Mountain Sports Apparel
Protection from Rain and Snow
In bad weather conditions, your attitude can take a nose dive. Protection from the rain and snow is vital for outdoor activities – to keep the wetness out so that you can stay dry.
There are a number of different methods to make functional clothing water-repellent or completely waterproof. Functional textiles with membranes or coatings protect you from adverse weather conditions. In order to choose the product that will serve you best, you’ve got to consider what you’ll be using it for and how extreme the conditions will be, including both the weather and the weight of the load in your pack, for example. All waterproof and water-repellent VAUDE textiles are also windproof.
Standards: Water column
Water column specifications provide information about the water resistance (waterproofness) of a fabric. It is listed in millimeters, and fabrics are considered waterproof by the DIN Standard starting at a water column of 1,300 mm.
This measurement is made by stretching a fabric under a 10 centimeter diameter cylinder filled with water. The point at which the water begins to seep its way through the fabric, determines the height of the material’s water column or waterproof rating.
All VAUDE jackets with a Ceplex membrane have a water column of at least 10,000 mm – sometimes higher.
Breathability of waterproof functional clothing – RET and MVTR values
MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate) value: this is a measure of the permeability of water vapor through materials, i.e. how much liquid diffuses through a membrane or laminate.
In contrast, the RET value (Resistance to Evaporating Heat Transfer) indicates how much resistance a material has to water vapor.
Two fundamentally different performance indicators. While a high MVTR value certifies good breathability, the RET value is exactly the opposite.
We have decided not to communicate performance indicators on breathability for our in-house membranes.
Why did we decide to take this step?
– The added information value of these indicators is very low. Due to non-uniform test procedures (MVTR, RET) there is hardly any comparability of different products.
– In a test experiment, we sent existing products to independent test institutes and obtained different test results for the same materials. A new submission of exactly the same samples again resulted in different test results from the first test. An objective comparison was impossible.
– The performance figures given always refer to the membrane used. The key figures of the laminate, i.e. outer fabric + membrane + bottom fabric, are not taken into account.
– On the market communicated values are unique measurements and thus snapshots, no manufacturer can guarantee communicated MVTR values durably.
In order to ensure the high quality of our products, we naturally base each product on minimum requirements and test them in our in-house test laboratory using consistent test procedures.
WATER REPELLENT TREATMENTS
In order to maintain the function of your VAUDE weatherproof clothing, the outer material is given a factory-applied treatment – DWR (Durable Water Repellency). This water-repellent finish ensures that the apparel doesn’t absorb moisture from the outside which would block the breathability that allows moisture that your body creates to be transported outward.
We only use our own waterproofing treatment, Eco Finish, which works without the use of environmentally harmful fluorocarbons (PFC).
You can find information on DWR and which harmful substances you should watch out for in our Sustainability Report.
Note: Waterproofing should be renewed or refreshed regularly – and definitely anytime you wash the garment. At Tips & Tricks you can find more information.
Waterproof textiles have been specially developed for use in the rain and are outfitted with the appropriate technologies. Not only is the fabric (or the entire layer structure) waterproof, but also the taped seams and the zips.
In order for the outer fabric of a jacket to be waterproof and breathable, it must be provided with an additional layer. In general, you can either choose a membrane or a coating, and both have their own advantages and disadvantages.
A coating is a waterproof synthetic layer applied to the outside surface of an outer fabric. These garments are less expensive than those with membranes, but coatings are less abrasion resistant and therefore less breathable and waterproof.
A membrane is a semi-permeable synthetic film integrated directly into the garment. This film is extremely thin and provides 100 % protection from moisture and wind while maintaining breathability. Raindrops can’t penetrate, but water vapor can escape to the outside. Membranes don’t wash out, but they also cost more and are more expensive to maintain.
VAUDE only uses PU (polyurethane) or PE (polyester) membranes, not PTFE membranes, which are commonly found on the market and which require environmentally harmful fluorocarbons (PFC).
Additional information on membranes can be found in our Sustainability Report.
Ceplex is our well-tested in-house membrane. We use it in our footwear as well as our apparel. It is permanently waterproof, highly breathable and windproof. It can withstand a water column of at least 10,000 mm (JIS L 1092 B).
Ceplex Active – developed by VAUDE – can be used as a membrane or as a coating. It creates permanent waterproofness with a water column of at least 10,000 mm. In addition, it’s breathable and windproof.
Ceplex Advanced membranes are permanently waterproof, highly breathable and windproof. They can withstand a water column of at least 15,000 mm stand.
With at least 20,000 mm, Ceplex Pro is the membrane with the highest water column at VAUDE and therefore offers the best protection against moisture; it’s also absolutely windproof and extremely breathable.
Ceplex Green is permanently waterproof, highly breathable and windproof. It can withstand a water column of at least 15,000 mm. Ceplex Green is PTFE-free (Polytetrafluoroethylene-free) and 25 % of the PU (polyurethane) that was previously made with fossil fuels was replaced by renewable or recycled raw materials. This brings along considerable advantages in terms of energy and resource consumption.
Membranes are extremely sensitive and are therefore permanently bonded to a carrier material (outer fabric). This is what makes it a laminate. We distinguish between three different types of laminates.
If the membrane and the outer fabric are firmly bonded together using heat, it’s referred to as a 2-layer laminate. The inner lining lies loosely underneath and protects the exposed membrane from dirt, abrasion and body oils.
The membrane and outer fabric are also joined in a 2.5-layer laminate. Instead of a loose inner lining (as with the 2-layer laminate), a soft synthetic coating is applied directly to the inside surface. This makes the jacket very lightweight. The “half layer” increases wearing comfort and additionally protects the membrane from the inside.
We asked our expert and product manager Alisa about this central topic of mountain sports clothing.
She once again points out the most important information on the subject of “protection from rain and snow” and gives helpful tips.