Gore-Tex and Arc’teryx have a history of collaborating together that dates back to the iconic first version of the Alpha SV jacket in 1998. According to the brand’s language “Alpha” indicates that the jacket is lightweight, minimal and built for alpine use, while “SV” means it’s intended to withstand severe weather—and, with its Gore-Tex membrane, the jacket boasts exceptional wind and waterproofing. There have been a number of updates since the original Alpha SV, but perhaps none have been as exciting as the fall/winter 2020 iteration, for which Arc’teryx is set to be the first-to-market outerwear brand to implement Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 membranes later this year.
The partnership between the two brands is an industry-leading yin and yang of quantitative and qualitative research. The updated technology is the result of years of back and forth between Gore-Tex’s highly standardized lab tests and feedback from Arc’teryx’s unparalleled network of guides and athletes in the field.
Because of their longstanding history, Gore-Tex allows Arc’teryx certain freedoms in the design process that other companies don’t often allow their partners. “Something else we really enjoy about Gore-Tex is they’ll allow us to develop our own face fabrics,” Greg Grenzke, design director of outdoor product at Arc’teryx, tells us. “A lot of brands aren’t allowed to do that, and it allows us to customize our products.” Any Arc’teryx enthusiast will tell you that the fabrics play a huge role in setting the brand apart (from custom-dyed colors that last to perfectly spun nylons that are durable, lightweight and flexible) so this space to experiment and customize is vital.
The first iteration of Gore-Tex Pro launched in 2012. Traditionally, entry-level Gore-Tex implies a two-layer construction of the Gore-Tex membrane bonded to an outer fabric face. The upgrade to Gore-Tex Pro introduced the addition of a third layer; a robust inner lining that results in less wear and tear on the Gore-Tex membrane. And while many of Gore-Tex’s other partners and clients had rave reviews about this highly breathable, durable material, Arc’teryx began to notice issues. Grenzke explains that the 2012 version of Gore-Tex Pro was “more breathable, but we were seeing some issues. It was a small amount but we were seeing more issues than any of Gore’s other customers.” He thinks it might be because the Arc’teryx wearer is inherently rougher with their gear and really puts it to the test out in the field.
Since that 2012 launch, Arc’teryx has worked in conjunction with Gore-Tex to increase the durability and breathability of Gore-Tex Pro, and Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 is the solution. Specifically, Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 refers to that same three-layer construction, but updated with three new and distinct membranes: Stretch, Most Rugged and Most Breathable.
Starting in fall/winter 2020, the Alpha SV jacket will be updated with the Most Rugged membrane, and—with the 100 denier nylon face fabric—it is poised to be the most rugged jacket on the market next winter. Obviously water and snow don’t stand a chance, but the jacket will also hold up against scratchy tree branches, metal crampons, climbing harnesses and more.
The Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 update isn’t limited to just the Alpha SV jacket; products across the Arc’teryx range will be getting upgrades. Jackets and snow pants intended for alpine activities like ice climbing will get the Most Rugged membrane, and jackets intended for “higher output” winter activities (like hiking or ski touring) will leverage a composite construction of the Most Rugged and Most Breathable membranes. Despite the updates, all products and styles will be made in the same attention-grabbing colors and perfectly articulated fits that have made the brand so respected.
Gore-Tex Pro 2.0 will launch with the Arc’teryx fall/winter 2020 collection and will be available later this summer.
Images courtesy of Arc’teryx