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Waterproof/breathable systems?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quick unscientific survey: Wondering what the Bears think of the current waterproof/breathable 'systems' on the market today and which ones rate the best in your book. There seems to be two main approaches: one is the membrane approach that adds a layer of waterproof/breathable fabric, such as GoreTex, under the outer layer of the garment; the other is to treat the inside of the fabric with a coating that makes the fabric waterproof/breathable, such as Columbia'a Tech coats. So, North Face w/GoreTex? Marmot w/GoreTex or Marmot with their own version of GoreTex? Or one of the many coated versions out there - North Face, Heilly Hanson, Columbia, etc. Which one keeps you driest, yet lets the moisture escape?
post #2 of 42
This may not really be an answer to your question but I own a nice marmot jacket with goretex and north face mtn bibs with gore tex. I always wear the bibs but this winter I have been layering a sweater or two under a patagonia fleece jacket with only an old patagonia windbreaker pullover with a hood over that. No tech! No coating or anything. I think it is really beachwear. It works great.

The reason I went with this combo is that I have been using my roadbike specific camelback (razor) which goes over a sweater and under the fleece jacket. This keeps the water tube from freezing.

The marmot jacket doesn't have the cut to allow me to wear the water pack and have enough room in the jacket. The pullover is baggy and allows a lot of room and comfort. Plus the jacket has a bunch of pockets.

I've been out in cold windy weather and it works fine. I wouldn't go back country that way though. For that I would use my marmot gore tex.
post #3 of 42
GoreTex XCR is the best, bar none. The others are fairly good, but in my experience nothing equals GoreTex, and the most recent version -- XCR -- is even better than its predecessors.

If you value dryness above breathability, most of the non-Gore laminates or treatments will serve you well. Gore's real advantage is in the combination of dryness and breathability.
post #4 of 42
I agree with the last post. I've used GoreTex for many years and recently have tried two GoreTex alternatives (Burton's fabric and some other by Burlington or someone else - can't recall). Not nearly as breathable. I bought a pair of GoreTex XCR bibs last season from MEC in Canada, and I also agree it is an improvement over Gore Tex. It is worth the extra money. Shop REI or check out MEC in Canada (www.mec.ca), the exchange rate works to your favor if shopping from the US.

I noticed Patagonia is now using GoreTex XCR in a lot of their products. They used to use some proprietary fabric, maybe a vote for GoreTex?
post #5 of 42
I own a GoreTex and GoreTex XCR jacket as well as other breathable stuff. The XCR jacket does seem to be the best, but one of main reasons is the openable vent holes under the arms.

post #6 of 42
Does any one know how about Dermizax compares with Gore Tex?
post #7 of 42
I have a Marmot Glenmore jacket that is Gore XCR and i have found it to be very very breathable, especially for a gore jacket! But if Breathability is what you desire, then i would suggest a product like Marmot's Membrain. This stuff isn't quite as waterproof, but it's much more breathable. It depends what you are going to be doing with it.
post #8 of 42
I just switched from Patagonia three layer Gore-Tex to an LL Bean Gore XCR jacket and pants. So far i like them alot, but i just cut both knees last weekend!
post #9 of 42
Thread Starter 
If memory serves, Inside Tracks rated the Columbia OmniTech coating the best of the non-GoreTex/membrane waterproof/breathable systems. It seems, so far, that GoreTex is the 'system' of choice. Had the first chance to try my Boulder Gear XO jacket in rain/sleeting conditions this last weekend and was quite disappointed in it's performance. I see that even North Face now has a treated fabric out - Hydrotech or something like that. Anyway, lots of choices out there, trying to find some performance reviews, hence this thread. Anybody know of anyone that has done some testing on these jackets/systems?
post #10 of 42
When water quits beading up on your coat you can restore the repellency with Revivex (Gore product.)
post #11 of 42
First, systems are just a way to get you to buy more of one line.

second: Any manufacturer can claim anything they want about their fabric. What you need are NUMBERS. The test results you need are:

Breathablilty Rating ( upright cup dessicant method) ranges are from 1-10000. Examples, ultrex is 3000, Gore 2layer 5000, some go up to 9000.

