Waterproof Breathable Jackets

10:09 p.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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I'm gearing up for another hopefully great ski season.  Trying to pick out a new jacket.  I typically have worn Gortex type shells with insulation underneath such as the Patagonia Down Sweater.  As I scroll through tons and tons of $4-500 shells I've come to the conclusion that I really dont like Gortex very much.  Yes, it keeps you dry but regardless of what anyone says it doesnt breathe very well.  I also have come to the conclusion that if I'm going to spend $4-500 on a new jacket it would be nice if I could wear it in the summer on a rainy backpacking trip.  I hate wearing my Gortex shell in summertime because its clammy, hot and doesnt breathe.  I'm now checking out Neoshell and eVent products and also Mtn Hdwrs DryQ?  Just seems to make a lot more sense than Gortex now.  Any feedback I'd appreciate.  Seems like many of my local outdoor stores only carry Gortex Arcertyx or NF products.  I do have an REI which carriers eVent.  I wish I could try on many of these products in a store somewhere and just lay everything out.  

10:38 p.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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I recently got a Stoic vaporshell and I really love it. it is by far the most breathable shell I have ever used, and for about 1/4 the price of the shells your looking at. I recommend giving it a look at least. it is not very flimsy fabric and seems to be quite durable for what it is. The one downside is no pockets, only a chest pocket.

10:44 p.m. on November 14, 2011 (EST)
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Look closely, My REI has Mountain Hardwear as well. I have owned a Stoic Morino shirt and was equally impressed with quality for dollars spent. Just adding that for quality rating for Stoic..which is only at Backcountry.com and frequently featured on their Steep and Cheap sie.

1:58 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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UUUuummmm MH gear Uuuuum

4:27 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

Look closely, My REI has Mountain Hardwear as well. I have owned a Stoic Morino shirt and was equally impressed with quality for dollars spent. Just adding that for quality rating for Stoic..which is only at Backcountry.com and frequently featured on their Steep and Cheap sie.

 I second the Stoic house brand.  I have several tops and for the money when on Steep and Cheap they are a good bargain.

3:13 p.m. on November 19, 2011 (EST)
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I moved to a material called Ventile, expensive and quite heavy though very durable and breathable, Great in winter.

http://www.west-winds.co.uk/ventile.htm

9:15 p.m. on November 20, 2011 (EST)
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I have had two Ventile parkas, one a Black's Anorak in the early-mid 70s and a Synergy Works in the late '70s-'80s. I wore these extensively in the BC interior and on the ocean in open boats while a Canadian Coast Guard Lightkeeper. They were costly and NOT waterPROOF in such severe wet conditions, but, for sub-Arctic and Arctic use, would be my first choice as a shell material.

I have had and do have several GT parkas and two eVent shells by Integral Designs; EVent is THE BOMB as a backpacking-mountain shell and I wear one of mine regularly during the BC coastal winter. This absolutely beats anything else I have ever tried in over a half century of active outdoor life and I recommend it highly.

The finest eVent shells are Westcomb, made close to my home here in Vancouver and Wildthings from the eastern USA, both may be a little more money to buy, but, the quality makes the price worthwhile. GT is "OK", but, so far, nothing equals eVent. Try one and I think that you will like it.

6:20 p.m. on November 21, 2011 (EST)
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eVent is nice.  my wife has an REI eVent rain jacket (now discontinued, i think) that has performed well and was not terribly expensive.  lacks some features you might want for hiking, and the fabric is pretty lightweight.  it hasn't had problems, but one might consider a somewhat more robust fabric for carrying a backpack a lot or exposing the jacket to branches, rock, and ice.  she looked at an REI eVent jacket that appeared better designed for hiking, but it was heavier and more expensive and didn't appeal to her.

