Often when we think of buying outdoor clothing, the first question that comes to mind is ‘how waterproof is the item?’. It’s rare that people, even adventure enthusiasts, think of questioning or considering the breathability rating.
It may come as a surprise to you, but breathability is a crucial element in the technicalities of your outdoor gear. Choose clothing and footwear with breathable fabrics for boosting your active performance outdoors while keeping you as comfortable as can be; which is why we at Portwest love it so much!
What Does Breathability Mean?
Breathability refers to the ability of a fabric to absorb moisture and release it through the material itself, allowing it to breathe. This cycle of motion is the heart of the mechanism of breathability: the more you sweat inside a breathable clothing item, the higher its perspiring capacity should be.
3 Reason Why We Love Breathability?
Breathability prevents you from overheating.
Breathability keeps you and the product fresh.
Breathability prevents blisters.
Fabrics that are designed to provide warmth should be breathable so that you do not become stuffy or produce too much sweat. Maximum performance can not be achieved if you become overheated, so even in the most adverse weather conditions, if your insulated jacket and the layers underneath do not have breathable components, you wont be allowing your sweat escape and it will be difficult to regulate your body temperature.
When we refer to the breathability of fabric helping to keep it fresh; this not only refers to you staying fresh, but also the materials – especially when it comes to lingering odours. Breathable materials allows air to travel through reducing the likelihood of you or the product smelling of bodily odours.
Breathable boots offer maximum comfort as it is the build-up of moisture that can cause the feet to form blisters. The more air travelling to the feet, the less likely that this will be a problem you have to deal with.
So, What are Breathable Fabrics and Membranes
Made from a thin, man-made film, breathable microporous membranes contain tiny pores which are large enough to allow water vapour (essentially your sweat) through and then evaporate on the surface of the garment. But these pores are too small to allow water droplets, whether it is rain or snow, to pass through.
Usually laminated to a face fabric, breathable membranes are normally available in two- or three-layer versions.
- Two-layer fabrics are normally featured in lined garments where the lining protects the membrane.
- Three-layer fabrics are shell garments with the membrane sandwiched between an outer and an inner layer of fabric.
For outdoor clothing, footwear and accessories breathability ratings are generally measured using the unit MVP, which stands for moisture vapour perspiration. This refers to how much moisture can vaporise through the fabric.
Where Can I Find Breathable Clothing and Footwear?
When pursuing physical activities of any intensity you will want to be sure you can remain comfortable and protected whatever the weather. The outdoor clothing and footwear you choose to wear should incorporate breathable fabrics and membranes to achieve this all year round.
At Portwest, we have a developed Ventron™, which is our specially designed fabric which incorporates properties of waterproofness and breathability into one single material.
The breathable fabric used in Ventron™ garments is ideal for active, highly mobile pursuits as it draws moisture away from the body and lets it evaporate on the surface.
We also have a wide range of breathable apparel and footwear from some of our top outdoor brands in our Breathable Collection - Click here to explore the range