Where Craft Meets Practice
The making of our GORE-TEX Pro
Mountain Equipment began designing and manufacturing GORE-TEX jackets in 1977 with the launch of our Cascade Jacket; that same year Apple launched the Series II, its first home computer. Just as technology has moved on so have our jackets, a constant but gradual and iterative process but one which pays dividends when you’re out in the mountains. The latest evolution of our GORE-TEX PRO range is engineered to provide outstanding fit and functionality. It has taken countless people with many years of experience thousands of hours to produce.
By the time a product reaches the end of one of our production lines it is likely that we have spent hundreds of hours thinking about, designing and refining every part of it.
The process of developing products is cycle of never-ending repetition which feeds off the stories and practical experiences of us and our wider team, evaluating what could work better and be improved as well as what works and should be left alone. Developing products is about several things, understanding what a product is fundamentally designed to do and listening to those who do it is vital.
The result is a product which is designed for a purpose, and designed by necessity to do the basics well.
And very often, it isn’t about the big things, our more than fifty years of experience helps ensure that, but instead it is often about the little things – it is the hours spent agonising how to make a pocket bigger, how to improve a drainage channel or how to construct a drawcord. Little things that play a big role in your day.
Our Gore-Tex PRO garments are produced with one of our longest standing manufacturing partners; based in Hungary and with manufacturing facilities also in Ukraine, we have partnered with them for almost half of the 40 years for which they have been making garments. With a dedicated team of skilled and highly experienced machinists, pattern cutters and technicians they produce everything from full production runs to prototypes, small-runs for mountain rescue teams or one-offs for expeditions, each with the same dedicated team of people behind them.
On average, a Mountain Equipment GORE-TEX PRO jacket is made up of 58 individual pieces, more than 13 metres of seam-tape and takes around 5 hours and a team of thirty people to assemble.
Over the course of that 5 hours, a total of 203 procedures are carried out. Each step of the process is a skilled process involving machinists with years of expertise and managed by a team who between them have decades’ worth of experience in making Gore-Tex jackets.
The hood alone requires 34 individual procedures and despite all the advances in machinery and technology still takes nearly half an hour and a team of 9 people to assemble.
Much of the devil is in the detail and in the craft required to incorporate and construct features which you hopefully never notice - because they work - but which from a manufacturing perspective are challenging and time-consuming.