Builders' Forum Archives
Posted by terry on May 24, 2005
I certainly can't speak with Steve Miller's authority on breathable fabrics, but I have used them for over twenty years in a variety of kayaking, ocean sailing, backpacking and mountaineering activities. Goretex, in my experience, seems to have the most consistent quality of the breathables. But I also have a very light jacket, the Marmot Precip model, that I like for paddling. It appears to be as water resistent as Goretex and is lighter.
Any of the breathables need to be kept clean to work, and you have to avoid liquid detergents. There are cleaning/restoring solutions available that keep the fabric waterproof.
All the breathable fabrics I've used seem to work better in a higher exertion setting like climbing or kayaking - something to do with vapor pressure diferentials inside the jacket, I think, but Steve could elaborate on this. In settings where I'm generally just sitting in heavy rain/waves, I find the vinyl jackets like the Line 7 brand to be dryer, if a bit stiffer to wear in cool weather.
Whatever you buy, ensure the seams are taped and wear it in the shower r run a hose on it for a while to see if it really works. The unlined jackets will often get you a bit wet, either from seepage or condensation.
Look for YKK zippers and rinse salt out of the zippers before storing the jacket for long periods.
Generally, In my opinion, I find these jackets/pants to be more comfortable to wear than the vinyl or rubberized fabrics, but they're not perfect. You're still gonna be hotter with the jacket on than off. Polyester fleece will wick away moisture better than the breathables. In high exertion, jackets with zip vents on the chest and armpits supplement the breathability of the fabirc and help keep you cooler and dryer. Whenever I can, I keep my jacket in my pack or cockpit and trust my poly shirt, vest or tights to keep me comfortable.
And, by the way, Goretex was edged out in 2000 by the new miracle fabric . . .
In Response to: Gortex by Mac on May 24, 2005