Alas, this may have been idea that wasn't quite ready for prime time. The first generation of Paclite, in which the Gore-Tex layer was sort of cream-colored, tended to discolor rather badly. So the Gore folks changed its color to gray, making the eventual discoloration less visible. Meanwhile, a number of users complained that the rubber dots were moving around (friction could push them like hockey pucks) or completely coming off. And even at its best, Paclite has some durability issues. What sort of abuse a user dishes out will vary, of course, but in general, Paclite was about half as durable as regular Gore-Tex. Yet it cost very nearly the same.
So, while Paclite still is around - Mountain Hardwear puts it in its Borealis jacket, for instance ($325), and L.L. Bean in the Gore-Tex Ultralight Jacket ($249)overall it's taken a lower profile than it had two years ago. For one thing, Gore's new XCR fabric is lighter than old Gore-Tex, yet just as durable, so that steals some of Paclite's thunder. Plus, a bunch of companies now have coated waterproof-breathable fabrics on the market that compete well with Gore-Tex on a performance standpoint, yet are lighter and less expensive. An example: Patagonia's Lightning jacket, for $189. The North Face also is moving toward proprietary coated fabrics for its sub-$300 jackets, and you'll see several new ones in the spring. I'm also told that a bunch of new waterproof fabrics will be hitting the market in the fall, and that the Gore folks are going to have a real fight on their hand to hold market share.
So-o-o, Paclite still is very much alive. But I'd look as well at some XCR products, such as Marmot's new-for-spring Liquid Steel ($360), and at some non-Gore alternatives.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →