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Current UL windshirts and breathability: are there other options and layering techniques?
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Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Polyester substitutes. on 02/15/2014 18:26:15 MST Print View

One thing that saddens me a little, with these new polyester substitutes for a nice old-style nylon windshirt, is that the polyesters build up a more powerful stink, and do it more quickly.

This is yet another disconnect with what multi-day 'packers need, and what the market provides.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Marmot Incline Hoody on 02/15/2014 19:25:36 MST Print View

That Marmot Incline Hoody does look nice. Seems like they did a good job with the hand pocket placement (unlike Outdoor Research with their Ferrosi Hoody and Mountain Hardwear with their Chocklite).

But it's no lightweight. And it also doesn't even pretend to have DWR.

Edited by clear_blue_skies on 02/15/2014 19:26:12 MST.

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
Not the target market. on 02/15/2014 20:28:01 MST Print View

>The thing this thread really highlights is the disconnect between the main thrust of outdoor product lines and what hikers really need. The retailing centers around winter jackets, heavy soft shells, waterproof hard shells (GoreTex, Neoshell, yadda yadda). The reality is that all of that stuff is way too hot to wear while actually hiking or cross country skiing or snow shoeing or trail running.

I feel like I disagree. There are a lot of great pieces for hikers and backpackers. But hikers and backpackers are not the only market - urban, resort ski, climbing, are likely very large money makers. It would be really great to see a demographic breakdown in sales.

As an ice climber, heavy soft shells and waterproof hard shells are really our bread and butter. Activity levels switch between working very hard and working very little and these pieces are very close to ideal. And we are often in contact with a lot of water, liquid, frozen or melting. Not every item a brand sells has to work for backpackers, but it is fortunate for a brand when an item conceived for one use translates well to another.

The Houdini, for instance, was a climbing jacket that got adopted by (and evolved for) trail running, and now the new climbing Houdini (the Alpine Houdini) more closely matches a climber's wishlist. It was fortunate for us as backpackers that it worked well for us, but now it has diverged.

> One thing that saddens me a little, with these new polyester substitutes for a nice old-style nylon windshirt, is that the polyesters build up a more powerful stink, and do it more quickly.

One thing to consider is that polyester absorbs very little water by weight. It dries very quickly. Nylon on the other hand, absorbs quite a lot of water by weight. If you face changing and challenging weather conditions, you might prefer polyester at expense of others' olfactory senses.

Edited by skomae on 02/15/2014 20:29:16 MST.

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Marmot incline on 02/15/2014 20:31:08 MST Print View

No DWR at all, although it will probably get a shot of NikWax the next time I run a load of Wash-in DWR. Not, that it will matter much. The stretchy grid fleece covering the back is never going to help much in the rain. Still, I've hiked the last two times with a Power Dry HE hoody (Capilene 4) as my top layer. It's been way too cold to worry about rain....

The Incline Hoody does pack up fairly small. It rolls to about the size of a 1 liter Nalgene bottle. That's been my biggest problem with soft shell jackets. They take up a ton of room in the pack.

I'm thinking that the Power Dry HE as an actual base layer with this over it will be a very nice cold weather (10 to 20 deg F) combination.

The OR Ferrosi full-zip jacket looks really nice, too.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Marmot incline on 02/15/2014 20:42:25 MST Print View

Sounds kinda like the Rab Boreas, which DOES have DWR. The maybe OR Centrifuge..?

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
RAB Boreas on 02/15/2014 21:03:25 MST Print View

The RAB Boreas is the hoody version of the Marmot Stretch Light. Same fabric (86% polyester, 14% spandex) with DWR. It's more of light soft shell fabric -- like the really nice unlined softshell hiking pants. The Marmot Incline is a stretchier, less burly, nylon. More like a thermal running top. It's noticeably more breathable, so I'm not expecting it to block a howling wind.

I think RAB and Marmot must share many of the same factories. They often make products with identical fabrics. They do not, however, appear to share the same fashion design team... :)

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Stinky on 02/15/2014 21:06:36 MST Print View

>> This is yet another disconnect with what multi-day 'packers need, and what the market provides.

I don't know... I don't think that people really get that stinky walking down the street to Starbucks in their Patagucci...

I bet that extended trip backpackers make up an infinitessimally small percentage of the market for this stuff.

Edited by wcollings on 02/15/2014 21:37:13 MST.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
DWR? on 02/15/2014 21:12:04 MST Print View

> Sounds kinda like the Rab Boreas, which DOES have DWR.

I thought the Boreas didn't have DWR, but it in fact does. I stand corrected.

As a subsequent poster pointed out, the DWR and other fabric characteristics (including air permeability is listed under the Fabrics tab of the product page on Rab's website).

Edited by clear_blue_skies on 02/16/2014 12:07:54 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Stinky on 02/15/2014 21:22:47 MST Print View

Ha! I was out on the trail and got a whiff of something bad and was wondering what the heck that was until realizing it was me. Time to break out the Dr Bronners and have a little sponge bath and rinse out some base layers!

