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What is eVent Fabric: Properties, How its Made and Where

by Boris Hodakel  • November 25, 2020 • 7 min read

Fabric name eVent
Fabric also known as eVent fabric
Fabric composition Expanded polytetrafluorethylene (ePTFE)
Fabric breathability High
Moisture-wicking abilities High
Heat retention abilities Low
Stretchability (give) Low
Prone to pilling/bubbling Low
Country where fabric was first produced United States
Biggest exporting/producing country today United States
Recommended washing temperatures Machine wash cool or cold
Commonly used in Jackets, rain shells, pants, overalls, footwear, tents, gloves, dry sacks

What is eVent fabric?

eVent is a waterproof fabric made by eVent Fabrics. As an expanded polytetrafluorethylene (ePTFE) fabric, eVent is in direct competition with GORE-TEX, the legally acknowledged inventor of ePTFE.

While eVent is highly similar to GORE-TEX in many ways, this fabric features proprietary Direct Venting technology, which increases breathability and reduces the possibility of overheating. Largely due to aggressive measures taken by GORE-TEX, eVent has never reached any particularly notable degree of popularity, but this fabric remains available in a variety of different forms, and it’s featured in products made by Eddie Bauer and a handful of other internationally renowned brands.

eVent fabric technical specifications

eVent has a water column (hydrostatic head) rating of 30,000mm, making it slightly more waterproof than GORE-TEX, which has a water column rating of 28,000mm. This fabric has an MTVR breathability rating of 15,000 - 25,000 g/m2/24, making it competitive with NeoShell, which is widely considered to be one of the most breathable waterproof fabrics. Therefore, eVent offers the best of both worlds, and its increased breathability is directly attributable to Direct Venting technology.

GORE-TEX, which features an ePTFE membrane attached to polyurethane (PU), only becomes breathable once its PU membrane has become exposed to moisture. When dry, GORE-TEX has almost no breathability, and it is very easy to overheat when wearing GORE-TEX jackets or pants in dry conditions.

As a result, many outdoors enthusiasts stash away their waterproof garments featuring GORE-TEX or a similar material until the weather becomes wet, which is inefficient and takes up precious backpack space. Outerwear featuring eVent, however, is designed to be breathable and comfortable regardless of whether outdoor conditions are dry or wet.

eVent claims that its Direct Venting technology makes it easier for you to stay in the “dry zone,” which is an ideal state of temperature and humidity that your body tries to maintain while you are engaged in physical exertion. At the hot extreme of the dry zone, you overheat since the sweat your body uses to stay cool remains trapped within your apparel, and at the cold extreme of the dry zone, the layer of sweat covering your body causes you to become unreasonably cold. By keeping you dry via proper evaporation through its membrane, eVent fabric keeps you from becoming uncomfortably hot or cold while exerting yourself.

While eVent fabric is more breathable than GORE-TEX, its lack of a protective polyurethane layer means that it is more temperamental than PU-based waterproof fabrics. To remain effective, it is necessary to wash eVent fabrics frequently and regularly treat them with durable water repellent (DWR) spray. These negative factors prevent eVent fabric from being clearly superior to GORE-TEX.

History of eVent fabric

eVent fabric was first announced in 1999. The eVent Fabrics corporation was specifically founded to produce the eVent membrane, and while multiple new forms of eVent have been produced over the years, this company has not expanded into any other product categories.

Immediately met with accolades for its enhanced breathability and powerful waterproofing properties, eVent rapidly became a major competitor of GORE-TEX. The W.L. Gore corporation, however, is not fond of competition, and according to some sources, this inventor of GORE-TEX took aggressive action to limit the distribution of eVent.

Combined with the undesirably temperamental attributes of this PU-free waterproofing material, competition with W.L. Gore has significantly reduced the potential reach of eVent. This fabric remains less popular than GORE-TEX, which pioneered the breathable fabric industry, and other major competitors like OutDry and NeoShell, which are propped up by the major outdoor apparel companies Columbia Sportswear and Polartec respectively.

eVent fabric today

Regardless of its comparatively low popularity, eVent has received a number of accolades over the years, and some outdoor enthusiasts swear by this fabric’s desirable combination of breathability and competitive waterproofing. As a result, eVent Fabrics has been able to regularly roll out new textile products. This company maintains exclusive contracts with a variety of notable brands, and it produces professional wear for industrial and military applications. Based on its current presence in the market, eVent appears to have less reach than ever before, but there have been no signs of financial instability within eVent Fabrics, and this company continues to regularly release new innovations.

How is eVent fabric made?

eVent Fabrics has not released exact details regarding the methods it uses to produce its flagship product, but based on the information available, it’s possible to make some basic assumptions regarding the eVent production process:

1. ePTFE membrane production

The eVent production process begins with the manufacturing of ePTFE, which is accomplished by rapidly stretching solid blocks of PTFE that have been heated to high temperatures. The resulting substance is remarkably porous while preventing the passage of water droplets.

2. Combination with outdoor apparel material

Next, bulk quantities of eVent fabric are either sent to sportswear brands for incorporation into finished products or eVent Fabrics combines this material with popular types of outerwear fabric in its own manufacturing facilities. In either case, the eVent fabric is applied directly to the inside of a suitable textile material such as nylon.

