Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets on 11/08/2011 14:36:30 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F - M
stoic on 11/08/2011 14:59:51 MST Print View

i still find it quite hilarious that a 129$ (80$ sale) retailer branded jacket outperformed every other $$$$ new fangled high tech big named jacket save one in the highly hyped breathability ... sure its a bit heavier but its 1/3 the price

excellent reviews

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/08/2011 15:01:24 MST.

Ben Smith
(goosefeet) - MLife

Locale: Georgia
Re: Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets on 11/08/2011 15:15:08 MST Print View

I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic...

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Spektr on 11/08/2011 15:15:21 MST Print View

Well done again Will. Lovely to see such quantitative info on such a typically vague topic.

I feel obligated to discuss my experience with the Spektr (part of the sub 8 oz, WPB SOTMR I'm working on), least some folks buy it and be disappointed. My anecdotal experience was the same as Will's, it was very breathable compared to G-tex Paclite and PU jackets. I also found the Tornado closure and hood to be rather silly. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of heavy use the face fabric fuzzed up enough from pack strap and hip belt abrasion that it began leaking irrevocably at those points. At first it seemed like a DWR failure, but the DWR had been recently revived via cleaning (non-detergent soap, double rinse, ~10 minutes in the dryer on moderate heat), and the volume of leakage was clearly too much to attribute to condensation. The only conclusion left is that the face fabric is not up to the task, odd given how stiff and stout it feels out of the box.

Jason McSpadden
(JBMcSr1) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Field Testing on 11/08/2011 16:01:15 MST Print View

And I loved seeing the sight of my home town in the first picture of the article. It would be fun to go hiking around there again!

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F - M

Locale: Lander, WY
Pit zips on 11/08/2011 17:46:06 MST Print View

Great article, thanks for all of your research and writing! I only have one qualm with the article, and that was the statement about pit-zips being ineffective at venting. I have definitely had positive experiences using the pit zips in my patagonia M10. While backcountry skiing, I'm undone the pit zips and steam has immediately come out of them. To me, thats evidence that pit zips can release moisture. Certainly unzipping the front zipper is much more effective in releasing the most moisture, but in heavy rain or snow it is just not realistic to unzip the front of a jacket. Pit zips do add some weight, but to me they also greatly increase the versatility of a WPB shell by allowing the jacket to be used in a much wider variety of conditions.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Spektr on 11/08/2011 17:47:42 MST Print View

@ David. Thanks for the update. I think I will now go for the Rab Demand pullover and hope it is a bit more durable.

Lars Laird Eriksen
(larslaird) - M
Compare to Paramo style jackets? on 11/09/2011 07:08:13 MST Print View

Thanks for an excellent and thorough series! I was just wondering how a paramo-style jacket like the Quito would do in such a test? Any takers?

David Stenberg
(dstenberg1) - F

Locale: South
Re: Re: Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets on 11/09/2011 09:06:51 MST Print View

"I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic..."

x2

That looks like a new cuben 'mid!

Greg Hummel
(bighummel)
Frogg Toggs on 11/09/2011 10:51:12 MST Print View

Am I missing something or have you just ignored what most thru-hikers have been using for the past several years; Frogg Toggs. Yep, they're not perfect, but they're light weight, work well under the conditions you tested, not durable at all, but way low cost!!

Greg

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Proof! on 11/09/2011 11:05:58 MST Print View

The high tech sensors in my skin have led me to all eight of your now scientifically proven conclusions. The jacket reviews is helpful. Thanks for the interesting article.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F - M
So what is the shelter in the last pic? on 11/09/2011 12:08:38 MST Print View

"I'd like to know what the specs are of that shelter in the last pic..."

x3

Andy Davison
(FurTech) - M
Max to min humidities on 11/09/2011 15:14:44 MST Print View

Thanks again, Will, very interesting and thorough.
I was wondering how you account for the different humidities in each jacket at the start of the graphs? Perhaps measuring the differences between minimum and maximum humidity would produce a slightly different ranking, but high humidity drives greater moisture vapour transfer, making that an imperfect comparison too?

Will Rietveld
(WilliWabbit) - MLife

Locale: Southwest Colorado
Responses to WPB Jackets Article on 11/09/2011 16:55:36 MST Print View

Hi all, thanks for your comments and lively discussion on this article series. There appears to be a lot of interest in this subject. My responses:

Greg: Frogg Toggs and other Propore-type jackets are not included in this group of jackets because they are too dissimilar, although including one of these for comparison would have been interesting. We have projects in the works to test and compare lightweight rain jackets and pants under 8 ounces, which would include these.

