The North Face's New Breathable, Waterproof Fabric

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""At CES 2019, The North Face revealed what sounded like an impossible product. A waterproof fabric that repelled the elements like rain, snow, and spilled coffee, while allowing warm air to escape in the other direction so that keeping dry in a storm wouldn’t mean you’d just end up soaked in sweat anyway. The company developed a new manufacturing process called nanospinning that weaves microscopic fibres into a complex web-life structure that can be layered with other fabrics to create waterproof garments suitable for every climate.,w_768,q_90/c4kjq86kkxjozfybf56x.gif,w_768,q_90/ezydufcwgy1uao7pdtu4.jpg Unlike traditional raincoats that can feel like you’re wearing a plastic bag, jackets made with Futurelight are actually remarkably comfortable, and genuinely keep you dry inside and out. But with price tags starting at $US500 ($720), you might want to wait a few years for the price to come down"" The North Face's New Breathable, Waterproof Fabric Might Be The Holy Grail Of Outdoor Gear ""The North Face believes it’s created the ultimate fabric for outdoor adventures: one that’s versatile enough to keep the wearer completely dry, while also keeping them cool and comfortable. Making clothing that can repel rain and snow isn’t difficult. You could wrap yourself in plastic garbage bags and hike for hours without a single drop of rain getting through. But the problem with that approach is that plastic-like waterproof materials effectively block everything trying to pass through, including air and heat. I can remember wearing a rubber rain suit while working construction jobs and still finding my clothes soaking wet with sweat at the end of the day because my body was essentially trapped inside a stifling, wearable greenhouse. .... The North Face believes its new Futurelight material will be such a game-changer. It’s been engineered at the nanoscopic level to prevent water molecules from passing through, while still allowing air to move freely so the wearer doesn’t overheat. It’s a best-of-both-worlds approach that might actually deliver as promised. To create its new Futurelight material, The North Face also developed a new manufacturing process it calls nanospinning in which a fibrous material is extruded and repeatedly layered on itself into an ultra-thin and flexible web-like structure. The unique process results in millions of nano-scale poles being produced, which allow air molecules to permeate the material, while water molecules can’t. Another big advantage of the Futurelight material is that it’s not limited for use only on raincoats. That thin nanospun layer can be bonded to a variety of different fabrics, making almost any garment completely waterproof: be it lightweight, heavyweight, insulated, durable, breathable, or flexible. Raincoats are notorious for often being stiff and uncomfortable to wear, but The North Face could potentially use its new Futurelight material on any wearable product in its catalogue, for example, a jogging suit, yoga wear, or a parka engineered to survive a trip to Everest.""
not that new, polartec have been nano spinning with neoshell for years. they all hype their products. all raincoats are wetsuits in heavy rain
This one is supposed to be an improvement on the Columbria, "Outdry", which has been around a few years. Doesn't feel like a raincoat to the touch. The "Futuredry" coating can be applied to more everyday wear also. If it's like waterproofing a softshell, then it may reduce the amount, or bulk, of gear carried. How it performs in a high-humidity challenge is, indeed, always the million dollar question. I'm still favouring my monster armpit zips. Am always wary of promotional promises of people with something to sell.
thats for shedding water on the outside of the garment.. when its raining its too humid for moisture to get out of breathable rain gear.. in prolonged rain or humid conditions, the breathability doesnt work well or at all they test them in labs and say they will remove x amount of sweat through the garment, in the real world they often wont remove anywhere near the amount of sweat claimed, plus theres the extra heat trapped in a raincoat which generates even more sweat... Sounds good and reading between the lines its a pu version of event. I wonder how it wears?
I'm sort of wondering about it getting clogged by dirt etc on a microscopic level, if it doesn't have a protective abrasion layer, too ?.
eVent, is another moisture permeable waterproof membrane used in raingear its effectively gore tex minus a protective polyeurethane layer that is there to stop the pores of the membrane from clogging up with dirt and body oils. the manufacturers guidelines is to wash it frequently.... although event was supposed to be treated to reduce clogging up with body oils, make it more repellent... but the pores were sill exposed to clogging... columbia came out with a straight toughened polyeurethane material that doesnt need nylon face fabric so the pores are exposed directly to the outside air although polyeurethane doesnt always have direct pores... its kind of like a thin sponge that the moisture just moves through .
I can vouch for Polartec Neoshell; the least clammy and humid waterproof I've had bar none and my favourite. Trouble is, not many manufacturers using it at present. Theories are out there that big bad Goretex is strong arming manufacturers and distributors to shun this great fabric... I was in the UK in Oct 2019 and stepped into a North Face shop in London. Unfortunately, the only garments they had in the new fabric were designed more for the mountaineers - too many unnecessary bell and whistles for the tramper resulting in a comparatively heavy jacket. I'm sure the range will improve this year. Event is supposed to be more breathable than Goretex, according to a lot of suff I've seen. BUt its' achilles heel is clogging with or body oil. Make sure any jacket you have made of this has a layer of clothing between it and your skin.
theres less neoshell garments out there now than there was in its early years of release a few years ago. Rab and montane are the only brands sold in NZ that were using it, both seemed to have stopped selling it. my neoshell gear was mainly bought online from overseas. i dont know why, the companies that were making the garments just stopped selling it. the face fabrics tended to have 50% polyester making them less robust. and the waterproofing may degrade over time. 10,000mm hydrostatic head which it has to start with is borderline stormproof. i've read comments in forums that people think neoshell has delamination issues and has to be washed very regularly like eVent to avoid delamination issues... one person said their delaminated after 1 season of reasonable use. reviewers were saying thet noticed they felt colder in strong winds in neoshell compared to gore tex i've got neoshell, but if the forecast is really bad esp strong cold winds, i opt for something less breathable and known to be more robust, a 3 layer pertex shell. i havent had issues with my neoshell but it hasnt been used that extensively by me to say that its as reliabile as gore tex or pertex companies using event are also diminishing, possibly because of furability issues it can be prone to delamination esp if its not washed if people arent washing it regularly , it delaminates then you can get a lot of people trying to make warranty returns and the manufacturer has a lot of customer support work on their hands i had an event jacket that delaminated majorly, pretty quickly, i know there were bad batches of event that were doing that, i had to argue pretty strongly with macpac to get it replaced, i had another one delaminate but it took a lot more wear for it to happen. other membranes like pertex have become more breathable over the years, are reliable and have a good warranty as well. i'd be wary of any new material until its established what its reliability is... there are no brands selling event and goretex garments. claims that gore tex wouldnt supply any manufacturer that sold event.. I'm not sure if that was the case with neoshell, but off the top of my head i cant think of brands selling both at the same time. gore tex were playing catchup with breathability after event came out and years later when the more breathable neoshell came out. some brands ditched gore tex for event and some of those have gone back to gore tex or switched again to brands like pertex. if you sell gore tex apparently your "stormwear" your high end stormproof rainwear in your range has to be gore tex and not a rival product.
I'm with the last poster re the wind proofness of Neoshell, and like him I can't yet vouch for the material's longevity as I haven't used mine that much yet. I do also have the North Face Futurlight jacket. Seems good, but not quite as comfy as the Neoshell in terms of feeling clammy. But it's a soft fabric and better fitting than my rather tailored Montane product. It's always very hard to make comparisons. Who's going to carry both garments on the same trip and swop between them under the same weather conditions whilst doing the same sort of activity with the same load just to make a more objective comparison? It's a bit like all the contradictory remarks you hear about user experiences with condensation with a particular brand of tent.
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Forum Gear talk
Started by Pro-active
On 30 December 2019
Replies 12
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