Gear Question

I have two questions. I was wondering what...

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I have two questions. I was wondering what the difference in terms of waterproofness is between a gortex pro shell jacket and the dryQ elite material. In the tech specs of a gortex jacket the waterproof rating is "guaranteed waterproof" and the dryQ elite material has a numerical value associated with its waterprooness.
My second question is I am familiar with RAB's neoshell material is the dryQ elite material a similar concept? I know that RAB doesn't claim complete windproofness with the neoshell fabric but MH does with the dryQ elite.


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The method used to measure waterproofness is mmh2o. This measures the amount of h2o (water)in mm stacked on the material, until it leaks. Those psi ratings can be converted to mmh2o by multiplying them by 576.384 (You can find this at Gore-Tex's Waterproof rating is about 28,000 mmh2o on the hydrostatic head for most of their fabrics (Paclite, Pro Shell, Performance, etc.), which is about 12,000 mm worse than the 40,000 mmh2o of the dryQ elite. You can find this at even though it does not show dryqelite (I was caught between Conduit and dryqelite). Even though th e 40,000 mmh2o is extremely high, the breathability seems unusual. For a jacket, the 40K is extremely high, which may be part of the air-permeability .

Also, some of Backcountry's ratings are COMPLETELY WRONG, such as the Stoic Vaporshell, which they recently changed to 28,000 mmh2o, which is still off, when according to the official site states is 20K and the breathability, which they state is 68,000 gm/24hrs (;Waterproof-Ratin.html). However 20,000 is already a lot and the more waterproof, the less breathable.

The breathability for Pro Shell is about 25,000 g/m2 24 hrs which is less than dryqelite according to bc, however is better than any type of waterproof/breathable technology, including eVent, which is 22,000. However, some companies, such as Polartec Neoshell thought that 20,000 mmh2o is too much and made theirs 10,000 mmh2o and is extremely breathable, possibly more breathable than Pro Shell and dryqelite.

With windproofness, the rating for waterproof/breathable tech is about 4-7 cfm, which is not like Gore's Windstopper fabric (which is 0 cfm), but is windproof as the mininum is 5 cfm (I've also heard that MH dryqelite is 0.5 cfm). Gore's new Active Shell is also quite breathable, possibly more than neoshell and dryqelite, however if you are not walking into a downpour, but just some light to mild rain, you might want a softshell. Also, The North Face's HyVent Alpha's waterproof rating is quite high, about 43,000 mmh2o, however the breathablity is not very good.

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Alex. As you can see in the tech specs on the right side of this page the waterproof rating given to DryQ Elite is 40,000mm which is based on independent lab test using a test called the "Inverted Cup Test" which is how just about every single company in the industry (except Gore) measures waterproof-ness of their particular textiles. The higher the number... the more waterproof. The 40K waterproof rating is about as high as you are going to find in the waterproof/breathable shell and softshell industry and will keep you dry in any condition.

Now, breathability is another animal and it is measured by MVTR or Moisture Vapor Transfer Rate and this test measures the grams per meter squared of moisture vapor moving through a fabric over a 24 hour period or gm/m2/24 and is written, as in the tech specs above for DryQ Elite, as 40,000 g/m2/24. This is also EXTREMELY HIGH and is about as high as you are going to find industry wide. ProShell, eVent and other fabrics included.

Air Permeability is NEW to the shell and waterproof breathable market this season and is measured in cubic feet per minute of air moving through a textile or CFM. The DryQ Elite fabric from Mountain Hardwear and the Neoshell fabric from Polartec are the only fabrics on the market at this time to exhibit complete waterproof-ness/extreme breathability AND Air Permeability. Both DryQ Elite and NeoShell exhibit .05 CFM of air permeability which is unheard of and allows INSTANT breathability from a textile or fabric. This allows for use in a wider range of environmental conditions and ultimate comfort in the field more so than any of the above mentioned Gore fabrics. Gore will keep you dry and it does breathe... but it is NOT air permeable.

rums's answer throws a couple of numbers and mis-conceptions out without explaining them and I have a couple of issues with this: 1. Where are you getting your numbers because they are way off... even for the Gore product you describe? 2. It is NOT true that the more waterproof the less breathable. 3. The statement "With windproofness, the rating for waterproof/breathable tech is about 4-7 cfm, which is not like Gore's Windstopper fabric, but is quite windproof." Does not make sense. What are you saying? Industry-wide anything below 5 CFM is considered to be "Windproof" by definition and by performance. What "waterproof/breathable tech" are you describing? 4. Which "HydroStatic" Test?

rum41454672... get back to me on this would you? Don't want to spread the wrong info out to the world. Thanks!

Alex12. I hope this answer/comment/ helps to straighten out any questions you may have had about DryQ Elite fabrics and other waterproof/breathable fabrics on the market, how they are tested, and how they perform. Cheers!

Responded on

Short answer: 1. (you need to know the definition for Hydrostatic Head) and you can compare the numerical values for an "on paper" perspective. Both are guaranteed waterproof.
2. They are both a similar concept looking at how breathable they are. (This is the air permeable aspect).

There are arguments and discrepancies with both answers listed here: rum is partially correct in stating Proshell has a hydrostatic head of 28,000mm, though this is the minimum standard required for a Proshell garment, it is fair to say 28,000+. Many garments on the market that use Proshell will be between 30,000 and 40,000mm. How breathable a garment is also depends on the face fabric used, so mvtr numbers should only be used as a rough guideline. Typically, the heavy, more durable face fabrics will be less breathable than the lighter due to the fact a greater surface area of the membrane is covered by thicker solid fibres which do not absorb moisture (this applies to nylon hardshells, not polyester used in soft shells).
It should also probably be pointed out that Neoshell and Dry Q are not the first air permeable membranes on the market, nor are they new this season. eVent is air permable, as is the Gore's Starlight. Essentially, eVent is based on the original design for the Gore-Tex membrane, which is expanded PTFE. The main difference is that eVent is expanded further, which allows faster transfer of moisture through air permeability, but reduces durability, and must be cared for more to retain optimum performance. Neoshell, as with eVent do not belong to Rab, they are on the open market for manufacturers, and yes, is 99% windproof according to Polartech.

All in all, this is all irrelevant. Anything with a hydrostatic head of over 4,000mm which has taped seams is classed as waterproof, and there are few places on the planet people will experience rain with enough force to equal the pressure of 28,000mm. So both will keep out the elements if you are an enthusiast (as opposed to a polar explorer say).
An air permeable garment will vent much faster than one that isn't due to the fact it doesn't require such a difference in internal and external humidity/pressure to shift moisture (like osmosis - if you have ever done that experiment with potatoes). However, I would not like to state the durability.
Leading to the final point of the face fabrics - with the heavier being less breathable. This depends on the ability to shed water, a fabric that does not repel the water and instead wets out will be much less breathable, so keep it proofed! And at the end of the day, lifetime is important. If it isn't very durable, the membrane will break down or become damaged much faster, and so none of the above will be relevant for very long!