- Oct 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm #3432634
I picked up a NWT ECWCS Level 4 wind jacket on eBay and have enjoyed using it in a range of conditions, including wind and light precipitation. I just finished digging through past threads discussing Epic. From what I can gather, Epic is used in the ECWCS Level 4, the Beyond Clothing M4 wind jacket, and possibly the Wild Things windshirt. The Westcomb Crest Hoodie now uses Pertex Equilibrium and the PCU windshirt is very hard to find. Are there any other options I am missing? Anyone been able to find a fabric source for high quality Epic fabrics?
I am also wondering how Schoeller NanoSphere compares to Epic as a windshell. I’m not as familiar with Nanosphere options. Have seen the Black Diamond Alpine Start mentioned. I’ve also noted that RSBR offers a Nanosphere fabric; would this be a readily available Epic alternative?
Thanks for all the past threads and posts on these topics.Oct 24, 2016 at 1:56 pm #3432642
NanoSphere now utilizes C6 fluorocarbon technology and will stop working from abrasion or sustained rain like conventional rain gear. The older versions used a formulation (C8?) which lasted much longer but, is now unavailable. It requires conventional DWR refurbishment.
In addition to Nextec Epic, the Brookwood Agility fabric uses(d?) very similar technology (subject of a patent suit initiated by Nextec in 2014).
Depending on the ECWCS manufacturer and the manufacturing year there is variance in both the HH and conversely the CFM. What is consistent amongst all of these garments is that the DWR is good for the life of the fabric. Secondarily a washer/dryer is not necessary to clean them.
They are generally made of 70D nylon because they are optimized for durability when bushwhacking. The lower denier exceptions, that I have tested, are:
2013 ORC MCU L4 (Brookwood Agility) ~ 40D
2011 Patagonia Houdini Special Edition ~ 42D
2016 Arktis A192 Stowaway Windshirt, PCU Level 4, Tundra Snow Camo ~ 58D & 131 CFM (designed as over-camo use rather than as a conventional windshirt)
2015 Otte Gear Super L Windshirt ~ 59DOct 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm #3432645
Thanks, Richard! Sounds like I should stick to the Epic, then.
I wasn’t familiar with the SOF PCU system and found a nice background piece for those that are interested:
This blog, which I am still combing through, has a nice PCU buyers guide from 2011 (though, several sources are now dry):
From what I have seen so far, Wild Things and Beyond Clothing have Epic tops and bottoms that are a bit more streamlined than the ECWCS.Oct 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm #3432793
Do you by chance have a nice chart of wind shirts/jackets made from Epic that show D, CFM and HH? Thank you.Oct 25, 2016 at 11:56 pm #3432885
I ordered the Rab Windveil jacket (windshirt). I should be getting it in the mail today. Outdoor Gear Lab says it has,”<i>permanent</i> durable water resistant qualities that come not from coating the outside of the fabric, but rather using Pertex Microlight fabric, which is naturally DWR”. “The Rab Windveil was one of the most water resistant wind breakers in our shower test. It is made of Pertex, which is woven to include DWR (durable water resistant) properties in the fabric itself, rather than needing a separate DWR coating applied. This means the DWR properties will last forever and can’t wear off!”
I emailed Rab and they said it is 20D Pertex Microlight. It probably won’t be replace my 70D WT Windshirt 1.0 that I use for hiking. Will probably use it around town and maybe on hikes where I won’t leave the trail.Oct 26, 2016 at 6:27 am #3432896
Very interesting RE the Windveil. I wonder if this is a new Microlight variant.Oct 26, 2016 at 1:52 pm #3432952
You said in part, “Outdoor Gear Lab says it has, ”permanent” durable water resistant qualities that come not from coating the outside of the fabric, but rather using Pertex Microlight fabric, which is naturally DWR”. It is safe to assume that OGL mixed up the meaning of DWR, which is determined by the surface energy of the outer fabric surface aka the surface water beading characteristic, with HH, which is a pore size/distribution characteristic that determines how much water pressure can be exerted before drops form on the inside of the fabric.
