A really good weatherproof jacket

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thirdcrank
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Sep 2017, 2:02pm

PH

A very interesting vid. I've had plenty of non-cycling jackets with a two-way zip and never found a use for them, just something else to go wrong. I've never had one on a cycling jacket, but the benefit seems obvious, in that if you want to get some air in, unzipping from the bottom prevents turning the jacket into a parachute brake.

I watched the next vid which came up which demonstrated how waterproof it was, even when tested with a powerful hose. The tester's togs underneath might not have been so dry after bashing along for half an hour in pouring rain.

Barron Knights' send up of the Bachelors "I don't want to go to work, on mi bike in the rain" at 2.09 :wink:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyOy7227gCI

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pjclinch
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby pjclinch » 16 Sep 2017, 2:32pm

As noted above, as soon as you're at "waterproof" you're at "not breathable enough", and with current technology this is, I'm afraid, because physics. There's a very good technical article of the whys and wherefores at UKC which I'd heartily recommend. One of the conclusions is that you get best waterproof/breathable performance if you only wear it when it's raining hard, as this keeps the surface coating (which prevents the face fabric wetting out and blocking the way for venting vapour) in better order. And that rather goes against the "one jacket for all the time" idea.

Not formally waterproof, but effectively rainproof, you have Ventile (already mentioned) which is a very close woven cotton. When it gets wet the fibres swell, blocking the holes and preventing water getting in. Originally developed for pilots' immersion suits in WW2, it can be considered waterproof if a double layer (something like Hilltrek's Greenspot) and pretty resistant if just single layer. Downsides are expensive and relatively heavy, especially in a double layer, but if I was wearing one thing for everything that may well be what I'd use.

Also not formally waterproof but weatherproof is Paramo's Analogy stuff. This is a windproof outer with a structured liner that moves water away from the wearer through capillary action, so unlike Goretex and similar it actually does something useful with liquid water. The catch is the liner is a rough thermal equivalent to a microfleece so if it's not a ride where you'd have a mid-layer it can be a bit over-toasty. For cold and driech days it's excellent though, and there's now cycle-centric stuff in their product lineup.

"Soft shells" are a source of confusion... Here's an article I wrote to demystify them a bit for Rohantime, and as it suggests there it's a term that means different things to different people and also to different marketing campaigns. The Gore Windstopper mentioned up-thread is very much at the "harder" end, it's actually Goretex without taped seams and without a PU smear to stop the micropores getting contaminated, so the fabric itself is basically waterproof but the garments will leak at the seams and perhaps a bit in general if they get very dirty. The downside to that is less breathable than, say, the Pertex Buffalo Windshirt also mentioned up-thread, and once something like Windstopper does wet through it takes about forever and a day to dry.
Another path you can take with soft shell is Buffalo's basic plan of yes, you'll get wet, but as long as you're active you'll still be warm and comfortable. If it's basically warmish the Windshirt is good enough for that with a suitable base layer (was wearing mine for some MTB this morning, a great bit of kit). If it's Baltic their "Double P" stuff will keep you warm in anything up to a sleety blizzard, but you'll cook at anything much over 5C unless you're an Always Cold type of person, and they have a mid-level range with a micropile (no comment on those yet as I've not used one, but I've been impressed enough by the Windshirt and Double-P "Special 6" that I have one on order).

What do I do? Being a generally outdoorsy type and a bit of a gear junkie I've git a cupboard full of options and select according to conditions and whims. The most commonly used are thin windproofs and if it's damp I'll use one with a DWR coat that keeps the worst off. If it's Proper Rain™ I use a lightweight waterproof (an OMM Kamleika Race jacket in my case). I'm not a big fan of cycling waterproofs, there's typically no hood for if I'm off the bike, the front pockets aren't to my liking (I want 2 chest height A-line) and even when I'm not on the 'bent I have no real use for the rear ones they persist in having.

So there are generally things that are as good as it gets for any given set of wind/rain/temperature/humidity, but there certainly isn't One Coat To Rule Them All, in spite of what marketing likes to suggest. As ever the golden rule is you choose, you lose.

Pete.
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thirdcrank
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Sep 2017, 3:44pm

pjclinch wrote:... that moves water away from the wearer through capillary action, ....


You've mentioned physics and the bit I've quoted is something that intrigues me. The almost magical Lusso Repel fabric used in tights is said to do pretty much the same thing and though I was initially wary of what seemed like too-good-to-be-true advertising, it does what it claims. However, cooling by evaporation is a well-known phenomenon - it's how sweating cools the body - and it used to be used in porous ceramic milk-coolers. So, I don't understand why the same thing doesn't happen here. :? Perhaps it does, but if you are getting up steam and getting steamed up on a bike you don't notice.

