Regardless of whether you’re a cyclist, hill walker, climber or mountaineer, there’s one challenge you always have to face: the weather. Snowy, rainy or just outright cold weather is one thing, but strong winds in the mountains are another ball game. If your clothing isn’t up to snuff, it can be disastrous. In fact, even the slightest amount of air permeating your clothing can result in your body temperature dropping quite a bit.
The so-called wind chill factor describes the temperature we feel on our bodies as a result of the combination of temperature and wind speeds. Interestingly enough, the wind speeds don’t have to be incredibly high, either. In fact, lower wind speeds have been shown to affect our perceived temperature so much so that our felt temperature can be as much as 15°C, 20°C or even further below the actual temperature. At higher wind speeds, wind chill rises to a level that is not just unpleasant but dangerous as well because your body cools down so much as a result.
The windproof membrane from GORE-TEX®
Of course, the waterproof GORE-TEX, GORE-TEX Pro or GORE-TEX Active laminates deliver superb windproof protection as well. However, in comparison to the tough functional textiles made of hardshell material, GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® is not only lighter and more flexible but just as windproof. Admittedly though, the membrane is less effective against rain than the waterproof GORE-TEX membrane.
A garment qualifies as “windproof” when its air permeability does not exceed GORE’s strict windproof standard of 5 l/m²/s. This refers to volume of air that can pass through one square metre of fabric in one second. Then and only then is the functional fabric “windproof”. This is a standard set for all GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products – regardless of whether they’re gloves, caps, jumpers or jackets.
Breathability and the GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® membrane
The GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® laminate consists of a windproof membrane that is bonded to an outer textile. The membrane is made of PTFE and has a microporous structure, which blocks wind completely but allows water vapour molecules to escape through the pores to the outside, guaranteeing maximum breathability.
Even during high-intensity activities and physically demanding endurance sports, GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® allows sweat in the form of water vapour to pass through the tiny pores to create the perfect microclimate. In doing so, it prevents the build-up of heat under your clothing and you overheating during physical activity. Thus, the proper combination of GORE WINDSTOPPER® and other layers of clothing not only helps to prevent hypothermia caused by strong winds or headwinds but also reduces the risk of overheating.
Warmth and water resistance
Functional textiles engineered with regular GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® are available with a variety of outer fabrics. The different fabrics vary in terms of weight, durability and degree of stretchiness. They often come in 2-layer constructions with a loose inner lining or a 3-layer laminate with the membrane bonded to the outer fabric and the lining. The various constructions result in a different feel and insulation performance. However, what all the functional textiles with GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® have in common is the high level of windproof protection and breathability.
Usually, garments engineered with GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® are both snow and water repellent. But, it gets better. There are also GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products with water resistance for enhanced protection in wet conditions. These are seam-sealed and have been treated with a DWR, which forces water droplets to simply bead up and roll of the fabric instead of getting absorbed by the fabric. In light rains, water-resistant GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products will keep you dry for a relatively long time. However, for heavy precipitation, we recommend using GORE-TEX products instead, since GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® reaches its limits pretty quickly.
In addition to specialised GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products for light rain, GORE also creates outdoor clothing with a layer of insulation. The GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products with insulation protection combine reliable windproof protection and maximum breathability with warm insulation. This soft, warm synthetic insulation underneath the GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® membrane prevents overheating during physical activity whilst simultaneously preventing your body temperature from dropping. Since it’s not at all rare to be cold and wet when you’re active in the winter, the GORE-TEX INFINIUM WINDSTOPPER® products with insulation protection have also been treated with a DWR to fend off the snow and water.