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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    306

    Learn me on waterproof jackets

    Hi Gang,
    Heading out for a month of storm chasing February 1. I’m a pretty diehard soft shell guy. BUT was considering picking up a waterproof (gore tex ish) shell for the trip as well.

    What do y’all lean to that isn’t gonna cost an entire paycheck? Are the other non gore Tex shells as reliable as goretex?

    Been a long time since I’ve bought one of these so appreciate the info.

    Cheers
    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Evergreen Co
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    323
    Resort skiing or touring?

    I think hard shells are something that you don’t want to go ‘cheap’ on. You need to at a minimum get to mid level stuff likely around $300-$400.

    For touring getting something “high end” is the way to go. It just works better. Resort skiing matters less.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    412
    Quote Originally Posted by Tailwind View Post
    Resort skiing or touring?

    I think hard shells are something that you don’t want to go ‘cheap’ on. You need to at a minimum get to mid level stuff likely around $300-$400.

    For touring getting something “high end” is the way to go. It just works better. Resort skiing matters less.
    So what exactly do you get with "high end"? This last weekend snow was wet and my north face summit series shell was soaking up more water than my buddy's $150 Columbia shell. His was brand new and mine is a year old so I'm sure mine had lost some of the waterproofing but at that price difference you could buy a columbia shell every year

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    306
    It’ll be resort. As I said, I am a soft shell guy. Use it touring and at resort. Of course on a powder chasing trip we will avoid rain, but JIC. That and living in the INW might be a good idea.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Church of the Nifty Blue Chrysler
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    5,369
    Supposedly (and IME) 100 denier face fabric absorbs significantly less water than others, even once the DWR fails, which helps to limit wet-out in the few garments that use it. However, they tend to be high end pieces that (IMO) are not well suited to resort skiing. For touring however, they're worth the cashish.

    I think that part of the reason some cheap shells hold up well to wet weather is that they use really burly face fabrics at the expense of weight, packability and breathability. So for resort skiing, get something with a burly, stout face fabric. Pick the membrane of your choice, insulation if you run cold or don't like thinking about layering systems, a shell if you run hot.
    Set my compass North, I got Winter in my blood.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
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    13,157
    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    . . . soaking up more water . . . so I'm sure mine had lost some of the waterproofing. . . .
    Fabric soaking results from DWR degradation, not waterproofing. Treat your shell with new DWR. I prefer 303 Fabric Guard, sprayed lightly on a clean dry shell, then throw in dryer on medium for 15 minutes. I dunno if 303 FG formula will change with crackdown on fluro products. Don't expect a miracle: DIY DWR replenishment is never as good as factory.

    "Waterproofing" (marketing term -- I prefer "weatherproof") is achieved with membrane (e.g., Gore ePTFE) or coating (usually PU). A good PU coating can be as weatherproof as high end ePTFE, often lasts longer and is less expensive, but it doesn't breathe work a damn.

    IME, of all weatherproofing shells, Arc'Teryx SV shell is as stormworthy as it gets and SV fabric is as durable as GTX weatherproofing gets. I dunno whether Freeride Systems uses similarly balls-tough fabric. GTX is not miracle shit, has its limitations and IME will eventually fail and allow water to seep, but good heavier duty GTX shells work great in a snow storm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
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    7,762
    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    So what exactly do you get with "high end"? This last weekend snow was wet and my north face summit series shell was soaking up more water than my buddy's $150 Columbia shell. His was brand new and mine is a year old so I'm sure mine had lost some of the waterproofing but at that price difference you could buy a columbia shell every year
    If your jacket is “soaking up water” the DWR has been compromised. Wash it correctly and apply new DWR. I prefer 303 protectant.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    panhandle locdog
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    6,732
    In my experience really waterproof pants are far more important that a really waterproof jacket, especially for resort skiing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    the ham
    Posts
    7,080
    DWR ain't what it used to be because of environmental/pollution issues.

    also, what LVS said.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    livin the dream
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    3,674
    You should be able to find a season-old / clearance goretex jacket for around $200 online, at an outlet, or in an REI clearance rack. I got an Mtn Hardware lightweight goretex active anorak for like $130 a few weeks ago.


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    1,005
    That is simply the DWR coating. has nothing to do with the waterproof membrane (goretex, neoshell, dermizax, event, etc). DWR degrades with time and use. You spray on some nikiwax to re-up it otherwise the outermaterial wets out and you lose all breathability, your sweat cannot escape and you end up thinking the shell has failed because its wet on the inside... but its because of your sweat.

    In the PNW, i dont mess with anything below 20k. Goretex preferred, but not really NECESSARY for resort skiing. Depends how often you plans to ski in rain or wet snowstorms.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Rossland BC
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    1,184
    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    So what exactly do you get with "high end"? This last weekend snow was wet and my north face summit series shell was soaking up more water than my buddy's $150 Columbia shell. His was brand new and mine is a year old so I'm sure mine had lost some of the waterproofing but at that price difference you could buy a columbia shell every year
    The extent of “wetting out” is determined by the DWR coating on the fabric, whereas the degree of “soaking through” is controlled by the (Gore-Tex etc.) membrane. DWR performance and durability isn’t properly evaluated or publicized in the market, but they work best when new, certain fabrics are less compromised by its loss than others (fine denier, non-stretch, rip-stop nylon seems best), and there are ways to maintain (tech wash) and/or rejuvenate (TX Direct) it, but ultimately the DWR degrades over time regardless of what you spend.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    PNW
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    5,132
    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerSteve View Post

    IME, of all weatherproofing shells, Arc'Teryx SV shell is as stormworthy as it gets and SV fabric is as durable as GTX weatherproofing gets.
    SV uses 100-denier face fabric, fwiw.

