ESSENTIAL SKILLS

Hyvent vs Gore Tex: Which One is the Best Outdoor Fabric?

Woman hiking in the forest on a rainy day
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

To survive the extreme temperatures and conditions in the wilderness, you need a high-performing outdoor jacket or footwear that can protect you from rain, snow, humidity, and wind, among other elements. The garment should also be highly rated in providing the unmatched water repellent, comfort, durability, waterproofness, and breathability.

For many years from the 70s, we have known the Gore Tex fabrics as the most breathable and waterproof outdoor apparels before the market got saturated with similar products that basically mimicked the Gore Tex’s geometric structure. Hyvent from The North Face is one of the proprietary technologies that offer a tough competition to Gore Tex. To help you buy the best, we have compiled this award-worthy Hyvent vs Gore Tex review for you.

Given the dynamics of outdoor features as embedded in a plethora of jackets, footwear and gloves, it can be stressful to pick the best product on the market. When comparing the Hyvent and the Gore Tex, others may be lured by the affordable prices of the Hyvent waterproof-breathable materials over the expensive Gore Tex garments. Unfortunately, the price alone does not give a material evidence that a certain outdoor garment is the best. The features play a pivotal role in this regard.

Hiker wearing The North Face jacket

The Gore Tex and the Hyvent have most of the properties common, although presented in varied ratings. Gore Tex has always been a pathfinder of breathable and waterproof outdoor garments, whereas the later proprietary technologies have traversed on its tracks. Hyvent is, however, a competitive outdoor fabric provided at a compromise of functionality for a fraction of the price. To be able to choose the best fabric, you have to be well rounded about the features that influence the performance of these fabrics.

Some are unfolded below.

Features influencing the performance of Gore Tex and Hyvent fabrics

There could be numerous features in this regard. However, waterproof, breathability, comfort, and DWR (durable water repellent) take a center stage. We will discuss these features below:

Breathability

Breathability is one of the indispensable features, without which, our outdoor comfort may be miserable. As human beings, especially during our energy-demanding outdoor tasks, we tend to sweat. Without a breathable fabric, the sweat may be turned into a liquid that could wet our skins after hiking, climbing or backpacking. A breathable fabric will be able to let the sweat to escape through the tiny pores.

It was Gore Tex that was renowned for its unparalleled and great breathability features before Hyvent and other products came on-board. However, it had emerged that the more breathable, it had been, the more penetrating the water molecules were. It was later coated with polyurethane to repel more water while making the fabric more breathable.

Close-up photo of a waterproof jacket

Hyvent is also known for its breathability and waterproof as it is coated with the polyurethane too. However, Gore Tex emerges as the winner with its advanced membrane in addition to the PU coating. Also keep in mind that the more you care for your jacket, the more breathable it becomes. Some contaminants such as stains and oils can hinder the pores’ ability to let moisture escape. Also remember that there’s no permanent coating; so an old coating may affect breathability and waterproof.

For more information on which one will be the better outdoor fabric -hyvent or gore-tex see our link.

DWR (Durable Water Repellent)

One of the reasons that you stay dry in the wilderness is the presence of the DWR on your jackets. This coating is basically applied on the outer surface of the fabrics to increase the surface tension so that more water molecules can be repelled. When it rains, water will just bead off and roll on the garment. Both the Gore Tex and the Hyvent feature this DWR coating.

Nikwax TX Direct Products

But the DWR coating fades away after frequent uses or if the garments are not well cared for. The indication to that could be the appearance of the garment as if it is wet, or when it feels heavy due to the absorption of water. That will be a negative impact on the performance of your jacket. Fortunately, we have some products such as the Nikwax TX Direct and the McNett ReviveX that revive the water repellent coating. You have to clean the garment and then reapply the coating to boost its performance.

To find out which one will retain water, see our article on some Gore Tex waterproofing tips.

Waterproof

There is a distinction between the DWR and the waterproof feature. A garment may run out of the water repellent coating but still remain waterproof on its inner membrane. Gore Tex is highly waterproof than the Hyvent is. Remember that the North Face’s Hyvent mimics the features of the Gore Tex, and it is predominantly coated with the polyurethane as compared to the polytetraflouroethylene embedded in Gore Tex fabrics.

Close-up photo of GoreTex material

The outer coating of DWR may deteriorate in Gore Tex garment and still the jacket will remain waterproof. The jacket may absorb water, but your skin will be shielded against the penetration of water. With the garments that are predominantly PU coated, if it deteriorates, the garment may leak. But Hyvent technology has lately advanced whereby the fabrics are available in various flavors, some of which incorporate advanced waterproof properties. The Gore Tex is also available in many flavors.

To find out which one will retain water, see our article on some Gore Tex waterproofing tips.

