How Do We Know Our Rainwear Keeps You Dry? Science.

We’ve been helping people stay dry in the outdoors for over 100 years and in that time we’ve found that the difference between a good hike and a bad hike can come down to what you’re wearing. Perhaps the most important piece of clothing is a reliable shell to protect you from rain and wind. From start to finish, our rainwear is thoughtfully designed and rigorously tested to make sure it won’t let you down when the going gets wet.

We start by using only the best waterproof, breathable materials. Gore-Tex, our own TEK2.5 and durable water-repellent fabrics all play a part in our rainwear line. We choose lightweight materials that are easy to take along, just in case. Our design team examines every detail to make sure water won’t seep in.

Lab test

Our in-house lab technicians test a rainwear fabric for water repellency.


Before any rainwear gets to you, we put it through its paces in our own in-house lab and – for our Gore-Tex pieces – in the “rain room” at W.L. Gore’s facility. These labs are where the rubber meets the road. Our rainwear is subjected to conditions that simulate everything from a light shower to a torrential downpour to make sure it won’t fail when the clouds decide to open up as you’re pushing for the summit.

Brent V. in the W.L. Gore rain room

L.L.Bean outerwear developer Brent V. puts a rain jacket to the test in W.L. Gore's rain room.


If it was just about being waterproof, life would be easy. Just grab a garbage bag from your kitchen, and you’d be good to go. However, it’s not that easy. Breathability – the fabric’s ability to transfer water vapor to the outside of the shell – is also an important function and one you won’t get from your garbage bag. This is what keeps you from getting wet from the inside as you perspire. Our lab team uses a special machine to test for moisture vapor transfer or, as we like to call it, breathability.

Lab test readout


Only after the lab team finishes their tests and gives the fabric their stamp of approval will we give it our name. That means we know our rainwear will keep you dry and comfortable when you’re heading outside. We know it will live up to our standards – and yours. In fact, we guarantee it.

Do you call off a hike when wet weather’s in the forecast? Or do you gear up and go, rain or shine?

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