Breathable waterproof jackets

EV_007

EV_007

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
924
Location
Over there -- >
With Fall and Winter right around the corner I've been looking to get a new coat. I am looking at acquiring a beathable/waterproof shell that will keep me warm and dry without excessive se=weating.

Is the whole GoreTex and other material/treatments what they are all cracked up to be?

Any ideas, opinions? I like the look and feel of some of the Northface coats.
 
Dr Jekell

Dr Jekell

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
493
Location
New Zealand
The problem with these so called Breathable jackets is that what you put on underneath can contain sweat eg sweatshirt, polarfleece, wool jumper.

Your best bet to reduce sweating is to use less layers but then you have to problem of being colder.

Wearing a cotton Tshirt as your base layer help keep you comfortable when you are sweating.

To sum it up there is no easy fix & you just have to decide on wether you want to be warm & risk sweating or to be slightly cold and not sweat.

Unless it is sweating problem for what you are doing I wouldn't worry about it.

BTW Goretex is a nice fabric & rather easy to care for. Just put it in the drier every few months and once or twice a season (depending on use & how dirty it gets) just use a dedicated cleaner and waterproofing liquid and it will last a life time given propper care.
 
lightsandknives

lightsandknives

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 16, 2006
Messages
551
Location
Oklahoma
The problem with these so called Breathable jackets is that what you put on underneath can contain sweat eg sweatshirt, polarfleece, wool jumper.

Your best bet to reduce sweating is to use less layers but then you have to problem of being colder.

Wearing a cotton Tshirt as your base layer help keep you comfortable when you are sweating.

To sum it up there is no easy fix & you just have to decide on wether you want to be warm & risk sweating or to be slightly cold and not sweat.

Unless it is sweating problem for what you are doing I wouldn't worry about it.

BTW Goretex is a nice fabric & rather easy to care for. Just put it in the drier every few months and once or twice a season (depending on use & how dirty it gets) just use a dedicated cleaner and waterproofing liquid and it will last a life time given propper care.


I've heard climbers refer to cotton as the "death fabric" because it gets wet and stays wet and as temperatures drop, it makes you cold. Polypropalene wicks moisture away from your body to help keep you dry.

Here's a good article on dressing for the outdoors

I have a couple of Gore-tex jackets and they do a nice job of keeping you dry and providing pretty good ventilation.
 
A

Alpine

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 3, 2004
Messages
14
Is the whole GoreTex and other material/treatments what they are all cracked up to be?

In short, yes. I got my first Gore-Tex shell 10 years or so ago and have never looked back. My latest rain jacket is a Marmot Oracle. It's very light and fits well. Still gives good coverage during activity and no swimming in sweat during cooldown. As long as you wear breathable layers, that is.

I don't know anyone personally who has complained about North Face stuff. It's good gear.
 
C

chmsam

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Messages
2,241
Location
3rd Stone
Treat your Gore Tex well and it's worth it. My parka is ancient but still a joy to wear. Do what it says on the label if for no other reason than they are expensive to replace.

In extreme weather, cotton may not be the best choice, but in moderate climates it is OK as a base layer. Serious cold leads me toward other choices like silk ($$$ but light weight and works well) or a synthetic base layer (cheaper but needs to be taken care of more carefully -- I'm cheap and went that route). Basic theory is that you do not want to get to the point where you are sweating. That can get you wet, which can get you cold, which can get you dead. Take off a layer before you start to sweat.

Don't forget that the head, hands, and feet are responsible for much of the heat loss. Cover them well and you'd be amazed at how much lighter you can go with the other layers.

Also remember that the more layers you have, the more options you have all year long.
 
greenlight

greenlight

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 18, 2004
Messages
4,298
Location
chill valley
I'm all about gore tex, that stuff is great, even dental floss.
 
