Just to be clear, Gore-tex does not leak unless there are holes in the membrane, including torn seam taping. If the membrane is intact, then internal moisture is due to condensation. If the exterior of the jacket absorbs water instead of the water beading up an running off, the ability for water vapor to pass through the membrane is compromised. Wash the jacket according to its care instructions and iron it. If that doesn't restore the durable water-resistant (DWR) coating, pickup DWR such as the those offered by Nikwax and apply.
If the membrane is degrading, which it sounds like it is in your case, then either return it for a warranty replacement or buy a new jacket. I would guess that physical wear and perhaps exposure to sunscreen, bug spray, sun, and maybe your skins oils might cause a premature breakdown of the membrane.
More technical information on how Gore-tex and its competitors work:
I’ve croaked both GoreTex laminates and coating based jackets over the years.
Shoulder strap and hip belt areas are the key areas of wear for me. No way around it, IMO, if you wear em with packs regularly.
Delamination or bubbling always leads to leaking for me.
Note, I don’t rely on rain gear to stay dry. It’s about staying warm and big leaks make me cold.
I'm just curious, how you stay dry without rain gear?
I don’t aspire to stay dry when hiking in the rain.
When I think of hiking in the rain, I think of multiday trips in October with constant rain and temps in the 30s.
Rain jackets “leak” through cuffs, collars and zippers and what parts don’t leak, become over come with sweat.
In the 80s when I was full time ski teaching, I used to wear Patagonia non-breatheable rain gear in the hopes of leak proof dryness. I remember the April day skiing in all day on and off rain and sweat running out of cuffs while my buds in Gtx were drier (not dry but drier) and more comfortable.
I always pack rain gear and dry overnight clothes. I assume all trail clothing will be soaked by supper time
Anyone have experience with these:
-Mountain Hardware Monkey Man
-Mountain Hardware Mountain Tech II
I've taken a shot on the Monkey Man. It's the most like the one I've used for 10 years, a 200 weight fleece full zip. I imagine this will feel similar, likely warmer since new. I opted against the wind block, appreciate everyone's comments on that. It would likely be too hot for hiking. I have a good parka for a shell that I will continue to use, but I am going too experiment with the Houdini as a windblock layer in windy, non wet conditions (thanks B&S). I'll let people know how the jacket is after some trials in cold. It seems to have a good reputation.