Arc’teryx Presents – Who We Are: The Science Behind Gore-Tex

Arc’teryx Presents – Who We Are: The Science Behind Gore-Tex


There’s lots of waterproof
materials out there, and we’ve tried them all. We continue to work with Gore
because it’s just better. It’s waterproof. It’s breathable. And it’s more durable. It’s the best in the world. [MUSIC PLAYING] Gore is a raw materials
supplier of what is called a finish laminate. The majority of them are
three layer laminates, which would have a face textile,
a back or technology, and then a membrane. And it’s glued
together, in essence. That membrane is made out
of polytetrafluoroethylene. And easier term to use
for that is Teflon. Gore actually
expands the Teflon, or stretches it,
and expanded PTFE is the key component of
all the membranes that we put in all of our laminates. EPTFE allows body moisture
to get through the garment, yet it won’t allow
water molecules to penetrate it, which
keeps it 100% waterproof. So you can move
your body moisture away while completely dry
from the outside elements. [MUSIC PLAYING] And Gore took some
unique risks with us. We were one of the
only brands that’s ever been given a Gore
license, having never built a piece of apparel,
let alone a GORE-TEX jacket. When we wanted to
get into apparel, we went to Gore with
all these different ways of making the product that
were different than what they experienced. And this was foreign to them. The Arcteryx was such a leader
and innovator in the industry, and I think at a time when the
industry needed some folks, it kind of broke
through the mold and was trying to think very
differently about performance. They had set the standards
to other manufacturers, and say, you make
a jacket this way. And here we were coming,
going no, no, no. We want to make it different. It challenged us to be
better as an organization. And I think it raised the
bar for the entire industry in terms of the
kinds of performance that could be achieved. It’s fairly difficult to
get a license from Gore. We work with only
established brands. So it was a leap of faith for
us to give them a license. We liked the creative
energy that they had for the innovation. And they actually designed
a jacket, the Alpha SV, that, for me, transformed
the market, because they reduced the weight of
that outdoor jacket by about 300 grams. Many of the advancements
we’ve made have gone to Gore and they’ve studied them. And then they’ve come across
new ways of making that and come back to us
and said, well, here’s a material now that because
of what we learned here is fundamentally better
than what we had before. And an example of that is the
tape width on GORE-TEX jackets used to be an inch. And the standard was that
you couldn’t make anything unless you used
this big, fat tape. And we thought that the big,
fat tape had a lot of downsides. And so we narrowed it. And the only way we could
get Gore to acknowledge that narrowing the tape was
going to be a viable option is we had to have 10 years of
hard core field tested jackets with forensically carbon datable
Sharpie marks on the inside to get anywhere close
to those guys saying, OK, you can narrow the tape. You know, we have
dedicated people within Gore that
work only with us. They add a great deal of value
to us as an organization. I think with
Arcteryx, there’s been a commitment, which requires
risk on both parts, right? We’re going to each
share information that obviously may be
sensitive to come up with the best product. And I think we don’t take
those partnerships lightly. We probably share a lot
more of our technologies with Arcteryx than we
do with other companies. We have access to
folks that we normally don’t in a customer-supplier
relationship. So our R&D team at Gore
has extensive connections to the senior R&D
leaderships at Arcteryx. I think what that
allows Arcteryx to do is just plan for
not only next year, but three to five years out. I’d argue Arcteryx is among, if
not the hardest pushing Gore. There’s a lot of
knowledge and capabilities on the Arcteryx side
that Gore believes in. So it does come back to a
strong position of trust on both sides. Yeah, we can be a
pain and can push them all the times,
but our design staff and the incredible knowledge
of why waterproofed breathables work well or not well. And we can provide
that expertise to help work with Gore as
they develop new products. [MUSIC PLAYING] GORE-TEX garments
and Arcteryx garments can end up climbing Mt. Everest, or they can end up
walking in New York City. We want to make sure that we
understand all the range of end uses, and then design to ensure
that the performance ends up across all of those different
types of conditions. So what we can do
uniquely is that we can understand, measure,
and predict comfort across a range of scenarios. In order to do that,
you need a range and a very rigorous
garment level analysis. And that’s what we can
provide fairly uniquely here. Once we do our tests,
Arcteryx will get that garment into the mountains. Arcteryx is based in
the coast mountains, which is wet and cold. And these products are tested
right in the wilderness. And we get really fast
feedback from users on how to make them better
and continue innovation into the future. We push our garments
to the edge. And there has been many
times where our design team has taken Gore
prototypes of technology that they were working on,
pushed them to the limits, and made them fail. And our ability to give
them that real world field experience, but then really push
hard on them to make it better, has been a really powerful
thing for both companies. It’s amazing how much the
teams rely on each other. I don’t think we
could extricate Gore from Arcteryx or vise versa. I think we’re totally
tied at the hip. From a Gore and
Arc relationship, they are two companies
going after the same thing. If you don’t do one well,
the other one can’t survive. I want to make sure
that we’re putting our best materials in the
best garment designs possible. You can take a great
material and put it into a terribly
designed garment and you don’t get any of the
benefits of that material. There’s a really deep mutual
respect and trust there, and we’re really proud. And it’s an amazing partnership. [MUSIC PLAYING]