Jul 24, 2019 at 1:47 am #3603193Bill in RoswellBPL Member
@roadscrape88Locale: Roswell, GA, USA
I’m surprised no enterprising entrepreneur has made a sil poly/nylon version of the OR Foray (GTX) jacket which has zippers from under the arm all the way to the bottom hem, effectively becoming much like a poncho with a really good hood. Those of us that live in the more humid areas of the USA would appreciate a highly ventilated, light weight rain jacket for under $200. I love the design of the Foray and done a number of “rain event” hikes in it. I still sweat when working hard but it beats any other jacket for ventilation. Downside the Foray weighs 16 oz. Could lightweight sil/poly with #3 zippers come in under 8 oz?Jul 24, 2019 at 2:13 pm #3603257Brett PeughBPL Member
Bill, Luke’s had something but I don’t think they are around anymore. Antigravitygear does but it is about $100 and only goes up to XL.Jul 25, 2019 at 8:47 pm #3603450Alex FedorovBPL Member
Obviously everyone is different and we all have slightly different uses for our gear… WPB fabrics are great when its colder outside – they stop being breathable if the temperature on both sides of the membrane is the same. I personally prefer well designed gortex jacket (my current favorite is Arcteryx FL) for the following reasons: its breathable in conditions when i care the most about staying dry.. (if its 80 degrees i am just as happy hiking wet), its very durable – mine has been ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking and is holding up great… The fit and features are perfect for my body and my uses… The fact that it looks good does not hurt either as i tend to use my outdoor gear in the city as well. So to me you have to looks at what compromises you are willing to take and go with it… I have started hiking back in russia where rain gear consisted of tightly woven canvas jacket or later basic nylon jacket… when that nylon became waterproof that was great but i quickly realized that in the warm weather I would end up pretty much as wet simply from sweating, its been many years since i used any non breathable rain gear but to me there are clear advantages to breathable fabrics in the cooler/cold weather conditions…Jul 26, 2019 at 6:28 am #3603506Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Roger: I try to limit over-repetition on BPL, but have mentioned my rain gear often, including recent threads, like on a post at the beginning of this thread.
Geoff: Since I hike at a moderate pace for pleasure, using a BPL ultralight approach, there is no need to work up much of a sweat, so do not feel moisture inside the M10. Wear a GTX lined bucket hat that allows venting around the collar without putting up the hood, and have been known to drop the zip a few inches, but don’t remember when. Hiking is usually cool in the rain in the north country of New England, and in the high Rockies from Colorado north. Usually a polyester polo is worn under the M10, but if it gets too cold, a grid fleece top goes on over the polo. Like to wear very short baggies over briefs, but switch to quick drying shell stretch climbing pants if shorts get too chilly. Plus WPB shortie gaiters go on over the mids to keep rain from running down into the boots.
Not feeling clammy, don’t check for condensation inside the M10, or to see if the skin is “bone dry.” Also, when the rain lets up, the M10 comes off unless and until the rain picks up again. Before using Patagonia tops, there was some clammy feeling when paddling hard for hours in a downpours to keep the kayak upright, on Moosehead Lake in Maine, for example. But we are talking about backpacking. Doing that, I would get soaked in my own sweat in a coated poncho or jacket, and often did as a youngster. So personal experience, not marketing spin, governs gear selection. Even if it were otherwise, could not afford it.
Again, not to be repetitious, but I have a slow metabolism, and am careful about avoiding over-exertion, especially in downpours. That’s a reason why I like hiking, compared to more strenuous sports. So maybe I’m sui generis, as the saying goes; but don’t think so, as there are a number of folks who report effective use of WPBs on threads like this. Not all, but a good number.
Your post above suggests that WPB rainwear works no better for you than coated silnylon, albeit vented. That may be as hard for me to imagine as for you to imagine my comfort in an M10. But I’ve not much doubt of either. My only point on threads like this one is that we should not eliminate WPB tops with a broad brush, when there are many who may benefit greatly from them. I certainly do, and I know others who do.Jul 26, 2019 at 7:44 am #3603510
All very good points. Weather conditions vary: so should gear. No argument.
CheersJul 26, 2019 at 10:59 am #3603519Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
Thanks Sam –
I’m certainly not going to argue if it works for you…
But at the very least, we can surely agree that the manufacturers are over-hyping these products.
When I’m working hard and only wearing a baselayer or well-vented shirt I still get wet from sweat on a sunny, breezy day, so no WPB garment is going to magically keep me dry when it’s raining and humid.
Any breathability on the outer shell is going to be pretty minimal compared to the rate I’m sweating, and as my budget is tight I’m not prepared to shell out $100s extra for that marginal benefit.
Given that most of us are going to get damp, I think the inner layering is more important:
- Don’t wear too much – keep as cool as possible without risking getting chilled. You often see people wearing far too much under their hard-shells, such as a heavy fleece or soft-shell.