Ben, David, Manfred: The Cuben Fiber shelter in the photo is the Lawson Equipment Mountain Mid. Its a prototype I have been testing. Current specs are: 2-person, supported with two trekking poles inside, 1 zippered entry, 2 high vents, catenary ridgeline and sides. Weight is about 14 oz with guylines and stakes. Its not on the Lawson Equipment website (http://lawsonequipment.com/All-Products-c125/), but perhaps you could persuade him to make one for you.

Eric: The Stoic Vaporshell Jacket from Backcountry.com is a screaming deal, especially when its on sale for $79. Sizing is true and it fits great. Its 13 ounce weight is the only downside, but its lighter than many of the other air-permeable jackets. Some people complain about the lack of hand pockets, but that adds weight.

Happy hiking, Will

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3: Discussion, Conclusions, and Performance of Individual Jackets on 11/09/2011 18:35:00 MST Print View

I've been fondling (over the internet) the Backcountry Stoic Vaporshell even before this article came out. Now that the article has given me the confidence to pull the trigger - Backcountry no longer has the men's Vaporshell. :-(

wander lust
(sol)
Re: Compare to Paramo style jackets? on 11/09/2011 20:06:11 MST Print View

"Thanks for an excellent and thorough series! I was just wondering how a paramo-style jacket like the Quito would do in such a test? Any takers?"

EDIT:

My Quito leaked in heavy rain after 2 hours.
I should have washed it and reproofed it to maintain its performance in such weather!

I wouldn't recommend it for backpacking if you don't clean it regularly.
Water got in at all pressure points (shoulder straps, hip belt and the back), where the DWR was most likely not working anymore.
A lot of water probably also got in from the fully opened pit zips, which are huge btw.

It really depends how warm it is. Paramo is warmer than the typical raingear, but it basically saves you a mid layer.

The comfort level is probably under 5C (41F) or in windy and wet weather.
I run hot though.

The Quito has very long pit zips and some one can even put his arms through them to get even better ventilation.

Bottom line: maintain paramo's performance on a regularly base (after long trips, otherwise every few months) and this stuff is made for cold weather only.

It breathes better than everything else I have tried though.

Edited by sol on 12/05/2011 17:23:09 MST.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Nice on 11/09/2011 20:12:12 MST Print View

Great wrap-up and conclusions Will. I was really hoping that these materials had come a great distance further than they have. I also hope that the industry will really stand up and take notice of all the interest in these fabrics and what users are looking for. They've got a whole market segment to capture and hopefully the bean counters say it is great enough to spend R&D time to bring significantly better products to market. Because your report definitely notes the need for them.

It would be interesting to find how well Joe's new Zpacks breathable cuben jacket is.

Finally, Will, I'm aware of the announcement you made recently but really hope to see you and your influence around BPL. It is greatly appreciated.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
pitzips on 11/09/2011 21:05:46 MST Print View

Great article, yet again!

There is another way pitzips can help you vent when it's steamy inside the jacket, as long as it's not actively raining. I've found that on a jacket with large (or long?) pitzips, I can pull my arms from the jacket sleeves and stick them through the pit openings, turning the jacket into a kind of vest. Helps me to cool off quicker.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3 on 11/09/2011 22:51:24 MST Print View

Obviously the perfect truly waterproof and truly breathable fabric (especially one that will hold up long enough to be worth what will undoubtedly be a very high price) is still unobtanium! It may really happen, but probably not in my lifetime!

But thanks, Will, for cutting through the hype and giving us the real dope on what's currently out there! And best wishes on your retirement! I suspect we'll still see you around! It sounds as though you're not really ready to give up looking at new gear!

Edited by hikinggranny on 11/09/2011 22:53:28 MST.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Field Testing Air Permeable Waterproof-Breathable Fabric Technologies Part 3 on 11/10/2011 08:56:44 MST Print View

LOL! I always remember trying to pro-deal unobtanium jackets, stoves, packs and/or tents years ago when I used to work at REI.

Still looks like they are completely out of stock. Perhaps next we'll see "virtual camping equipment" for our next e-hike.

:)

On a serious note, thank you for your very thorough review of the latest and greatest. Leads me to remember that half the time, it's actually quite pleasant just to enjoy being wet, as long as I am confident I can get dry at the right time I need to...