Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Waterproof-Breathable Technologies

The purpose of this forum is to discuss waterproof-breathable technologies as presented in the following articles:

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Bernard Shaw
(be_here_now@earthlink.net) - F

Locale: Upstate New York
WP/B Commentary on 02/13/2004 07:53:11 MST Print View

Congratulations on yet another researched, clear,and integrated
article that helps to balance the trend away from hype, faddishness,
and heat without light.

Although you all have discussed this indirectly here and elsewhere,
could you consider sharing with people an aspect of misunderstanding
that pervades the sale of millions of dollars worth of this type of
raingear, i.e., that when it is raining and the relative humidity is
100 per cent, nothing breathes. The utility of insulation that keeps
insulating is what counts in these conditions, as you keep pointing
out. Yet many of my fellow hikers in the Northeast keep spending
megabucks on this rainwear, and pop it on over their down vest and
coats only to find out they are soaked and cold. However, because of
the principle of "cognitive dissonance" (the more you spend the more
you are psychologically pressured to believe it is of value), they
continue to believe in the rainwear and the down.

I have, as you all promote, use primaloft plus a poncho tarp in all
but the most exposed and high wind areas, and find that moisture
transfer, heat build up and drying time are almost always better, and
it is a double duty set up, i.e., my shelter as well. Invariably I
am looked at as a nut as they stride by with their $1000 set up,
soaked and miserable.

Dr. Berne Shaw

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: WP/B Commentary on 02/13/2004 07:58:32 MST Print View

A synthetic sweater and a poncho are hard to beat - weight wise at least. In most cases, they will be lighter than any rain jacket & fleece combination. But I think there still remains a market for a good, waterproof-breathable rain jacket - storm protection while mountain climbing comes to mind as an obvious application.

As for nothing breathing at a humidity of 100%, this is where eVENT comes in and does its thing. Because it can actually move water vapor as a gas, and because gas movement depends on a difference in vapor pressure, not only humidity, eVENT will breathe even when humidity levels both inside and outside the jacket are 100%, because there is a vapor pressure gradient created by the differential temperature across the shell - warm inside and cool outside.

The solid state diffusion of water, as what happens in a Gore or monolithic PU membrane, may be less sensitive to vapor pressure gradients and more sensitive to humidity gradients, and this may be one reason why an eVENT shell, based on my experience, keeps you drier when outside humidity is 100%.

Bernard Shaw
(be_here_now@earthlink.net) - F

Locale: Upstate New York
Re: Re: WP/B Commentary on 02/13/2004 08:44:57 MST Print View

This makes sense out of the bewildering array of factors presented to us by the industry hype.

Do you currently feel that under the conditions you describe that the increased transfer of eVent will outweigh the downside factors of increased heat retention, increase in sweating, and reduced transfer (as compared to dry skin extreme types of materials).

What might an eVent poncho tarp that could be transformed into a closer fit in wind?

James Augustine
(chirodr) - F

Locale: Southern California
question about venting on 02/14/2004 14:02:17 MST Print View

First, an excellent article! Very impressed and I certainly didn't know that I needed to know that much regarding the various fabrics. My question is why manufacturers don't compensate for fabric downsides with better venting ideas??

Alan C Kendall
(alank)
Re: Re: WP/B Commentary on 02/17/2004 05:26:27 MST Print View

Popular wisdom says that saturated outer fabrics (ie where the DWR finish has worn off) don't breathe at all well. DWR treatments seem more durable than they once were, but I still use Nikwax or Granger's treatments once in a while to restore water repellancy. Do the different WP/B fabrics differ much in performance once completely wetted out?

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
Re: question about venting on 02/17/2004 11:19:55 MST Print View

Yes. It is impossible for me to maintain a temperate micro-climate without vents. Deep front zips can be left wide open when the wind is blowing rain on to my back. A lot of sweat exits the jacket when I do this.

Also, deep vents allow garments to be cut close, which cuts down on flapping. Flapping is becoming a real problem as fabrics become thinner and softer.

Best wishes, John

Ronnie Cusmano
(ronnie1107) - F

Locale: Northeast
The WP of WP/B on 02/19/2004 17:22:46 MST Print View

First of all, great article! Being a rather unscientific type, I did manage to get a lot out of it.

I enjoyed the matter of fact summarizations. Combined with the theory, tests results and extended discussions of the various fabrics I find that it helps me to be a more educated consumer.

I do have one comment and request. The article was discussing almost in it's entirety to the breathable aspect of the various materials. Dare I say, the inside out of it all.

I would, most certainly, have enjoyed a more detailed discussion regarding the Waterproof-ablity of these fabrics as well. For example the references to "x psi" with respect to water pressure a given fabric could sustain before the fabric becomes saturated from the outside in.