- Wear technical mesh as your baselayer to keep your damp capping layer off your skin, as I argued above. That way, you’ll stay relatively warm and safe even if your mid-layers get wet.
- Wear a thin, fast-drying capping layer – its job is to wick moisture, not to keep you warm. Warmth is the job of the mid-layer
- When it’s cold enough to need a mid-layer I find that a lightweight fleece works fine – the new Alpha fleeces from Malden Mills are particularly effective. If it’s really cold, I’ll add a fleece gilet.
- And lately I’ve been experimenting with wearing my windshirt under the hard-shell. The idea is that sweat will pass though it and be trapped against the outer layer. Limited experience with this, but promising results so far.
I would argue that this type of attention to layering is going to pay more dividends than investing a fortune in the latest and greatest WPB fabrics – I’ve just been looking at prices and they are crazy. As I’ve said, using this approach I’ve been perfectly safe and acceptably comfortable in multi-day downpours on steep alpine trails, using a $20 consumer packable jacket. Hopefully, with a well vented silnylon jacket or mountain poncho I’ll enjoy a little extra comfort, but that will be a luxury rather than a necessity.Jul 26, 2019 at 10:03 pm #3603610
+1 on just about everything Geoff wrote.
Especially about over-hyping.
CheersJul 26, 2019 at 10:03 pm #3603612
+1 on just about everything Geoff wrote.
Especially about over-hyping.
CheersJul 28, 2019 at 12:17 am #3603765Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
No argument about the over-hyping. Noted on one of the two current threads that most of the WPB jackets I’ve bought were thrown out. They were completely useless.
As for what I’ve kept, and as to the cost, none of the three Patagonia tops cost more than half the list price. Patagonia has sales all year, but they do not necessarily cover what you’re looking for. The holiday season, Oct-Dec, has been the best time to order their gear from online retailers at the best discounts.
The weather lately does raise a question about whether even the best WPBs can work in the summer. We may have to fine tune our layering systems for fluctuations between boiling hot sun and pouring rain that will be more dramatic than ever before.Jul 28, 2019 at 12:30 am #3603767
We may have to fine tune our layering systems for fluctuations between boiling hot sun and pouring rain that will be more dramatic than ever before.
That is exactly why I made our ponchos. We were walking in the Pyrenees in summer, and it can be quite warm there. But you very often have brief afternoon thunderstorms there. We got very tired of the cycle of stop, take off pack, get out jacket, put jacket on, pick up pack, only to have to reverse that 10 minutes later when the storm had passed and it was warm again.
So my design, like ThePacka one, attaches the poncho to the top of the pack. When it is sunny I can push the poncho right back, completely off my body, to hang from the pack. In this state it does not add any heat to my body. But when a shower comes, I can reach back and flick the poncho over my head and shoulders for full protection, without even stopping walking. The convenience factor was huge. I can keep the front wide open or do it up, snap by snap.
With this design the whole argument about WP/B and pit zips etc becomes irrelevant. When walking I am under a huge umbrella, so to speak. If there is a high sub-zero wind I can close up the front opening. If we are scrambling, I can use the sleeves, but much of te time I don’t need to. Suits us.
With this design the whole argument about WP/B fabrics and pit zips etc becomes irrelevant.
CheersJul 28, 2019 at 1:06 am #3603780Graham FBPL Member
@02174424Locale: Victoria-Southeast Australia
Oh (Geoff) Caplan, my caplan. (Walt Whitman is turning in his grave) Yep.
Spot on!Jul 28, 2019 at 2:15 am #3603785Sean PBPL Member
@wily_quixoteLocale: S.E. Australia
if Ponchos and impermeable waterproof jackets are so awesome why did many hikers so stop using them in the 80s when gtx was produced? Just marketing?
i have one theory, traditional textiles have limitations that they hoped gtx would solve. I suppose we can agree that gtx cannot solve al these limitations and for most hikers their choice of garment that stops cold rain getting to their skin is probably dictated by function, terrain and climate and, for some, style.
in my neck of he woods, ponchos are almost non-existent because they have the reputation of having terrible hoods, being flappy in the wind and catchy on vegetation. Also, they don’t solve the sweaty back problem of wearing a pack in the first place. Putting a belt on a poncho to reduce volume in the wind just makes it a jacket, I think, so I am unconvinced of this design, although I have never used a ‘proper’ one.
The packa looks like a great idea but might lack versatility for some, I.e. if you are base camping and taking day walks – what do you do with that Batman cape if you don’t have a pack on?. Also, Ultralight weight silnylon might be great for tent but how long would it last in tough scrub? The hood still looks terribly unrefined and I just don’t mean from an aesthetic perspective.
In my neck of the woods longer mid thigh jackets with great hoods designed to stay on in wind are the preferred design, sometimes even in a heavier fabric to prevent billowing and to resist tough scrub, and if this could be designed with great ventilation , such torsoflow zips that OR use, it might represent the best compromise for jacket wearers – especially if the newer non DWR textiles prove to be durable.
i do resist the idea that one solution fits all. But I am happy to accept that design has moved on and lightweight silnylon jackets or uberponchos are the best solution if they genuinely are an improvement over wpb.Jul 28, 2019 at 4:02 am #3603793
why did many hikers so stop using them in the 80s when gtx was produced? Just marketing?