F

fnmag

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
2,092
Location
Desert Southwest
GoreTex is great and I highly recommend it. Especially the latest Gore XCR. In my experience nothing compares to it. There are number of high quality outdoor clothiers about who offer their own brand of waterproof/breathable clothes but I've never found one that is the equal of actual GoreTex.
 
greenstuffs

greenstuffs

Banned
Joined
Dec 4, 2006
Messages
1,198
Location
Norman, OK
I have found out that the best goretex is the ones sold at the BX or army surplus. Yes the ones used by the US troops. Great fabrics, built like a tank with very well made threads and use of double layer of rugged nylon in elbows and knees. I always carry a parka in my car, mine was free given to me by a friend in the Air Force. But they are great and they are better stuff than north face. With a bunch of pockets to keep dry your stuff. The new Navy Seal version has mag pouches but you can use them for flashlight and cellphone very neat. They sell these in black if you don't like wearing camo like the Hillbillies at www.uscav.com

Actually the north face stuff is a knock off of the US Gen 1, 2 ECWCS system and also they blatantly copied the USMC SPEAR Fleece jacket, well they made the rugged shoulders for the purpose to protect the fleece from the nylon when worn under the Parka, North Face just thought it was cool and it works as bunch of college kids wears them with their back packs. I buy the real stuff made in USA i pass the $400 goretex from sri lanka or vietnam. I do believe North Face makes good stuff but you can do better with your money. If you are paying top dollar demand for top dollar appearal.
Of course you may look like a hill billy if you wear the woodland gortex but the new marpat is really cool :D. The only drawback is that the search and rescue team will have a hard time to find you if you get lost when wearing these.
SPEAR JACKET
spear3.jpg


Cheap Knock Off
1425216_s1_i1.jpg
 
Last edited:
H

Hikaru

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Jan 18, 2005
Messages
92
Gore-tex (or the alternatives) is worth it if you're going to get stuck in more 10 min of hard rain or 40 min of light rain.
Gore-tex is based around a polymer membrane that has pores small enough to block liquid water drops and large enough to pass water vapor. For a long time Gore had a patent that prevented alternatives, but that seems to have passed now and many different companies are coming out with their own porous membrane fabrics. REI has Elements, for example.
The membrane is not very durable so it needs to be protected by (sandwiched between) more durable fabrics (usually heavy nylon). This makes the whole thing fairly heavy and stiff. Some recent jackets have tried to improve on this by making the innermost layer only a light mesh or an array of plastic bumps directly applied to the goretex to reduce wear. (These are usually termed 2 or 2.5 layer fabrics.)
If you aren't going to be in heavy rain, you should also take a look at some of the so-called "soft" shells. They're like a traditional fleece jacket with a highly water resistant outer layer. Breathable, stretchable, tough, light, and decently water resistant.
 
shakeylegs

shakeylegs

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
725
Location
napa valley
Of all the waterproof/breathable fabrics, eVent is the most breathable by far. Goretex Packlight and XCR are both very good with XCR being a bit tougher. Marmot's waterproof/breathable jackets also perform pretty well. There are a whole host of generic waterproof/breathable fabrics now in use and most of those perform about the same. Guess the right jacket depends upon your needs. If you are very active in highly humid conditions or a very heavy downpour, the advantages of waterproof/breathable may be lost.
Good waterproof/breathables vent away some of your perspiration when the humidity inside your jacket exceeds that outside. They won't vent all your persiration if you are very active. Pit zips, a front 2way zip, etc, can be the best way to vent excess perspiration.
Near and below freezing, they may not perform so well. Also, in a heavy downpour, they won't breath at all because the pours of the jacket are blocked by rain soaking the outside of the jacket. Here again, pit zips can come in handy.
If you expect waterproof/breathables to cut the wind, vent some perspiration under dry cool conditions, and keep water out when the downpour comes, then they are for you. If you want breathability in highly humid or downpour conditions, forget it. Buy a urethane coated jacket with lots of venting zippers and don't move around a whole lot.

Check these sources out for some other perspectives:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi...tegory_display?cid=46&cat=Clothing - Raingear
and
http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/clothing.html#rainshell
and
http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2006/breatheasy.cfm

Find the shell that best suits your activity.
 
Last edited:
B

barkingmad

Enlightened
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Messages
578
Most (all?) GoreTex is not as breathable as eVent - the GoreTex Paclite is ok but I would still wear eVent in preference and remember to wash both in proper cleaners (i.e. not in with the normal wash).

As for base layers - cotton is certainly not recommended - better tp wear a synthetic base layer or better still merino wool (look for Smartwool / Icebreaker etc.).
 
