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hansp77
04-29-2010, 08:10 AM
any hiking/mountaineering or just gear-geek gurus out there?
I need a breathable waterproof hardshell jacket.

Use is, primarily, for wearing under my motorbike jacket, but beyond that for general wear when camping and traveling.
My jacket (BMW RP2) usually comes with a removable goretex liner- the theory is for allowing for maximum use in hot and cold weather. It has very nice venting capability for the hot weather, and is actually pretty fine when closed up for cold weather, but obviously is not waterproof without an inner liner.
Mine came without the liner (a steal on ebay). I could just buy a liner for it, but a) they are a rip off, and b) I'd rather pay good money for a separate hardshell jacket that will do the same thing but is something that I can and will wear on its own.

Our dollar is quite good at the moment, so buying from overseas (particularly US market) is a very good option- not just for price (close to 50% off or more) but for range.
We have a pretty lousy (IMHO) range here and a decent breathable shell that I would be happy with will cost me about the same as the very best shell from overseas...

Anyway, I have not just stumbled here to ask without doing a lot of research and looking around. I have been chewing over this for about 8 months.
I could join up at some sort of gear forum and ask... I could ask on a motorbike forum... please consider it a compliment that I choose to ask here first;)
Lots of north american members here who obviously like to get out amongst the elements- I would greatly appreciate your advice.

What I want (aiming for too much rather than too little information)
Waterproof. As in waterproof at motorbike airpressure and bad rain. It will be an underlayer for this application, and an overlayer for regular use.
Breathable- I don't care whether it be one of the goretex products, Event, or anything else, 'hyped' or not, so long long as it perfoms. I also relise that 'breathable' is often not really what it sounds like. Given the tendency for these fabrics to really only work at their peak in cold temperatures, some of my use will no doubt leave me sweating it up on the inside. Oh well. Waterproof no 1, breathable as possible no 2.
Durable/hardwearing. I am not interested in paying a premium for the latest light/ultralight hiking jacket because weight is not a priority for me compared to having something that will stand up to the rough treatment I give all my clothes. Also, I just like a heavier feeling fabric. The heaviest goretex and Event shells feel good to me, the lightest ones do NOT.
Styling. Simple, not really 'classic or oldschool or anything:p, just not hypercolour power-ranger style with crazy overemphasised zips and comparments and other rubbish. I'd like it in some solid colour, probably black, maybe grey... you get the picture I hope.
Because these bloody things cost so much, it has to appeal to me- so I will wear it and be happy with it- and that is hard to describe.
Features. A decent hood (with brim) for a big head would be nice- but it either has to be removable, or pack down easily and comfortably into a collar comparment- or just be able to be folded neatly in behind the collar. I have tried a nice Macpac jacket with a non-removable non-storeable hood on under my jacket and it felt OK. This was a helmet capable hood- big but probably OK.
Other than that, I am not too fussed. Some nice regular side pockets to put the cold hands into and store a few things...some venting capability...
Cut. I am 6'1", with a long back, broad shoulders and chest and long arms- and something like a 'lazy athletic' build:D. It has to be long in the body and arms, wide in the shoulders and not like a sack around the middle. So yeah, 'athletic' I suppose. In most things, a size that fits my arms and shoulders and back- the fit around the body/waste is most usually too big. Sizes, L or XL usually fit me best- and as I will likely be buying over the internet, most likely XL for safety and to ensure I can layer underneath it.


now, brands.
aside from filling the above needs, I don't really care. There is so much hype and bs embedded in all this stuff about brands and fabrics... it is very difficult to wade through all the reviews and such.
Arc'teryx seems OK, very hyped and very expensive. something like this (http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?Mens/Jackets/Theta-AR-Jacket) maybe. I tried on that one, or something very like it and it felt pretty good (btw. close to Aus$1k here, and Aus$400 on US ebay)
Some of the NZ Macpac gear is OK. Very hyped, very expensive- I've tried this one (http://http://www.macpac.com.au/shop/en_au/gear-and-clothing/mens-clothing/mens-rainwear/prophet-jacket.html) in black, but was between L and XL, and the hood while OK was not great folded into the Motrbike jacket.
Mountainhardwear...
Patagonia...
Marmot...?