    I have an Alpha SV from about 2006 that is still in the rotation. Made in Canada, as the SV still is. Burly material, great hood, but the cut is better for harness-wearing alpine-y things than for resort riding.

    To the OP: consider features and cut before getting bogged down with materials. Torso length and width, pocket placement, etc. Evaluate the hood and collar carefully for your use case(s)... I find those to make/break a ski shell, but I ski in a maritime climate and value a hood that fits over my helmet and doesn't restrict my face or head. If I skied in Colorado, a hood might not even be a required feature... nor would it necessarily need to be a hardshell.

    My favorite ski shell so far is the Sidewinder with its offset zipper and cut.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    9,200
    Keeping water out isn't hard. If the only goal was preventing water on the outside from getting inside, you could just wear some sort of non-permeable membrane (i.e. a trash bag). The problem is that people sweat while skiing, and moisture that you produce within your jacket will make you wet if it has no place to go. Hence, breathability matters. Which means DWR matters, because if the face fabric of your jacket / pants gets soaked / wets out, then breathability goes to shit. Even when the jacket wets out, the membrane should keep water from penetrating. But since the jacket is soaked and not breathable, you're still going to get wet from your sweat - you're essentially back to skiing while wearing a (expensive) trash bag.

    My take away: where you're skiing matters. If the place you ski is usually quite cold and storm skiing involves cold, dry snow, the waterproofness of your jacket matters a lot less. Shop based on fit / price / features, not waterproofness. If you're touring, breathability matters more than waterproofness by a fair amount. If you're skiing somewhere with warm, wet storms, the DWR coating matters as much, if not more than the membrane. The fanciest breathable membrane doesn't matter that much if the fabric is wetted out all the time. Like others have said, certain face fabrics are better about not wetting out, and modern DWR's are getting worse (because the older DWR's that worked really well aren't great for the environment).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
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    6,392
    No skiing related products have failed, for me, more consistently than "high end" shells. My advice is to buy one you can quickly and easily warranty if you need to. Patagonia, OR, etc...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Stumptown
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    6,055
    Quote Originally Posted by mike View Post
    Hi Gang,
    Heading out for a month of storm chasing February 1. I’m a pretty diehard soft shell guy. BUT was considering picking up a waterproof (gore tex ish) shell for the trip as well.

    What do y’all lean to that isn’t gonna cost an entire paycheck? Are the other non gore Tex shells as reliable as goretex?

    Been a long time since I’ve bought one of these so appreciate the info.

    Cheers
    Mike
    The way I read this is that you are going to be traveling to find the goods, which means maybe you don't know where exactly you'll be on this trip?

    If so, I'd definitely be looking for something that is 20k/20k at a minimum. That pretty much puts you into GoreTex, Patagonia H2No, and some of the more boutique-y stuff like FlyLow and Trew. I don't think DryVent is rated that high, is it? Seem sealing is just as important as good materials.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,589
    I prefer event based jackets for resort. Strafe, westcomb and others use fabric. If a supplier has agreed to sell gore tex then gore will not allow them to sell event. I find it breaths better but provides good weather resistance. Also check out antero local mag owned jackets.


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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    306
    Good discussion gang. Thank you. I’ll be prowling the outlets and sales for a couple weeks.

    And yep. It is a chasing trip. No clue where we will be.

    Agree about the pants. The FlyLow Chemical pants have treated me well thus far!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Vinyl Valley
    Posts
    1,124
    You don't need a ton of cash to get a decent jacket. You can trade the stuff you aren't using for things you need.

    Keep an eye on gear swap, or start a new thread.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    306
    Great Point Skuff.

    I have a handful of stuff that will be posted tomorrow!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Inside the Circle
    Posts
    1,959
    Check out Freeride Systems. Owned by a mag and I'm a total phanboy. I ski in the rain and don't ever get wet in my Antero 2 softshell. Incredible customer service. You won't be disappointed.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    1,437
    Quote Originally Posted by whyturn View Post
    I prefer event based jackets for resort. Strafe, westcomb and others use fabric. If a supplier has agreed to sell gore tex then gore will not allow them to sell event. I find it breaths better but provides good weather resistance. Also check out antero local mag owned jackets.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Gonna agree with this wholeheartedly based on excellent performance of my dry q elite MH shell year after year. That said, I have yet to try Gore Tex Pro (not pro shell... What a fucked up misdirection play!).

    Only other caveat on eVent is that even the thinnest vanilla Gore Tex shell feels warmer (to me anyway). Probably because vanilla Gore Tex doesn't actually breathe by any reasonable standard.

    Anyone actually skied in Outdry? Looks silly to my eye, but is it functional?

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  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    truckee
    Posts
    12,078
    Patagonia Powder Bowl is a goretex jacket at a reasonable (depending on your definition) price.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    357
    read the Eddie Bauer threads. Their first ascent is good stuff, and you can almost always find an EB sale

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
    Posts
    13,157
    Re DWR treatments, the big-ass gallon jug of 303 Fabric Guard I bought last year seems to be the same stuff as the 5 y.o. bottle it replaced. Has the formula changed?

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