Down ‘N Dirty: GORE Waterproof Gear For Fast Hikers

I’ve used countless rain jackets. Some of those were very expensive rain jackets that didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. I meticulously wash and re-waterproof my jackets following the garment care label closely. The last thing I want to do is compromise the precious DWR (Durable Water Repellent layer) on the outer layer of my jackets. In truth, I’ve been constantly disappointed by most rain gear. While walking the floor at this years’ Outdoor Retailer, I strolled past the GORE booth. I noticed that they had this incredible little display showing off the effectiveness of their waterproof and windproof layers. Then it hit me, GORE is essentially a pioneer of true waterproof garments. You may be familiar with GORE-TEX. It’s the waterproofing that many popular and high-quality outdoor brands have been using for a very long time. Little did I know that GORE makes their own clothing. After looking into it a little more I realized that GORE makes some highly technical clothing for all sorts of outdoor endeavors. GORE, being ahead of the pack, has launched a line of outerwear specifically fitting the needs of fast hikers. I had to laugh to myself, what a good idea! I’m may not be a runner, but I am a fast hiker. For all of my recent fast hiking adventures, I set myself up with GORE® H5 GORE-TEX Active Hooded Jacket and the GORE® H5 GORE® WINDSTOPPER® Pants. After spending a few days peak bagging in a soggy and cold Chicago Basin, I’m happy I did.

MSRP GORE H5 Active Hooded Jacket: $369.99

GORE H5 Windstopper Pants: $279.99

Pros: Waterproof.  I was rained on for three days straight and the GORE H5 Active Hooded Jacket worked as I had hoped it would. Backpack compatible. They designed this jacket to be comfortable while wearing a pack. That means all pockets and seems were designed to fit perfectly with your hiking pack. Lightweight. This jacket gives you the lightest option to bring a fully waterproof jacket on your hike. I like how smalled it packed down as space was at a premium. It comes with a full two-way front zip which makes it work well while wearing a harness. The GORE H5 Windstopper Pants were perfect for an alpine start. It was cold when we rolled out of our tent at three in the morning and these pants kept me warm even as winds topped out at 50mph. They held up well and kept me dry through a couple of glissades back into the valley. The pants are also very comfortable hiking/climbing pants.

Cons: While the waistband of the Windstopper pants is very comfortable, I did find them sagging below my waist after stretching them out a bit. These pants were perfect in the morning — they are an insulating layer. They’re not quite what I wanted once the sun came up and warmed the valley. The H5 GORE-TEX Active Hooded jacket is a fully waterproof layer and as a result, it isn’t the most comfortable jacket against bare skin.

Where We Took Them: Backpacking and peak bagging in Chicago Basin in Southwest, Colorado. 

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