Issue #1 - The materials that keep water and wind away
When talking about water and windproofness in connection with clothing and equipment, it is probably synonymous for many with the word Gore-Tex.
Started as a family business in the late 60's by the Gore family, today it has grown into a standard that all other waterproof membranes must adhere to.
The technology behind Gore-Tex is based on the unique properties of the polymer polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, which has been further developed into ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluoroethylene), a patented material that is both extremely strong, has low water absorption but at the same time breathes well.
The first garments came in 1976 and since then the basic technology has been continuously developed to create products with market-leading properties in terms of resistance to water and wind.
As the demand for products with these properties increased, more actors came up with alternatives to Gore-Tex in particular. Other brands in waterproofing and windproofing include; FUTURELIGHT (developed by The North Face), Pertex Shield, eVent. But the list can be made considerably longer and many motorcycle clothing manufacturers have their "own" versions of these membranes.
Regardless of the brand and the technology behind it, everyone has the goal of creating a material quality that keeps water and wind out but at the same time lets air through so that you get garments that breathe - Something that is a prerequisite for being able to practice more strenuous physical activity when wearing the clothes.
Then of course there are the more classic waxed cotton garments which are usually referred to as waxed cotton, waxed canvas or kanvas (also canvas) in pure Swedish. Today this quality is perhaps mostly used for aesthetic reasons, but for many, many years this was the best way to create water-repellent products that also allowed air to pass through. You can read more about this classic quality in an upcoming The Occasional Article Series.