The fact and fiction of it all.

How does that relate to real world experiences.

What other metrics are available to aid in intelligent evaluation of the various material's Waterproofing qualities?

i.e. I'm in a bivy constructed of Epic and I am tarpless and in a raging thunderstorm, What can one expect? What if it was eVent, or GoreTex or even TODD-TEX...etc?

I am particularly interested in comparing eVent and Epic from the W/P side of things.

Regards,
Ronnie

John Reed
(starwoman) - F
Paramo Again on 02/29/2004 15:47:35 MST Print View

I'm still interested in Paramo fabric; they claim theirs is not only waterproof and breathable, but will also transport liquid water from the inside to the outside.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
real ultralight gore jackets and comparative with event on 03/01/2004 03:39:32 MST Print View

i read frecuently that there is no gore jackets under 12 oz.... well i have a seam-sealed, hooded, full zippered jacket and weights in size m 275g real(my scale) grams (9.6 oz) made by sweden brand Haglofs (haglofs LIM ultimate jacket Berghaus has the paclite smock (half zipered)under 10 oz too and a full jacket (paclite jacket) under 350 grams ( really long, full zippered ventilated and good hood...)

Some months ago I read an interesting "practical in field" comparative about event and paclite that is really interesting

http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/UAN/1879/V/1/SP/

carlos fernandez......... spain

k lee
(hairydog) - F
northface "HYVENT" and "LIGHTFAST" FABRIC on 05/23/2004 04:02:33 MDT Print View

I just wonder how the above fabrics compare with the performance of the fabric reviewed in this report?

Ryan Potterton
(potterpotterton@yahoo.com) - M

Locale: East Cascades
Are rain jackets and wind breakers closing the gap? on 05/25/2004 15:21:53 MDT Print View

I am interested in comparing the least breathable windbreakers with the most breathable waterproof/breathable rainjackets. It seems that the gap is narrowing. Wild Things makes a wind breaker out of Epic which is less breathable than eVent. Many people have used Gore Activent as a windbreake--although I thought it made a better rain jacket. Glen Van Peski seems to use a 3M Propore jacket as a combination rain jacket/ wind breaker, if I am understanding his list correctly.

I think a graph comparing the highly calendered microfibers used by GoLite, Marmot, Patagonia and others, with eVent and Entrant GIIXT might be suprising.

Ryan Potterton

BPL Media/Authors
(BPLMediaAuthors) - M
New eVENT Sub-10 oz Shells on 09/10/2004 23:49:44 MDT Print View

In a few of our recent Outdoor Retailer Dispatches (http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight.com/outdoor_retailer_news.html) we reported on the coming availability of two new eVENT shells - both in the 10 oz range - by Integral Designs (due out in 4 weeks) and one by Montane (due out Spring 2005). And, don't forget 6-7 oz waterproof breathable shells from Patagonia and Montane, and a sub-8-oz shell coming from Outdoor Research...

Considering that full zip, hooded wind shirts range 3-6 ounces, and that WPB technology will continue to evolve, let's consider the scenario where a wind shirt weighs the same as a rain jacket, then...will this change anyone's clothing gear list? Will you ditch the wind shirt in lieu of a highly breathable jacket made of eVENT? Will those of you (us!) that historically use wind shirts and ponchos sneak a 3-4-5-6 oz rain jacket in there now?

Bryan Redd
(lucylab) - F
Re: New eVENT Sub-10 oz Shells on 10/03/2004 14:18:01 MDT Print View

Yes, I would definitely consider ditching my windshirt, but, while Integral Designs has taken a good step, why not at least add some pit zips (even if they are short)? Yes, I know they add some weight, but the gain in ventilation capability far outweighs the little extra weight. I generate alot of heat while hiking, and ventilation is critical to my moisture management and temperature regulation. If they'd added pit zips, THEN they would have made a jacket that I'd consider buying as my single wind/wp garment. So close, too bad they didn't get it right. So, I'll have to wait until they (or one of their competitors) make one that meets my needs. I was hoping it would be this one---so, yes, I'm disappointed. As a business person, it is always curious to me why a producer introduces a new product that is short of its capabilities.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
ID eVENT Jacket w/Pit Zips on 10/06/2004 21:29:18 MDT Print View

Bryan, you have a point in that an ID eVENT Jacket with pit zips just might be the ticket to ditch the windshirt, at least in cold conditions. There is still quite a breathability gap between eVENT, and say, Quantum, but it's small enough to make one think a little harder about it.

I just may hack up an ID jacket, put some monster pit zips in it, and see what happens. It will cost me an ounce, but if I'm saving three...