Last edited:
Coop

Coop

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
2,199
Location
Tilburg, the Netherlands (perfectly reachable by U
I have 3 breathable jackets:

Black Bear: better than the usual non-breathable jackets
Tenson MPC: better than the Black Bear
Northface Hyvent: better than the Tenson MPC

and there are other materials that are better (but total overkill for the climate I live in). When I bought my northface jacket I tried a lot of different jackets first. The northface hyvent jackets have the best price/quality/performance ratio. But YMMV... I didn't have much choice in models, as not all their products come in XXL (I need it for my shoulders, not my beergut, honestly) Fjallraven makes great stuff too, but over here it's quite a bit more expensive.

And again, pay attention to the layers under the jacket too. Merino wool is great but expensive (I sleep under Merino :)). Fleece will do nicely too...
 
R

ringzero

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
1,316
With Fall and Winter right around the corner I've been looking to get a new coat. I am looking at acquiring a beathable/waterproof shell that will keep me warm and dry without excessive se=weating....Is the whole GoreTex and other material/treatments what they are all cracked up to be?


The short answer is no, GoreTex and similar fabrics aren't all they're cracked up to be.

I base this opinion on having owned garments featuring several different generations of GoreTex. Also have owned garments featuring fabrics from several of the GoreTex competitors or clones.

My real world observations:

-GoreTex and its clones do "breathe" marginally better than urethane coated nylon rainwear, but not enough to make a practical difference in many outdoor scenarios. Strenuous activities will cause sensible moisture accumulation inside a GoreTex garment.

-However, well-made garments featuring GoreTex and its clones are typically more durable than coated nylon rainwear. Even good quality coated nylon rainwear may remain rainproof for only a season of use before the coating wears off enough to allow leakage. A well-built GoreTex jacket can remain rainproof after years of usage.

In my experience North Face gear is generally of good quality, but rather expensive. It may not the best gear available, but is usually well-designed and well-built. I doubt that you'd go wrong buying any North Face parka.

On the other hand, there are GoreTex clone parkas available that will provide 99% of the functionality of a North Face parka for less than half the price. I've had good experiences with both Columbia outerwear and with the Campmor house brand breathable outerwear. Both are available for a fraction of the cost of North Face outerwear.

.
 
js

js

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 2, 2003
Messages
5,793
Location
Upstate New York
I'm going to have to agree with what others have said.

The so-called "breathable" shells, even the best ones, really aren't all that breatheable. If you have to have an outer layer capable of taking you through hard rain for 40+ minutes, then you have no choice, but when you're working hard, hiking, climbing, and so on, you're going to sweat, and the sweat is going to stay mostly trapped under the hard shell. I always have to reply on the arm pit zips and other manual ventilation techniques to do moisture management in these situations.

But, for most people, a SOFT SHELL is a better choice. I have a Cloud Veil Serendipity jacket with Scholler 3X dry, and it is freaking amazing. If I get all sweaty from cross country skiing or running or hiking outdoors in the winter, I will actually dry off when wearing that jacket and good base and insulation layers (NOT cotton). With my hard shell? Forget it. No chance of that. I'd have to remove the hard shell.

That said, a hard shell is realyl nice to have, and cuts wind a lot better than a soft shell. If I'm just going to work, or for a nice easy stroll, the hard shell is my choice if its raining or windy, with my Patagonia R3 jacket underneath. And if I then add my R2 vest beneath that, with a baselayer, I am ready for the worst most nasty weather winter can dish out. And check out Ibex wool baselayers. Avoid the stinkiness that developes with synthetics. Although, I still love my Marmot and Patagonia baselayers, especially my silk-weight stuff.

Anyway, there are many, many choices, and many approaches on how to handle all of this various stuff. For me, layering has worked best, but in many cases, a single do-it-all jacket is their preference. My favorite peice of gear is my R3 jacket--not sold anymore, unfortunately. I love the regulator fleece. It's what converted me away from wool. Before that, I still preferred wool to fleece, but with the regulator fleece, I changed my mind.

Anyway, good luck!
 
