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Thread: Recommendation: Lightweight, breathable, waterproof, packable cag / jacket

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Recommendation: Lightweight, breathable, waterproof, packable cag / jacket

    Need something which will pack down pretty small but at least see off a heavy downpour on a city break, pack down small enough 'just in case on a summer hike and not be too sweaty on the inside.

    Hood / full zip a must.

    Briefly looked at a Marmot Mica but come here for some guidance

  2. #2
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    No replies yet? Surprising - I thought there'd be plenty of opinion on this query.

    I prefer a longer cut waterproof to match my body and so the run-off isn't at waist level, and to be frank function is more important than style. I'm also happy with the breatheability of light eVent fabric so the Rab Bergen suits well. It's not a new design in the Rab range but I think has remained current because it's effective, though somewhat more expensive than the Marmot. A shorter waterproof may well be slightly more compact or light, but what I want most from a waterproof is protection.

    Let's see if this gets the response ball rolling...

  3. #3
    ‹bermensch Taz's Avatar
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    I've got a Berghaus goretex shell jacket which packs down quite small and sofar has kept me dry. A while back I looked at the Montane atomic but for some reason ended up buying something different of fleabay which is not so lightweight (Rab vidda). I used to carry a paramo windshirt in my bag, but after getting seriously wet in it I now take the Berghaus or Rab unless I'm wearing my Paramo jacket.

  4. #4
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    As a "just in case" you don't need anything fancy or expensive. Run of the mill stuff these days is just as waterproof and more breathable than top of the line stuff from 20 years back, and there was no great problem of people not going out in the 90s because their jackets weren't good enough.

    So try stuff on and see how you like it: cut of the coat compared to the shape of the wearer is an important aspect and you only really find that out by trying stuff on.

    For keeping off a downpour on a city break, use an umbrella. I walk about a km to work in the morning and if it's chucking it down I take my Senz brolly in preference to any of several mountain grade waterproofs.

    Pete.

  5. #5
    Widdler
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    Thanks for replies so far...

    @Taz Funnily enough I have an early Montane Featherlite cycling jacket which packs into nearly nothing [about the size of a large apple] and is worth taking if the weather looks undecided. Holds out for about 20 mins but dries off quick too. Obviously no hood though and likely wouldn't stand being used with a rucksack for long.

    Agree also about cut. A lot of lightweights are pretty short and would run off onto your shorts. It's frustrating that online specs don't often include pack size. I also realise that most of these musings are subject to compromise. At the end of the day if you want to stay dry you have to live with the weight / size of the equipment to do that properly and be prepared to pay for that.

    Light / Breathable / Waterproof / Cheap - pic any 3

  6. #6
    Ultra King Martin Carpenter's Avatar
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    You can, it seems from reports etc mostly do breathable OK. Durable is another matter.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Bentley View Post

    @Taz Funnily enough I have an early Montane Featherlite cycling jacket which packs into nearly nothing [about the size of a large apple] and is worth taking if the weather looks undecided. Holds out for about 20 mins but dries off quick too. Obviously no hood though and likely wouldn't stand being used with a rucksack for long.
    The Featherlite is a simple Pertex windshell. Since there's no membrane or coating to wear off it'll do fine with a rucksack, but it's a windproof and not a waterproof. Does that matter? It depends... Like you say, it'll keep the worst off for 20 minutes or so, but once it's soaked through it won't do much as the surface tension that was keeping most of the worst out is now a moot point. Getting wet isn't, in itself, an issue, the problem is that opens up the floodgates to getting cold, because water is a very good conductor of heat. If it's a nice(ish) day and you're not going far, and/or are running, this isn't so much of an issue but on a long trip it does open up possibilities of getting seriously cold, so I'd suggest not a great option for more serious trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Bentley View Post
    Agree also about cut. A lot of lightweights are pretty short and would run off onto your shorts. It's frustrating that online specs don't often include pack size. I also realise that most of these musings are subject to compromise. At the end of the day if you want to stay dry you have to live with the weight / size of the equipment to do that properly and be prepared to pay for that.

    Light / Breathable / Waterproof / Cheap - pic any 3
    With run-off on to shorts we're looking at comfort. As noted above, the bottom line for waterproofs as a Must Have is making sure you don't end up losing too much heat. The most important thing for heat retention is your core/torso. Legs won't lost so much heat and are working anyway, so wet legs/bum might not be the nicest but isn't a fundamental deal breaker.

    The Pick Any Three thing... these days you really can do all of them, at least for some pretty reasonable values of "breathable". However breathable your jacket it won't be breathable enough to be completely comfortable if you're working in 100% humidity, and especially if the ambients are north of about 10C... If you think you'd still be sweating freely if you took away the rain and were just wearing a base layer then adding a coat on top and having it rain on you isn't going to improve matters! That's a lot of why I prefer brollies.

    Pete.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon Majorcatastrophe's Avatar
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    I second the umbrella, if we are talking 'just in case'. Packable and highly breathable.

  9. #9
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Main problem with brollies is if it's windy. Senz ones are tested up to gale force, though at that point water hitting you horizontally is more of an issue and there's only so much cover that can be afforded. The other issue is it takes a hand away, so if you like your hands free, or have them holding something else already (trekking poles, for example) not so good.
    Lots of people think suggesting brollies for Proper Outdoors is a joke, but they can be an excellent way to stay dry without needing to use a hood. And if you're not using a hood you can keep a jacket neck open and consequently the whole thing vents much better. A brolly will also prevent a jacket fabric from wetting out, so it'll retain its breathability much better.

    Pete.

  10. #10
    ‹bermensch
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    They seem to be popular in the Alps.
    Not quite so good for scrambling or traversing a 45 degree slope in winter conditions with an ice axe in the other hand.
    But for calmer conditions and easier ground a good choice.
    The problem is that in the UK, in the mountains, you still usually need to take a jacket just in case and end up carrying an additional bit of kit.
    If I ever stop home working I will probably get a Senz for the daily commute though.

  11. #11
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatwalker View Post
    The problem is that in the UK, in the mountains, you still usually need to take a jacket just in case and end up carrying an additional bit of kit.
    True, but worth noting that a raincoat with the hood down and neck open that doesn't have the yoke completely wet out having been rained on for an hour is a lot more breathable thanks to those.

    On one occasion in Glenshee we had an hour of stair-rods, but no wind so while I had a shell I didn't bother putting it on. At the end of that I was bone dry and everyone else was very soggy, well worth the extra weight of the brolly.

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