Whichever way I look at it, this is a big spend- something I want to really like and keep for a very long time.
I don't really want to spend the money it looks like I have to, but I want what I want and I only want to buy this once.
I will be looking for good new deals or used items on US or other international ebays, etc, to try to cut the cost down as much as possible.

I have a nice long motorbike journey (2-3 weeks) planned for mid winter (in a couple of months) taking me through the snowy moutains all the way to the subtropics. I need to get something soonish.

A very long post,
thanks for reading,

Hans.

Dr.Spoke
04-29-2010, 08:18 AM
http://www.endura.co.uk/Product.aspx?dept_id=122&prod_id=239
This is a jacket designed for mountainbiking - so fairly hard-wearing! Long arms and back - because of the bike fit. Discreet, waterproof, cheap, good fit for on a motorbike, and available with or without hood.

Canoez
04-29-2010, 08:24 AM
A while back I found a close-out of a Helly-Hansen waterproof breathable jacket at a market for about $100 US. I think it was originally targeted at skiers. It has been long-wearing and very durable. The down-side is that it is a bit warm, but was very breathable.

Willin'
04-29-2010, 08:44 AM
Eddie Bauer has been working hard to rebuild their brand image back to their outdoorsy roots. Some of their stuff is looking pretty good and fairly priced.

http://www.eddiebauer.com/EB/Mens-Outerwear/Water-Resistant-Outerwear--Blazers/index.cat

Captain Blight
04-29-2010, 08:46 AM
Carhartt has a ZGore-Tex jacket I really like. Just over $100 USD, it is made of much heavier than normal nylon. I used mine as my primary outwear for one full winter of deckin' in and around Chicago. I took no special pains with it, wash it when it needs it, and it looks perfectly fine. It sheds rain even better than it sheds abuse. Breathes *okay*, in really prolonged rainfall you start getting clammy, but proper layering helps a lot with this.

hansp77
04-29-2010, 09:13 AM
Oh yeah! Some great replies and ideas,
particularly as the suggestions are mostly leading me to products and some brands I have not looked into yet.
thanks a lot to everyone.
I've started following them up but have to hit the sack now, so will follow up each and every suggestion tomorrow on my break and after.
I'll get back to you, and do keep the suggestions coming.:)
Cheers,
Hans.

LeeG
04-29-2010, 09:18 AM
eVent is worth getting if breathability is a priority. I've got a cycling jacket made out of it and it's better than any goretex jacket I've had. I've had a lower cost Patagonia jacket and Kokatat rain cagoule that were marketed as slightly breathable lower cost alternative to Goretex but they aren't much better than a plastic bag.

this might do it, if you want more durability there's a mtn. bike version. Lots cheaper than Arcteryx. I've had one for two years and ridden in total downpours and was dry. You just have to wash it frequently after heavy use for the waterproofness to work. It might look funny as the tail is longer than your average jacket so if your motorcycle jacket isn't long this would stick out. I've got an XL because I'm fat with 38" waist but I wanted room inside for layers. I have 72" arm reach and the jacket is still a bit long in the arms for me. I'm guessing that might fit you.

http://www.showerspass.com/catalog/men/mens-jackets/mens-elite-20

Pete Dorr
04-29-2010, 11:08 AM
I use North Face shell for skiing - they hold up well and are reasonably priced compared to Arc-teryx and Patagonia

Captain Blight
04-29-2010, 11:16 AM
this might do it, if you want more durability there's a mtn. bike version. Lots cheaper than Arcteryx. I've had one for two years and ridden in total downpours and was dry. You just have to wash it frequently after heavy use for the waterproofness to work. It might look funny as the tail is longer than your average jacket so if your motorcycle jacket isn't long this would stick out. I've got an XL because I'm fat with 38" waist but I wanted room inside for layers. I have 72" arm reach and the jacket is still a bit long in the arms for me. I'm guessing that might fit you.

http://www.showerspass.com/catalog/men/mens-jackets/mens-elite-20One of my bike friends delivers coffee by bike, he uses Showers Pass and LOVES it. Swears by it whole-heartedly. Gets him through the worst Minnesota can throw at him.

Kaa
04-29-2010, 12:27 PM
In my experience, Gore-Tex (and Gore-Tex XCR) is still more breathable than the various imitations.

However keep in mind that for good breathability, the outer fabric should be water-repellent so that water beads up and rolls off. If it's not, water spreads film-like over the fabric and makes it considerably less breathable.

