How to identify Pertex Quantum?
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Dec 19, 2006 at 9:09 am #1220878James BartSpectator
I just received a Marmot Ion windshirt through mailorder and I am wondering if it is actually made from Quantum as advertised.
I expected the jacket material to be similar to the material used on my WM sleeping bag, but it feels more like regular 1.1 oz rip-stop nylon.
There is no marking anywhere on the tags or labels identifying the construction material as Quantum.
The weight is 3.2oz for a size Medium.
I would appreciate any input that would help me determine if this garment is legit. I tried calling Marmot and they didn't offer any help.Dec 19, 2006 at 9:34 am #1371550John S.BPL Member
I think it must have a pertex quantum tag somewhere?Dec 19, 2006 at 9:42 am #1371553Dane BurkeMember
@daneLocale: Western Washington
According to Ron Bell in this thread:
There are 9 different versions of Pertex Quantum, so it is not surprising the fabric on your jacket seems different than that on your sleeping bag.
It is kind of odd there is no Pertex tag though…maybe you could call Marmot and ask them if their other quantum jackets have pertex tags? (if you didn't ask them that already)Dec 19, 2006 at 1:40 pm #1371579
Pertex Quantum fabric is highly porus. You can identify it by noting how easy it is to blow air through it compared to other fabrics.
You can put an LED light under it and you should be able to see the pore pattern on top.
You can put a magnifier over the fabric and look for its distinctive weave pattern. I just took the following two photos of my Montane Light-speed wind shirt. The red fabric is the Microlite and the grey fabric is the Quantum. Note the distinctive Quantum weave pattern with the large obviously visible pores.Dec 19, 2006 at 3:49 pm #1371596Michael DemchakMember
@mikeyLocale: new england
wow Richard, very very cool! and very interesting to see the differences.
mike!Dec 28, 2006 at 11:27 am #1372256Paul in TexasBPL Member
@hiking8388Locale: North Texas
I recently purchased the same windshirt and was also wondering if the fabric was actually Pertex (especially since the garment tag stated the the insulation was 100% goose down!)
Thanks Richard for the great photos! They inspired me to take a look at a few different garments under a steroscope (I'll post pictures if I can get some).
When I looked at my Marmot Ion, the pores were less visible (although my magnification was lower). More startling was a noticable "varnish" over the surface (both the inside surface and outside surface). I'm wondering if this is the DWR? (This windshirt is new out-of-the-box)
I inspected my MontBell UL Down Vest, and it looked very much like the Microlite that Richard photographed (and without any visible "varnish").Jan 3, 2007 at 8:17 am #1372771
My new Marmot Ions are not Pertex..in my opinion.
I would like to agree with the two previous posters, I bought two of the Marmot Ions, M and L; and they appear and behave exactly like siliconized nylon. The tag says 100% nylon. They have that slippery coated feel and appearance of sil-nylon. Side by side with my other sil-nylon, it looks exactly the same. It has 0 breathability (the air permeability test), quite unlike my real Quantum Pertex, (in my Snugpak sleeping bags).
I tested the Ion and my Hyvent TNF DIAD in identical conditions and layers at 5'C, only changing the shell; the DIAD vented my body moisture, the Ion quickly built up condensed moisture inside the fabric (of course, sil-nylon is non-permeable). Real Pertex would vent it easily.
I am convinced it is sil-nylon, and it is going back for a refund. Buyer beware, especially of Marmot. This was my first, and last Marmot product.
EDIT: found this comment in the Best Gear of 2006 at this site: "Act fast if you want one with a Quantum shell; rumor has it that Marmot will switch to another fabric in 2007." Evidently it is true, and they are already shipping the 2007 stock.Jan 3, 2007 at 10:35 am #1372790
Do you really think that "Marmot" would lie about the material they are using in the Ion?
Are you really qualified to test material and make a statement like you have?
You also compare a full featured jacket with pit zips with a SUL Jacket that weighs about half the weight of TNF Diad sold on sale for about $139 vs the Ion Jacket on sale for $55. Not a fair comparison.
[The North Face: Men's Diad Jacket – The Men's Flight Series DIAD jacket features Magic Seam Technology making it waterproof, ultra lightweight and compressible, and most importantly, comfortable.
