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Ultralight Waterproof Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Ultralight Waterproof Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report on 03/20/2012 17:12:21 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Ultralight Waterproof Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

WPB Jackets on 03/20/2012 20:32:16 MDT Print View

Awesome write up. This is super helpful. Too bad the Ozo is so pricey and hard to get.

FWIW, I cut the flaps off the pit vents in my Essence because I figured they pretty much blocked the vents and negated their existence. In extended hard rains you can now get a little wet in this area, as the insides of the arm sleeves eventually get wet which rubs into the mesh and then soaks into your shirt. The upside is that you get quite a bit better venting in moderate rains. Perhaps I should just cut out the mesh too.

I also replaced the waist hem shockcord with lighter (1/16") stuff, and snipped off the storm flap from behind the main zip to bring the weight to 6.20oz. Now it's a good light duty jacket but probably not the best choice for big rains.

Edited by dandydan on 03/20/2012 20:33:22 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: WPB Jackets on 03/21/2012 00:12:58 MDT Print View

Great stuff, Dave.

I also have the Essence, but unfortunately cannot comment on its comparison to other rain jackets as this is my only one. It's good to see where it stands in the group, and what I could be looking for with a future jacket.

Edited by T.L. on 03/21/2012 00:13:29 MDT.

Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Waterproof Jackets on 03/21/2012 10:34:30 MDT Print View

Thanks for the reviews!

There's been a couple of new rain jackets recently released, which didn't make the review:
Helium II and the Zpacks Cuben rainjacket

Kurt Lammers
(lammers8) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Good stuff on 03/21/2012 10:38:57 MDT Print View

Unfortunately I couldn't wait any longer to replace my not-super-breathable GoLite Virga but fortunately I have a Zpacks w/b jacket on order, I'll be happy to share my thoughts when it arrives in the near future - the Rab Pulse was high on my short list, happy to see that it held up to the very thorough report. Thanks Dave!

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Ultralight Waterproof Breathable Jackets: 2012 State of the Market Report on 03/21/2012 12:45:24 MDT Print View

Great review, but it is a bit disappointing that no Propore or breathable Cuben jackets were reviewed. I know Propore is extremely fragile and Cuben is extremely expensive, but I would like to know how those materials compare to the ones reviewed in terms of breathability and waterproofness. My understanding is that they both are great in both areas, but I would like to have BPL confirm (or refute) that.

Edited by rossbleakney on 03/21/2012 12:51:08 MDT.

Christopher Knaus

Locale: Northern California
Complementary Data? on 03/21/2012 12:46:49 MDT Print View

Good stuff! Any chance of getting breathability data like Will published back in October & November for this set of jackets? This would complement the "subjective impression" on breathability and help us to understand the broader range of options in the market.

Phillip Damiano

Locale: Australia
Montane waterproof on 03/21/2012 14:16:00 MDT Print View

Hmmm, now I'm concerned that my Montane jacket will keep me dry after reading this review.

I purchased a Montane Air eVent Jacket last week, is this jacket made of similar material to the Spectre reviewed here?

Should I send this jacket back?

Edited by Phillipsart on 03/21/2012 14:49:29 MDT.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Probably OK on 03/21/2012 14:49:03 MDT Print View

I think Montane (and others?) have been using this grade of Event for a bit, and on multiple jackets. So probably more likely a one off problem. Maybe not a great failure rate, but goodness knows.
(As per Montane's website the Air, Spectre and Trojan use precisely the same fabric.).

The really bad thing about the Ozo is of course it seemingly having been discontinued. I do normally like Haglofs but sometimes....

Another one - Norrona's new version of the Bithorn Dri1 seems to have their usual big pit zips/side vents and claimed at 214g.

Edited by MartinCarpenter on 03/21/2012 14:49:48 MDT.

Phillip Damiano

Locale: Australia
Thanks on 03/21/2012 14:57:52 MDT Print View

I might have an option to upgrade to the Montane Venture Jacket, I believe is made of more durable eVent, although at a cost of weight at 439 grams compared to 330 grams for the Air Jacket. But if it means staying dry the Venture might be a better option for me. I don't really want to carry the extra 100 grams if I can help it, but I do want to stay dry.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Spektr durability on 03/21/2012 18:20:41 MDT Print View

My issue with the Spektr is the only incident of it's kind of which I'm aware. I was quite surprised that it failed as it did, and what I wrote is merely the least unlikely explanation. If I hadn't seen to it myself, I'd have sworn the problem arose from negligent DWR maintenance. Montane has a great reputation, and I doubt they'd leave a consumer out in the wet should they experience a comparable materials failure.