Edited by ryan on 10/06/2004 21:29:33 MDT.

Bryan Redd
(lucylab) - F
Pit zips--Ryan let me know if you do. on 10/11/2004 10:02:49 MDT Print View

Ryan,

Let me know if you do that. In the meantime, do you have someone at ID you could encourage to add pit zips. As I said, it is a shame they didn't get it right this time. Someone else will, and ID will have lost the advantage of being first.

My guess is they wanted to have the "lightest." While there is marketing advantage to that moniker, I'll bet that pit zips would have produced more sales in the long term. I'll not buy the coat without them, and I'll bet others won't either.

Edited by ryan on 10/13/2004 22:15:39 MDT.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
WP side WP/B and paclite vs XCR vs ... on 10/22/2004 08:09:05 MDT Print View

Great article,
but as Ronnie Cusmano mentioned earlier, it only focuses on the B side. More info on the WP should be interesting also.
Kind of related do this, I was wondering what the real difference is in technology between GTX XCR and GTX Paclite ? Both are Gore products so based on PTFE-PU technology. But while XCR has an RET of 5-6, Paclite has an RET of 4, while XCR has an hydrostatic head of 80.000 mm, paclite 'only' has 30.000 mm. Why is this ? AFAIK, the obvious difference is that paclite uses a carbon layer instead of a liner and that the outer fabrics are usually lighter. But I would be very surprised that this explains the difference in both breathability and waterproofness. So how then can these differences be explained ?

Alan Dixon
(alandixon) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
difference in wp of packlite and xcr on 10/23/2004 19:25:35 MDT Print View

as you noted, our interest is in the b of wp/b fabrics. for folks not being sprayed by firehoses most wp/b fabris are plenty wp :)whether it's 80.000 mm or 30.000 mm it isn't going to leak any appreciable amount in the field. you'll likely see more leakage from construction such as seams, zippers, hoods, pockets, vents etc. thus our focus on the b where there are discernable field performance differences.

without contacting gore engineers directly i couldn't give a definative answer. one guess is that the ptfe layer on the xcr may be thicker and therefore create a greater pressure head. it's also possible that the pu membrane on the xcr may be thicker with similar results. possibly both contribute to the final pressure head difference.

also i don't know where you got your rets from: but in the range of 4,5 or 6 (or 40, 50 and 60 us) it makes little difference. unless you use very precise equipment (most aren't) the sweating hot plate test can't resolve these 'minor' differences in breathablity. the test wasn't designed to measure fabrics in this super breathable range. nor would these b differences be discernable in the field. one explanation: possibly the carbon protective layer partially blocks some breathabilty of the paclite membrane while the tricot liner on the xcr s 'completely' breathable. again without talking to gore engineers i couldn't give a definative answer.

Alan Dixon
(alandixon) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
pit zips on eVENT jacket? on 10/23/2004 19:36:42 MDT Print View

a few years ago i would have agreed that all wp/b jackets needed pit zips. with the new 3-5 oz water-resistant windshirts, i'm not so sure.

with the use of a very light and water resistant windshirt like a marmot chinook or a montane speed lite with shield i can get by in moderate or intermittent precipitation.

by the time i am ready to put on my 'real' rain jacket it is is either wet and/or cold enough that i am unlikely to use the pit zips, especially it it as breathable as eVENT.

for now the combination of a windshirt (or even the new Montane 1.9 oz wind vest) and eVENT jacket seems close to ideal for me and i'm not missing the pit zips.

guess it depends on how comforatable you are with the softshell technique of using a windshirt for moderate precipitation. if you buy in to it, you can probably get by without the pit zips. if you feel you need a jacket for even light rain in warm conditions then you'd probably be happier with pit zips.

Thomas McDonald, MD
(mc1donald) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
eVENT jacket with pit zips on 10/24/2004 01:48:53 MDT Print View

hi-
although designed for cycling, Gill offers an eVENT jacket (the Adrenaline model) with pitzips-the only eVENT jacket w/ pits I've come across. Although no hood, this jacket otherwise might work as a "crossover" for activities like X-C skiing
tom

(wt listed at 387 gm's)

Edited by mc1donald on 10/24/2004 02:20:07 MDT.

Alan Dixon
(alandixon) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
eVENT jacket with pit zips on 10/24/2004 10:21:46 MDT Print View

We are awere of the Adrenaline jacket have tried a couple of times to get Gill to particpate in our review program. They have some trepidation since it is a cycling jacket and we are a backpacking publication. It would indeed be an excellent choice if used in combination with a had like the seattle sombrero.

Although as I pointed out earlier the windshirt and non-pit eVENT combo may have more utility for those that are comfortable with softshell tecniques for moderate precipitation.