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Old 05-23-2014, 08:36 PM   #1
vtflyfish
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Bomb proof Rain Gear

Most on the forum know me as a fly fisherman who spends lots of time on the ponds. I was out for last week's deluge, which was as intense a rain storm as I've seen in the 'Daks. Sheets of rain driven by the wind while I was out there in my float tube looking fruitlessly for a brook trout. It did me in. My Mountain Hardwear rain jacket wetted out. I got cold and wet.

I was not the only one. Glen in his expensive Cloudveil and UpstaeDave in his Patagonia rainwear got equally drenched, wet out an uncomfortable. I've owned rain jackets from North Face, Arcteryx, Marmot and Patagonia. All were great for a very short time (< 1 season) and then suffered the same fate.

I prepared for this trip by washing my shell (techwash followed by two rinse cycles), applying DWR (ReviveX) and putting it through the dryer for 60 minutes.

So do any of you have a bomb proof rain gear suggestion, either a new product or a method of re-treating? Or is everybody else as irritated as me over the manufacturer's claims and less than stellar performance after the money has been spent?
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Old 05-23-2014, 08:49 PM   #2
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I can't really comment on any super expensive rain gear, but have definitely been caught in some nasty rain storms before, with proper gear. For me, keeping warm is most important, and having some dry clothing to change into. If that fails, I'm headed home and I'll come back another day.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:11 PM   #3
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Look in marine or sailors supply places for high end brands.

Or, if you are not going to be heavily exerting yourself, consider a non breathable vinyl or PU rain slicker, The non breathables are MUCH more waterproof than any goretex.

An umbrella helps, too.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:09 AM   #4
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I have some L.L. Bean Gortex that I bought several years ago. I have yet to get wet in the gear. I experienced deluge thunderstorms in sand creek wilderness in the black hills of Wyoming as well as horizontal rain. And had to hike out through high grass and brush the next day, I stayed dry and plenty of air circulation so no perspiration. Same gear also kept mer dry when we paddled the Missouri River in the Missouri breaks and the badlands. Had intermittent rain, deluge and thunderstorms almost every day. Again, I stayed dry and comfortable.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:30 AM   #5
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I too have problems with rain gear. Not any high end stuff, so I'm glad to know that I didn't waste money hoping for miracles. In my experience you can't beat waterproof. As TCD said, vinyl or PU. After all, you'll just be sitting in an ice bath all day, so no real exertion to wet you from the inside. Use the breathable stuff when you're hiking to and from your ponds. What were the names of those ponds again?
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Old 05-24-2014, 10:05 AM   #6
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For me the wearing of rain is to prevent the rain from "washing" the heat from my body. If that is not an issue, then I wear polar fleece, setup a tarp, wring it out, and then put it back on. For me backpacking in the rain means I will be wet either from sweat or rain depending on the air temperature. In cool weather I have been known to wear a large "leaf bag" and for added insulation a second leaf bag over the first during an extreme down pour in November. Not very fashionable but I was warm esp. with my goretex wool hat. I like goretex in hats and boots.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:00 AM   #7
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Gore text is not rain gear in my opinion. It works reasonably well when it's new, but not so well after a few years of use. And in really heavy rain it always seems to soak through. At least that's been my experience.

I like the Helly Hansen Impertech. It's a stretchable rubberized material that is 100% waterproof. I have the pants and the longer jacket. It's reasonably rugged and not too expensive. But it's not breathable, so you will sweat if it's warm or you're moving around. As I said I don't think breathable and waterproof go together. But for fishing or other stationary activities I love it.
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Old 05-24-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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Gore text is not rain gear in my opinion. It works reasonably well when it's new, but not so well after a few years of use. And in really heavy rain it always seems to soak through. At least that's been my experience.