• 10 mm ultralight skinny tape
• Avg Weight: 7.0 oz (199 g)
• Construction for improved comfort and weather protection
• Fabric: 15D 2.1oz/yd2 100% nylon ripstop HyVent DT 2.5-layer
• Fully adjustable hood
• Hem cinchcord
• Magic Seam
• Mini pit-vents
• Napoleon pocket
• Performance fit
• Reflective logos
• Velcro adjustable cuffs
• Waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed]
Pertex Quantum comes in several production numbers. The Marmot web site calls what they are using for the Ion as "Pertex Quantum N-090 Ripstop" I have some Pertex Quantum straight from the Mitsui Mill and it is called PB202.
I have a Marmot Ion and I bought mine from Backcountry.com on sale for $69.97 as I wanted a Black one. I am very happy with it and it has out performed both an older Patagoni Dragonfly and my GoLite Helios.Jan 3, 2007 at 11:20 am #1372799
Hello Bill, thanks for your response; I respect your opinion very much. I do not think these gear companies intentionally lie. But they do make mistakes. I think they changed over to sil-nylon for the latest production runs of the ion and didn't update their web page. A comparably serious error was recently made by Helly Hansen and thier "59gram" Zone jacket.. The retailers picked up on that manufacturer's data and quoted it. That was not a Marmot product, but serves as an example.
You are correct, I am not qualified by any educational institution to test fabric, but comparing it side by side with Pertex and sil-nylon, it is similar to the sil-nylon in texture, coating, breathability(lack thereof), and 'hand'. This is not just my WAG; other posters who bought the jacket recently had the similar observations.
Quotes from a couple sources who know more than me:
1. Pertex "..allow
a precisely controlled amount of airflow through the fabric." -www.pertex.com
The Ions I'm holding have 0 air permeability.
2. Richard Nisley seems to know much more than I do. He suggests the following tests:
– You can identify it [Pertex Quantum] by noting how easy it is to breathe through compared to other fabrics. [Ion fails, can not breathe through it at all; "real" Pertex Snugpak bag as my 'control' passes]
– You can put an LED light under it and you should be able to see the pore pattern on top. [Ion fails, has no pores, it looks just like sil-coated ripstop nylon; Pertex 'control' passes]
– You can put a magnifier over the fabric and look for its distinctive large obviously visible pores. [Ion fails, Snugpak 'control' passes]
Marmot has a 1800 number, but no email contact I can find so I'll call to see what they say, for the benefit of the others who bought this jacket.
Im not trying to be argumentative with anyone here, nor with Marmot; I just want truth in advertising since I buy most of my gear sight-unseen over the internet!Jan 3, 2007 at 11:28 am #1372803EndoftheTrailBPL Member
I too own a GoLite Helios and just recently bought a Marmot Ion (on sale from Mountaingear).
My Marmot Ion material feels just like any lightweight nylon ripstop. However, where I differ is that I feel like I could breathe through it — though with some effort required. Maybe Pertex Quantum is supposed to feel like nylon ripstop???
Thus far, I am pretty happy with my Ion. It is definitely breathable — and a heck of a lot more breathable than the Helios (which by itself isn't necessarily saying much).Jan 3, 2007 at 11:33 am #1372805Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
>> "Act fast if you want one with a Quantum shell; rumor has it that Marmot will switch to another fabric in 2007."
I'm the one guilty of writing that comment. ;-)
At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, I spoke with Marmot about this very issue. They stated that they were moving from Quantum to a proprietary fabric due to cost and availability concerns with the Quantum. Note that there are several other lightweight nylon fabrics with similar characteristics to Quantum — just look at Patagonia's and Golite's for good examples. Marmot's decision should not necessarily be taken to indicate that they are now producing an inferior product.
I have not followed up with Marmot to see if/when they have made the change. I'm meeting with them again later this month at ORWM. I'll bring it up.
Oh, unless somebody at the factory made a really silly error, I doubt that the current Ion jackets are made out of Silnylon. As Dane and Bill said, there are several versions of Quantum, with varying air permeability. FWIW, my Ion jacket has similar air permeability to my Montane Aero jacket, though you can't easily breathe through either fabric by holding it up to your mouth.
