Editor's Note: This article was opened to the public on July 22, 2010. To subscribe and see Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2010 articles as they are published, click here.
Pertex Shield is a new family of durable waterproof-breathable fabrics from Mitsui (who purchased the Pertex technology from Perseverance Mills in 2006). It is based on a polyurethane membrane technology from Mitsui laminated to Pertex face fabrics. The constructions are Shield 02 (2-layer), Shield DS (2.5-layer), and Shield 03 (3-layer), all waterproof-breathable fabrics with very good breathability that cost less than either eVENT or Gore-Tex Pro Shell. The two- and three-layer fabrics will provide about 20,000 g/m2/day breathability levels (according to the JIS 1099 B1 standard). That's pretty respectable compared to eVENT (~27,000 g/m2/day), Gore-Tex XCR (~21,000 g/m2/day), Entrant (about 21,000 g/m2/day), and most polyurethane coatings (5,000 to 15,000 g/m2/day). The lightest versions of Shield weigh about 2.0 oz/yd2 (2-layer) and 3.0 oz/yd2 (3-layer). Pertex Shield is not the lightest, most breathable, or cheapest of the waterproof breathable fabrics, but it is the right balance of breathability, light weight, and price to win a solid position in the market.
We found several lightweight rain jackets and pants made of Pertex Shield that will hit the market in spring 2010, from different manufacturers.
The Outdoor Research Helium Jacket (6.8 oz, $140) is made of 2.5-layer 20 denier Pertex Shield DS ripstop fabric. It has a single pull hood adjustment, water-resistant full front zipper, one zippered Napoleon pocket, elastic cuffs, and single drawcord hem adjustment. The women's version weighs 6.1 ounces.
The Rab Positron Pullover (left, 7 oz, $130) is made of 2.5-layer Pertex Shield DS. It has a water-resistant half-height front zipper, fixed hood with external drawcord adjustor, one internal mesh pocket, and elastic cuffs The Kinetic Jacket (9 oz, $140) has a full-front water-resistant zipper, helmet compatible hood with wire brim and external drawcord adjustor, two side pockets, Velcro cuff tabs, and hem drawcord.
Rab also has a very light Pertex Shield DS 2.5L rain pant called the Off Limits Pant (7 oz, $100). They have an elastic waistcord, calf-high leg zips, and stretch fabric on seat and knees.
GoLite representative Ashley Devery models the new GoLite Tumalo jacket (8.6 oz, $150) made of 100 g/m2 Pertex Shield 2.5 DS. It has an attached hood with cordlock adjustors, water-resistant two-way front zipper with storm flap, two side pockets with water-resistant zippers, pit zips, drawcord hem, and elastic cuffs. The Tumalo Pant (not shown, 6.7 oz, $100) has an elastic waistcord, rear cargo pocket, calf-high zips, and Velcro cuff tabs. The combination gives a rainwear set that weighs less than one pound.