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Resort ski on 02/15/2014 22:10:38 MST Print View

I think resort skiing and snowboarding drives the winter apparel market more than anything else. The jackets are often shown with insulated ski pants, which don't make much sense for most other activities.

I find it hard to believe that the ice climbing market is where the money is in the winter fashion biz.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: DWR? on 02/15/2014 22:20:30 MST Print View

Paul, on the Rab web page for the Boreas under the Fabric tab it clearly says "DWR/Spray: 80/20".

But the proof is in the pudding so if you have a Boreas you will see light mist bead off. But it is not the robust DWR and needs a warm ironing to keep it activated.

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: Re: DWR? on 02/16/2014 05:36:35 MST Print View

And here might be the reason: I think it was David Chenault who posted a while ago that he needed to add a DWR to make it repel water. And I looked then in older workbooks and I noticed that the first version of the fabric had no DWR and now it has.

However, I noticed something interesting (to me): Rab claims for their Matrix SWS fabric an AP of 8-10 CFM (whether or no DWR had no effect), while here on BPL a value of almost 69 was measured. A big difference. Someome an idea why?

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Re: DWR? on 02/16/2014 05:54:56 MST Print View

FWIW, I have both a SPRING 2011 Houdini and a recent Polygiene-treated Boreas and if I forced to guess I would say the Boreas is at least ~2x more breathable than the Houdini when breathing thru it.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
running jackets on 02/19/2014 12:36:46 MST Print View

Recent running jackets review by OGL: link

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: running jackets on 02/19/2014 14:52:39 MST Print View

Interesting to get a look at other options and a runner's view with high aerobic use.

No hoods! That's not a complete deal killer but it should be noted and there are many runner's shells with hoods. Seeing the photos with tops on the same model was very good. I do think that venting side panels are a good way to balance breathability with wind and water resistance: you can use a main fabric that is less than ideal and balance it with the panels. That does drive up cost and weight.

I didn't get the rationale on the comment on the Marmot Driclime:
"With its thick inner layer, the Marmot DriClime Windshirt was the best model for keeping the wind out. This piece holds in warmth well, while never letting the wind penetrate fully through the insulating fibers."

The Marmot does have a good outer shell, but there's no wind resistance in that microfleece lining. it lacks a hem drawstring or elastic too. Their posted weigh of 9 ounces sounds too light to me.

Paul Hatfield
(clear_blue_skies) - F
Arc’Teryx Incendo on 02/19/2014 15:12:14 MST Print View

I've never seen an Arc’Teryx Incendo in person, but it has been at the top of my list of jackets I've been considering. TrailRunningReview rated the Arc’Teryx Incendo as having excellent breathability, and now OutdoorGearLab has rated it similarly. OutdoorGearLab found the DWR to be excellent, and it's available in a hoody version.

Serge Giachetti
(sgiachetti) - M

Locale: Boulder, CO
inscendo on 02/19/2014 17:51:53 MST Print View

I saw one of these the other day at REI & did a breath test on it. Not very scientific but it didn't seem very breathable at all. Very hard to push breath out of it, almost like quantum. Otherwise a nice jacket, but the fabric is not particularly good for running IMO

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Arcteryx Inscendo venting on 02/19/2014 18:35:36 MST Print View

That's what the venting side panels are all about. There is a whole class of shells that balance the breathability, wind and water repellency by using very breathable vent panels in more protected areas with less breathable fabric in the areas that meet the wind and wet straight on. The approach can work, but almost always means more weight, complexity and expense.

david delabaere

Locale: Northern VA
Several windshirts at REI on 02/19/2014 18:55:00 MST Print View

I noticed a few windshirts at my local REI store:

Salomon Terres - tags claim 5-10CFM, 2 different fabrics, 3 pockets.
Arcteryx Incendio Hoody - mesh side panels
Mammut Prussic - no hood, reminds me a lot of the

All three can pack into a pocket with an attached loop.
I'm usually between a size S and M but the aforementioned are small - I got size M and feel like L would be better if I need to layer a little bit.

I'll try comparing them to some of the other wind shells I have with me
Brooks LSD
MH ghost whisperer
Arcteryx Squamish (not sure which year, but 2012 or older)
Patagonia Houdini 2011 or older (I don't have it with me right now but I can remember a few things about it)
The ebay Knockoff
Rab Boreas (not strickly a windshell I know)

I only own the last 4, the others I got from REI to do some very light testing and basic measurements to find out more about them.

Roman Vazhnov
(joarr) - MLife

Locale: Russia
Re: inscendo on 02/20/2014 03:03:35 MST Print View

Incendo uses the same fabric as Squamish. As for me - Squamish is rather breathable, sufficient for fast hiking, or easy xc skiing for sure. I would like to compare it to old Houdini, but i don't have it. For running, air permeability of Squamish is not enough, i prefer Equilibrium, which on other side don't have such weather protection characteristics. So it is the question of application and needed balance.