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9/29/2013 8:53 PM
 

Hello All,

 

Wanting to see what kind of rain jackets you might recommend. Looking for a shell more than a jacket with a liner. I live in Southern California so the rain isnt going to be as big as a problem as living in Orgegon but still looking for something solid. My budget is $200.00 looking for something packable but with some length so the water doesnt run down the.. well you know. THank you in advance for replying.

 
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9/30/2013 7:55 AM
 

 I have a Sitka Gear shell that cost me a lot of money, and a Cabelas MT050 shell that was also expensive.  I wouldn't recommend either of these.  I would also be interested in a better rain coat, that doesn't break the bank.  My problem with the Sitka shell is that it is like wearing a garbage bag, you stay dry but sweat in it like crazy.  The cableas coat is so heavy I hate carrying it.

 
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9/30/2013 9:24 AM
 

 We are having a pretty good storm system here in Portland right now.

Yesterday I took a long walk in my Patagonia Rain Shadow jacket and remained dry. I was probably out 1.5 hours in a good rain. I was just walking, so sweat wasn't a huge issue. It is lightweight and comes in  decent colors, or at least it used to.

 
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9/30/2013 11:23 AM
 

I am a HUGE fan of my DryQ Elite Mountain Hardware Parka, and my understanding is Event is similar so I would look for jackets made out of those materials. Check out Sierra Trading Post for good deals.

Here is a good discussion of the jackets Evan and I run: http://hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/23/threadid/4674/scope/posts/Default.aspx 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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10/1/2013 12:34 PM
 

I use a Mountain Hardwear outer rain shell and pants. I have had it for 4 Portland seasons and I still stay dry. Once in a while when I wash it I use Nikiwax detergent and water repeller.

 
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10/1/2013 12:54 PM
 

 Re-upping with tech wash and DWR treatment is crucial in keeping Waterproof breathable jackets going strong. Once a year I will wash my more heavily used items and spray them down with DWR such as those offered my mcNett or nikwax. I also do this to my soft shell pants and it helps them repel quite a bit of moisture. 

 
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10/25/2013 10:24 PM
 

People dog on it sometimes, but I'm honestly pretty happy with my Columbia Bugaboo jacket. It's done fine by me in terms of keeping me dry, and when it's cold I do have the option to zip in the fleece liner, which I wear stand-alone in the early/mid fall.

 

But, I would never pay full price for it; I found a rack full of them at Ross on their season clearance sale for like half off if I recall. I'm all about value when it comes to big-name off-shore manufacturers trying to pry money out of my pockets.

 
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8/12/2014 1:51 PM
 

Has anyone tried the EMS Airflow jacket? What are your thoughts seems like a good jacket and it has eVent.

 
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8/12/2014 3:00 PM
 
Tristan, haven't used any EMS branded gear. If their stuff is anything like REI branded gear, it's a "best value" in outdoor gear. Made right alongside the name brands in the same factories to the same specifications but without the middle man jacking the price up. The Airflow specifically looks well designed, is available in a good color, and the sale price ($119) is exceptional for any technical shell made with a known WPB fabric. I have no use for another shell myself but still find it tempting: http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=22225286

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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8/12/2014 8:25 PM
 
This is a good topic, I'm in need of a new rain shell as well. Just found an MH Capacitor jacket on REI's Outlet for $152.73, retail $230. And it comes in a lovely brown. Just another option.

"Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
 
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8/12/2014 8:47 PM
 

From what I was reading, the EMS Airflow is a 2.5 layer jacket. Is a 3 layer eVent jacket better? My current rain jacket is a Golite with GTX Paclite.

 
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8/13/2014 2:07 PM
 
Tristan, sorry. I'm not the outerwear fabric geek I should be. I think the jacket I made out of eVent is 2.5 layer and it works very well. Goretex isn't particularly breathable in any of its incarnations. I would expect any variant of eVent to best it.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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8/14/2014 12:29 AM
 
My understanding is that 3L versions have some type of fabric backer on the inside of the jacket, usually a fleece or mesh. 2/2.5L versions drop this liner mostly in the name of weight, and probably at the cost of some long term durability. I've also heard that eVent and Qdry need to be washed more regularly then GTX fabrics because the bigger "pore" size is more likely to collect skin oils and dirt than other WPB laminates.

"Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."
 
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8/14/2014 1:32 PM
 
Good to know, and 2.5 layer eVent, and I'm assuming GTX as well is lighter than 3 layer.
 
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8/14/2014 10:34 PM
 

The best way to answer the rain jacket question is to define what you want out of it.  

When I read "live in SoCal" I assume a rain coat is going to be in your pack 95+ % of the time, and that you'll have another shell for wind, light precip, and most snow.  The various light polyurethene coated jackets which have flooded the market are great for this.  Many are sub 8 oz, they have adequate durability for occasional use, and are usually 150 bucks or less.  My favorite is the Rab Spark as it has the best hood I've seen in this class.

If you'll be wearing the coat more often, and/or want more durability and features, and/or will be out in nastier weather more often, it makes sense to step up to a 2.5 or 3 layer Gore or eVent/eVent knockoff coat.  Event will begin venting moisture at a lower interior humidity level and thus feel a bit less boggy.  I don't expect much breathability from my hardshell, and eVent still has yet to answer concerns about longevity in my book, so I prefer Goretex.  Tons of options here with the full range of face fabric weights and feature sets.

Perhaps the most important performance factor, and one which is not discussed often enough, is DWR quality and maintenance.  Some companies still have more durable DWR treatments than others, and you do seem to get what you pay for here.  All WPB membrane coats need to be cleaned periodically to keep the DWR functional, as none of them will breath much once the face fabric gets saturated.  I would estimate that 80% of rain jacket "failures" are nothing more than folks not doing routine and simple maintenance. 

 
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8/15/2014 12:15 PM
 
steamboatsystema wrote:
My understanding is that 3L versions have some type of fabric backer on the inside of the jacket, usually a fleece or mesh. 2/2.5L versions drop this liner mostly in the name of weight, and probably at the cost of some long term durability. I've also heard that eVent and Qdry need to be washed more regularly then GTX fabrics because the bigger "pore" size is more likely to collect skin oils and dirt than other WPB laminates.

 

I've also heard the need for increased washings, Also a separate issue that is hard to distinguish is that some of the eVent fabrics use a unique face fabric that doesn't have the greatest DWR, which introduces a whole host of problems (wetting out early, which impedes the breathability for one). DryQ uses Mountain Hardwear's face fabric (they only buy the membrane from General Electric) so it will actually perform a bit different in practice (possibly better in some ways).

DryQ and eVent DVL are "2.5 layer" garments, the funky print on the inside is the ".5" of a layer that is the only thing protecting the membrane from abrasion and body oils. I don't buy 2.5 layer garments because I've seen so many that get "the Peels:"

Also to be fair most of the 2.5-layer jackets are coated and don't have a true membrane, whereas DryQ is a true membrane so I'd expect it to last longer then the lower end NF/Marmot/MH jackets. I have no first hand experience with DryQ or DVL, and as the newest 2.5 layer I know of they are probably much improved from older fabric. For a low intensity user, someone who is nice to their stuff, or if you are fine viewing your jacket as a consumable 2.5 layer is affordable and lightweight. I think that "dryQ Elite" is Mountain hardwear's 3-layer fabric, but I haven't seen it in person.

It is my understanding that to be a 3-layer WPB the liner has to actually be laminated to the inside of the fabric (so that it feels like one cohesive piece yardage), and most of the eVent that people think of is in fact a very light 3-layer. If you can see woven threads on the inside of the fabric (as opposed to a plasticy coating) it is a 3-layer. If there is a separate mesh or fabric liner it is more then likely a 2-layer with a liner, true 2-layer with no liner would get trashed so fast that no one makes a jacket as such. The closest thing to a true 2-layer I can think of is Frogg Toggs, but their technology is different enough it doesn't really translate. 

