Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » wind shell and/or raingear


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David Dixon
(Talusman)
wind shell and/or raingear on 03/26/2009 08:27:20 MDT Print View

I have been carrying frogg toggs as raingear and using the top when I need a wind shirt when crossing a windy pass etc. This makes me sweat way too much. I noticed that Golight makes some light waterproof/breathable raingear. Has anyone used these for both a windshirt and for rain?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
wind shell and/or raingear on 03/26/2009 08:31:38 MDT Print View

Nope, and I no longer believe in the myth of breathable raingear. Maybe I'm just too sweaty.

David Dixon
(Talusman)
windshell on 03/26/2009 09:15:38 MDT Print View

Joe. Do you carry raingear only?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
wind shell and/or raingear on 03/26/2009 09:23:29 MDT Print View

Yes, and I use it every 2-3 years, whether I need to or not.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
rain gear/windshell on 03/26/2009 10:40:55 MDT Print View

i've been carrying just w/b rain gear and this year i'll be breaking down and trying a windshirt for windy conditions. The rain gear is just not breathable and it becomes a sauna for me up in washington.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 12:29:23 MDT Print View

I've used Gore-tex or similar products for 30 years. Yes they are waterproof AND breathable- just not at the same time!

When it's raining they are not very breathable in the best of cases and once they get wet not breathable at all.

When it's dry and windy then they are breathable and completely windproof. Humid environents might give different results than my California experience.

That said, I can definitely see where a waterproof rain jacket plus a windproof windshirt may weigh less than a combination garment.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 13:31:27 MDT Print View

Jim:

Time to advance a decade and move into either eVENT or MontBell (if you haven't already). There are no miracles (we can sweat hiking nekkid if it's warm enough) -- but these do broaden the comfort range much, much more than any version of Goretex.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 13:49:36 MDT Print View

Ben,
Well I moved up 1/2 a decade and bought a Marmot Precip parka last year. It seems okay for rain and okay for cold, windy weather. I don't need it for anything else so it'll do for now.

Jim

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : wind shell and/ or raingear on 03/26/2009 14:24:20 MDT Print View

Buying a windshirt is one of the best ways to look after your rainjacket!
Seriously, if you keep your rainwear for when it is really raining it will last much longer. No shell, even a wp/b e-Vent one is breathable enough to wear all day without some condensation forming. A sub-100g windshirt is one of the most used items in my pack. If you are sweating up a steep hillside, a Pertex (or similar) windshirt will protect you from chilling in a cold wind as good as a wp/b shell, but will let all that moisture escape far easier.
My preference is for one without any DWR, as it breathes much better.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re : wind shell and/ or raingear on 03/26/2009 14:34:14 MDT Print View

"A sub-100g windshirt is one of the most used items in my pack"

Ditto that. It's the best 80 grams I carry.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 14:44:33 MDT Print View

Jim:

I was responding to your post up above that you could get waterproof and breathable but just not at the same time -- as being an outmoded understanding of wp/b technology.

With my MontBell wp/b jacket, I've hiked for hours in the rain while staying dry. My el cheapo (but not totally durable) Driducks are also extremely breathable. And my understanding is that eVENT (which I don't have) is even more breathable still. In any case, all three are significantly more breathable than any version of Goretex.

The Marmot Precip is actually inferior in breathability to the various Goretex laminates -- which likely reinforces your sentiment that when it comes to wp/b -- it can only be one or the other and not both.

Sorry to sound so contrarian -- but just want to point out that some of the newer wp/b technologies do work better and at a wider range of temp/humidity than in the past.

Edited by ben2world on 03/26/2009 14:53:31 MDT.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 14:55:00 MDT Print View

I thought my Marmot Precip parka was made of Gore-something. Turns out to be "PreCip Plus with DryTouch lining". I stand corrected on that and defer to those having experience with the performance of modern materials.

For day hikes with no rain likely I definitely prefer my 4 oz windshirt.

Edited by jimqpublic on 03/26/2009 14:57:59 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 15:00:09 MDT Print View

Thanks Jim.

Yeah, I think we are the same when it comes to taking just a wind shirt for local day hikes (I live in southern Cal where rain is much more seasonal and also predictable). A windshirt is just hard to beat when it comes to light weight and packability.

