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2014 Rain Shell Advice (SOTM maybe?)
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Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
2014 Rain Shell Advice (SOTM maybe?) on 01/04/2014 18:24:34 MST Print View

Disclaimer: Yeah yeah forum police, use the search function, yada, yada, yada ... well don't reply if you are sure it's already been said on here and I should look elsewhere.

Anyway, it's 2014 now, and I have a Golite Tumalo or something (trinity maybe?) that weighs 8-9 ounces. It's alright. In the sierras in the summer I usually just bring an MLD silnylon poncho or nothing (i.e. my windshirt) . Anyway, I'm thinking what better solution is out there in the event it actually ever rains in California again. Who knows, maybe this winter is going to be the ticket. Driest December in 160 years be damned. What do you use/like? What weighs less than 7 oz. breathes okay, is primarily waterproof, and less than $300? Thanks in advance for your time and help (unless you are suggesting I utilize a "search" function).

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Some options: on 01/04/2014 19:16:10 MST Print View

All under 7oz:
Outdoor research helium II -good, hood fits funny though.
Montane Minimus Smock -awesome, but runs very small
Lukes Ultralight pertex rain shell -awesome, lightest (4oz!) but not as waterproof as the above.
O2 rainwear -good, cheap, not so durable
Dry ducks -good, cheap, not so durable

I have them all...hard to pick a favorite.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Also on 01/04/2014 19:18:44 MST Print View

ZPacks makes a super light breathable cuben shell jacket.
Pricey though.

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Aaaand... on 01/04/2014 19:22:47 MST Print View

Montbell Versalite. Haven't tried it...but looks fully featured for 6.7 oz.
Ok I'll stop now. :)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Some options: on 01/04/2014 19:49:10 MST Print View

"Montane Minimus Smock -awesome, but runs very small"

I can wholeheartedly endorse this one for Sierra 3 season use. I gave it a full season trial, including one real doozy of a rainstorm, and it performed very well. The wide chest pocket is a very useful feature. I found it light enough at ~5.5 oz and compact enough to also use as a wind shirt, which eliminated another piece of gear. It runs, as Christopher mentioned, on the small side, but at 5'7" & 137# that was not a problem for me. If you are on the stocky side or otherwise largish, you might want to go up a size, especially if you intend to layer underneath it. The only potential downside, as I see it, is durability. I think Dan Durston alluded to that in an earlier thread, and he may be right, especially if you spend a lot of time in thick brush. However, in the Sierra you have to go looking for that kind of trouble so, with that caveat, I don't think it should be a real issue for you.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Pertex on 01/04/2014 21:28:23 MST Print View

I have the Montane Minimus Pants and my wife has the Montane Minimus jacket. Both use Pertex Shield+.

My durability concerns are with the membrane (as opposed to the face fabrics being used). My rain pants were waterproof initially, but after a few months of regular use (hiking, biking etc) they started leaking heavily (not just DWR failure) and about the same time the membrane starting bubbling off inside the pants. My wife's jacket which has seen far less use is just fine. I think this membrane is fine if you're carrying rain gear that really only gets used a few times per season, but if you use rain gear regularly and/or want it to last many years then I suggest going with something a bit more robust. Generally speaking, a lot of 2.5 layer membranes have bubbling issues after moderate use, but the Pertex Shield+ bubbled a lot quicker than my previous jacket (Marmot Essence).

There are some darn nice 3 layer rain jackets now in the 7-9oz range that are substantially more durable. Haglofs Gram Comp, Arcteryx Tecto FL, Mountain Hardware Blazer, Montane Spektr etc. come to mind. I don't have a problem with the light 15D face fabrics (nylon) being used, but the ultra thin membranes with very little interior protection can wear off pretty quick - especially under pack straps.

Anyways, it's a tradeoff in weight, durability and price. The right choice is an individual call. With that said, my GoLite Reed rain pants weighed the same (4oz) and were in pace to last much longer than my Minimus. I wish I hadn't sold them. Currently I've still got the minimus pants but I painted them with tent floor sealant so they're 0.7oz heavier now, waterproof again and seemingly not breathable at all.

Edited by dandydan on 01/05/2014 14:08:38 MST.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
How about $25 more? on 01/05/2014 13:43:03 MST Print View

For $25 more than your limit you can have yourself a 4.5 oz ZPacks rain jacket.

Or for $150 you can get a OR Helium II at 6.2 oz.