Ceramic milk cooler:-
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Terra ... Sw9~5ZXT1V
Last edited by thirdcrank on 16 Sep 2017, 3:48pm, edited 1 time in total.

Richard D
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby Richard D » 16 Sep 2017, 3:45pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Many Castelli Gabba users swear by them, whether the expense is worth it to you is your call.


I bought a Gabba a fortnight ago, and with the weather recently I've had plenty of chances to try it out. Bloody fantastic. Is that enough swearing for you?

Wind proof and water resistant enough to to stay pretty dry and entry warm enough, without overheating as you might in something "breatheable". And much more water resistant than my Stolen Goat Orkaan, which always wets through after ten minutes :(

bobzeller
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby bobzeller » 16 Sep 2017, 4:57pm

I have used a Showers Pass Refuge jacket for more than a year now and it has been really good. It ventilates very well because of the extra long ventilators and it has never leaked even through those long zippers. It is a much looser fit than many cycling jackets and, in my view, is much more suitable as a result for touring than any other that I have worn since the seventies - including the famed Greenspot. Fortunately, the extra looseness doesn't mean it is bulky when being worn, or stuffed into a handlebar bag for that matter. Lastly, it comes with a hood which fits over a helmet, but I can't really comment on this feature as I have never used it.

One more thing, I know have some Refuge trousers and they are every bit as good - especially for commuting or a trip to the shops.

Cheers

Bob

nez dans le guidon
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby nez dans le guidon » 16 Sep 2017, 5:38pm

PH wrote:I don't believe there is the perfect solution, bu the closest I've found so far is the Showers Pass Elite 2.1 which I've used through two winters.
It's a decent material, but more importantly it has the best venting of any jacket I've tried, huge under arm zips, a full width rear vent, two way front zip and clever scoop cuffs that help air flow (When it's not raining) The orange colour stands out well without the dayglo look of some (Other colours are available), the reflectives are very good. I've had mine for two years and use it far more than I did it's predecessor (Which was a quality Gortex jacket) I'll often leave it on for a ride where I know any other jacket I've had would be on and off all day. The cut is very high at the front, ideal whan in cycling gear, but maybe a touch too high for normal wear. The only other downside (Apart from the price) is that it's a bit bulky, not excessively, but enough to stop me carrying it unless there's a good chance of rain.
They're also a nice company to deal with, the UK distributor answers emails day and night, is happy to answer questions, they come with a pre paid bag for returns, and I always seem to 10% off the website price.
https://showerspass.co.uk/products/mens ... 6601555855

Yes I have one of these, a couple of years old in Black. It has reflective stripes at night but during the day looks like a normal black jacket, meaning you can wear it anywhere. I think it's really excellent and as PH says it's the pit zips which make it work. It's also very high quality feeling all round.

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pjclinch
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby pjclinch » 16 Sep 2017, 9:13pm

thirdcrank wrote:
pjclinch wrote:... that moves water away from the wearer through capillary action, ....


You've mentioned physics and the bit I've quoted is something that intrigues me. The almost magical Lusso Repel fabric used in tights is said to do pretty much the same thing and though I was initially wary of what seemed like too-good-to-be-true advertising, it does what it claims.


I can't find that much on the Repel stuff but doubt it's really the same thing. Initial indications are the Repel are a stretch fabric with a DWR coat. These sorts of thing work very well in less than downpours because the fabric moves with you, rather than slapping against you, and the warm motors are right next to them to dry them out. Even an old pair of Ronhill Tracksters tends to dry out around as fast as they get wet in light rain.

The Paramo stuff has a liner that is independent of any inner heat generated. The capillary action works from the way that liquid will tend to work its way to the wider end of a tube, and the space between the fibres (with a DWR coat so they don't act as wicks) act as tubes, with the structure meaning the water moves away from the wearer (and unlike most transport mechanisms in waterproof/breathables or wicking systems this doesn't require body heat to drive the process). Combining the "pump liner" with a windproof outer keeps the wind out (yes, really!) and also stops raindrops penetrating the liner. Some of it will soak through, but slowly, and the water will park on the outside edge of the liner away from the wearer. And any water that gets down the neck or sleeves etc. will be moved out.

thirdcrank wrote:However, cooling by evaporation is a well-known phenomenon - it's how sweating cools the body. <snip> So, I don't understand why the same thing doesn't happen here. :? Perhaps it does, but if you are getting up steam and getting steamed up on a bike you don't notice.


You don't need to do that much work to keep warm. In fact membrane waterproofs like Goretex will only allow sweat out in vapour form, so unless it evaporates it'll stick around as water. With those the problem isn't you're not doing enough work to evaporate the sweat, but there needs to be enough vapour pressure to drive it through the membrane which tends to mean very high humidity inside... which tends to be a bit sticky.

