Natural clothing

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Winged wheels
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Natural clothing

Postby Winged wheels » 25 Feb 2018, 10:13am

I have over the last few years moved towards greener sustainable clothing. In the main using wool- Marino base layers tops and tweeds as insulation fleece jacket replacement. (They’re remarkably warm, drizzle proof and breathe. However I would like a waterproof. I recall years ago when I started the “oldies “ wore Greenspot cotton jackets?? Are they still around or alternatives? Not waxed cotton as they do not allow vapour through and are sweaty. 8)

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pjclinch
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby pjclinch » 25 Feb 2018, 10:56am

Winged wheels wrote:I have over the last few years moved towards greener sustainable clothing. In the main using wool- Marino base layers tops and tweeds as insulation fleece jacket replacement. (They’re remarkably warm, drizzle proof and breathe. However I would like a waterproof. I recall years ago when I started the “oldies “ wore Greenspot cotton jackets?? Are they still around or alternatives? Not waxed cotton as they do not allow vapour through and are sweaty. 8)


Hilltrek make them (and various other Ventile garments) these days. Pricey, but with a good reputation.

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simonhill
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby simonhill » 25 Feb 2018, 11:13am

I'm not sure how green cotton actually is. Growing it uses huge amounts of water and is considered environmentally damaging in some (many?) places that it is grown.

JakobW
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby JakobW » 25 Feb 2018, 1:00pm

I recall reading something saying that Ventile does actually have a coating on the threads these days (some kind of DWR?), but still sells itself as natural (and indeed AIUI it's no longer made in the UK, though the name is licensed from the Manchester mill).

Apart from Hilltrek, there's https://www.lancashirepike.co.uk, who make a more or less direct copy of the greenspot jacket, though they're even pricier. Though I quite like the aesthetics of both, and Ventile has its advantages, for actual rain I don't think they're anywhere near as good as modern technical fabrics.

Unless it's absolutely torrential, I mostly get away with layering up in (sport)wool; I run hot enough that I'm going to overwhelm most waterproofs anyway if working hard, and a couple of layers will keep most of the wind off unless it's very blowy. The best old-school solution to rain is IMO the rain cape; not very aero (so best suited to gentle touring/commuting) but will keep most of the weather off without cooking you!

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pjclinch
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby pjclinch » 25 Feb 2018, 1:05pm

The "greenness" or otherwise of growing cotton is something worth considering, but aside from the growing of it it's also worth thinking about how long a garment will last in regular use. Typical modern membrane waterproofs have lightness as a virtue, but it does mean they'll die relatively quickly and need replacing. I'd guess a Ventile jacket should last for decades, properly looked after.

Another option that tends to be intrinsically long lasting is Paramo's Analogy system, because it doesn't rely on a membrane or seam tape that once compromised can't really be fixed. It has the downside that the liner used to keep water away from the wearer has a degree of insulation as a side effect, so not the greatest for summer showers, and the liner also makes it relatively bulky to stow. But it's far more breathable than any membrane system so, like Ventile, functions well as a general coat that happens to keep the rain out.

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pjclinch
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby pjclinch » 25 Feb 2018, 1:08pm

Just noticed that Vulpine are doing Ventile stuff too, though quite frankly at 'avin'-a-larf prices.
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JakobW
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby JakobW » 25 Feb 2018, 1:44pm

Though I suppose they're competing with fashion brands there; for keeping the rain off on your Brompton ride between Liverpool Street and the City it's about 1/3 as expensive as a Burberry Trenchcoat...

thirdcrank
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby thirdcrank » 25 Feb 2018, 3:03pm

When Greenspot clothing was made by Bertram Dudley in Cleckheaton, IIRC the other main customers were golfers and I think the only difference between their jackets for the two sports was that the posher of their cycling designs had the rear pockets. Think of tweed caps, Argyle stockings and cycling shoes with a leather flap over the laces and you could almost have played golf in your cycling togs. Although modern golf kit seems even more pricey than cycling stuff, there's still that possibility for anybody preferring knitwear and so on. Country sports also seem to do a lot of tweed.

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horizon
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby horizon » 25 Feb 2018, 5:40pm

I have a Ventile hiking jacket that I don't wear for the bike (too bulky). Great jacket but very bulky and stiff when wet.
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby PH » 25 Feb 2018, 6:39pm

pjclinch wrote:Just noticed that Vulpine are doing Ventile stuff too, though quite frankly at 'avin'-a-larf prices.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

The Harrigton jacket is more reasonably priced, comparable with a decent Gortex one and Vulpine stuff is often on sale. I picked up a Harrington last year for £95 and it is a good casual cycling jacket.
http://www.vulpine.cc/uk/new/vulpine-harrington-jacket/

It's debatable how sustainable anything is, my take is the thing least sustainable is the level of consumption. Buying less and getting plenty of use from it seems the right balance to me.

