Gear Review: GORE H5 SHAKEDRY Hooded Rain Jacket
Gore has always been a forerunner of new rainproof technology and this jacket takes the latest innovations to come out of the Gore labs and combines them into an impressive package. The Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY Jacket guarantees to keep you dry,and is impressively breathable and extremely light, weighing a mere 235 grams (8 ounces). If you are looking for something reliable, comfortable and at the cutting edge of its category, this jacket’s a great option.
GORE H5 SHAKEDRY At-a-Glance
MSRP: $399.99 (£329.99)
Weight: 8.3 ounces – 235 grams
Materials: Shell face: 100% GORE-TEX membrane; shell backer: 100% polyamide
Circumstances of Use
Durability was one of my main concerns for this jacket, so I’ve been wearing it almost daily over the past few months with a 12-pound (~5kg) pack. I’ve worn the jacket on a couple of overnight backpacking trips as well as multiple day hikes, runs, and cycle rides. It’s seen me through consecutive days of winter drizzle as well as the occasional heavy downpour. I’ve not been bushwacking with this jacket yet, so I’m not sure how it will fare with thick brambles or harsh brush. That being said, I haven’t seen anything to indicate it would fare any worse than anything else in this weight category. So far I’ve seen no signs of wear and it is still fully waterproof, living up to Gore’s guarantee.
SHAKEDRY Technology*. The main selling point of this jacket is the new SHAKEDRY technology that moves the waterproof membrane to the outer material rather than having a more traditional textile surface. This makes water bead and roll right off the jacket. Gore claims that it will never wet through thanks to the breathability of this jacket, something I can attest to. The two-layer technology, compared with the traditional three layers in older Gore-Tex products, makes this jacket much lighter, packable, and much more breathable.
Elastic cuffs and hip. Besides the SHAKEDRY technology, another innovation in the jacket is the waterproof elastic fabric used on the cuffs and around the hip.
Hood. Elastic hood with drawstring at the back and a peaked brim to reduce the amount of water hitting and dripping onto your face. The hood works well for its weight and the elastic and drawstring help the hood to move as you turn your head. It is also helmet and baseball cap compatible.
Zippered side pockets. These pockets are large enough and come up high enough over my ULA Circuit hip belt to stay functional, and can be used to help with ventilation.
Drawstrings in the pockets. Hidden in the pockets are a drawstring to reduce any excess fabric flapping in windy conditions. It also helps if you are running in the jacket as it stops it from moving about. This is very useful as it means you can size up for the potential to wear a down jacket/fleece underneath and cinch the jacket back in when wearing it solely with a shirt.
Fit / Comfort
Gore is a European company and sizes its jackets for the European market. I’d definitely recommend checking your measurements and using the online size chart before ordering. As a tall bloke I tend to be an M/L in American sizing and an L to XL in European sizes. This definitely runs on the smaller side.
Where this jacket comes into its own is comfort. With my old rain jacket (the Frogg Toggs UL2), I only put it on when absolutely necessary, often hiking through light showers as I hated the hot, sticky mess I became. This jacket breathes like nothing else, yet is windproof. The hood also allows for better visibility, has a soft brim to help reduce rain to the face, and pairs really well with a baseball cap (which is how I tend to hike).
Lightweight yet durable. Gore claims this jacket is 30% stronger than the average running or cycling jacket, and considering the amount of general abuse I’ve given it it has held up really well. There are no signs of wear and it’s just as glossy as when I received it. The jacket also packs down really, really small thanks to the new Gore-Tex SHAKEDRY material.
Water beading. The permanently beading fabric means water tends to roll right off, which keeps you warmer than a traditional fabric-based rain jacket. I also found that after 5-10 minutes in the sun the jacket would be dry.
Extremely breathable. The jacket has a RET value of less than 3—which didn’t mean much to me until I looked it up—but that is essentially the best in class. For context, the lower a RET value is, the better it breathes. Zero to 6 is considered excellent, 6-13 is good, 13-20 is average, 20-30 is bad. Because of the great breathability, Gore claims the jacket won’t wet through, and in my experience this is certainly true.
Well thought-out features. Drawstrings in the pocket reduce excess fabric flapping and help retain a bit of heat. It also means you can buy a jacket that fits well with or without a down jacket underneath. Pockets can also be opened for venting and the jacket can zip up from the bottom to help vent further. Finally, the seamless shoulders helped with comfort when wearing a backpack.
The waterproof elastic isn’t stretchy enough. The elastic cuffs run a little large on me, meaning that if hiking with poles there is a risk of water running down your arm and under the waterproof. Your mileage may vary, but it found me longing for some Velcro or a buckle to tighten up the sleeves.
Opportunity to lose some grams. If I was being nitpicky, I don’t know why Gore opted for such a heavyweight front zip. When you pick the jacket up it feels like half the weight is in this front, metal zipper. In the next iteration of the jacket, this feels like an area of opportunity for some weight savings. That said, the jacket is still very light.
All things considered, I’m a big fan of this jacket, which is now a staple for all my camping and hiking trips. This is the first rain jacket I’ve actually enjoyed wearing rather than it being a necessary evil. If you are looking for a versatile, lightweight, breathable jacket to accompany you on wet adventures, this jacket ticks all the boxes.
*To note, this is a newer SHAKEDRY technology, not to be confused with its older version of the SHAKEDRY material that can be found in other manufacturers. This H5 jacket also shouldn’t be confused with the other Gore jackets, which all are called H5.
This jacket was donated for the purpose of this review.
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