GORE Labs2Woods Blogger Summit – Day 1

Recently, I was invited by W.L. GORE & Associates to visit their headquarters to attend their first GORE Labs2Woods Blogger Summit. They had an action packed few days for us! I toured the GORE facilities, talked with their engineers, and got to personally test some gear! I even got a 20 minute stint in the Rain Room.

While making the drive north, I couldn’t help from getting stoked about this opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the GORE Compound and share it will all of you.

The GORE Labs2Woods Blogger Summit was a short and intense deluge of education, entertainment, and laughter with fourteen other outdoor writers and GORE associates. I met with some of my fellow outdoor writers such as Katie Seacat of Seacat Creative,  Marc of NYBowhunter, Rick of 24hourcampfire, Tracy Breen, Fredy of Ammoland just to name a few! Also met with Mark Seacat of Outdoor Life’s Live Hunt, Jeff Simpson of Fence Post Media Group and Colonel Tim O’Neill, a.k.a. the Father of Digital Camouflage.

I did not personally set any expectations, so I could remain open minded and ready to absorb as much as I could.

I arrived at the hotel to get settled in and ate a late lunch as we would have a full evening with GORE. Mid-afternoon everyone was shuttled to the GORE Barksdale facility in Delaware for introductions of all the participants. The tour began with the explanation of the four “Foundations of Principles” for GORE, which are Freedom, Fairness, Commitment and Waterline.

4 “Foundations of Principles” for GORE

We then moved to the display of the main chemical in a lot of GORE’s products Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene, but we will just refer to it as ePTFE.

ePTFE in its 3 Primary Forms ePTFE

We then moved on to the short timeline of how W.L. GORE & Associates was started, engineering discoveries and the products that were delivered to market.

Next, we walked into a huge atrium a.k.a. the GORE Capability Center. This room was put in place to display their technologies and the many applications they are applied to. The five pillars of these are Physical, Electromagnetic, Biochemical, Biological and Analytical, in which the room was separated as such. They had on display many different developments from GORE. Some examples were fishing string (Rapala Sufix 832 & Pure Fishing SpiderWire Ultracast FluoroBraid), GLIDE floss, Elixir guitar string, patching holes in the heart, fire suit to windscreens that are clearer than traditional screens, yet allow 3 times more airflow over traditional screens. So much for GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER being the only products that GORE makes! After walking the room, I would agree that GORE definitely backs their statement of “We only makes products to improve people’s lives.”

Rapala Sufix 832 Fishing String


NASA Space Suite w/ GORE-TEX

Cynthia, Mark, Katie, Larry, Tim, Rick and others listen intently

We then shuffled into meeting room where we were able to sit down and listen to some very informative presentations on helping us better understand the technology that GORE believes will help the hunter improve his / her outcome in the field. I have tried to summarize the information so that you can find it applicable for your use.

Next up on the agenda, Jeff Simpson is going to discuss the methods of layering the Sitka Gear for different hunting conditions (the sounds of crickets). “Jeff is unable to join us this evening as he had harvested the buck he was after all year!” You can get more on this mission here. Jeff was able to join us the following day and in deer camp. Mark Seacat filled in for Jeff without missing a beat! Mark is an accomplished hardcore backcountry hunter of big game, professional photographer, writer and one of Sitka Gear’s Athletes. One of the benefits of Mark presenting was that Mark for the first time, just started hunting out of a treestand for Whitetails this season with Jeff. So, he could not only explain and answer the “Western” style of layering for hunting, but the Whitetail treestand hunter as well.

Sitka Gear also has created a very useful and intuitive tool (Sitka System Bulider) to assist you choosing the correct Sitka Gear garments for your use. Give the Sitka System Bulider a try here!

If you would like to see Jeff explain Layering for whitetail, you can view the video below:

Layering UPDATED from Arctos Collective (formerly F2) on Vimeo.

Next we moved onto the “Science of Nothing”! This is the tagline for the GORE OPTIFADE Concealment Patterns. GORE OPTIFADE is the first concealment system designed around animal vision and not human eyesight. This is not like the normal mimicry camouflage you can find in your local outdoor store, it mitigates your prey from picking you out and even if you are detected they see NOTHING!

GORE OPTIFADE Concealment contains the following technologies/science:

  • It contains a micro-pattern (small fragmented shapes) that ungulates perceive color and space, making you fade into the background  the same way a leopard’s spots
  • It also contains a macro-pattern (large fragmented shapes) which break up the human body, making you unrecognizable to the ungulate  similar to the way a tiger’s stripes break up the shape of its body

Currently, there are two versions:

GORE OPTIFADE Open Country: Designed for the horizontal perspective

GORE OPTIFADE Forest: Designed for the vertical perspective

You can see a clip on how GORE OPTIFADE works with the explanation from the “Father of Digital Camouflage” Colonel Timothy R. O’Neill, PH.D. here:

Currently, Sitka Gear makes the only garments and fabrics made with the GORE OPTIFADE Concealment pattern.

I must disclose that GORE provided me with Sitka Gear and Danner Boots, which was allowed to keep for my use. After we wrapped up with this session, we went to dinner and had a chance to get to know one another a better.

WOW, that was a full day of geeking out “Outdoor Style”! On Day 2 we will see and feel the science of breathability and waterproofness, take a tour of the GORE testing facilities. You will even receive a peek at us surviving a rain storm!

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  1. Dale Pearson says:

    I personally love paying attention to the Sitka site & the Optifade site! It seems like I learn something NEW every time I visit the sites. Well done guys, Thanks for your continued effort to be the best and keep up the good work!

    • windedbowhunter says:

      Dale, thank you for stopping by the sit, sharing your thoughts and kind words! I have to agree with you, as the staff at Sitka Gear and W.L. GORE are lightyears ahead of everyone in the outdoor industry!