It's only on multi-day hikes that I want something truly rainproof -- and that's when my MontBell or Driducks get used.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 15:26:34 MDT Print View

Check out this thread which has a nice chart by Richard
Nisley about breathability.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=18298

Gore does have fabrics as breathable as eVent. They just don't
offer them in jackets.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 15:31:51 MDT Print View

"With my MontBell wp/b jacket, I've hiked for hours in the rain while staying dry. My el cheapo (but not totally durable) Driducks are also extremely breathable. And my understanding is that eVENT (which I don't have) is even more breathable still. In any case, all three are significantly more breathable than any version of Goretex."

but are you a heavy sweater? and was it in a heavily humid environment? I've tried multiple types and still have not found a wp/b shell that will help shed wind and not turn into a sauna when it's not raining or very light precip. Especially if the sun is out and is beating down, my shell turns into a sauna, when all i need is a little wind protection to keep from being chilled.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 15:43:21 MDT Print View

"I've tried multiple types and still have not found a wp/b shell that will help shed wind and not turn into a sauna when it's not raining or very light precip"

Ditto again. eVent may be 'more' breathable, but I still sweat profusely in the stuff, and even without any rain or humidity the fabric can't cope like a good windshirt can. YMMV. Not too mention I don't want to trash my expensive eVent fabric when just bush-bashing on a cold windy day.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 15:59:25 MDT Print View

My contention above is that with better technologies nowadays, the range where one can remain dry while hiking in the rain has widened -- and I think it should be obvious to all that a widened range does not mean a complete range.

Now, if it's warm or humid enough or if we are active enough -- we all can sweat profusely even when hiking buck nekkid!!! So never mind a nylon jacket of any kind -- wind or rain -- but even a tee shirt will likely make us sweat even worse! So it that a reason to condemn a rain jacket? Or a wind jacket? Or even a tee shirt?

Bottom line is, of course, to match the tool to the task at hand -- and recognize that sometimes, no tool will solve 100% of our particular problem (like wanting to stay absolutely dry when hiking up a steep mountain in high heat and humidity).

Edited by ben2world on 03/26/2009 16:14:03 MDT.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 16:12:44 MDT Print View

"My contention above is that with better technologies nowadays, the range where one can remain dry while hiking in the rain has widened."

That is not even a contention. It's the reason why, when it IS raining, I go with eVent or DriDucks.

"But did anyone say that a good rain jacket is now more breathable than a good wind jacket?"

Nope.

The breathability of even the best WPB fabrics is far from as good as an untreated nylon windshirt. If the conditions where you hike are cold enough, and if the task at hand is not too strenuous or spiky, then you should be comfortable enough in a good rainjacket. Since I often hike in less hospitable climates and terrains, I carry a windshirt. I just wouldn't want the OP to get the impression that by going out and spending hundreds on a fancy new eVent jacket, that his sweat problems will magically disappear, though they may improve over a wider range of conditions. The fatc that I wear my windshirt at least 10 times more often than my rainjacket indicates that the conditions I hike in warrant the extra 80 grams of carrying a windshirt. If you find you are often wearing your rainjacket as a windshirt, then you may also benefit from adding this extra piece of gear to your arsenal.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 16:29:22 MDT Print View

OK, I see where you are coming from. Going back to my hiking nekkid theory -- I trust OP is well aware that there is no magic fabric and no one here is selling one.

We all know that a well-made but merely rain-resistant wind jacket IS going to be more breathable than a rain jacket that needs to be totally waterproof -- and thus by definition -- there will be some circumstance where one will feel more comfy in the wind jacket.

But truthfully, because both my MB and Driducks have a fairly wide range of comfort, I just haven't experienced for myself any persistent gap where it is just so cold and windy that I need a shell layer while hiking -- and yet, just not cold or windy enough to prevent my pretty-darn-breathable Driducks (or MontBell)from getting or steamy and clammy inside!

At the end, bringing separate pieces of wind and rain jackets and swapping them in accordance with the weather is certainly an option. But for me, I'd rather stick to one for simplicity -- a wind jacket for local day hikes and a rain jacket for multiple-day hikes. Given the relatively narrow gap in breathability (IMO) -- I can manage that by varying the venting options -- and of course, by slowing down a bit if need be.

New bottom line: we each pick our poison. :)

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Waterproof And Breathable? Not at the same time. on 03/26/2009 16:50:06 MDT Print View

I still get funny looks in this part of the world for carrying a windshirt. "THAT'S what a rainjacket is for" my friends inform me. But they are carrying 800+ gram totally indestructible rainjackets that can handle the off-trail abuse we so often encounter. I like the lighter and more breathable feel of DriDucks and eVent (who wouldn't), but the current lightweight offerings are just not up to this kind of abuse. At Xmas I took my DriDucks on what was supposed to be a well-groomed track, only to find that a windstorm had turned it into a bush-bash of the most epic kind. Sadly it also rained the whole week, so my DriDucks got shredded. Still, I'm glad I didn't take the eVent jacket as that would have been a lot more expensive trip! Bottom line, when it's not raining, is that I'm both more comfortable in a windshirt, and less likely to ruin expensive raingear if I wear the windshirt in heavy bush. This is just another factor to consider into the equation, and would probably not be a concern at all if hiking in, say, the Sierras or other open areas.

Yup, we each pick our own poison, but these forums are great for helping make that a more informed choice.