The Best Gore-Tex Jackets to Buy in 2019


Outdoor Research Furio

Outdoor Research Furio

For outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and mountaineering, it is good to have high-quality rainwear which protects you against the elements (rain, wind, snow etc.) and at the same time provides good breathability, so you don’t soak in your own sweat. Today there are many so-called waterproof/breathable fabrics available, but Gore-Tex remains the most popular one due to its good reputation.

Here we selected the five best Gore-Tex rain jackets. We only listed high-quality rain jackets which besides from the qualities of Gore-Tex also offer good durability and functionality (freedom of movement, pockets, hood etc.). Note that not all Gore-Tex jackets use the same material as the Gore-Tex fabric is available in three different types; Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Active and Gore-Tex Pro. In the following we’ll also explain the difference between these three types of Gore-Tex fabric. As Gore-Tex is a high-end fabric, Gore-Tex jackets are not inexpensive. Therefore, if you don’t have the budget for the jackets in this review, check out our review of the Best Hiking Rain Jackets which also includes budget products. To see how Gore-Tex compares to other waterproof/breathable fabrics in terms of breathability and water resistance, see the chart in our article Rainwear: Hydrostatic Head and Breathability (MVTR).

We regularly update our reviews and selections to always recommend you the best products on the market.

1. Buying a Gore-Tex Jacket – What is important?

Type of Gore-Tex Fabric:

Gore-Tex fabric is available in three different types – Gore-Tex, Gore-Tex Active and Gore-Tex Pro.

Gore-Tex:

The Gore-Tex fabric is the most versatile and can be used for almost everything, from around-the-town wear to hiking. It is less expensive than the Gore-Tex Pro but on the other hand it is also less breathable and heavier. Therefore, it is best for everyday use and low intensity outdoor activities. There is also a variant of this Gore-Tex fabric called Gore-Tex Paclite which utilizes only 2 layers. Gore-Tex Paclite is constructed to be lightweight, breathable and packs very small. It has similar characteristics as the Gore-Tex Active fabric below.

Gore-Tex Active:

The Gore-Tex Active fabric is very light and provides superb breathability. However, it doesn’t match the other two types of Gore-Tex fabric when it comes to protection against the elements. The Gore-Tex Active fabric is designed for highly aerobic activities such as running, cycling and cross-country skiing.

Gore-Tex Pro:

The Gore-Tex Pro fabric is the most advanced fabric from this iconic brand. It provides great breathability, durability and protection against the elements. However, jackets made of Gore-Tex Pro material tend to be very expensive. These jackets are primarily intended for alpinism, mountaineering and expeditions but can also be worn for other activities.

Hood:

Gore-Tex rain jackets typically have an adjustable hood for good fit. If you often do technical activities which require a climbing helmet, go for a jacket that has a helmet-compatible hood (in the table below you can see which jackets offer this feature). All jackets in this review are equipped with adjustable hoods.

Pockets:

Because a rain jacket is worn as an outer layer, it is a great benefit if it has pockets for storing accessories. The pockets should be waterproof to keep your gear dry.

Taped Seams:

High-end jackets have taped seams which ensure that water doesn’t leak through them. All jackets in this review of the best Gore-Tex rain jackets naturally have taped seams. To learn more about taped seams, read the Trespass article What are Taped Seams. 

Zippers:

High-end rain jackets use waterproof zippers (such as the YKK Aqua Guard zipper) which repel the water, so of course all jackets listed here have waterproof zippers.

Expert Selections
We only list top-tier products. Read how our selections of best hiking products differ from others here.
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2. The Best Gore-Tex Jackets Review

Best Gore-Tex Jackets

Best Gore-Tex Jackets

The Best Gore-Tex Jackets – List

  1. Arcteryx Alpha FL
  2. Outdoor Research Furio
  3. Arcteryx Norvan SL
  4. Outdoor Research Axiom
  5. The North Face Apex Flex GTX

Comparison

Feature/Product Arcteryx Alpha FL Outdoor Research Furio Arcteryx Norvan SL Outdoor Research Axiom The North Face Apex Flex GTX
Weight11 oz.19 oz.4 oz.14 oz.24 oz.
Weight (Metric)315 g539 g120 g402 g 680 g
MaterialGore-Tex ProGore-Tex PacliteGore-Tex ActiveGore-Tex ActiveGore-Tex
External Pockets14 /33
Helmet-Compatible HoodYesYesNoYesNo
Arcteryx Alpha FL

Arcteryx Alpha FL

1. Arcteryx Alpha FL

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Backpacking

The Arcteryx Alpha FL is currently one of the most popular Gore-Tex Pro jackets on the market. Despite being very robust, it weighs only 11 ounces. Therefore, it is perfect for fast alpine ascents in challenging weather conditions. The Alpha jacket has one zippered chest pocket and a helmet compatible StormHood with good adjustment options. It also features an adjustable hem and fits perfectly under the climbing harness. The face fabric is made of 40-denier nylon and therefore the jacket provides good durability and abrasion resistance. The Arcteryx Alpha FL jacket is available in three different colors; neon green, grey and orange.