Wild Things Gear hasn't yet rolled out its new eVent alpine climbing jackets, which have been undergoing a redesign.  hopefully soon, their jackets are well-designed and well-made.

i am using an eVent jacket from RAB, the Latok, that i really like.  they make two models.  the Latok is a heavier, full-featured jacket, weighs about a pound and a half (heavier fabric, more pockets, armpit zippers).  the lighter version, the Latok Alpine, lacks pit zips and some pockets, weighs about a pound.  clearly designed by people who use the jackets a lot.  occasionally available at good sale prices, which i appreciated.

had i been able to find Westcomb's hardshell/softshell eVent/Schoeller hybrid to try on, the Revenant, i would have been tempted; i couldn't see buying it sight unseen, and it is expensive.   

4:30 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I'm still trying to find a shop that carriers this "Neoshell" material but cant find one yet.  The product looks excellent.  I know Marmot and Westcomb both have Neoshell jackets that came out this year.  I just cant pull the trigger on another Gortex $500 shell that claims to be breathable.  They're not.  I own several Gortex jackets that I've worn in almost every condition.  I like Gortex, I think for certain scenarios it works fine but I'm just sick of spending all this money on a piece of clothing that if I wear it in temps over 50 degrees I bake like a potatoe wrapped in foil.  I wish they would stop coming out with new materials that claim to breathe cuz they just dont.  Thanks for the feedback.

 

6:12 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I've been using Couloir jackets and coats with their Entrant GII waterproof/breathable fabrics with much success for a while. I own some of there shell's, jackets, and coats and they have done a very respectable job considering there price. I get them at my local Goodwill store for between $7-$29. That's a heck of a lot better than the $400-$500 that your talking about. Here is one on eBay right now that is a really nice coat for only $59 "buy it now". I would consider it myself but as usual I'm not coat/shell/jacket poor as I seem to be able to find this great gear for pennies on the $. Anyway it might be worth checking out.

This one is a heavey duty ski jacket: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Heavy-Duty-Couloir-Ski-Snowboarding-Jacket-Entrant-GII-Satisfaction-Guaranteed-/290616086620?pt=US_CSA_MC_Outerwear&hash=item43aa11905c

If you put "Entrant GII" in the eBay search box you will find no less than 11 options that are fare less that the prices your are finding at the stores your are looking at. hope this helps.

6:23 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I found my original GT Marmot Mountain Works parka, among the most beautifully made mountain clothing items I have ever seen, like Westcomb in it's quality and brilliant design and my Early Winters Anorak to be very good in temps. below freezing and clammy if it was any warmer. I also had a MEC GT parka, highly touted in the "Backpacker Gear Guide" around '96-'97 as the "BEST" and still have both a 10 year old Jack Wolfskin Espedition Parka and another MEC basic GT parka, about 5-6 years old.

The JW is FINE gear, made in Germany and has remained waterproof and comfortable since I bought it 11 years ago and with frequent wear. Yet, eVent works FAR better in severe rain and my ID "Pullover" bought for alpine hunting in BC, among the harshest landscapes anywhere and damned hard on gear, just shrugs off anything I wear it in and keeps me dry, comfy and it weighs less than 1 lb.

If, Westcomb is using this new fabric, "Neoshell", that is enough for me as they are straightup people who make superb gear and I cannot see them ever using anything other than the best available materials.

I live 15 minutes from their head office and was invited down to tour it shortly after they started up, but, just never got around to going. I will see about it this month sometime as I would like another shell for wearing around town as I want to keep my ID shells for bush wear as they are so light.