There are other problems with waterproofs that prevent them being as perfect as marketing. One of these is what you wear underneath, and Everyone Knows you want a good wicking base layer to move the sweat out from your skin... but wicking base layers work in other ways too, like taking rain ingress at cuffs, hem and neck and cunningly wicking it over your whole body using the same mechanism. Ooops... This is one reason why Buffalo pile/Pertex stuff works best with nothing underneath, but that doesn't score it much in the way of sartorial elegance if you take it off in the cafe!

Pete.
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thirdcrank
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Sep 2017, 9:26pm

AFAIK, the Lusso Repel stuff has threads with a cross-section a bit like a four-leaf clover but without the stalk, and the capillary action is in the spaces between the "leaves." I think it's a form of Lycra. When I was checking that I see one of the Lycra brands is Coolmax, and that's another Lusso fabric. Something in the name there, perhaps. Anyway, Repel is one of the few things I've ever bought that delivered on what seemed to be wild promises. ( A couple of others being Finnigan's Hammerite and Waxoyl. :D )

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meic
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby meic » 16 Sep 2017, 10:01pm

I absolutely love my Paramo Quito. It has just recently come out of the cupboard after its summer hibernation. It is such a pleasure to wear regardless of rain or shine.
The waterproofness isnt like shells, you cant really tell how waterproof it is or isnt but you dont seem to get wet. If the rain is getting through this is balanced out by the fact you are getting moisture out so quickly, I can sweat enough to drench out a jacket and you just dont get there with the Paramo, whether it is raining or not.
The other thing that makes it so excellent is that within 20 minutes of any rain stopping the jacket is dry again! :D

The pit zips are massive and combined with the front zip you can get a gale blowing through to cool you when needed, if you dont mind being very un-aerodynamic for a while.
Yma o Hyd

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pjclinch
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby pjclinch » 17 Sep 2017, 8:50am

thirdcrank wrote:AFAIK, the Lusso Repel stuff has threads with a cross-section a bit like a four-leaf clover but without the stalk, and the capillary action is in the spaces between the "leaves."


That would be a bit different from the Paramo liner as the fabric wouldn't be inherently directional. As I understand it, in the Paramo liner the "tubes" effectively get wider as you move out and that has the water moving out the way. With same-diameter you'd need some kind of other driver, but I imagine body heat would probably be a pretty good candidate.

thirdcrank wrote:Anyway, Repel is one of the few things I've ever bought that delivered on what seemed to be wild promises. ( A couple of others being Finnigan's Hammerite and Waxoyl. :D )


Aye, there's a lot of things that need a bit of a squint to pretend they "do just what it says on the tin", and conventional hard-shell waterproofs certainly fit that bill. I'm not saying Goretex is a bad product and it certainly has its uses, but Gore's marketing say it's "guaranteed to keep you dry", a classic case of The Large Print Giveth and the Small Print Taketh Away if ever there was one. Look at the small print and the basis of the claim is that Goretex has a hydrostatic head above the required threshold to be declared waterproof, and that's it. So you could equally claim that a polythene rubble sack is ""guaranteed to keep you dry". Grrrr.
The most impressed I've been with foul weather kit in recent years was the Buffalo Special 6 I bought about a year ago. It does need to be properly cold to use it though, and my wife isn't a great fan of the side-vents because to work optimally you wear with nothing underneath, and that means getting an eyeful of my not entirely shapely and peely-wally torso if the vents are open.

My Paramo jacket isn't a Paramo, but uses their fabrics (it's from West Country surf brand Finisterre, but they don't do them any more). My main problem with Paramo aside from being too hot if it's nice is the fit of the current models, which doesn't work on me. A Medium is too short and the Large fits like a sack. Hey ho, they do work on others, and there are firms like Cioch Direct and Hilltrek who'll do you a made-to-measure.

Pete.
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thirdcrank
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby thirdcrank » 17 Sep 2017, 10:01am

pjclinch wrote:... That would be a bit different from the Paramo liner as the fabric wouldn't be inherently directional. As I understand it, in the Paramo liner the "tubes" effectively get wider as you move out and that has the water moving out the way. With same-diameter you'd need some kind of other driver, but I imagine body heat would probably be a pretty good candidate.


That's the basis of what had me thinking about cooling by evaporation. When I read the bold claims about this stuff with some unjustified incredulity, I couldn't see how the capillary action would know which way to go so body heat seems to be it.