Also there is the 4 oz Sierra Designs Cloud Shell. I think it's about $125

Edited by jleeb on 01/05/2014 15:27:57 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Durability on 01/05/2014 13:59:23 MST Print View

as dan alluded to many people seem to have issues with 2.5 layer jackets delaminated, bubbling, etc

Often it may happens a few years after purchases even with infrequent use

A rain jacket is an item where an unlimited no questions asked warranty is a huge bonus

If you get somethin like an OR helium youll be covered no matter what ...

Rain jacket delamination and failure is likely the most common gear failure most people will experience

Especially the UL jackets ...

;)

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
OR Helium II on 01/05/2014 15:27:11 MST Print View

Any idea what the waterproof rating for the Helium II is? I'm trying to compare that jacket with the Sierra Designs Cloud Shell which comes in at 4oz and has a rating of 4,000.

Edited by jleeb on 01/05/2014 15:29:04 MST.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: OR Helium II on 01/05/2014 19:05:21 MST Print View

The helium 1 was 10k+

The new one should be just as good or better


;)

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: OR Helium II on 01/05/2014 19:29:35 MST Print View

According to the pertex web site (the jacket is made from Pertex shield +) and it has a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm. It is waterproof but the durability of this fabric doesn't appear to be that good based on what I have read.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Pertex Shield+ on 01/05/2014 21:06:01 MST Print View

To be clearer than my earlier post, water was substantially leaking through intact Pertex Shield+ membrane in my pants prior to it bubbling. It does bubble off, but it also somehow ceases to be waterproof (wears thinner? micro cracks?) before then. I remember one morning this summer where I arrived at our field site with a heavy dew on the thigh high grass. I was maybe 5 strides into the field when I felt water rapidly soaking through my work pants (inside the rain pants). I already knew the rain pants were leaking, but I was amazed how they had regressed from being waterproof to barely resisting water at all.

Pertex Shield+ works when it's new, but it goes downhill much faster than I anticipated and much faster than other 2.5L membranes then I've used. If you've actually looked at a garment that uses this stuff it's pretty obvious why. The membrane inside the face fabric is unbelievably thin and not really protected at all (i.e. the ".5" layer is almost nothing). This membrane isn't your typical white layer. It's a clear coating about as thick as a coat of hair spray. The reason it's lighter is because it's thinner.

I'm actually not totally against the stuff, but users should be aware of it's limited lifespan - it's a niche product. There's no free lunch - thicker and better protected membranes last longer. A regular PU 2.5 layer will last longer, and a protected 3-layer membrane will last much longer still.

Edited by dandydan on 01/05/2014 21:09:21 MST.

Jon Leibowitz
(jleeb) - F - MLife

Locale: 4Corners
Re: Pertex Shield+ on 01/06/2014 06:52:05 MST Print View

Dan, there may be a free lunch if you buy pertex from OR since they will replace it forever as soon as it starts acting poorly. Seems when you take that into account the Helium II is a deal and a safe investment.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Pertex Shield+ on 01/06/2014 10:31:54 MST Print View

Or anything bought from MEC ...

Jacket delaminations are one of their more common warranty replacmemts .... Rocksolid lifetime guarantee

;)

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Thanks Very Much on 01/06/2014 13:29:02 MST Print View

For all the replies and insight. Christopher, Jon and Dan your suggestions and experience were very helpful. It seems there are some better options out there, and I think I will be purchasing a Montane or OR Helium at the end of the season. I wish there were more sub 6 oz. options, but I guess it's only been a year or two since I was so excited to have a 9 oz. breathable shell, so I could not expect to do much better than 6.

Dan, how do the Montane jakcets fit? I am a medium and like shells baggy, but every now and then a Small fits me better. One example is patagonia and arcteryx. I cannot ever wear a patagonia in size small, but Arcteryx medium base layers are huge on me. Golite smalls fit, but I prefer the slightly oversized Mediums.

To scratch my itch - given how much I actually use a shell this could be a permanent solution - I ordered a Sierra Designs Cloud Air Shell off the Gear Swap. It came in at just over $10 per ounce or $50 for 3.8 measured ounces. Will let you know how it goes. The weight will not have me deciding whether to pack the shell, the windshirt, or both, and the price will help me get into a new pair of showshoes more quickly.

Edited by bcutlerj on 01/06/2014 13:32:00 MST.