F

fnmag

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
2,092
Location
Desert Southwest
Schoeller 3X dry is great stuff. I'd recommend it for a "soft shell".
However, depending on your needs, if it's a "hard shell" that you want, buy a quality garment with GoreTex XCR.
A little OT. If you're new to this type of clothing, be wary of North Face goods. They built their name and reputation on quality USA mfg goods.
That is no longer the case. BEWARE: if you do not buy from a reputable business, but use Ebay etc...there are a "ton" of North Face knockoffs. So many in fact that I wouldn't buy a NF jacket unless I could visually inspect it.
YMMV
 
shakeylegs

shakeylegs

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Messages
725
Location
napa valley
Schoeller 3X dry is great stuff. I'd recommend it for a "soft shell".
However, depending on your needs, if it's a "hard shell" that you want, buy a quality garment with GoreTex XCR.
A little OT. If you're new to this type of clothing, be wary of North Face goods. They built their name and reputation on quality USA mfg goods.
That is no longer the case. BEWARE: if you do not buy from a reputable business, but use Ebay etc...there are a "ton" of North Face knockoffs. So many in fact that I wouldn't buy a NF jacket unless I could visually inspect it.
YMMV

A friend walking through a chinese flea market near Hong Kong picked up a "Patagonia" shell for $20 USD. Can't speak to it's authenticity - it looked "real" - but almost all the top clothing designers now have production in China. Chinese factories are capable of a wide range of quality.
For years, the North Face has had production overseas, importing items, then finishing one seam and sewing in tags which qualified for "made in USA" imprint. If you want a made in USA product stick with the smaller outfits and pay the premium. If that's not so important, go to a place like Sierratradingpost online and pick up a name brand overrun at a substantial discount.
 
EV_007

EV_007

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
924
Location
Over there -- >
Wow, thanks for all your replies. I've done the flashaholic thing and bought both, er, five I should say.

I got the Marnot Precip and Oracle for rainwear that I can layer. and The North face Hyvent and GoreTex flavors.

I was surprised at how thin the North Face jacket was compared to a Columbia one a friend had.

Now for beamshots, I mean real world testing..... LOL
 
EV_007

EV_007

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
924
Location
Over there -- >
Of all the waterproof/breathable fabrics, eVent is the most breathable by far. Goretex Packlight and XCR are both very good with XCR being a bit tougher. Marmot's waterproof/breathable jackets also perform pretty well. There are a whole host of generic waterproof/breathable fabrics now in use and most of those perform about the same. Guess the right jacket depends upon your needs. If you are very active in highly humid conditions or a very heavy downpour, the advantages of waterproof/breathable may be lost.
Good waterproof/breathables vent away some of your perspiration when the humidity inside your jacket exceeds that outside. They won't vent all your persiration if you are very active. Pit zips, a front 2way zip, etc, can be the best way to vent excess perspiration.
Near and below freezing, they may not perform so well. Also, in a heavy downpour, they won't breath at all because the pours of the jacket are blocked by rain soaking the outside of the jacket. Here again, pit zips can come in handy.
If you expect waterproof/breathables to cut the wind, vent some perspiration under dry cool conditions, and keep water out when the downpour comes, then they are for you. If you want breathability in highly humid or downpour conditions, forget it. Buy a urethane coated jacket with lots of venting zippers and don't move around a whole lot.

Check these sources out for some other perspectives:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi...tegory_display?cid=46&cat=Clothing - Raingear
and
http://www.verber.com/mark/outdoors/gear/clothing.html#rainshell
and
http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2006/breatheasy.cfm

Find the shell that best suits your activity.



That last link was very informative. :twothumbs
 
EV_007

EV_007

Enlightened
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
924
Location
Over there -- >
Schoeller 3X dry is great stuff. I'd recommend it for a "soft shell".
However, depending on your needs, if it's a "hard shell" that you want, buy a quality garment with GoreTex XCR.
A little OT. If you're new to this type of clothing, be wary of North Face goods. They built their name and reputation on quality USA mfg goods.
That is no longer the case. BEWARE: if you do not buy from a reputable business, but use Ebay etc...there are a "ton" of North Face knockoffs. So many in fact that I wouldn't buy a NF jacket unless I could visually inspect it.
YMMV

I have heard a huge knock-off market for The North Face products. I wish the label was less obvious and a logo patch on both front and back seems a bit overkill. But I still like the overall looks of some of their shells.
 

Similar threads

Empath
Replies
40
Views
3K
M
Z
Replies
10
Views
3K
Zero_Enigma
Z
Omega Man
Replies
21
Views
2K
kaseri
K
Top