SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

The eVent Waterproof Membrane, the Rab Latok Alpine Jacket…

…and when the two are combined, you have a badass all-weather jacket that is lightweight and lets the sweat out as you move swiftly on the trail.  In other words, the eVent fabric breathes via a Direct Venting Technology – as it’s referred to.  Instead of multiple steps in the breathing process, the eVent fabric does it in one step; it vents directly out of the jacket, simple.  However, while it seems uncomplicated, the GE-owned eVent is a force/fabric to be reckoned with – especially in the cold weather elements.  

The war of the waterproof fabrics is in full effect.  While perusing the trade show floors of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, companies like Mountain Hardwear and Mammut displayed their proprietary waterproof fabrics for gawking purposes.

Columbia had the most impressive display, with their Omni-Dry Technology – using cylinders filled with water and forcing air through the fabric to show air bubbles.  Of course, the idea was to illustrate the effectiveness of the combined waterproofing and breathability.  Up against Columbia’s Omni-Dry was GORE-TEX – not performing in a similar fashion: It seemed to keep the water out but didn’t have the same breathability features.   

No matter how you cut it, GORE-TEX is still a great technology, but there are alternatives – especially if a company doesn’t have the resources to source its own breathable, waterproof fabric.  eVent is a superior alternative, especially as companies require a more viable resource that can withstand a tremendous amount of rain, sleet and snow.  

eVent describes its technology as a “patented waterproof membrane.”  As the body sweats, moisture is vented directly to the outside of the fabric via tiny pores.  So what’s the big deal?  eVent explains that other fabrics release moisture in a two-step process:

“Most common waterproof/breathable technologies do not literally ‘breathe.’  Instead they move sweat in two slow steps by a process of diffusion through a Polyurethane (PU) layer. First sweat is condensed and absorbed into the PU layer on the inside of the fabric. Because PU absorbs and retains sweat, the inside of the fabric becomes wet. Then, body heat begins to push that dampness through to the outside of the fabric where it can finally evaporate.”

The eVent technology also incorporates a low Water Vapor Resistance and a high Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate – all tested in the most extreme elements and cold weather.  My first experience with eVent was with the Rab Latok Alpine Jacket – a lightweight, multi-feature shell that protects the body’s core.

I’m new to the Rab brand.  This British outdoor and equipment company uses the eVent technology on several of its shells, including the Latok.  For a more detailed explanation of eVent and how Rab incorporates the fabric in its products, visit http://rab.uk.com/technology/waterproof-shell/event.html.  

The Latok Alpine doubles as a classic protective shell that can be tested in even the coldest of conditions.  I have it stuffed in my spring/summer backpack in the more than likely occurrence of cold rain showers (and sudden bursts of snow) on the Colorado trails.  So, it has become a great shell for all occasions – from emergency situations to a cold seat at Coors Field during a springtime Colorado Rockies game.  

Although the Latok is designed for alpine climbers, it’s a highly reliable jacket for spring snowshoeing.  And it has its advantages – in the form of eVent fabrics – when building-up a big sweat.  But remember, it’s a shell: So even the harshest environments require the Latok to be coupled with reliable base and mid layers.  However, the Latok is a dependable shell.  It can protect when it seems as though nothing can withstand powerful arctic winds and icy downpours.  Trust it, trust me.

Some additional Rab Latok Alpine features:

  • Two A-line chest pockets with YKK water resistant zips
  • Two inner mesh storage pockets
  • Two-way water resistant YKK front zip with internal storm flap and rain drain
  • Adjustable Velcro cuffs and hem drawcord
  • Medium cut

For more information on eVent fabrics, visit http://www.eventfabrics.com.  To find a product that features the eVent fabric, visit http://www.eventfabrics.com/find_eVent.php

For more information on the Rab Latok Alpine Jacket, visit http://us.rab.uk.com/products/mens-clothing/shell/latok-alpine-jacket.html.  To purchase the jacket, click here