Nov 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm #1281705
@addiebedfordLocale: MontanaNov 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm #1799821
i still find it quite hilarious that a 129$ (80$ sale) retailer branded jacket outperformed every other $$$$ new fangled high tech big named jacket save one in the highly hyped breathability … sure its a bit heavier but its 1/3 the price
excellent reviewsNov 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm #1799828
I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic…Nov 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm #1799829
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Well done again Will. Lovely to see such quantitative info on such a typically vague topic.
I feel obligated to discuss my experience with the Spektr (part of the sub 8 oz, WPB SOTMR I'm working on), least some folks buy it and be disappointed. My anecdotal experience was the same as Will's, it was very breathable compared to G-tex Paclite and PU jackets. I also found the Tornado closure and hood to be rather silly. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of heavy use the face fabric fuzzed up enough from pack strap and hip belt abrasion that it began leaking irrevocably at those points. At first it seemed like a DWR failure, but the DWR had been recently revived via cleaning (non-detergent soap, double rinse, ~10 minutes in the dryer on moderate heat), and the volume of leakage was clearly too much to attribute to condensation. The only conclusion left is that the face fabric is not up to the task, odd given how stiff and stout it feels out of the box.Nov 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm #1799847
@jbmcsr1Locale: Rocky Mountains
And I loved seeing the sight of my home town in the first picture of the article. It would be fun to go hiking around there again!Nov 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm #1799868
@gabe_joyesLocale: Lander, WY
Great article, thanks for all of your research and writing! I only have one qualm with the article, and that was the statement about pit-zips being ineffective at venting. I have definitely had positive experiences using the pit zips in my patagonia M10. While backcountry skiing, I'm undone the pit zips and steam has immediately come out of them. To me, thats evidence that pit zips can release moisture. Certainly unzipping the front zipper is much more effective in releasing the most moisture, but in heavy rain or snow it is just not realistic to unzip the front of a jacket. Pit zips do add some weight, but to me they also greatly increase the versatility of a WPB shell by allowing the jacket to be used in a much wider variety of conditions.Nov 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm #1799869
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
@ David. Thanks for the update. I think I will now go for the Rab Demand pullover and hope it is a bit more durable.Nov 9, 2011 at 6:08 am #1799982
Lars Laird IversenSpectator
Thanks for an excellent and thorough series! I was just wondering how a paramo-style jacket like the Quito would do in such a test? Any takers?Nov 9, 2011 at 8:06 am #1800020
"I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic…"
That looks like a new cuben 'mid!Nov 9, 2011 at 9:51 am #1800060
Am I missing something or have you just ignored what most thru-hikers have been using for the past several years; Frogg Toggs. Yep, they're not perfect, but they're light weight, work well under the conditions you tested, not durable at all, but way low cost!!
GregNov 9, 2011 at 10:05 am #1800067
@ksawchukLocale: Northern California
The high tech sensors in my skin have led me to all eight of your now scientifically proven conclusions. The jacket reviews is helpful. Thanks for the interesting article.Nov 9, 2011 at 11:08 am #1800093
"I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic…"
x3Nov 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm #1800150
Thanks again, Will, very interesting and thorough.
I was wondering how you account for the different humidities in each jacket at the start of the graphs? Perhaps measuring the differences between minimum and maximum humidity would produce a slightly different ranking, but high humidity drives greater moisture vapour transfer, making that an imperfect comparison too?Nov 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm #1800177
@williwabbitLocale: Southwest Colorado
Hi all, thanks for your comments and lively discussion on this article series. There appears to be a lot of interest in this subject. My responses:
Greg: Frogg Toggs and other Propore-type jackets are not included in this group of jackets because they are too dissimilar, although including one of these for comparison would have been interesting. We have projects in the works to test and compare lightweight rain jackets and pants under 8 ounces, which would include these.
Ben, David, Manfred: The Cuben Fiber shelter in the photo is the Lawson Equipment Mountain Mid. Its a prototype I have been testing. Current specs are: 2-person, supported with two trekking poles inside, 1 zippered entry, 2 high vents, catenary ridgeline and sides. Weight is about 14 oz with guylines and stakes. Its not on the Lawson Equipment website (http://lawsonequipment.com/All-Products-c125/), but perhaps you could persuade him to make one for you.
Eric: The Stoic Vaporshell Jacket from Backcountry.com is a screaming deal, especially when its on sale for $79. Sizing is true and it fits great. Its 13 ounce weight is the only downside, but its lighter than many of the other air-permeable jackets. Some people complain about the lack of hand pockets, but that adds weight.