Women's Version: Available - Arcteryx Women's Alpha FL

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Weather Protection
  • Quality

Cons:

  • /

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Outdoor Research Furio

Outdoor Research Furio

2. Outdoor Research Furio

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Backpacking

The Outdoor Research Furio jacket is made of Gore-Tex Paclite fabric which is lightweight and very minimalistic. However, it is not the lightest jacket in this review because it has many pockets and uses a sturdy 70-denier face fabric. The Furio jacket has two zippered hand pockets and two zippered chest pockets. The hand pockets are positioned high, so they don’t interfere with wearing a climbing harness or the hip belt of your backpack. The jacket also has large pit zips for extra ventilation (pit-to-hem). It provides great freedom of movement and features an adjustable helmet-compatible hood, adjustable wrist cuffs and adjustable hem. The Outdoor Research Furio jacket is available in several different colors.

Women's Version: Available - Outdoor Research Enigma

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Weather Protection
  • Pit zips

Cons:

  • Weight

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Where to buy?

Also available at:

Campsaver

Video

Arcteryx Norvan SL

Arcteryx Norvan SL

3. Arcteryx Norvan SL

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Trail running
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Backpacking

The Arcteryx Norvan SL jacket is made of the Gore-Tex Active fabric and is super light – it weighs merely four ounces. Therefore, it is best for highly aerobic activities such as trail running, cross-country skiing and speed hiking. The Arcteryx Norvan SL jacket has a minimalistic, but adjustable, hood which can be rolled away and secured with a snap if not needed. It also utilizes the Gore-Tex ShakeDry technology which eliminates the need for a face fabric (typically rain jackets have a nylon face fabric) and therefore the jacket dries very fast. The Arcteryx Norvan SL jacket also features elasticized cuffs and hem for good fit.

Women's Version: Available - Arcteryx Women's Norvan SL

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Breathability
  • ShakeDry technology

Cons:

  • Durability
  • No pockets

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Where to buy?

Also available at:

Campsaver

Video

Outdoor Research Axiom

Outdoor Research Axiom

4. Outdoor Research Axiom

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Cross-country skiing

The Outdoor Research Axiom jacket is made of the Gore-Tex Active fabric like the Arcteryx Norvan jacket mentioned above. However, the Axiom jacket is sturdier as it features a 30-denier nylon face fabric and thus provides much better durability. Due to the sturdy face fabric, the Axiom jacket is also heavier than the Arcteryx jacket – it weighs three times more. The Outdoor Research Axiom jackets is primarily intended for hikers and mountaineers who prefer good breathability over waterproofness. It has three zippered pockets, helmet-compatible hood, elasticized hem and adjustable wrist cuffs.  The Outdoor Research Axiom jacket is available in several different colors.

Women's Version: Not available

 

Pros:

  • Breathability
  • Pockets
  • Quality

Cons:

  • Weight (for Gore-Tex Active)

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

Where to buy?

Also available at:

Campsaver

Video

The North Face Apex Flex GTX

The North Face Apex Flex GTX

5. The North Face Apex Flex GTX

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Backpacking
  • Around-the-town Wear

The North Face Apex Flex GTX jacket is made of the classic Gore-Tex fabric and thus it is heavier than other rain jackets in this review. However, as it uses the least sophisticated type of Gore-Tex fabric, it is also less expensive.  The jacket has three zippered pockets, adjustable wrist cuffs and a drawcord hem. The two large pit zips for extra ventilation allow you to easily regulate your body temperature. The hood is adjustable but not helmet-compatible. All in all, the North Face Apex Flex GTX jacket is a great budget option for low intensity outdoor activities. It is available in five different colors; blue, red, dark grey, light grey and black.

Women's Version: Available - North Face Women's Apex Flex GTX

Note: Women's version might slightly differ from the men's version.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Price
  • Pit zips

Cons:

  • Weight
  • Breathability

Share your opinion and help others!

Do you have this product? Tell us what you think about it and help others decide what to buy!

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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4. Questions and Answers

Are Gore-Tex jackets warm?

Gore-Tex jackets do not provide insulation/warmth. A Gore-Tex jacket is a shell garment which in simple terms means that it provides protection against wind, rain and snow. It is typically worn over the insulation layer (mid-layer) which is the layer providing warmth.

Are Gore-Tex jackets waterproof?

No so-called waterproof/breathable fabric is completely waterproof because there is always a tradeoff between waterproofness and breathability. Garments need to be breathable because otherwise you would soak in your own sweat due to your perspiration getting trapped.

Can you re-waterproof Gore-Tex?

Yes, you can apply DWR (Durable Water Repellant) to Gore-Tex garments. DWR ensures that the fabric repels the water rather than absorbs it.

Can you wash Gore-Tex jacket?

Most Gore-Tex jackets are machine washable. After washing, you should apply DWR because it will get washed off.

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Post Author

Post Author

Blaz

Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

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