Swiss Ultralight

Swiss Ultralight

All about trekking, thru-hikes and ultralight equipment

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Waterdrops on plant

Gore-Tex (Pro) vs Ascentshell, FutureLight, eVent and co.

Comparison of waterproof and breathable laminates for jackets, bivouacs, etc.

Shower in the river

5 quick-tips for good hygiene when hiking

Keep body and equipment clean

Marker of Te Araroa

Overview Te Araroa thru-hike in New Zealand (2020)

Thru-Hiking in New Zealand - a summary

Poncho-Tarp selfmade

Cuben Fiber vs Silnylon vs Silpoly

Advantages and disadvantages of each material for tents and tarps

Balls of wool

Merino vs Synthetic vs Cotton

Improve your comfort with the right material

Ultralight Footprint

Ultralight Footprints DIY

The 1 Euro tent pad - protection for the tent floor

Passport for customs

Visa and entry in New Zealand

Applying for the right visa for Te Araroa

Emergency lego image

Insurance and precautions for the hike

Avoid high costs in case of an accident

Finances and administration

How much does it cost to hike Te Araroa?

Start with enough money and minimize worries

Hiker looking up mountain

My gear list of Te Araroa

PLB and other equipment

Mobile phone

Phone providers in New Zealand

Watch out when buying data

Compass in hand

Navigating Te Araroa

Using apps to not get lost on the trail

Food on trail

Resupply / Water / Gas / Poste Restante

Stocking up on supplies on Te Araroa

Bluff sign in New zealand

Starting point of Te Araroa in New Zealand

Where the trail starts and how to get there

Hot sun

UV Rays and the New Zealand Heat

Protect your skin

Stormy weather

Unpredictable new zealand weather

Te Araroa can be stormy

Hat and sleeping bag

Hut's and wild camping on the Te Araroa

Backcountry Pass and other preparations

Helping hand at hiking

Trail Angels and Koha in New Zealand

Give and take on Te Araroa

Beach with single person

Other hikers and HYOH

Don't lose sight of your goal

Cute Rat

Sandflys, rats and possums

Some annoying fellow hikers

River in NZ

Crossing rivers on Te Araroa

Be prepared and don't risk anything!

Kayak on Whanganui River

Whanganui River kayaking

Spend 7 days on the water

A random road

Shuttle for river crossing Raikaia and Rangitata

Bypassing the two big rivers

Oldschool gaiters

Gaiters to keep stones out of your shoes

Minimize blisters and sores while hiking

Man drinking water

Nalgene VS CamelBak VS PET bottle

Which hydration system for hiking?


Vitamin 'I' also called Ibuprofen

Painkillers for hiking

Rainwear for hiking a comparison of options

Poncho vs Rain Jacket

Elevation profile Te Araroa Compass Example Image

Elevation profile - Te Araroa 2019/2020

Elevation profile according to the latest data

Garmin InReach Mini

SOS devices (PLB) for thru-hikes and dangerous hikes

Cell phone reception at the end of the world

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Large shortened

Ultralight sleeping pads for hiking

The difference between shivering and sleeping at night.

Shoes, Gore-Tex and Gaiters

From leather boots to sandals made from car tires

Mosquito seeks blood

Insect protection in comparison

DEET, permethrin, picaridin: what helps against insects?

Different Fabrics and Yarn

Cuben-Fiber (Dyneema Composite), X-Pac, Cordura and co.

Comparison of different ultralight materials

Backpacks in grass

Ultralight hiking backpacks tips and recommendations

...and the fall from Mount Everest

Tiny Backpack

Base Weight Definitions

What do the different terms mean?

Guy with Quilt

Quilt or sleeping bag the pros and cons

Synthetic vs Down


Buff - bandana, headband, sweatband

An insanely versatile tube scarf

Cooker at night

The Super Cat Alcohol Stove (aka Fancy feast stove)

Gasoline stove from metal can

Survival knife

Knife, axe and shovel

Survival on the hike

Gore-Tex (Pro) vs Ascentshell, FutureLight, eVent and co.

Comparison of waterproof and breathable laminates for jackets, bivouacs, etc.

6 minutes read

Waterdrops on plant

Gore-Tex is a membrane made of PTFE (Teflon). The Teflon is stretched so that billions of small holes are formed. The new porous material is then called ePTFE (e for expanded). This creates about 1.3 billion pores per cm2, each with a diameter of about 1/20,000th of a drop of water, but about 770 times larger than water vapor molecules. This means that no water can penetrate, but the internal water vapor can escape to the outside. There are Gore-Tex in different laminates the standard consists of 3 parts.

  • Outer layer: fabric protects Gore-Tex membrane and is treated with a DWR sealant.
  • Gore-Tex membrane: The waterproof / breathable ePTFE layer
  • Inner layer: PU membrane protection of the Gore-Tex membrane. The layer wicks sweat away to the outside (towards the Gore-Tex membrane) and thus only works when it is damp.