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pjclinch
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby pjclinch » 26 Feb 2018, 8:43am

PH wrote:
pjclinch wrote:Just noticed that Vulpine are doing Ventile stuff too, though quite frankly at 'avin'-a-larf prices.

:shock: :shock: :shock:

The Harrigton jacket is more reasonably priced, comparable with a decent Gortex one and Vulpine stuff is often on sale. I picked up a Harrington last year for £95 and it is a good casual cycling jacket.
http://www.vulpine.cc/uk/new/vulpine-harrington-jacket/


This is point-of-information and not a criticism, the Harrington uses the Epic treatment of a fairly normal cotton cloth, Epic being a trade name for a particularly effective Durable Water Repellency (DWR) coating that stops most of the water soaking in to the cotton fibres, and the weave is close enough that surface tension will do the rest, but once water has found a way through the surface tension thing is moot and you'll get progressively damp.
Ventile, OTOH, works by any penetration of water swelling the fibres in a very fine weave and that effectively blocking further penetration.

As a result of that Epic isn't actually as waterproof as a waterproof (flipside is it's far more breathable), while Ventile was originally made for pilots' immersion suits. In many (most?) rain conditions Epic will be enough to keep you near-as-dammit dry, but if it's going to be very heavy and/or sustained the double Ventile would be better from the point of view of keeping you dry.

Epic is a chemical coating. I've no idea how "green" or otherwise it is. AIUI Ventile has some degree of coating but my guess is rather less, as it's the swelling of cotton fibres when damp that keep rain out rather than the coating.

horizon wrote:I have a Ventile hiking jacket that I don't wear for the bike (too bulky). Great jacket but very bulky and stiff when wet.


It's because of the absorb some water and swell up model that Ventile changes quite a bit when wet. What's particularly fun (and familiar to users of conventional waterproofs when the DWR has given up and they're winter mountaineering) is when you go up through the snowline in wet Ventile and the water in the jacket freezes. I've only done this in the conventional sodden waterproof though I hear it's worse in Ventile, but it's pretty much like wearing a jacket made of cardboard as far as moving goes.

PH wrote:It's debatable how sustainable anything is, my take is the thing least sustainable is the level of consumption. Buying less and getting plenty of use from it seems the right balance to me.


I'd agree with this. For waterproofs I make a point of only wearing them in Proper Rain. Partly they work better (because the DWR performs better), partly they last much longer and partly a non-waterproof is typically nicer when you don't need a waterproof. My go-to general cycling jacket is an old Rohan polycotton one I bought on eBay for £20. I've been using it for well over a decade and it originally dates back to the 80s. I've done a few minor repairs on it and expect it'll still be going well in to the 2020s.

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Bmblbzzz
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby Bmblbzzz » 26 Feb 2018, 9:16am

I'd agree with all the points above about sustainability: less is more, nothing is total and natural fabrics, especially cotton, are not necessarily better than synthetics (particularly when you take into account land use). However, I do have a Hilltrek Ventile jacket. It's very warm, windproof and waterproof. It's a bit bulky for energetic riding, despite being cut for cycling, but it's great for riding round town and for general wear. I am not entirely convinced as to how long it will last,as after one wash I've noticed slight abrasion on the cuffs.

JakobW
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby JakobW » 26 Feb 2018, 9:34am

Having looked a couple of the options on here, the internet's ad algorithms have obviously decided I'm in the market for a jacket, and keep sending me banner ads for different choices! Another Ventile option here - on sale and a snip at a mere £350...
(Edit: it now seems to be back at the full-price - £495!) https://demonframeworks.com/product/jackets/
Last edited by JakobW on 26 Feb 2018, 5:04pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ugly
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby Ugly » 26 Feb 2018, 4:31pm

Ventile clothing was never cheap, I bought a Blacks Anorak in the 70s and it cost me the best part of a weeks wages, it did last well but I think the modern stuff keeps the wet out better.

hercule
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Re: Natural clothing

Postby hercule » 26 Feb 2018, 9:20pm

Bamboo is supposed to be much more eco friendly than cotton, requiring far less water to grow (and you can feed pandas with it too). Having read the bad stuff about man made fabrics I’ve been trying some of BAM Clothing's running stuff. Verdict is that it feels very good, is odourless even after extensive wear testing (in the interests of science) but I sweat too much for its wicking effects when running and it gets pretty heavy when wet. Wicking is better than cotton, however. Rather reluctantly I have to say that my Helly Hansen polypropylene thermals have still functionally got the edge. Mine at least last forever. I sweat less on the bike and the BAM stuff is a bit better in this role. Cotton? Not for heavy excercise, poor wickability and chafing potential are major drawbacks.