Water resistance by water column mehtod. Range is 6000-24000. Ranages: ultrex/entrant 6000; Gore 3 layer 24000.

Very few companies will give out the actual numbers. I find it laughable that Columbia would be top rated: it's decent stuff, but I doubt it's numbers are in the top tier. npow, most of the higher end fabrics are within a close range of eaach other, same with the less expensive - all in range of each other.

If you've never heard of it, chances are it's an inexpensive bottom tier fabric.

(if you want to know, I am a manufacturer)
post #12 of 42
Ah, Irulan, you mat be able to help me here. I have seen Cross clothing that quotes a thing called RET at 10,000.
They claim it is as good as Gore-Tex.

Where does RET come into this?

post #13 of 42
I agree, Gortex and especially its XCR version. Need to maintain outer shell material as Lucky, in another post, has suggested.
post #14 of 42
I'll second That comment on Boulder Gear.The Boulder Gear bib's I got early last season were the worse Bib's I have ever owned. Even in dry Utah Powder I got wet.
post #15 of 42
RET? not familiar with that term.

and yes, Boulder GEar ( and Precision) are total crap.

post #16 of 42
Thread Starter 
Irulan, by system I wasn't referring to the zip in/zip out liner - interchangable pieces approach that companies, like Columbia, use to try to get you to buy more of their merchandise. It was just a way to designate the two differing approaches to making a garment waterproof/breathable: a membrane inner layer or coated fabric. Lots of companies seem to favor going with both approaches, I'm sure for price point considerations. BTW, the review that rated Columbia tops put a heavy emphasis on price as a factor, noting that Goretex was better for water repelency and breathability, but that Columbia's Omnitech coated fabric got the most 'bang for the buck'. Their opinion....
post #17 of 42

There are two ways to make a w/b fabric. You either coat it or laminate it.
YoOu have mircoporous coatings and Laminates, and monolithic coatings and laminates. Monolithics are more durable than microporous.

Or are you talking about coatings that are totally water proof? Or exterior coatings/treatments such as DWR (durable water repellency)

by system, I meant matching coat and pants. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Zip in suck, IMO.

post #18 of 42
BTW, columbia is a good brand for mid prices stuff that you can count on... if you arent' going to Everst and don't need that Mountain Hardware logo to determine you level of cool-ness.

post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 
Ir, no, I wasn't thinking of the totally waterproof coatings - worthless in clothing, IMO, but great for tent flys and other uses (although I do have some foul weather gear that belonged to my Dad designed for ocean sailing that's pretty good stuff. Breathable? No, but when the waves are splashing over the bow of the sailboat, that gear does the job).

For my summer activities, I've always used Goretex products. I've never taken the plunge on goretex winter products mainly because I've been too cheap to spring for 'em and I don't see enough really wet weather in the winter to justify it in my mind. Anyway, the BG stuff has got to go, so, like I said earlier, before I hit the sales racks, I was just curious about what others have used and what they thought worked well.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 14, 2002 07:28 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Tag ]</font>
post #20 of 42
Dermizax is a monolithic laminate like Gore- Tex. But does anyone know whether it is qualitatively comparable to Gore-Tex XTR?
post #21 of 42
I saw a Bonfire Platinum jacket that on the tag had a watreproof rating at 30,000. What would that mean? It made me instantly suspicious as it was higher than Gore-tex XCR according to the pox-ridden salesman. Bonfire are made by Salomon and by all accounts are very good, but Irulan, can you explain this 30k rating?
post #22 of 42
I like what Tag has to say WRT to Gore-Tex in ski gear (i.e. not using it). I've been rather comfortable using wind-block fleece or a water resistant shell. This works well for me even on 8 hour shifts.

