eVent Fabric Rocks!

eVent fabric is taking the outdoor industry by storm. Because of its superior ability to “breathe”, it is truly a material for all-season performance.

Over the years, waterproof/breathable (WP/B) fabrics have revolutionized the apparel we wear while recreating and working outdoors. All of these fabrics are very waterproof; where they have varied is in their breathability, their ability to pass the sweat our bodies generate during exercise out through the garment.

One of the old chestnuts from a more genteel era was, “Horses sweat, men perspire, women just feel the heat.” Wrong! Humans, both men and women, sweat. It’s one of the important ways our bodies regulate our core temperature.

Evaporation of sweat is a major cooling mechanism. When we’re boating in colder conditions, we wear insulating layers of wool and synthetic materials like fleece, covered by WP/B outer layers. If these outer layers do not pass that sweat moisture out through them, our insulating layers get wet and lose their ability to hold in our body heat.

Some of the best brands of WP/B fabrics use an expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane layered with woven shell fabric to stop liquid moisture and pass moisture vapor. By expanding the PTFE material into a thin sheet, tiny pores are formed, providing exceptional breathability. PTFE is hydrophobic, that is it repels liquid water, while letting water vapor (sweat) pass through. Great, an excellent WP/B material!

But, there is a catch. PTFE, in its natural state, is readily contaminated with oils from our body and other environmental substances. The oil contamination eliminates the hydrophobic quality and the fabrics leak.

To solve this, some manufacturers put a layer of polyurethane (PU) over the PTFE membrane to protect it from contamination. The PU is hydrophilic; it absorbs water. First, sweat is condensed and absorbed into the PU layer on the inside of the fabric. Because PU absorbs and retains sweat, the inside of the fabric becomes wet. Then, body heat begins to push that dampness through to the outside of the fabric where it can finally evaporate - a very inefficient process. This combination “breathes” but not nearly as efficiently as the PTFE membrane alone.

Voila! Along comes eVent fabrics. They have developed a way to make PTFE oleophobic (oil repelling) while still retaining the hydrophobic (water repelling) characteristics of PTFE. It keeps outside water out and lets the inside sweat pass right through it. Now we have a material that is very waterproof, combined with one of the highest breathability ratings of any WP/B fabric! Tests run at the US Army’s Soldier Systems Center, in Natick, Massachusetts, put eVent fabric at the very top of over a dozen fabrics sampled.

NRS is proud to be the only company bringing this superior fabric to paddling apparel. One of our dry tops or drysuits made with eVent fabric will give you the most comfortable, dry protection available in the marketplace!

For more info and some interesting visuals, visit the eVent ® fabrics website.