For a couple of decades I wore GORE-TEX rain pants on most of my hiking, backpacking, and photography trips. It was one of the few fabrics that offered real rain protection. But GORE-TEX is not perfect. Hikers who generate a lot of heat and who sweat a lot, like I do, often find that GORE-TEX is not that breathable; the end result is that you get wet....but from your own sweat. Andrew Skurka's blog has a good summary of the downsides of GORE-TEX. I sought alternative fabrics for years. As technology has advanced, some pretty good alternative fabrics have become available. One of those alternative fabrics is Polartec NeoShell. Polartec advertises NeoShell as waterproof with high breathability to help shed sweat in hot or in high workload conditions.
I decided to try NeoShell about 3 years ago, but I had difficulty in finding rain pants in my size (5'7", 180 lb, large thighs). Also, Neoshell pants can be quite expensive (most are $300 and up). After a lot of searching, I found Lou Binik at Foxwear, who makes NeoShell garments to order based upon custom measurements; the current price is $150. I've worn Foxwear's NeoShell rain pants for about 3 years now, and I can report that they have always kept me dry in the rain; and that they are much, much more breathable than GORE-TEX....so much moreso that I have not worn GORE-TEX pants since I started to use Foxwear's NeoShell pants. The only hesitation about these pants is that Lou makes the pants without zips, so be informed. Otherwise, highly recommended.
For my upcoming trip to Alaska, I purchased a pair of Galway Bay Golf's Unlined All Weather Neoshell Pants (currently $184). All I can say is "Wow!". The quality of the construction and sewing is truly top-notch. Very fine looking pants. Kathy hemmed these to my leg length. I'm looking forward to testing these..... I'm guessing that I will highly recommend Galway Bay Golf's Neoshell Pants as well.