The waterproof/breathable laminate inside of your current outerwear is its heart and soul. The laminate is the main thing that separates your outerwear from your windbreaker – it is also the reason why your outerwear is so expensive.
There are many strategies for constructing this laminate but they all work on the same principle. The laminates allow water vapor to pass through but prevent liquid water from penetrating. This is typically achieved through steady state diffusion of water vapor through a polyurethane (PU) coating. These PU coatings vary in thickness and are often bonded to other layers to make up the laminate. The PU layer is hydrophobic – meaning it repels water – this makes your laminate waterproof. The PU layer is also very, very thin – this allows the laminate to let water vapor pass through, in other words, breath.
This specially designed laminate is then bonded, in various configurations, to durable shell fabrics to make the entire waterproof breathable fabric.
Outerwear that uses a 2 layer (2L) construction uses a fabric with the waterproof/breathable laminate bonded directly to the shell fabric. The two layers are: 1) shell fabric and 2) laminate. These garments are always made with some sort of a lining. The lining serves two main purposes. The first is to mitigate the clammy feeling that the laminate can have on bare skin. The second, and more important, is to protect the laminate from damage. The linings in 2L garments add unnecessary weight and significantly limit breathability. A garment with a 20K/20K laminate waterproof/breathable rating will not exhibit its tested breathability in a 2L construction because the lining provides a significant diffusion barrier for the water vapor to reach the lining. 3L fabrics are designed to mitigate this weight and performance shortcoming of 2L pieces.
3LDry Fabric Schematic
Our proprietary 3LDry™ outerwear is constructed with three layers: 1) durable shell fabric, 2) waterproof/breathable laminate and 3) soft tricot bonded lining. This construction provides a marked breathability improvement over other 2L constructions. This is because the bonded tricot lining acts like a water vapor magnet inside the jacket – it is hydrophilic and facilitates diffusion of sweat out of the jacket. This combined with a sophisticated dot lamination process – which minimizes the lamination glue surface area between the various layers of the fabric – provides for breathability performance that will match even the priciest garments on the market today.
Our 3LDry™ fabric also allows our Eagle series of outerwear to be incredibly lightweight – 590g for the Alpine Eagle in size L – without sacrificing durability. This is our most bomber fabric we have developed to date. Couple that with 25,000-20,000mm waterproof ratings and the best DWR we have ever tested and it is easy to see that this fabric is the best we have ever made.
We stake our reputation on it.