A good question, but it conceals so much.
The older Gatewood-style ponchos were suited to where they were developed: on good trails deep in the forest (eg AT). They could dual-purpose as a tarp on the forest too. But they perform really poorly in scrub and in alpine areas. So there was some reason to switch.
Sure, good marketing helped the transition, but product design was also a big factor.
they don’t solve the sweaty back problem of wearing a pack in the first place.
Well, nothing does. Mind you, a poncho over the top of a pack gives you a MUCH less sweaty back than a jacket (or poncho) under a pack.
they have the reputation of having terrible hoods,
Bad design is just bad design. No excuses. Also applies to many jackets.
if you are base camping and taking day walks – what do you do with that Batman cape if you don’t have a pack on?.
The design does still work as a basic poncho, albeit with a big fold at the back. But the Packa/Caffin design is not meant for that application: it is meant for pack walking.
CheersJul 28, 2019 at 11:48 am #3603809Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
If Ponchos and impermeable waterproof jackets are so awesome why did many hikers so stop using them in the 80s when gtx was produced?
In Scotland, I think it was partly marketing and partly design.
In ’76, when the first GT jackets hit the market, the outdoor industry as we know it today was only just emerging. There was very little gear that was designed specifically for lightweight climbing and walking, and modern lightweight silnylon didn’t appear till the ’80s when Bob Saunders started using it for shelters. So we were mainly wearing poorly designed cagoules made with heavy neoprene coated nylon. The PU coatings at the time degraded quickly and weren’t popular with savvy mountaineers.
The cagoules were pretty functional, and with good layering you would get damp but stay warm and safe. But they had lousy venting and lousy hoods and were heavy, bulky and clumsy to wear.
The new Gore-Tex fabrics coincided with the emergence of specialised outdoor brands who were designing specifically for our needs. The jackets were lighter, less bulky, better vented, better fitting and had better hoods. We bought them for the design as much as the fabric. No-one was making the good designs in the heavy neoprene nylon or unreliable PU nylon. Gore-Tex was the best fabric available, despite its limitations.
And yes, we were also seduced by the marketing. I had a friend who worked for Gore-Tex, and he promised me that from now on I would be dry in the hills. He’d bought in to their own hype. Given that Gore-Tex dominated the market for so long, we gradually forgot that we had been just as comfortable in our old-fashioned cagoules. Plus the DWR was more durable back then as the environmental issues hadn’t been understood, so the garments actually performed better for longer.
And that’s how it started, in Scotland at least.Jul 28, 2019 at 10:04 pm #3603858
Geoff brings back memories of our ex-Army rubber-coated canvas poncho/groundsheets. Waterproof for sure, but HEAVY.
CheersAug 25, 2019 at 2:57 pm #3607523kevperro .BPL Member
@kevperroLocale: Washington State
I just don’t use rain gear unless I get cold. I hike in a t-shirt & shorts so it really doesn’t matter if they get wet. I bring a baseball cap to keep my glasses from getting wet which bugs me and lightweight fleece for winter.
I use DriDucks…. light, cheap, and the inside feels comfortable on my skin. I’ve pretty much given up on thicker more expensive rain gear for trail use. If I had to beat the brush over miles I’d bring more traditional rain gear. I hike year round every weekend so I’ve developed something that works for me in the PNW and what works for me might not work for someone else.Oct 24, 2019 at 10:10 pm #3615573JacobBPL Member
I’m always looking for new safety gear manufactures for work and when I was pursuing Tingley‘s catalog I was reminded of Geoff mentioning neoprene cagoules. Is Tingley’s Magnaprene product line similar to what you used to use, Geoff? Spec sheets say is 9oz/yd2 Neoprene on 200D Nylon
For other non-fragile rainwear that doesn’t rely on DWR Tingley also has PU coated nylon and poly in a variety of weights and PVC as well as PVC coated nylon and poly in varying weights,
These are their ‘lighter-weight’ offerings that I noticed, they have a large catalog (and I bet most of these are still relatively heavy)
0.40 mm PVC on Polyester fabric weather-tuff
0.35 mm PVC on Polyester fabric Comfort-Tuff
0.25 mm double ply PVC Tuff-Enuff Plus
0.20 mm PVC on Nylon taffeta (8mil) storm-champ
0.20 mm single-layer PVC Tuff-Enuff
6 oz./yd² Polyurethane on 300D Polyester Icon
5.5 oz./yd² Polyurethane on 210D Nylon (10mil) Iron Eagle & Eagle
4.5 oz/yd2 Polyurethane on 200D Nylon (9mil) Iron Eagle & Eagle
3.7 oz./yd² Polyurethane on 75D ripstop polyester Icon LTE
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