I’m a great fan of Gore-tex Jackets. In the past few years I’ve worked my way through garments made from Gore-tex Extreme, Proshell and Paclite. My favourite is Proshell as it’s more durable and breathable than Paclite. I should point out that I go through a round of Munros pretty much at two yearly intervals so my waterproofs are used and abused. You have to care for Gore-tex with proper washing (Nikwax Tech Wash) and then reproofing (Nikwax T.X Direct Wash-In) once the water stops beading up on the surface of Gore-tex to get long term life out of it. That's my job this weekend as I've contracted Mr Strachan's man flu!
A factor in choosing eVent over Gore-tex is how sweaty you get. It is widely agreed that eVent is more breathable than Gore-tex and is better suited to high activity sports like cycling and running. Gore-tex however comes into its own as it is more durable and recommended for extreme and extended use, especially in cooler weather. So If you were only doing low level walks in the summer in wet weather then eVent is the most suitable fabric.
My main decision in choosing a jacket is the fit and features. I’m not loyal to any brand but my current winter (Sprayway) and summer jackets (Mountain Equipment) have been nicer to wear than other brands because of the features. The cuts to the jackets are totally different as I am looking for a lighter neater fited jacket for summer
as I wear less underneath it.
I love having articulated arms on my Jackets as I walk with poles – it’s just comfier. My Sprayway jacket has a lot of seams compared to the simplicity of the articulated arms on my Mountain Equipment jacket but I’ve not been bothered by leaking seams.
Two way full length zips are good as well, especially for the winter when you might have to re-arrange your layers around your middle or lower. The only downside with my Sprayway Jacket is that the hood is zipped on and has a tendency in un-zipping itself in very strong winds. It’s a nice hood which is fully adjustable with stretchy pull cords and I’d hate to lose it.
Arm length is also an issue, especially in winter when you can just hide your hands up longer sleeves to keep them warm in a blizzard.
There has been a lot of press about zips on Mountain Equipment jackets letting in water at the zips (the zips aren’t protected by a storm flaps to keep out water). I’ve never trusted pockets anyway although I have never had any problems with waterlogged pockets but the only thing I keep in there is my whistle. Anything electronic is kept in Aquapac bags with silica gel in my rucksack.
There is almost too much choice between fabric and manufacturers. Paramo, as suggested by Steven is a great choice as well. Once you get away from bottom of the range cheap waterproofs there is a lot of good jackets out there.
If you are worried about the cost of Gore-tex or other jacket there are plenty of discounts to be had on the Internet and in store so you don’t need to spend £200 on a jacket. My Sprayway Jacket was discounted to £110 and the ME was £130 (Cotswold Outdoor) If you fancy Paramo over other jackets keep looking at the web site as they do offers. Try on Jackets instore to see what Brands you like for fit and features.
I hope this helps!