being invented, existing ones are being reworked and improved, and we, too, are learning more every day. And, of course, we would like to share this knowledge with our customers. That’s why we regularly revise the articles at base camp. So, don’t be surprised if a post changes a bit in the coming months. This article was last edited on 15/12/2015.