-MikeJan 3, 2007 at 11:43 am #1372806
The spec's from Mitsui on my Pertex Quantun lists it as:
100% Nylon Quantum Rip Stop
CIRE DWR HL20/80
NY20D x NY20D, 195 X 183, 35G/SQM
In the legal world Pertex Quantum is 100% Nylon Ripstop. It is what Pertex does or how they coat it or what ever that may be called that turns it into "Quantum". I think it is sort of like all cars are cars but not all cars are Fords.
I think Richard or Roger have the tech skills to really answer this.Jan 3, 2007 at 11:46 am #1372807EndoftheTrailBPL Member
Thanks for the info, Bill! The tags on my Marmot Ion was near worthless.Jan 3, 2007 at 12:05 pm #1372808
Bill-I took a detailed look at my Montane Lite-speed in an attempt to help James B. answer his question relative to what Pertex Quantum looked like. When I answered his question, I wasn't aware there was a large number of different Quantum labeled fabrics. I don't have a clue as to what their differences are.Jan 3, 2007 at 12:41 pm #1372810Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Didn't Pertex go out of business? If so, we may see many gear companies forced to change their shell material to another fabric. While I agree Marmot shouldn't advertise Pertex Quantum if they have quit using it, but if they don't make the fabric anymore, they may have had no choice but to change fabrics. Some companies are more punctual with updating their website than others.Jan 3, 2007 at 12:57 pm #1372812
Richard – Brett – Brad -etc
The Plot Thickens.
I called my Mitsui Sale Rep and asked a bunch of questions.
1. You should not be able to blow by breath through Quantum. It is breathable though in a similar way that Gore-Tex is (my words to understand in a simple way how the material works). I/you should not be able to blow through it.
2. I know of two different styles of Quantum how many different styles are there? Pertex Quantum comes in 5 or 6 different "styles". What that means most of the time is the size of the grid in the ripstop is bigger or smaller.
3. Pertex Quantum (PQ) was designed as a highly calendared fabric to be Down Proof and breathable.
Brad – Mitsui Bussan Textile Co., LTD. bought the mill in England that was making the Pertex line of fabrics. It moved everything to Japan and the Pertex line has been back in production for some time. Mitsui makes the fabric for a lot of different companies such as The North Face and also makes eVent.Jan 3, 2007 at 2:03 pm #1372828Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Thank you for the information Bill.
I am glad to hear that Pertex is back in production. It seems to be an industry leading fabric. If they also manufacture eVent they should be a major player in the fabric market for the outdoor industry. I would love to see more eVent products in the States.
I remember hearing at one time that Western Mountaineering had bought up large quantities of Pertex and were stockpiling it until they could come up with a replacement fabric.Jan 3, 2007 at 5:22 pm #1372862David OlsenSpectator
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Not all Pertex Quantum is a ripstop weave either.Jan 3, 2007 at 9:05 pm #1372889
Wow, thank you all for getting involved. So Pertex IS ripstop nylon. Even my Goretex tag says 100%nylon; but this Marmot fabric is shiny and slippery and feels like it was silicon coated. My comparison with a TNF DIAD was not fair, I know, but the DIAD vented the moisture, and the Ion did not, leading to condensation, also seeming to confirm it was silicon coated.
Here are three pictures, Lafuma silnylon (orange), the ripstop nylon Pertex? Marmot(red-orange), and actual Snugpak Pertex(greenish-yellow). Notice the very different weave pattern. I do not know if that is significant, since Bill and others explained there are several types of Pertex. I qualified my review of this jacket until I can determine for sure it is Pertex Quantum.
Jan 3, 2007 at 10:01 pm #1372894
We are all learning here. I and others know a little more about Quantum now as a result of your post. The nice part of this site is we come to it from many different backgrounds and location around the world. I think you posted the temperature as being on the low side when you were first unhappy with your Ion. Were you wearing a pack at the time? It is possible that you have a "lemon".