I think big claims and small print have played a big part with Goretex, but it doesn't seem to do much harm to their broader reputation. I fancy a lot of disappointed customers wrongly believe that their garment leaks when they are experiencing condensation. This is reinforced on something like a cycling jacket where the wet areas inside the garment will coincide with the wet areas on the outer surface. I've seen a machine in at least one outdoor wear shop designed to prove that a garment did not leak. Little comfort to know that it's condensation soaking you inside your waterproof togs. I did once suggest to somebody on here (MickF ?) that they could do a d-i-y test by lining a colander with their jacket and filling it with water.

Having just walked to the newsagent's and got soaked legs - Rohan trousers which have dried out already :D - I'm reminded that in the far off days when Rohan was a small operation in Long Preston, we used to have holidays near Clapham. In those days Settle was a real market town with a proper gent's putfitters all tattersal check shirts and tweed etc. Pretty much outside my league in those days. The had a couple of Ventile jackets on display which I coveted over several visits. The Dales farmers must have been unimpressed because the eventually went in the sale at half price, still a cool sixty quid for the more expensive one and a huge sum in 1970ish. I treated myself and was very disappointed. I suppose at that price, I expected it to outlive me, even though I would only have been about 25. It frayed badly, particularly where the cuffs met the lover pockets.

As an amateur birdwatcher I've tried on the Bill Oddy sponsored Ventile jackets but they seem vey heavy. I must have posted before that my best Ventile buy was a pair of trousers at TKmaxx, for a tenner, reduced from £300 according to the swing tags.

markjohnobrien
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby markjohnobrien » 17 Sep 2017, 10:40am

meic wrote:I absolutely love my Paramo Quito. It has just recently come out of the cupboard after its summer hibernation. It is such a pleasure to wear regardless of rain or shine.
The waterproofness isnt like shells, you cant really tell how waterproof it is or isnt but you dont seem to get wet. If the rain is getting through this is balanced out by the fact you are getting moisture out so quickly, I can sweat enough to drench out a jacket and you just dont get there with the Paramo, whether it is raining or not.
The other thing that makes it so excellent is that within 20 minutes of any rain stopping the jacket is dry again! :D

The pit zips are massive and combined with the front zip you can get a gale blowing through to cool you when needed, if you dont mind being very un-aerodynamic for a while.



I agree: exactly the same points apply to my Paramo Velez adventure light ( £90 from Paramo on e bay). I sweat buckets in other jackets but stay nice and cool in this; don't get wet in torrential rain; and dries out quickly.

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Mick F
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby Mick F » 17 Sep 2017, 11:14am

meic wrote:I absolutely love my Paramo Quito.
£250 :shock:
http://www.paramo-clothing.com/en-gb/ex ... 72D1148984
https://www.blacks.co.uk/mens/263083-pa ... acket.html
Slightly cheaper from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Páramo-Quito-W ... th=1&psc=1

Sounds and looks brilliant. Quality costs eh?
Mick F. Cornwall

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meic
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby meic » 17 Sep 2017, 11:24am

I bought a "seconds" for around £160. The defect now forgotten and I cant really locate it any more.

Like many here I have spent ages seeking "the holy grail", I think that I have found the cold season half of the grail.
IF all of the hype turns out to be true the jacket will turn out to be economically more viable over the long term. Most of my 2-3 layered breathable shells have delaminated after a few years (five at the most) my otherwise pristine Montaine Minimus (which was an excellent summer waterproof) has the membrane falling off the inside in swathes now. That jacket may have cost me as much as £2-5 per ride!
The Paramos claim to be knocking up lifespans of decades.
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pjclinch
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Re: A really good weatherproof jacket

Postby pjclinch » 17 Sep 2017, 1:42pm

Mick F wrote:£250 :shock:
Sounds and looks brilliant. Quality costs eh?


And you are at least getting something that requires pretty clever construction for your money. A bit like, say, a Moulton TSR :wink:

meic wrote:The Paramos claim to be knocking up lifespans of decades


I don't see any reason they shouldn't. Since they work not by keeping water out, but by limiting what gets in and managing it, they're not subject to single point failures like conventional waterproofs. The outer fabrics are pretty chunky as these things go, especially the heavier of their two gauges. As long as it's well made (and it seems they are) no reason they shouldn't keep chugging on for a very long time.

Over on Rohantime someone claimed their oldest bit of kit was a Paramo jacket from 1982 still going strong... unlikely, as the company didn't exist then, and I had one of their original smocks in '92, so either a typo or a memory fart, but that's still 25 years. A lot of outdoor kit does last very well, not surprising as toughness is one of the things you're looking for. My usual day-to-day jacket is an old Rohan polycotton jacket from the 80s. My expedition rucksack was bought in '88, and not only are these still in excellent order they're used by choice as just as good as modern alternatives. A couple of my favourite mid/base layers are Paramo reversible ones, and are quite possibly 20th century.

Pete.
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