3. Initial DWR treatment

After being cut and sewn into a piece of sportswear apparel, eVent fabric receives its first DWR treatment, which will keep the apparel waterproof and breathable for up to five years. To make DWR treatment last longer, it’s necessary to remove oils from eVent fabric by washing it regularly.

How is eVent fabric used?

eVent fabric is primarily used in outdoor apparel, but this fabric is also found in a variety of types of outdoor gear and accessories. Most commonly used in lightweight rain shells, eVent fabric is sometimes included in heavier jackets, overalls, and pants. eVent Fabrics produces a few specialized types of eVent designed for use in footwear, and variations of this fabric are sometimes used to make waterproof gloves or tents. eVent is also occasionally used to produce dry sacks, which are used to keep items dry in marine applications.

Where is eVent fabric produced?

eVent Fabrics is based in Los Angeles, and based on the information this company has made public, it continues to produce its products in the United States.

How much does eVent fabric cost?

eVent fabric is usually comparatively priced with GORE-TEX and other ePTFE-based waterproof fabrics. Certain types of eVent, however, may be more expensive since they are designed for advanced or niche applications.

What different types of eVent fabric are there?

eVent Fabrics produces a variety of different types of its flagship textile material, and there are also a few key competitors of eVent that should be kept in mind:

1. DVexpedition

While eVent Fabrics now produces a wide range of products, this company continues to focus heavily on its line of waterproof textiles. DVexpedition is the newest addition to eVent’s waterproof fabric family, and it offers enhanced waterproofing for advanced applications. Highly similar to the original textile produced by eVent Fabrics, DVexpedition has a 30,000mm water column and a breathability rating of 10,000g/m2.

2. DValpine

Based on the original eVent fabric, DVapline has a 20,000mm water column and offers 20,000g/m2 in breathability. This fabric is designed for medium-intensity outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, fishing, and snow sports. DValpine features a three-layer laminate that provides maximum breathability and waterproofing under most conditions.

3. DVstorm

Featuring an ultra-sheer, 10 denier backer and offering a 10,000mm water column, DVstorm combines comfort and moderate waterproofing by offering a breathability rating of 30,000g/m2. Advertised as being 20% lighter than DValpine, DVstorm is designed for high-intensity outdoor activities performed in moderate weather conditions. Due to its enhanced breathability, DVstorm apparel may be comfortable to wear even when outdoor conditions are dry.

4. DVwind

In addition to its waterproof offerings, eVent Fabrics also produces a line of windproof textiles designed for cycling and other intensive outdoor activities performed in high-wind conditions. DVwind blocks 99.6% of wind, and it offers 18,000g/m2 in air permeability.

5. DVstretch

DVstretch offers the same benefits as DVwind while also being highly elastic. eVent Fabrics creates DVstretch by combining ePTFE with a special elastic fabric called ITTTAI that is made in Italy. DVstretch is primarily used to make cycling suits, which are usually designed to be skintight.

6. Professional equipment fabrics

eVent Fabrics custom-produces a variety of high-performance textiles for military and first responder organizations. This company also offers a type of fabric called DVelite for professional applications such as fishing and construction, and DVshield is a professional, windproof fabric commonly used in tactical and workwear applications.

7. Footwear fabrics

eVent Fabrics offers three separate products for footwear. DVdry is applied to footwear using either booties or gasket technology, and it offers the same benefits as DValpine. DVdryLT is a new version of DVdry that offers the same enhanced protection as DVexpedition. In addition, eVent Fabrics produces professional footwear fabrics designed for use in workwear, first responder, and military applications.

8. GORE-TEX

The primary competitor of eVent Fabrics is W.L. Gore and Associates, the producer of GORE-TEX. Like eVent Fabrics, W.L. Gore produces a variety of textile products, and many of these textiles have similar properties to the products offered by eVent. Directly comparing the flagship fabrics produced by each company, eVent offers better breathability and slightly better waterproofing while GORE-TEX is more durable.

How does eVent fabric impact the environment?

PTFE is a significant environmental toxin, and ePTFE is no less toxic than its source material. This substance is not biodegradable, and when it is discarded, it can release contaminants into soil that hinder plant growth. PTFE also generally contributes to plastic pollution.

In addition to posing environmental concerns, PTFE is toxic to human beings. Workers exposed to PTFE gas or powder during the process of producing this plastic can develop a condition called polymer fume fever, suggesting that PTFE may remain toxic post-production.

A reasonably large percentage of new PTFE is unusable and is discarded, and it is very costly to recycle this substance. To remain effective, it is necessary to spray PTFE fabrics such as eVent with DWR regularly, and this substance may be harmful enough to cause toxicity concerns upon making contact with human skin.

eVent fabric certifications available

In the past, General Electric (GE) included eVent fabric in a variety of its products, and this company was able to secure OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification for the eVent fabric it used. eVent Fabrics provides certifications with the fabrics it produces proving their breathability and waterproof properties, but it is unclear if textile products featuring eVent are still eligible for third-party certification. Manufacturers of products featuring eVent would be encouraged to reach out to OEKO-TEX for details regarding the certification eligibility of this waterproof fabric.

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About the author:

Boris Hodakel is the founder and CEO of Sewport - an online marketplace connecting brands and manufacturers, former founder of various clothing manufacturing services. He is passionate about e-commerce, marketing and production digitisation. Connect with Boris on LinkedIn.