Pertex specs Microlight at 1.97 CFM MAX. Fabrics, with this tight of weave, typically have a high HH in the range of ~700 mm H2O independent of whether a DWR is present or not. Garments like the Paramo/Buffalo use this in combination with a pump liner, but they also require that the short-lived wax based DWR be frequently renewed.Oct 26, 2016 at 1:57 pm #3432953
Richard, similar claims are made on the Rab product page for the Windveil:
The Windveil Jacket is a light-weight windshell, made using a Pertex® Microlight Super DWR fabric, offering high levels of water-resistance and excellent breathability . . . Super Durable Water Repellency lasts for the life of the garment.Oct 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm #3432971
I’ve emailed Rab and Pertex to get a better explanation of the “permanent” DWR.Oct 26, 2016 at 5:24 pm #3432972
Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Dartmoor, Devon
Christopher – please report back if they respond – I’d be interested to see how they justify this claim!Oct 26, 2016 at 11:43 pm #3433042
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I picked up 10 yards of NanoShpere from the company about 5 years ago and have enough left for you to make the jacket out of.
It’s black and weighs 39 grams per square yard.Oct 27, 2016 at 6:10 am #3433062
Richard, you had said ‘2016 Arktis A192 Stowaway Windshirt, PCU Level 4, Tundra Snow Camo ~ 58D & 131 CFM (designed as over-camo use rather than as a conventional windshirt)’. What does that mean, over-camo use?Oct 27, 2016 at 3:35 pm #3433134
Response from Rab,
” The Super DWR will perform better in terms of shedding moisture as well as durability. The industry standard DWR treatment is rated to last 10 washes with proper care, while the Super DWR treatment is rated to last 20 washes”.Oct 27, 2016 at 3:51 pm #3433138
James holdenBPL Member
20+ wash cycles is pretty standard for DWR among the good manufacturers if you search around … if i remember correctly some of the old dead bird c8 flurocarbon DWR was rated up to 50 washes …
of course the DWR has degraded lately with c8 being banned to save kute whyte beahz
Manufacturers generally measure DWR effectiveness by a spray test. Water is sprayed onto a textile, and the amount that sticks is visually assessed. A score of 90 points indicated that roughly 90% of the fabric has no water sticking to it. The higher the number, the better the performance. The test is then repeated after a number of washings to determine durability.
Test scores and the number of washings are combined to create a rating. For example, a 90/10 rating means the spray test achieved a total of 90 points after 10 washes.
Not all manufacturers publish DWR performance ratings, but here is a basic guide for interpreting any that you find:
Good: 80 points after 10 washes. This is a basic outerwear finish.
Excellent: 80 points after 20 washes. Marmot, for example, uses this as its minimum rating for outerwear.
Superior: 80 points after 50 to 100 washes.
;)Oct 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm #3433139
Over-camo’s primary function is winter concealment versus the user’s environmental protection.
A heavy coating of C6 is what they are apparently using which is better than wax. It works OK for on-trail use. Bushwhacking will permanently rub it off.Oct 27, 2016 at 3:56 pm #3433140
Thank you. I saw it had a high CFM so it probably has a low HH.Oct 28, 2016 at 9:16 pm #3433329
Jean-Francois JobinBPL Member
do you have test the HH for the 2016 Arktis A192 Stowaway Windshirt?
thanksOct 29, 2016 at 12:58 am #3433345
I measured the Arktis A192 Stowaway Windshirt, PCU Level 4, Tundra Snow Camo at 70mm H2O and 131 CFM.Oct 29, 2016 at 1:00 am #3433346
I measured the Arktis A192 Stowaway Windshirt, PCU Level 4, Tundra Snow Camo at 70mm H2O and 131 CFM. It will work fine to keep wet snow off of you but it won’t handle rain.Oct 29, 2016 at 11:39 am #3433382
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Neither Epic nor Nanosphere are monolithic, pretty massive performance differences between products. The Beyond Clothing M4, for instance, is much less breathable than the Wild Things tactical. If Beyond used their excellent fit with WTs excellent fabric the result would be awesome.Apr 10, 2018 at 8:02 am #3529778
Edward John MBPL Member
I just bought one of those Arktis tops and this thread was just brought to my attention but I bought mine mainly because I find it hard to find clothing large enough; also the price was reasonable.
I did think the PCU /L4 spec was around 40CFM tho, the same as for the L3A active insulation layer
What wind speed does 131CFm represent?
I wasn’t aware that the “Tundra” camouflage was being used by any military, I thought everyone had changed to digitals nowApr 12, 2018 at 12:09 am #3530073
Edward John MBPL Member
I’m not sure if I am interpreting what I read correctly but it seems as if permeability is measured at a fixed wind speed of 8m/s, I think that equates to 30mph. If this is so then even 131CFM is what I would consider adequate below 0C because well below 30mph I would have put on my storm clothing or at the least another layer of LW clothing
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