Guys, I know, this isn't the kind of thing you would expect to hear about from me, is it? 

But, I saw this pop up on my feed, and I knew a lot of you out there are very big on running, cycling, fishing, hiking, hunting, all that... you know, outdoorsy stuff.  The stuff that you do in the outside.   I know a lot of you do that in all elements, so....


I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, so I'll make this as simple as I can (so that I can understand it, lol).  Basically, those of you who use outdoor gear that is meant to be waterproof, that gear will be changing in the future.  In fact, you may have already seen some of the changes, particularly with GoreTex products.  Why? Because of chemicals called PFCs.  What's that?  Let's have someone smuuurter than me explain it.

What are PFC Chemicals?


PFC’s or Perfluorocarbons are man-made chemicals used to make things water resistant. These chemicals evaporate into the air either directly from factories, or indirectly when products are used, washed and disposed of.

Now, PFCs are often used in waterproof gear, and have been for decades.   So while the Missouri DNR notes that the EPA has only made the recommendation to remove this chemical - and these health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory - a lot of companies are swiftly moving away from using it in their products.

But... Why?

Why PFCs Are Bad For You

Let's get into it. Again, this comes straight from the experts, not me.

Studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFCs have found that some PFCs may affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to PFCs.

And we're really only starting to understand how far PFC's go.  It's being observed in air, soil, and water - in my research I saw that even Polar Bears have been affected by them.

A solitary male polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is on the prowl near in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.
Cheryl Ramalho

I can imagine how a company would want to shy away using it if they can (especially to be ready and compliant in case PFC's DO get banned all over the US* - ), and if there's a safer alternative.  Which, turns out, there totally is.  It's something called Polyethylene.  And, it looks like it might actually be an improvement.

 Like existing products, it's available as a three-layer fabric with a membrane-embedded between an inner and outer face fabric. It still carries the "Guaranteed To Keep You Dry" promise and it's still a microporous breathable design. What's different is that it is free of PFC [Per-fluorinated compounds] and half the weight for footwear and clothing.

So, since the industry is trying to refigure things without PFCs, it only made sense to look at improvements, since they're is also facing shortages and supply issues (which you might have noticed).  Continuing that thought, for ultra-light, highly breathable, and waterproof jackets, it looks like polyurethane membrane materials could be in the future, and that part's not even new technology, at least not for the cycling world:

There are other options though and some of them pull from older technologies. The Bioracer Kaimann is one such jacket. Instead of a laminate membrane, Bioracer uses a polyurethane coating. It's not new technology and it's inexpensive, PFC-free, durable, and highly waterproof. The disadvantage is that it's heavy and doesn't breathe as well.

So while it's probably not necessary to stockpile a bunch of waterproof gear for your next hunting, hiking, or camping trip, it might be worth looking into what you're using or wearing, just to be sure.  And, if the new gear turns out to be better for you, lighter, and easier to use, it might be time for an upgrade.


Whew. I don't know about you guys, but I feel smarter already. Good luck on your outdoorsy adventures in the new year!

Cozily yours,


*Twelve states (CA, CO, CT, HI, MD, ME, MN, NY, OR, RI, VT, and WA) have enacted state bans on PFAS in food packaging. Four states (CA, CO, MD, and WA) have adopted restrictions on PFAS in personal care products. CO also adopted restrictions on oil and gas products. So, nothing in Missouri yet, but it could be coming.

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