Why You Should Spend a Few Ounces of Pack Weight on Rainwear Ventilation Features
Nov 17, 2021 at 7:42 pm #3732584
I picked up a OR Guardian I and it seems pretty okay. Does yours have an inner storm flap? There have been quite a few issues with the waterproofness of Ascentshell. What is your experience? I was thinking about an Interstellar but for less than 2 ounces I get pit zips and 50d compared to 20d. Thank you.
I am limited in my choices because I need an XXL so I am looking at something like this or the Marmot Eco Precip. Has anyone actually used this jacket because people are saying it gets overwhelmed in heavy rain.
Thank you.Nov 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm #3732674Gerard MulfordBPL Member
@gdm2Locale: Montgomery County, MD
Brett – your reasoning matched mine. Interstellar got some great press, and for a couple ounces more I went with the Guardian II for the features and durability. I think the stormflap is on the outside. And FYI, I’m using the XXL myself.
During light/moderate activity, it seems to stay comfortable far longer than the Goretex I’ve worn in the past (which just seem to condense my sweat). And it’s stretchy but pretty durable.
“…overwhelmed in heavy rain…” seems kinda subjective. It was unseasonably cold and rainy in NM in July, with 6-7 solid days of rain… I was backpacking, and both the OR Guardian II jacket and Marmot Precip full zip pants exceeded my expectations, I more or less lived in them for a week… The jacket did wet out eventually (shoulder area, under my pack straps), but I would still not call that “overwhelmed”.Nov 18, 2021 at 1:20 pm #3732679
Thanks. I was talking about the Marmot getting overwhelmed. Glad for the info. I like the Guardian I because I can totally open it and dump heat easily. The reassurance that it will preform well in a long rain is great. Thanks.Nov 18, 2021 at 2:13 pm #3732680Stephen SeeberBPL Member
Hi Gerard: When you experienced wet out, did any moisture leak through and did you experience any loss of comfort? Thanks.Jul 19, 2022 at 8:57 pm #3755462Krishna MBPL Member
@kmarriLocale: Pacific Northwest
I had a day hike experience this summer (7/18) in the Sierras which reminded me of this article. There was a hail storm and sustained downpour (with lightning) for many hours up at Mt. Whitney. I made the decision to turn back at 13500ft on my summit attempt. I put on a hardshell for the way down which is the same Beta LT mentioned in this article. The jacket was fully zipped and kept me comfortably cool with a merino baselayer. It was now cold enough (I think the 40s maybe) that my hands were getting numb from being wet and I tucked them into the jacket sleeves which for me are overly long. I also did not feel the impact of the hail once the jacket was on. I slipped a few times on wet rock and the jacket did not show any signs of abrasion as I was rubbing it on the trailside rocks as I fell. I started sweating once below treeline as it was warmer here. The pit-zips came in handy which I opened up fully. This kept me cool and the sweating stopped.
I do not have any experience with ultralight rain jackets. The Montbell Versatile and Outdoor Research Helium, were the two that I was considering to fill that gap in my layering system. I was wondering how these kind of jackets would fare in the kind of conditions that I described above, especially the hail? I actually wanted to get an ultralight rain jacket specifically for the Sierras which now seems a bit scary to me after this experience.Jul 20, 2022 at 6:25 am #3755474David HartleyBPL Member
@dhartleyLocale: Western NY
I have a Beta LT Hybrid (it has traditional 3-layer Goretex in high wear areas, Goretex Paclite in the lower torso, and pit zips), and I have an OR Helium (the latest with the “diamond fuse” fabric), and I would not trust the Helium in the conditions you describe. In sustained rain the DWR completely fails (and yes I have retreated it several times) and the outer fabric wets out, and even though the membrane doesn’t leak – I would be cold in the conditions you describe. I have never hiked in the Sierra, but a few years ago we did some September hiking in the Wind River range and I was very glad to have the Arcteryx jacket – we had it all – initially hot weather (sunny and 80s), then thunderstorms and hail, then sustained heavy rain, and ultimately several days of wet snow. I would not trust the Helium in similar conditions.
I hear good things about the Versalite though – I don’t think it suffers the same outer fabric wet out issue the Helium does.Jul 21, 2022 at 10:43 pm #3755641Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The Patagonia jacket weighs the same as the Arcteryx. The Torrentshell is $149 and the Arcteryx $399. Both have pit zips. Do they perform the same under similar conditions?Jul 22, 2022 at 6:17 pm #3755669Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
The Torrentshell is a great deal on a rain jacket. The Arc’teryx fit me better, so I ultimately went with that. I’m also not a fan of “storm flaps” over the zippers, and I like the waterproof zipper of the Arc’teryx.
I’ve been experimenting with rain jackets this spring and was testing the Outdoor Research Helium AscentShell Jacket, which gets rave reviews. I was not impressed with the construction quality of mine – interior seam tape delaminated in the shoulder strap area and the fabric isn’t as durable as I’d hoped. Mine has several rips and holes in it from bushwhacking, and the shoulder strap area now leaks. I haven’t used this jacket much, only a few months.
I just got back from an 8-day trip in the Colorado Flat Tops. I used my Zeta FL. We had about 6 inches of rain on the trip, and I wore the jacket a lot. It was fine. I added pit zips myself. Bushwhacking through wet willows with a heavy pack pushed it to its limits of breathability, for sure, but the pit zips make it OK.
I’ve worn the Zeta FL a ton, and it has zero leaks, no delam or other construction defects. It’s been a good purchase for me.
I no longer put much faith in ultralight rain jackets in sustained rain. They just don’t last, and they can’t really cope with heavy conditions for very long. I do still use one (Montane Minimus 777 pullover) for when the weather forecast is good. But even that one is wearing out, so I’ll be back on the hunt this fall…Jul 22, 2022 at 8:09 pm #3755670
Thanks for adding that last piece so that we know ORs Helium Rain jackets are 0 for 4. :)Jul 23, 2022 at 11:54 am #3755677Bruce TolleyBPL Member
@btolleyLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
@ Ryan. Thanks. I don’t like flaps over zippers either.
I would think the use case for something like the OR Helium is summer backpacking in the Sierra Nevada on shortish trips where you know the weather forecast where you might encounter a daily thunder shower that lasts 45 minutes.
For shortish trips where you have forecasts or chances of sustained rain or on longer trips where all kinds of weather might happen, seems like you do need to carry a Goretex Paclite garmet or better.
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