Gore-Tex Pro

The Pro version is based on the same principle as the standard version. However, a Micro Grid fabric layer developed by Gore is used for the inner layer. This protects the Gore-Tex membrane better and at the same time allows more water vapor through which makes the jacket a little more breathable. In addition, this does not have to be wet first to transport the water vapor. Further, the Pro version each uses a very strong outer layer for tough applications (often 80-100 denier fabric).


Is based on the exact same principle as Gore-Tex but does not use an inner PU membrane, but a 10-15 denier fabric that does not need to get wet before the water vapor can be transported away. Similar to the Gore-Tex Pro variant. The downside to this is that it makes the membrane less protected from oil/grease and thus should be washed more often.

Ascentshell (from Outdoor Research).

This product has been distributed by Outdoor Research since 2016. However, the principle behind it builds on the same one that has long been used by DuPont for Tyvek (waterproof and breathable home insulation). It is the method of Electo/Nanospinning. This involves creating a random “net” of thread that is layered countless times, creating pores for vapor to pass through but smaller to not allow water to pass through. The principle is also explained in this video: Electrospinning of nanofibers at Ghent University for various novel applications.

Futurelight (from The North Face).

Based on the same principle as Ascentshell of nanospinning.
The North Face specific explanation of nanospinning: The North Face FUTURELIGHT - THE PROCESS.

There are many more technologies. Many are based on the same principles. Basically, it’s always a tradeoff of which is the best material for which purpose between: waterproof, breathable, windproof, warm, durable and weight is always a tradeoff.

Further, it is important how good the construction of the final product is. For example, how reliable are the seams sealed or how does the design affect rain.

DWR (Durable water repellent)

This water repellent chemical treatment is used to make the outer fabric of a waterproof and breathable material hydrophobic. For this purpose, a chemical substance is used which coats the fabric threads of the outer material. We know this from grassy meadows where water drops roll off the surface.

Without this coating, the outer fabric can become soaked with water, resulting in significantly less breathable material (called wet-out). Protection against water penetration is not affected by damaged DWR, because the waterproof membrane itself is not damaged. However, you will get significantly wetter due to sweating and the reduction of water vapor dissipation to the outside.

The coating must be renewed from time to time. Often, washing (with specific detergent such as Nikwax or Grangers) and gentle drying according to instructions is sufficient to reactivate the DWR coating. This washes out the oils and dirt that affect the coating. Sometimes, however, a new DWR coating must be administered. Here, for example, “Nikwax TX Direct Wash-IN” in the washing machine or the “Spray-On” can be used.

Wash-In: Is best suited for single-layer waterproof or water-repellent fabrics. For example, a single layer softshell jacket or tent.

Spray-On: Is best suited for multi-layer fabrics where only the outer layer is to be treated (example Gore-Tex). It is often explicitly stated that these laminates should not be treated with Wash-In DWR in order not to affect the membrane and inner layer.

Water column

Is usually given in millimeters (for example 20'000mm). The higher this value, the denser the material. The value corresponds to the water pressure in bar. 10'000mm corresponds to about 1 bar of water pressure. This means that when, for example, raindrops slide over your butt, the pressure to push the water inwards (water pressure/bar) is very low. However, if you now sit on a wet stone, the pressure increases markedly. The same principle applies to the tent floor, for example. An empty tent with a water column of 1000mm may withstand the water underneath. But if you lie in it, the pressure of the water rises significantly higher, so that under certain circumstances the water presses through at a low water column. In Switzerland a material is waterproof from a water column of 4'000mm. In Germany, from 1,300mm.


Is defined according to MVTR (Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate) and/or RET (Resistance to Evaporating Heat Transfer).

MVTR indicates how much water vapor can penetrate a square meter of material surface within 24 hours. The higher this value, the better the breathability of the material.

  • MVTR 15'000 to 40'000g/m²/24h: Very good or extremely breathable. Comfortable at higher activity levels.
  • MVTR 10'000 15'000g/m²/24h: Good or very breathable. Comfortable at medium activity level.
  • MVTR 3'000 10'000g/m²/24h: Satisfactory or breathable. Uncomfortable at high activity levels.

RET indicates the resistance of the material surface to water vapor. The lower the value the lower the resistance and thus on higher the breathability.

  • RET< 9 = extremely breathable fabric
  • RET <12 = very breathable fabric
  • RET < 20 = breathable fabric
  • RET > 20 = slightly to not at all breathable fabric.

Unfortunately, manufacturers are free to give your approximate waterproof and breathability ratings.

The materials below were tested under a specific lab test (JIS L 1099 B1) and published by user Stephen Seeber (@crashedagain) on Results are provided for comparison (relative to each other) and are without warranty.

MaterialLab test Waterproof in mmLab test Breathable in MVTROfficial specification Waterproof mmOfficial specification Breathable
Gore-Tex Pro30000+28692800025000
eVent 3L30000+291030000
Pertex Shield18280150020000
Polartec Nanoshell16170294010000?

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