I like the Helly Hansen Impertech. It's a stretchable rubberized material that is 100% waterproof. I have the pants and the longer jacket. It's reasonably rugged and not too expensive. But it's not breathable, so you will sweat if it's warm or you're moving around. As I said I don't think breathable and waterproof go together. But for fishing or other stationary activities I love it.
I've had my Gore tex for 10 years. Still keeps my dry under any conditions. Paid about $140 for the coat and around the same for the pants in 2004 from L.L. Bean
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Old 05-24-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
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I use Grundens, Helly Hanson and Guy Cotton rain gear for bombproof results. I have the bibs and hooded jackets and always stay dry. However, these are rubberized cotton and offer no breathability and will take a lot of room in a pack. I will never rely on Gore Tex to keep me dry in a deluge as it has always let me down. Don't get me wrong....I use Gore Tex often but I know it's limitations.

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Old 05-25-2014, 07:26 AM   #10
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I've had my Gore tex for 10 years. Still keeps my dry under any conditions. Paid about $140 for the coat and around the same for the pants in 2004 from L.L. Bean
I've had a set of LL Bean goretex shell pants/coat that I've been very happy with since around the turn of the millenium. Sometimes I wish the darned things would wear out so I could get these new fangled outerwear that everyone else is wearing. But that's not me so I "suffer" with my bought and paid for LL Bean's.

That said, they are a heavier weight material (3 ply) than I would prefer to carry as rain gear, so I use them only for winter hiking. But goretex (or other waterproof/breathable membranes) SHOULD be waterproof. For example, we ARE all wearing breathable fishing waders these days.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:03 PM   #11
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I've had a set of LL Bean goretex shell pants/coat that I've been very happy with since around the turn of the millenium. Sometimes I wish the darned things would wear out so I could get these new fangled outerwear that everyone else is wearing. But that's not me so I "suffer" with my bought and paid for LL Bean's.

That said, they are a heavier weight material (3 ply) than I would prefer to carry as rain gear, so I use them only for winter hiking. But goretex (or other waterproof/breathable membranes) SHOULD be waterproof. For example, we ARE all wearing breathable fishing waders these days.
Mine aren't that heavy and they compress down into their own pocket. I'm reading other peoples reports and I'm surprised. I'm thinking that perhaps a lot depends on the company that uses the gore tex and how it's manufactured/assembled, etc. L.L. Bean has always had a great reputation for quality and reliability. I mean, my gear fits the "bomb proof" (although in that case 'd prefer a flak jacket or some Kevlar) request of the OP.
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Old 05-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #12
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I too have LL Bean GT rainwear and it serves me well. I can't say enough about the product. But for extreme weather I would want PVC/rubber gear. A number of years ago a friend taught at Outward Bound in Colorado and they used Helly Hanson non Gore Tex exclusively. Check out any one who works in the fishing/ marine industry.....I guarantee that they are not using Gore Tex, it will be PVC/ rubber made by Grunden or Helly Hanson. I fish often on the ocean and that is all I see and use.

The OP was looking for "bombproof rainwear" not the lightest and most breathable.

BTW, Grunden makes three different weights/ thicknesses of their rainwear. For reference, the Grunden light weight full bib rolls/ folds up to about twice the size of my LL Bean GT pants.

Probably not what you would want to pack for any length of time and distance but it might serve someone well who is just packing in for the day on a fishing venture.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:27 PM   #13
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The end of this story

I thought everybody should hear about this response from Mountain Hardwear. I essentially sent them the text of my OP with the question: Should I expect more from this jacket? Their reply? Absolutely! Send it back and we'll take a look at it.

One week after sending in the jacket I got an email informing me I'd be receiving a new jacket of equal or greater value. It arrived a few days ago, a new Super Plasmic. This jacket is ~$80 more than I paid for mine. It has gotten top reviews on several sites.

My first impression? It's super light, gossamer thin and looks fragile. The reviews all say get over it, that it's tough as nails. The weave is super tight and (right now) it sheds water like an adolescent duck.