Durability

Both fabrics, Hyvent and Gore Tex, are significantly durable. Because Gore Tex is available in many layers of fabrics, it is more durable than the Hyvent garments. But note that there are some influential factors attributable to the durability of the fabrics. If not cared for, either Gore Tex or the Hyvent may deteriorate prematurely. It is thus important that you care for your jackets.

Gore Bike Wear ONE GORE-TEX Active Bike Jacket

With these features that influence the performance of these waterproof-breathable garments, you will be able to narrow down your search among other products. Remember: there is the eVent and the Pantagonia as some of the waterproof outdoor apparels. They have competitive features, some of which can outperform the Hyvent or the Gore Tex, although the Gore Tex remains the giant among all.

The Hyvent and the Gore Tex are further available in different flavors.

Man wearing the north face jacket on top of the mountains

Starting with the Hyvent, we’ve discussed the 3 models of the fabrics made of it:

3 Types of Hyvent fabrics

  • HyVent → repels water and protects the garment against the abrasion. It is the original proprietary technology that features a PU layer. The 2 and 3-layer jackets by The North Face have been made using this technology to make them water repellant. Also the mittens, footwear and the hand gloves incorporate this technology. In most cases, products made of original Hyvent technology are affordable.
  • HyVent Alpha → it is predominantly found in the Summit Series garment and make use of microporous and lamination technology. This technology can be equated to the performance of the Gore Tex membrane. It is actually a membrane not a coating that’s why it was incorporated into the Summit Series as the top of the range of the products of The North Face. The Summit Series is regarded as the advanced apparel of top notch quality among others to survive the extreme temperatures.
  • HyVent 2.5L → this is one of the durable layers of Hyvent, coated with polyurethane layer. It is interchangeably called the Hyvent DT (Dry Touch). The North Face Venture Jacket was the first apparel to showcase the performance of this technology. It comes with underarm vents for maximum ventilation to enhance breathability of the jacket.

The Gore Tex also a range of fabrics that differ with features.

Mountain Hardwear Gore-Tex Pro Shell

Let’s unfold them below:

5 different types of Gore Tex fabrics

  • Performance shell → Performance shell is interchangeably called Gore Tex as it is the original version. It is the less expensive fabric found predominantly in the 2 layer construction and also in footwear. But it is not that breathable to a higher extent.
  • Proshell → This fabric is found in 3-layer constructions as a top notch laminate material for mountaineering and alpine climbing. It consists of more micro-pores per a centimeter, and, as thus, turns to be more breathable than the original Gore Tex. Proshell are also known as the XCR. In footwear, Proshell is solely as the XCR.
  • Paclite → Paclite is incorporated in 2.5-layer constructions. It is coated with polyurethane and turns out to be the lightest materials that also command a top notch waterproof quality. Its breathability is also up to standard.
  • Dryloft → dryloft is known for its higher breathability. It is a membrane not a coating. But its water resistance is not that on par more especially for Down-designed sleeping bags.
  • Softshell → the Gore Tex softshell is efficiently 100% than other hardshells. It also feels very soft and comfortable compared to hardshells. To see more of the softshell jacket  click on the link for more information.

It should be evident enough from the different types of fabrics given above for Hyvent and Gore Tex that Gore Tex takes the lead. It has more advanced features that will surely spice up your outdoor adventure. Keep in mind that it is basically an optimal membrane designed for breathability and waterproof. In actual sense, Gore Tex is a synthetic product that was primarily manufactured to mimic the geometric structure of the natural Down insulator. Now other synthetic insulators are manufactured to give it a tough competition.

The membrane of the Gore Tex garments is made from polytetraflouroethylene, which is the main ingredient found in Teflon. On its own, the membrane can be susceptible to the deterioration due to oils and other stains. It is undoubtedly breathable.

But, waterproof quality has been a disappointment until it was paired with the polyurethane coating to enhance the quality. The PU coating reduces the breathability of the fabric, but still remains competitive enough. One needs a garment that is both breathable and waterproof, and that’s what Gore Tex has achieved. Today’s outdoor apparels make use of a Gore Tex synthetic insulator, as the alternative to the Down.

North Face Himalayan Suit

Hyvent, on the other hand, is basically a polyurethane coating laminated to a synthetic fabric to allow moisture to move from high concentration to low. The coating makes the Hyvent breathable and waterproof, but not as much as the Gore Tex membrane does to it. This makes it more affordable as compared to other products because of its compromise of functionality. Had it had a membrane as well, it would probably be costly as well, and that could be a hindrance to low-spenders.