How did you take the pictures? I have a small microscope but it is hiding from me. If I can find it I will take a look at my Ion and the other Quantum material I have and see what it looks like.Jan 4, 2007 at 12:39 am #1372904
I tested the Ion and DIAD at about 5'C; did a fast 30 minute walk for exercise two nights in a row; same clothing except for the jacket. Ion had condensation, the DIAD had none. My previous experience with Pertex is that it is an uncoated fabric so porus, I can breathe almost normally through it.
This brings up a more technical question.. How can I maximize the transmission of water vapor through all my layers? I expect water vapor to condense when the air it is suspended in cools to the dew point, which is a function of temperature, right? For the previously mentioned test I was wearing about 1/3" of clothing under the jackets; a wool 1 base and a polyester zip top. Evidently the vapor cooled to the dew point and condensed outside my shirts but inside the Ion. Does the low permeability(IMO) of the Ion give the vapor time to cool, whereas the DIAD allows it to quickly escape before cooling?
Every question answered here brings me to deeper questions; and I continue to learn. Looking back before I joined BPL my ignorance on these subjects was astounding.
To answer your question, I took the pictures with a 7.2MP Casio EX-Z750 digital camera set to manual focus, minimum focal length, then cropped a small part of the image. I wish I had one of those little illuminated microscopes shaped like a ball pen, you know them? I could probably put my camera lens up to the eye piece and get a better picture.
Another question for our members: the concept of a 'wind shirt' is an item more breathable but less WP/B than our "shell", which might be less breathable and more WP/B, right? Then what is the best material for a wind shirt?
For now I will keep the ION as a vapor barrier/wind 'shirt' and the DIAD as my WP/B jacket.Jan 4, 2007 at 12:36 pm #1372975
Ron Bell, of Mountain Laurel Designs, made an excellent post to the forum on 11/4/06 entitled, “fabric madness, i need more nexium”. In part he mentioned there were at least 9 current versions of Quantum.
The Pertex Web site, at http://www.pertex.com/ positions Quantum as follows:
What is it?
Pertex Quantum® is the lightest fabric we’ve ever made. It is a true featherweight at around 30g/m2 (0.9oz/yd2). We use the finest yarns available to us with the maximum thread count.
Where do I Find it?
Thanks to its dense weave Pertex Quantum® is downproof and can be used for any high-end application in sleeping bags, down jackets and expedition gear. It is a gear freak's dream.
A number of Web Sites that sell the Montane Lite-Speed define the side panels as a version of Quantum with the Montane trademark PEAQ. “The Lite Speed Jacket features a Pertex Microlite DWR+ shell with Pertex Quantum DWR+ side panels." They follow this high level description (note that E.B.P. is an abbreviation for Enhanced Breathing Panels) with a detailed description that says:
• Outer – Pertex® Microlight
• E.B.P. – Peaq® Air
See the following sites as examples:
The Microlight used in the Litespeed is 44g/m2 nylon 6.6 with a DENSE weave. The Quantum version used in the Litespeed is calendared 30g/m2 Nylon 6.6 with an OPEN weave. Pertex positions Quantum as being both their lightest fabric and having a DENSE weave so as to be downproof. This leads me to SPECULATE that the Montane Pertex Quantum fiber, used in the Litespeed, is a proprietary weave version of Quantum which they call Peaq® Air. In other words my pictures of what Quantum looks like are bogus for any other version of Quantum other than the Peaq® Air version.Jan 5, 2007 at 3:21 pm #1373146Ken BennettSpectator
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
Got my screaming red Marmot Ion jacket from Campmor before Christmas. I've been following this discussion with some interest, and I just had a look at the little label on the side seam of the jacket. It says, and I quote (but only the English part):
Shell: 100% Nylon
Lining: 100% Nylon
Insulation: Goose Down
On the back it says Machine Wash Warm/Down Soap.
Needless to say, this is not an insulated jacket. Sometimes you just gotta wonder….Jan 5, 2007 at 9:01 pm #1373198Scott WhiteMember
@sdwhiteyLocale: Smoky Mountains
That's funny. I just read the label on my new ugly red ion from campmor and mine apparently is insulated with goose down as well.
scottJan 6, 2007 at 5:31 am #1373230paul johnsonMember
@pjLocale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
My Ion's pretty thin. Wonder what the FP of that down is?
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