by Alan Dixon | 2005-01-30 03:00:00-07
GoLite claims that the Xirtram (Matrix backwards) is a fully waterproof softshell. WE always thought that a softshell was a fabric with reasonable air permeability (better than 2 cfm or so) and therefore could never be waterproof but everyone is entitled to their own definition. Anyway it is an exciting concept.
The Fusion fabric on the Xirtam does look and feel every bit like a stretchy softshell! The fabric is a combination of a waterproof breathable stretch PU membrane with a polyester tricot liner – essentially a softshell fabric with a waterproof breathable membrane laminated between the outer shell and the nappy inner liner. An inspection of the jacket revealed seam tape on “fuzzy” fabric, a technology that we’re hearing a lot about now. The breathability of the Fusion fabric is high, 4000 MVTR (no test given) – according to GoLite: better than PackLite, and approaching that of Power Shield.
No matter how much this looks and feels like a softshell, and no matter how breathable the WP/B membrane is, this will not be as breathable as a true softshell with air permeability. Nonetheless it may be an excellent compromise between a hardshell and softshell and extend the working range of fully waterproof shells. We imagine that the wicking layer may improve the performance of the WP/B membrane by creating a force to push water through. Stay tuned, we are on the very short list to test this jacket!
GoLite also makes Oen pants (Neo backwards) out of the same Fusion fabric.
"GoLite Xirtam Jacket – A Waterproof Softshell? First Look (Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2005)," by Alan Dixon. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/golite_xirtam_jacket_outdoor_retailer_winter_market_2005.html, 2005-01-30 03:00:00-07.