The Hyvent DWR coating is not a problem until you leave it unattended. Because the quality of the coating might fade as time goes on, it is advisable that you continue restoring it using industry-specific products. But, if the jacket is leaking, restoring it will just be a waste of time. Instead, you will have to purchase a new jacket.

The Gore Tex and the Hyvent may differ with the complexity of their features. But, they were made based on the same principle. All have tiny pores on their surfaces to restrict the penetration of the water molecules, but allow the escape of sweat, thus enhancing breathability. They strive to make you dry and cool no matter how intensive the outdoor activity is. And, regardless of the identity of the waterproof fabric identity, washing and caring are paramount.

To read more of the best hardshell jackets, click on the link to find out more.

How to wash Hyvent and Gore Tex fabrics?

There isn’t much of a difference between washing the Hyvent and the Gore Tex fabrics. The same principle of respecting water resistant coating applies more especially when considering the exclusions of hot water and any other heat. The best thing among all is to check the garment’s tag for recommendations about washing and caring for the garment.

Label of The North FaceTNF Berghaus Craghoppers Goretex Gore-Tex Hyvent

You should note the following when washing these outdoor proprietary technologies:

  • No soaps that contain fabric softeners
  • No harmful detergents and any other chemicals as they may harm the polyurethane coating
  • Preferably no machine wash unless if set on a gentle cycle.
  • Preferably tumble dry on a low setting to prevent the deterioration of the PU coating due to heat
  • Do not wash the fabric too frequently because the water repellent feature fades in quality. The fabric, too, loses its grip on quality after numerous uses.
  • If a Gore Tex is coupled with the Down, avoid hot water because they could impact negatively on its warmth and comfort.
  • All zippers and the Velcro enclosures should be closed prior to washing your fabric.

When should You preferably use Hyvent or the Gore Tex?

These outdoor fabric materials may be similar to some of the core features, but may be ideal for a wide variety of environmental settings. For instance, the Hyvent may be ideal and suitable for mild outdoor weather conditions due to its inferior breathability and waterproof features. It is coated with the hydrophilic coating on the outside. Only selected higher priced versions have the waterproof membrane.

If you’re going to undertake an intensive outdoor activity, Gore Tex emerges as the winner here because of its high performance breathability. This means that no matter how much you sweat, you sweat will be evaporated. The micro pores of the fabric are smaller to hinder the penetration of water molecules, but big enough to allow for the evaporation of sweat.

Gore-Bike-Wear-One-Gore-Tex-Active-jacket-5

The harsh and inclement temperatures are no match to the Gore Tex fabrics. Most of these fabrics, as discussed above, are available in a variety of layers, which then give you a plenty of options to choose from. Hyvent also has some layers that basically mimic what the Gore Tex embeds, but still inferior in quality.

Which fabric should You purchase?

There might be no perfect solution to this answer. However, knowing the difference in features as emphasized above should put you in a better position to decide now. The decision is primarily preference based because people have different tastes of spending outdoor adventures. If, for instance, you adore hiking in extreme temperatures for a long time, we would love to recommend the Gore Tex for you.

Preferably go for the Gore Tex that is mated with the Down insulator for a greater warmth and comfort. If you plan to hike in mild temperatures, the Hyvent could be ideal for you. And if you want to spend less, Hyvent is an ideal solution for you. Unlike the Gore Tex, it is coated with a polyurethane material to repel water. Some layers do have membranes the same way that Gore has. But still Gore wins the competition.

Man wearing Mountain Gore Thermium jacket

In terms of caring about the fabric, Gore Tex seems to be more demanding to care for. Hyvent may be ideal for those who are not fond of washing their outdoor apparels with complicated settings.

Final thoughts on This Topic

Gore Tex and the Hyvent are some of the most well-known breathable-waterproof outdoor fabric materials. Gore Tex remains the commander in chief, among other fabric materials of the same caliber. This justifies the popularity of this product in many clothes. For example, The North Face has launched the Hyvent, but has some of its clothes incorporating the Gore Tex due to its unsurpassed properties.

man-walking-with-jacket

Have you used any of these fabric materials or have you used a different one that you can compare? Please share with our readers, in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Marie Baxter

    North Face has some really cute options for coats, but learning that Hyvent isn’t as good as Gore Tex makes me reconsider. Anyone else? I’ve had issues in the past with North Face jackets not living up to my expectations, but I guess you really do get what you pay for.

  • John C. Porter

    We all have had different interactions with different fabrics. It’s a personal choice really.

  • Andrea Willard

    I’m a Gore-Tex fan all the way! It’s always been worth the extra money for me, the breathability is really unmatched. It’s so cool to read about the layers of fabric and coating that make up Gore-Tex. I didn’t really know about them before, all I knew was that it worked!

    • John C. Porter

      We love Gore-Tex, too! It definitely works!

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