Phillip Damiano

Locale: Australia
Re: re: Spektr durability on 03/21/2012 19:00:01 MDT Print View

Have you contacted Montane in regards to this matter? Would be interesting to hear what they have to say about the failure.
Just spoke to a hiker that used the Montane Air Jacket on the Overland Track in Tasmania and he couldn't be any happier with the jacket. That's one week of backpacking. However it did not rain everyday.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Replacement for a Montane Quickfire on 03/21/2012 19:01:15 MDT Print View

I have been using a 320g Montane Quickfire for 3 years and recently have been keeping my eye out for a lighter weight equivalent and just cant seem to find one.

After using Event I just cant go back to a less breathable material.

William Moon
(moon) - MLife

Locale: Central Utah
Marmot Mica? on 03/21/2012 20:17:30 MDT Print View

David, this is really a helpful review. I was just wondering why the Marmot Mica at 7 oz was not included as it has been around for a number of years?


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Marmot Mica? on 03/22/2012 00:50:06 MDT Print View

if you look at part 1 you will see the problem with the mica ... delamination ... this is not the first time ive heard of it happening on marmots or micas ... ive also seen someone post his experience that marmot refused to cover it because the "lifetime" of the product wore out ...

which is why i went to the OR helium and OR's no question asked warranty ...

from part 1 ...

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: WPB Jackets on 03/22/2012 15:01:22 MDT Print View

I have the TNF Triumph and like it for its simplicity and especially its very compact size. Its the closest in compressibility to a wind shirt I have seen.
But I still can't wrap my head around the idea of buchwacking in any of these? Im skeptical that they can stand up to a bushwack. I would not do it in my TNF anorak thats for sure.

Gerry Brucia
(taedawood) - MLife

Locale: Louisiana, USA
Montane Minimus with Pertex Shield on 03/22/2012 16:00:37 MDT Print View

For nearly a year I have used a Montane Minimus Jacket that uses Pertex Shield. It is light and very comfortable, breathes very well. But it has an "inner lining problem", according to the response I recently received from Montane after emailing them photos of my wet jacket. Just today I shipped the jacket back to the vendor to initiate the warranty replacement process.

When I first subjected it to a torrential storm (8"+ in a 24 hour period)in November, it did relatively well and only wetted out under the backpack straps. Shortly thereafter I washed it in a top-loading washing machine on a gentle cycle using Nikwax Wash, following Montane's washing instructions, and then re-did the WR with Nikwax TX Direct according to the bottle instructions.

Within a month, I noticed that the inner fabric was separating from the outer fabric. It did not rip, it just delaminated. And the jacket lost virtually all water repellancy.

It is a hassle having to return it but I hope that this is an anomaly and not the norm for Pertex Shield. I have had several Montane products and I really like them. If my replacement jacket does not exhibit this type of problem, I will tell y'all that this is a fantastic jacket. But until I get it and test it out for a while, the jury is still out!

Edited by taedawood on 03/22/2012 16:02:46 MDT.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Invisible Durability on 03/22/2012 18:55:34 MDT Print View

The problem of continued jacket/fabric performance that many have mentioned here is, I think, basically one of visibility. Weight, features, cut, are all parameters that are visible when we purchase a garment, perhaps more or less understood, but able to be factored into our decisions. Fabric durability, and, to a lesser extent, construction durability are not. Nor is performance under extreme circumstance--it's one thing to keep out the rain, and maintain breath-ability, in a 1/2 hour shower, but quite another in a day-long rain. As soon as the external fabric wets out, breath-ability goes down the tubes.
And considering that an enormous amount of sold backpacking equipment spends most of its time in the closet, manufacturers don't have an enormous incentive to make their gear actually reliable in difficult environments. A great many jackets probably only come out of their closets for a run to the movies.
One way to change this--unlikely, I admit-- would be to have some kind of event like a NASCAR race, in which 10 walkers, each wearing a different manufacturer's garment, spent a day walking across some forsaken moor in a pelting downpour, the winner being the walker with the driest base layer at the end of 10 hours. Part of the route would be over scree, through brush, past artificial snow machines, uphill and down. Heck, you could probably even use a NASCAR track, with strategic artificial obstacles, and televise the thing.
Right now, simply being able to make a plausible claim is good enough. Consider Goretex, in its original forms--almost completely worthless as vapor transport in real world situations, but it had a good enough story to build an empire.

Edited by swimjay on 03/22/2012 18:56:13 MDT.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Invisible Durability on 03/22/2012 19:15:55 MDT Print View

"plausible claim"

I think you nailed it.

Ronald Bishop
(Compass) - MLife

Locale: Ontario
Haglofs Ozo on 03/24/2012 11:13:53 MDT Print View


As mentioned in another post, I believe the Ozo has been discontinued, as I can't find it on Haglofs' web site.

Did you happen to find any jackets with Gore-Tex construction that fit the category? I own a Marmot Nano with GT Paclite, which Gore-Tex claims is durably waterproof and extremely breathable. It weighs 8.5 oz (size L), but I haven't used it enough in rainy conditions to provide constructive feedback.