8:34 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks again for the feedback.  The reviews of this Neoshell appear to be really good.  In fact, the ones who have this new technology are saying it really puts Gortex to shame.   I was listening to a guy at my local outdoor store talk about how inexpesive Gortex as a fabric is to buy for all of the clothing manufacturers.  Was saying how for years they have obviously dominated the marketplace but no one had anything to really compete against it.  I asked him if he was a clothing rep and he said no, just an educated consumer.  He seemed like he knew what he was talking about and it all kind of made sense.  He said eVent is an excellent all around fabric and mentioned some of Polartech's fabrics being really good.  He didnt know too much about the Neoshell fabric but said its a definate game changer.  He said the only thing slowing that new fabric down right now is time.  No one knows how the fabric will truly hold up over time yet.  He too was siding with my argument on how most of not all of the Gortex products out there are not very breathable unless your body temp hits a certain level.  Even at that point its a slow drip at which point your body is soaked and not very comfortable especially if doing high cardio.  I actually loved a Westcomb jacket I tried on at a local REI shop.  It wasnt the new Apoc Neoshell Jacket but as mentioned about it was very good quality.  Arcteryx yes I know, makes decent products but again then I'm back into the over priced Gortex scenario.  But the zippers are very waterproof I guess.  I might actually pull the trigger on the new Westcomb jacket and post some pics and review here.  Worse case scenario I could always return it.  Appreciate the feed back again.

8:37 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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Anyone hear anything in regards to Mountain Hardwears Dry Q line yet?

9:57 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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I want the jacket out of Back to the Future 2.  Self drying, adjustable sleeves, etc. 

11:11 p.m. on November 22, 2011 (EST)
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MH Axial (Gore-tex hardshell) is going pretty cheap right now if ya shop around. I have seen it at half price in quite a few places. 

Not sure if it helps but just figured I would mention it. 

May save ya some change if you are interested.

2:33 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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Dry Q has gotten good reviews.  I've tried some on at Campmor as well.  Nice jackets.  The one thing that drives me INSANE about all of these new fabrics is when they dont put pit zips on the jackets because they say "we didnt need to cuz the fabric breathes so well."  I think I'm going to design my own non-Gortex breathable jacket and try to sell the damn design to some US Made local manufacturer. I'm done.

5:44 p.m. on November 23, 2011 (EST)
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I will not buy a jacket that does not have pitzips. Even my MH Fleece I have on in my avatar has them. 

12:04 a.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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Totally agree.  I dont care how breathable the jacket is.  You gotta have pit zips regardless

8:31 a.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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to the best of my understanding, Mountain Hardwear's dryQ is a licensed version of GE's eVent membrane.  so, i would expect dryQ shells to vent moisture about the same as eVent - which is as good as or better than gore tex. 

i think pit zips are necessary because sometimes, your output is so high that you are going to sweat regardless - even if you are wearing a nylon windshirt with much larger pores that isn't waterproof.  for those high-output situations where you have precipitation or high wind, having a waterproof/breathable shell with a good mechanical route for venting moisture yet keeping you dry is extremely helpful, if not vital.  i won't buy a waterproof/breathable shell without armpit zippers. 

it looks like polartec's neoshell has penetrated the market pretty quickly, in particular because the membrane has enough stretch to work with softshell fabrics.  i haven't tried it yet, but it is intriguing.  the main drawback of my softshell is that it just isn't waterproof. 

6:37 p.m. on November 26, 2011 (EST)
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The whole pitzip thing is why I like mu Burton shells so much. They also combine this with the chest pockets which create a cross venting system. It works really well. Plus it is rated at 10,000. It as waterproof as I need it to be. 

Yes the coat is much bulkier than my MH hardshells. But for being on a trail as I typically am(not much of a climber) it works well.

Plus all of my coats are bulky. If I get a size that offers a slim cut It doesn't fit my shoulders which means when I extend my arms the sleeves end up being somewhere in the middle of my forearm. Plus they are usually tight in my chest. 

3:42 p.m. on November 27, 2011 (EST)
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I'm doing my own "hands on" research now.  Tired of talking about it.  I tried the new Marmot Zion jacket at REI.  They had just one left.  It has the new Neoshell fabric.  Its a nice jacket but I wouldnt wear this in summer months at all.  Its got a soft fleece backing to it.  No pit zips either but of course they say it breathes well. :(  No powder skirt either.  I think I'm going with either the Marmot Alpinist which is a Gortex proshell or the REI eVent jacket they had (I cant think of the name right now).  The Alpinist you really seem to get a lot of value with it.  Tons of pockets and a removable powder skirt.  

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