I wanted to pass on this story because I really appreciate superior product support and commitment to making customers happy. This definitely puts Mountain Hardwear on the plus side when I next evaluate new gear for my collection.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:42 AM   #14
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It's only been a year but my Mountain Hardwear jacket is no longer waterproof. I've reapplied DWR twice now but the stuff wears off and the jacket won't withstand a week's trip where heavy rain is expected. Add another glorified windbreaker to the pile...
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:05 AM   #15
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Two words - "Rivers West".
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:37 AM   #16
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I have Rivers West jacket and pants. It's waterproof but its also hot. I can't even hunt in it because I sweat so much. If you're sitting or fishing on a cold day it might be ok, but any exertion and I'm drenched.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:35 AM   #17
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It's only been a year but my Mountain Hardwear jacket is no longer waterproof. I've reapplied DWR twice now but the stuff wears off and the jacket won't withstand a week's trip where heavy rain is expected. Add another glorified windbreaker to the pile...
Not waterproof or not breathable? When I'm sitting in my float tube my arse feels like it's getting wet. When I get out of the tube my arse still feels wet. But it's just sweat. No way the goretex can breathe when it's submerged. and no way a rain jacket can breathe if the membrane is clogged (for obvious reasons) or if the DWR is worn out (because the jacket will "wet out" instead of beading, which means there is a uniform coat of water covering the membrane, pretty much like being underwater.

Sounds as if the DWR isn't worn out, because you have re-applied it. So, a few questions for you. (1) Do you wash the jacket? If not then the pores will get clogged. (2) Do you wash the jacket with Nikwax TekWash or some other recommended product? If you use regular laundry detergent the pores will get clogged. (3) Do you use a spray on DWR and apply it only to the outside? If you use a wash in DWR or apply a spray on to the inside then the pores will get clogged.

That's all I've got. If it ain't one of the above then it's time to call Mtn Hardwear again.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:25 PM   #18
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I have Rivers West jacket and pants. It's waterproof but its also hot. I can't even hunt in it because I sweat so much. If you're sitting or fishing on a cold day it might be ok, but any exertion and I'm drenched.
You're right about hot on the inside, but I've never been wet from the rain and snow. They make lightweight clothing too, and I would guess that it's cooler, but can't say for sure.
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Old 06-10-2015, 01:31 PM   #19
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Not waterproof or not breathable? When I'm sitting in my float tube my arse feels like it's getting wet. When I get out of the tube my arse still feels wet. But it's just sweat. No way the goretex can breathe when it's submerged. and no way a rain jacket can breathe if the membrane is clogged (for obvious reasons) or if the DWR is worn out (because the jacket will "wet out" instead of beading, which means there is a uniform coat of water covering the membrane, pretty much like being underwater.

Sounds as if the DWR isn't worn out, because you have re-applied it. So, a few questions for you. (1) Do you wash the jacket? If not then the pores will get clogged. (2) Do you wash the jacket with Nikwax TekWash or some other recommended product? If you use regular laundry detergent the pores will get clogged. (3) Do you use a spray on DWR and apply it only to the outside? If you use a wash in DWR or apply a spray on to the inside then the pores will get clogged.

That's all I've got. If it ain't one of the above then it's time to call Mtn Hardwear again.
TekWash folowed by additional rinse cycle. Revive-X DWR applied with a spray bottle. 40 minutes in the dryer per the manufacturuer's instructions. After ~ 1 week of use the arms start to wet out again, indicating that the DWR lacks D and wears away quickly. I think it's the face fabric that's the issue.
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Old 06-10-2015, 03:22 PM   #20
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TekWash folowed by additional rinse cycle. Revive-X DWR applied with a spray bottle. 40 minutes in the dryer per the manufacturuer's instructions. After ~ 1 week of use the arms start to wet out again, indicating that the DWR lacks D and wears away quickly. I think it's the face fabric that's the issue.
Even in the case of wetting out, the waterproofness of the membrane is not compromised, only the breathability. Are you sure the wetness you are experiencing isn't just sweat? Of course poor breathability is still an issue, but your earlier post indicated that the jacket was "no longer waterproof".
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