Spring 2018 will see REI-brand outerwear made with Gore-Tex fabric, a move that ends a 10-year partnership with eVent Fabrics.
When people think “waterproof-breathable,” they often think Gore-Tex. Just like Xerox and Kleenex, Gore-Tex’s brand name has become synonymous with its product. And that’s one of the reasons REI will reintroduce the Delaware-based fabric manufacturer in its private-label outerwear next spring, according to REI executives and product directors I spoke with this month.
Beginning 2018, REI will end its partnership with eVent Fabrics, which was the membrane used in REI’s outerwear line since 2008. In its place, REI will launch a range of water- and wind-proof shells and pants using Gore-Tex membranes.
REI Launches Gore-Tex Line for Spring 2018
We had a chance to see the upcoming line of Gore-Tex-equipped products earlier this month. They include three backcountry shells and a windproof pant. The new Gore-Tex garments will replace the men’s and women’s Rhyolite and Stormrealm eVent jackets.
DryPoint GTX Active Jacket (Men’s & Women’s): $249.00
Part of REI’s lighter-weight Flash series, the DryPoint shell uses a three-layer membrane made to keep wind out and provide protection from rain. The ripstop shell advertises wind resistance up to 60 miles per hour, and it’s seam-sealed to keep the wearer dry.
Stormbolt GTX Jacket (Men’s & Women’s): $279.00
REI dubs this the “backcountry bomber” and advertises it as its burliest Gore-Tex shell. It has added ripstop padding in high-wear areas on the shoulders and back for carrying packs. The hood is helmet compatible, and it has pit zips to add ventilation to its heavier three-layer waterproof membrane.
Vaporush Windstopper Jacket / Pants (Men’s & Women’s): $169 / $139
The Vaporush line will accommodate light and fast hikers that need a little added warmth and wind protection. Both garments can block gusts up to 35 miles per hour and offer the most breathability and range of motion in the Gore-Tex line.
REI Adds Gore-Tex, More to Come
REI’s waterproof membrane transition isn’t exclusive to Gore-Tex, however. The brand teased it will build on its in-house “Elements” waterproof-breathable fabric.
Still, the move ends a 10-year partnership between REI and eVent Fabrics, one of the biggest competitors to Gore-Tex in the waterproof-breathable market.
According to Ian Eburah, REI’s director of private-label gear and apparel, eVent built quality products, but members still sought the recognition and performance delivered by Gore-Tex.
“Through our cooperative design process, we engaged in outdoors experiences with members and store staff,” Eburah said. “These insights help our product creation teams understand what attributes, qualities, and performance our Co-op community values most in their outerwear products.”
That, along with finding ways to keep the price competitive with current eVent offerings, led Eburah and the product team to move to Gore-Tex. Despite the move, Eburah noted the 10-year partnership with eVent was good for both brands while it lasted.
But, like facial tissue and Kleenex, it’s tough to be a competing waterproof-breathable in a Gore-Tex world.