Exhaust Fabric Breakdown

24 comments Feb 25, 2021

Breaking Down Level Six's eXhaust Waterproof-Breathable Fabric


This blog post delves into the layers of eXhaust, uncovering its composition, functionality, and essential insights into maintaining and caring for your garment to ensure peak performance. Exhaust is Level Six's proprietary waterproof-breathable fabric, which is used in our entire outer-wear collection.

Composition and Functionality:

At the core of eXhaust lies the eXhaust membrane, a technology forming the bedrock of its waterproof-breathable capabilities. Comprising four layers, all working in harmony. Each layer plays a pivotal role in delivering a fabric designed for paddle sports that is both waterproof and breathable:

  1. Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Finish: 
  • Beyond water repellency, the DWR finish enhances breathability by facilitating water beading off the fabric surface.
  • Without this water repellency, the fabric's ability to let vapor escape through microscopic pores would be compromised when the fabric “wets out”. “Wetting out” is when the fabric becomes saturated with water. The fabric would remain waterproof, but while saturated with water it would no longer breathe.

Pic. 1: Drip-Off effect enabled by DWR coating

2. Nylon Face Fabric:

  •  The Nylon Face Fabric Forms the durable and waterproof exterior of eXhaust.
  •  It comes in different deniers, which is the unit that measures fiber thickness, this is a balancing act ensuring durability without sacrificing mobility. Variants like eXhaust UL, UL Recycled, 2.5, 2.5 Recycled, 3.0, and Recycled 3.0 showcase this delicate equilibrium. All of them utilize different deniers. *See technical specifications table.
3. eXhaust Membrane:
  • The eXhaust membrane, the system's linchpin, uses microscopic pores to selectively allow vapor molecules to escape while repelling water molecules.
  •  This layer is the integral component of eXhaust, rendering the garment both waterproof and breathable, with a unique low condensation point enabling faster and earlier breathability.

 4. Interior Membrane Shield:

  • The Interior Membrane Shield acts as a guardian, shielding the eXhaust Membrane from internal friction caused by repetitive movements, ensuring the garment's long-term functionality.

Pic. 2: Graphic illustrating eXhaust's 4 layers

Fabric Performance Specifications:


What do these metrics mean:

Waterproof Rating:

  • We utilize the water column test to test the waterproofness of our fabrics. This is done by clamping the fabric in a column and pressurizing it with water. The rating comes from how many millimeters of water are in the column before droplets of water appear on the other side of the fabric.
  • Unlike advertising maximums, we emphasize both minimums and maximums, providing a comprehensive picture of the fabric's performance. Variations in fabric cuts can lead to variances in performance. Our approach ensures transparency, most advertised ratings out there are maximum ratings based on the best cut of fabric available.
  • For context on what these numbers mean, anything over 5000mm or 5 meters is considered submersion-proof and over 1500mm or 1.5 meters is rainproof. This means that our 3.0 recycled eXhaust fabric is waterproof between 15 meters and 20 meters depending on the cut of fabric. All of our fabrics are completely submersion-proof.


  • Denier, a unit measuring fiber thickness, this affects durability and maneuverability.
  • The thicker the denier, the more durable the fabric, but this comes at a trade-off as the fabric becomes stiffer. This delicate balance is crucial, ensuring durability without sacrificing the garment's comfort and flexibility. For example, our eXhaust 2.5 is highly maneuverable but less durable than eXhaust 3.0. This is why on our dry dops we body panel the fabrics strategically utilizing only 2.5 or a mix of 2.5 and 3.0 to maximize durability and mobility.


  • It is worth noting that there are multiple standards to measure breathability. We utilize g/m2/24hrs using JIS L 1099 A1 testing procedures. This testing mimics natural breathability when people wear the garment in the real world. Not max breathability with static pressure applied or air that is drawn through it.
  • Our membrane's low condensation point is a unique feature, enabling faster and earlier breathability. This innovation sets us apart, ensuring comfort and performance even in challenging conditions.

Cleaning and Maintenance:

Delving into the care regimen elevates the user experience. More than this, it makes the gear last. Keeping your gear out of the landfill is the best thing that you can do to help us limit our carbon footprint.

  1. Rinsing:

Beyond a routine task, rinsing after each use becomes a strategic move to prevent pore clogging and uphold breathability, especially in environments rich in silt.

  1. Drying:

Adequate drying is a crucial practice to prevent mildew growth, ensuring garment freshness and preserving waterproof/breathable integrity.

  1. Inspections:

 A meticulous examination, beyond checking seam tape integrity, encompasses damage checks for abrasions, punctures, and delamination. Immediate repairs stand as the guardian against potential compromises in performance.

  1. Cleaning:

 This should be done annually or when the garment is visibly dirty. Hand washing or front-loading washing machine with approved cleaner removes ingrained grime, ensuring the longevity of the eXhaust Membrane and Nylon Face Fabric. Do not use a top-loading machine.

4. DWR Reproofing

After the garment has been cleaned, rinsed, and adequately dried it is recommended that the garment is reproofed with a DWR finish. Always use a spray-on DWR solvent approved by Level Six (Revivex Durable Water Repellent). After applying the DWR to the garment leave the garment to dry and the DWR to cure for a minimum of 48 hours. To better activate the DWR function you can lightly apply heat to the garment by using a blow drier. Make sure no heat is applied to the gaskets. Before using the product carefully read the instructions on the bottle.

5. Maintenance

Some eXhaust garments feature latex gaskets and/or waterproof zippers. Gaskets should be kept away from heat, acidic compounds (sunscreen, bug spray), and UV exposure. Gaskets should be treated regularly with a UV protectant compound approved by Level Six (Revivex UV Protectant). Waterproof zippers should be kept clean and clear of sand or debris. Waterproof zippers should be cleaned as needed using a Level Six approved cleaner (Revivex Zipper Cleaner + Lubricant ).

6. Storage

For long-term storage, garments should be hung in a temperature-controlled environment. If hanging the garment is not an option, the garment should be loosely folded and placed into a dry storage container.


Exhaust is an extremely high-performing fabric with unique traits that make it ideal for the paddling world. Level Six's commitment to innovation, sustainability, and performance is deeply ingrained in every thread of eXhaust. By understanding the intricacies of its design and adhering to proper care guidelines, you not only ensure the longevity of your gear but become an integral part of our journey to becoming a more sustainable outdoor adventure company. Love your gear, and it will love you back, unveiling new possibilities in every journey.

Share this