Then again, I don't ski in the cascades.
post #23 of 42
Boise would be pretty dry though huh? If you are anywhere coastal there is no way forward but via Gore-tex.
post #24 of 42
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TheRockSkier:
I saw a Bonfire Platinum jacket that on the tag had a watreproof rating at 30,000. What would that mean? It made me instantly suspicious as it was higher than Gore-tex XCR according to the pox-ridden salesman. Bonfire are made by Salomon and by all accounts are very good, but Irulan, can you explain this 30k rating?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

First, I know *some* about all this technical stuff but not everything. If the reading is based on "water Resistance by water column method" (based on mm of columnm height) the highest rating I have ever seen in 24000, and that's for gore 3 layer.

I'm curious if some of this info is on the Gore website.

Here's a good link on the monolithic/microporous coating thing:

post #25 of 42
I have seen the numbers and all the tests and I hate to break it to you all but the Columbia Omni-Tec rates out better than Gore on breathability.
As consumes we tend to to go to the NAME brands and look at price. If something is more expensive it MUST be better.
Now we all know that an Arc'Teryx jacket at $400 is going to give you something different than the $300 top end Columbia, but pending on it's end use the consumer can get all they need out of the Columbia. Yea if you are a techniacal climber or serious mountaineer the 3L Arc is going to perform better for those purpouses. But for in area skiing an Omni-Tec Columbia garment is great.

I have skied in Marmot, TNF, Moonstone, Patagonia, Sessions, and Columbia over the past few years and bar none the Ballistic pants from Columbia were the best VALUE hands down and one of the better if not best

One thing I have learned over the years is that most people will swear by the garments they purchase if it functions to thier expectations. Of course you will say it's the best jacket in the world when you cough up $400 bucks for it.
post #26 of 42

For the midwest and the rockies you don't need waterproof breathable stuff. I live in Seattle so I'm a bigtime waterproof breathable clothing user. I think the best clothing for you would be water resistant rather than waterproof.

Here is whatI know about different W/B fabrics.
Marmot membrain is real good stuff, comparable to Gore-tex. It's made by Toray who makes Entrant fabric.
I had some Spyder Coachs bibs (entrant) that didn't breath that well, but that was a 10 years ago and they had insulation as well as W/B fabric
Solstice microshed is real waterproof but not very breathable.
Spyder Spylon? XT coated pants have worked out real well for me.
I have an older Columbia Omnitech hat it is real waterproof but doesn't breath. I have heard good things about the recent columbia pants and jackets. However this was from friends that don't hike for turns.

Helly Hanson has several levels of Helly Tech. I have heard that the cheap ones don't breathe very well.

Oh yeah. Patagonia stuff is almost always Gore-tex fabric, Gore makes some proprietary fabric for them other times it's standard Gore-tex technology with a fancy patagonia

HEY anybody using the Marmot Stretch Membrain? like Stretch Armstrong Jacket etc?
post #27 of 42
Specs on Dermizax:

20,000mm waterproofness
10,000 g/m² - 24 hours Moisture permeability

post #28 of 42
Thanks for the information on Demizax.
post #29 of 42
Thanks for the information on Demizax.
post #30 of 42
For the last 3 years I've been wearing test jackets from EVent Fabrics. Statistically I have no idea what their lab test results are, but out in the mountains skiing, backpacking, etc, etc I've found their most recent waterproof breathable fabric to be the best I've worn. You can visit their website http://www.eventfabrics.com/index.html for the particulars. Aside from the fabric, consider the jacket design: core vents and/or pitzips are essential.
The early versions of EVent performed OK but were heavy and rubbery. My latest jacket is as light as Goretex XCR (but not as light as Packlite) When shell-wear makers start to use EVent, I'd recommend it. Also interested in hearing from other EVent testers to compare notes.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 25, 2002 02:23 PM: Message edited 1 time, by NewHampie ]</font>
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