As a point of reference, all of the ECWCS surplus goretex is 3-layer (the gen1 parkas are actually 3-layer WITH a liner, all the newer stuff is just 3 layer) as well as the MSS bivvy sack. 3-layer does not have to be heavy, in fact a 3-layer with a light face fabric can be lighter then a 2.5-layer with a heavy face fabric, here is a good example of a very light and fragile 3-layer:

Outdoor Gearlab: Mountain Hardwear Quasar

The 3-layer eVent I bought from the Rainshed is quite light at 3.6 oz/yd^2, much different then the fabric in my Wild Things Tactical Hardshell 1.0, which is much different from the fabric in my REI Shuksan. they all have the same membrane and (I assume) liner fabric but the face fabric is different on all of them which has a huge impact on extended performance and durability. The REI in particular has some DWR issues and is rather fragile, but it is still a fantastic jacket. I wear a Goretex jacket for low-intensity activities since it is so much more durable and save my eVent for the trail.

So the face fabric durability has the biggest impact on the jackets integrity as a garment, while the membrane's durability has the biggest impact on the jackets integrity as a rain shell. If the membrane is more durable then the face fabric (MH quasar) you get a shredded coat, if the face fabric is more durable then the membrane you end up with a non-waterproof windbreaker at the end (every cheap Northface/Marmot/Mountain Hardwear jacket I've seen).

I buy all of my rainshells second hand so I can't say how long it takes for a 2.5 layer jacket to peel, I've only had two that I can think of (a Mountain Hardwear conduit shell that breathed like a garbage bag and a pre-trashed Northface jacket that I wear for manual labor). I usually opt for 3-layer jackets since they aren't so much of a delamination time bomb, and as such can easily change hands several times before they are unusable.

some links worth reading:

General Electric: eVent DVL

Denali WPB guide

Goretex vs. eVent

 
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8/15/2014 12:29 PM
 
DaveC wrote:

Perhaps the most important performance factor, and one which is not discussed often enough, is DWR quality and maintenance.  Some companies still have more durable DWR treatments than others, and you do seem to get what you pay for here.  All WPB membrane coats need to be cleaned periodically to keep the DWR functional, as none of them will breath much once the face fabric gets saturated.  I would estimate that 80% of rain jacket "failures" are nothing more than folks not doing routine and simple maintenance. 

THIS. I can't count the number of times I've talked to people that complain about WPB garments when the problem is clearly user error. I'm curious to see what would happen if you used something like Epic as a face fabric for a 3-layer eVent, since it basically has a permanent DWR (gross oversimplification). 

As soon as I make a decent pattern I'm going to try the Epic windshirt+sil poncho combo, I always carry redundant shelter anyway and I think I'd be less worried about babying a home-made windshirt as I am expensive rainshells. It's pretty rare for me to get hit with heavy precip out in the wild so my rainshells are usually overkill windshirts anyway. (work is another story, most of my rainshell experience comes from getting rained on for days working outdoors, but that is a problem much easier to solve then in the backcountry)

 
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8/15/2014 1:24 PM
 

Fowler, where do you get your shells second hand?

 
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8/15/2014 6:46 PM
 
Tristan wrote:

Fowler, where do you get your shells second hand?

 

REI used gear sales are the single best place to get used gear period. I've bought about 6 eVent jackets (for friends and family, I'm not that obsessive) and at least 2 Arcteryx goretex shells. I won't pay over $100. 

eBay comes in second, you'll pay a bit more but you have more choices, the Wild Things shell was the best deal I've found on eBay, but I did get my wife an eVent jacket for under $50 once. it requires persistence and patience though, sometimes it takes me over a year to find what I'm after.

 
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8/25/2014 12:16 PM
 

Another excellent one I have recently purchased is the Arc'teryx BETA LT Hybrid.  It is very light and utilizes two different GORE materials (3L and PacLite); one for heavy use areas - hood and shoulders  - and the other on the core areas.  It is not super pricey (about $300) and comes in at nice packable size and weight.  The cut is good for layering and has pit zips (a must in my opinion).

I also have a Bergens of Norway DERMIZAX (their own version of Pac Lite GORE), its only down side is it quickly becomes dirty and cannot shed the water as well.

 
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