Happy hiking, WillNov 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm #1800202
@mad777Locale: South Florida
I've been fondling (over the internet) the Backcountry Stoic Vaporshell even before this article came out. Now that the article has given me the confidence to pull the trigger – Backcountry no longer has the men's Vaporshell. :-(Nov 9, 2011 at 7:06 pm #1800247
"Thanks for an excellent and thorough series! I was just wondering how a paramo-style jacket like the Quito would do in such a test? Any takers?"
My Quito leaked in heavy rain after 2 hours.
I should have washed it and reproofed it to maintain its performance in such weather!
I wouldn't recommend it for backpacking if you don't clean it regularly.
Water got in at all pressure points (shoulder straps, hip belt and the back), where the DWR was most likely not working anymore.
A lot of water probably also got in from the fully opened pit zips, which are huge btw.
It really depends how warm it is. Paramo is warmer than the typical raingear, but it basically saves you a mid layer.
The comfort level is probably under 5C (41F) or in windy and wet weather.
I run hot though.
The Quito has very long pit zips and some one can even put his arms through them to get even better ventilation.
Bottom line: maintain paramo's performance on a regularly base (after long trips, otherwise every few months) and this stuff is made for cold weather only.
It breathes better than everything else I have tried though.Nov 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm #1800252
Great wrap-up and conclusions Will. I was really hoping that these materials had come a great distance further than they have. I also hope that the industry will really stand up and take notice of all the interest in these fabrics and what users are looking for. They've got a whole market segment to capture and hopefully the bean counters say it is great enough to spend R&D time to bring significantly better products to market. Because your report definitely notes the need for them.
It would be interesting to find how well Joe's new Zpacks breathable cuben jacket is.
Finally, Will, I'm aware of the announcement you made recently but really hope to see you and your influence around BPL. It is greatly appreciated.Nov 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm #1800275
Great article, yet again!
There is another way pitzips can help you vent when it's steamy inside the jacket, as long as it's not actively raining. I've found that on a jacket with large (or long?) pitzips, I can pull my arms from the jacket sleeves and stick them through the pit openings, turning the jacket into a kind of vest. Helps me to cool off quicker.Nov 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm #1800304
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Obviously the perfect truly waterproof and truly breathable fabric (especially one that will hold up long enough to be worth what will undoubtedly be a very high price) is still unobtanium! It may really happen, but probably not in my lifetime!
But thanks, Will, for cutting through the hype and giving us the real dope on what's currently out there! And best wishes on your retirement! I suspect we'll still see you around! It sounds as though you're not really ready to give up looking at new gear!Nov 10, 2011 at 7:56 am #1800403
@namelesswayLocale: Mid Atlantic
LOL! I always remember trying to pro-deal unobtanium jackets, stoves, packs and/or tents years ago when I used to work at REI.
Still looks like they are completely out of stock. Perhaps next we'll see "virtual camping equipment" for our next e-hike.
On a serious note, thank you for your very thorough review of the latest and greatest. Leads me to remember that half the time, it's actually quite pleasant just to enjoy being wet, as long as I am confident I can get dry at the right time I need to…Nov 10, 2011 at 8:16 am #1800412
@jacobdLocale: North Bay
Great job on this, Will. Very useful information, well presented… and way to take one for the team getting up at 4:00am every day for testing :)
I might have missed it somewhere in the article, around the halfway mark of your hike are you hitting a downhill stretch that correlates with the better performing jackets humidity trendline dropping?
Thanks for the info on the shelter from LawsonEquipment.com also… Lawson's a great guy. I hope to see him on the shelter building scene again.Nov 10, 2011 at 10:23 am #1800462
Fantastic series of articles- very informative. Thanks Will!
I do question the statement that the majority of the jackets tested are not suitable for backpacking. What? Maybe if you fall into the super ultralight category. I think most " lightweight" backpackers would have little problem with a 12-13 ounce rain jacket that actually worked.Dec 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm #1813909
It looks like the Stoic Vaporshell (at least the 2011 model) is now discontinued.
Backcountry.com lists it as: "Out of stock. 2011 model no longer available."
Does anyone know when a replacement for it will arrive?Dec 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm #1814365
I know this sounds nuts but maybe instead of putting all this technology into fabric, someone should come up with some type of micro fans to be strategically placed in jackets.Jan 7, 2012 at 11:42 am #1821338
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