IT'S ABOUT THE FABRICS™
Hydrapore® is a high performance waterproof/breathable PU laminate that is built into the outer shell fabric of Striker Ice suits. Hydrapore® system technology is specifically designed to provide maximum protection against extreme weather elements. Hydrapore® has a superior 5000mm/5000g/ m2 rating for resisting water penetration and for breathability. Please note that the rate at which W/B systems expel moisture vapor is variable with external temperature.
SHELL TECHNOLOGY AND STAYING DRY
Melting snowflakes, a light rain or generation of moisture from the inside are all bad news when trying to keep warm. When it comes to external factors, the best way to keep moisture out is to use a waterproof and breathable shell (this also implies that it is windproof). The days of one brand domination in this technology are long gone. There are two main technologies to make a woven fabric waterproof and breathable: polyurethane coatings and fabric laminations or membranes. The effectiveness of this function is measured by two units, the first for water resistance and the second for breathability, reported numerically such as 5,000mm/10,000gr/m2. This is where it gets pretty technical. Water resistance is determined by lab testing essentially measuring water leakage. which can vary with pressure (i.e. a driving wind). Breathability is also determined by laboratory testing. Breathability increases in colder ambient temperatures. Suffice it to say that the higher the numbers the better. For cold weather fishing and hunting outerwear, a minimum rating of 3,000mm/3,000gr/m2 is suggested.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS ACTUALLY MEAN?
Manufacturers typically describe the waterproof breathability of fabrics using two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is. In the case of a 10k or 10,000 mm fabric, if you put a square tube with inner dimensions of 1” x 1” over a piece of said fabric, you could fill it with water to a height of 10,000 mm (32.8 feet) before water would begin to leak through. The higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric.
The second number is a measure of how breathable the fabric is, and is normally expressed in terms of how many grams (g) of water vapor can pass through a square meter (m2) of the fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24 hour period. In the case of a 20k (20,000 g) fabric, this would be 20,000 grams. The larger the number, the more breathable the fabric.
Seam leakage protection is also important to shell technology. You might have the best fabric in the world, but if the seams leak it does not do much good. Pinholes in the fabric where thread passes through can create these leak points. This is addressed by applying polyurethane tape to the inside of the seam on the garment shell to create a flexible seal of these pinholes. Be aware that some manufacturers only seam tape in “critical areas” to save on production cost.
WHY ISN’T OUTERWEAR COMPLETELY WATERPROOF?
The truth is that all outerwear designed for active winter sports has various degrees of water resistance, but will eventually leak given enough water, time and pressure. Manufacturers define “waterproof” according to different standards, and testing is not standardized. A rubber raincoat is completely waterproof, and may be the ideal garment for standing in a downpour waiting for the bus, but if you tried to ski or snowboard in it, you’d be wet in no time from your own perspiration. The trick is to balance protection from rain and snow on the outside with the ability to let water vapor (warm perspiration) escape from the inside.