Basically, Gore-Tex jackets need to have their water-repellent coatings renewed every year or so, depending on the use -- there are multiple sprays for that and it's easy to do.

Another thing is, when choosing a jacket pay attention whether the description says "taped seams". It it doesn't have taped seams, it will be cheaper but also likely to leak.

Kaa

LeeG
04-29-2010, 01:17 PM
One of my bike friends delivers coffee by bike, he uses Showers Pass and LOVES it. Swears by it whole-heartedly. Gets him through the worst Minnesota can throw at him.

it's not perfect but damn near. I don't know if there's a Gore equivalent but it feels like air goes through it compared to regular Goretex so if you need insulation put it on. First time I wore it the air was about 48 with a drizzle and I had a medium weight wool sweater with polypro under that. I was expecting to swelter in it riding 15mph on the flats but I could feel evaporative cooling instead of heat build up and sweat. Maybe it's the vent and zips but I think it's the fabric because my arms usually overheat and sweat a lot if there's a windbreaker on them and they weren't.

hansp77
05-01-2010, 11:19 PM
Cheers everyone,
the more I look into and read about it, again, the more I think I would actually like to get something with 3 layer eVent fabric- it just seems a lot better for the likely conditions I would be using it in (Often times entailing warm and wet conditions where goretex doesn't do so well). If it is cold and breathing too well then I am more than happy to layer up underneath it. The sales blurb on eVent does sound better (vapor being able to pass through rather than having to condense, etc) and the first hand reviews on the products seem to back this up. Also, I have really liked the feel of the 3 layer eVent stuff I have tried on.

LeeG's showerpass jacket looks interesting, but like most of the 'bike riding' specific stuff I have found just seems a little bit different to what I want... I am very hesitant to get anything cut short like that- and just in general those sort of cuts that seem to be the norm with bike riding stuff usually don't do so well on me.

Donn's fishing specific stuff was a great suggestion for the cuts that are inherent- ie wide shoulder mobility for casting etc. Unfortunately the styling on those ones are not exactly what I am looking for either. I don't mind this one though
http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/product/patagonia-mens-guidewater-jacket?p=81826-0-386
pricey...

Kaa, totally seam sealed or welded, or combinations of both, is definitely a criteria required. For the motorbike use I think it would be essential.

One product I stumbled across and found interesting is something from a company called T.A.D. Gear (Triple Aught Design). Sort of aiming for the military type thing... not sure if their gear actually gets used for the sort of stuff they promote it for, or if it is just a bit of sales gimmick for the 'urban warriors'- but regardless, their stuff looks pretty good to me.
Raptor prolight hardshell
http://www.tadgear.com/shop.php?id=513
they also did something very similar in a heavier 3 layer eVent the Predator hardshell- now discontinued but occasionally available on ebay.
one really has to look through the extra images to get a feel for the thing.
Aside from their jacket, I really liked, and was prepared to instantly splurge, on some of their Australian merino stuff they have listed at sale prices- a hoody and sweater. I am needing stuff like that for this winter anyway. Can't beat good wool for the weather we get in Melbourne. They look beautifully made and I love merino gear and couldn't hope to get something of that quality at that price here (even though we make the damn Merino wool in the first place!). Unfortunately after emailing them it seems that all their merino stuff I am interested in has been sold out for quite a while:rolleyes: Bummer. But the hardshell still looks promising. Pricey yes- but not too bad in comparison to other 'full featured' 3 layer eVent stuff. They also seem to come up on ebay occasionally, new, for a little bit cheaper.
Has anyone heard of this TAD gear mob? They seem to be rather small, and thus info and reviews on them are few and far between, and a lot of that seems to be from soldier type gear head groups (not a criticism, just a limited base with often a bit of a loyal following to the company).
They do seem like they make their clothing very well and take pride in making specialised small production stuff.

Even in the hardshell I would want, after contacting them, they have limited availability in sizes. If it is cut big like it looks, then I could probably get one of the colours (black, green, grey) I would want in Large, otherwise they only have brown in XL (don't want). Might be worth contacting them again about the sizing specifically.

other things,
for a two layer eVent, this looked alright
http://www.vaude.com/epages/Vaude-de.sf/secrBgcqZW9LfQ/?ObjectPath=/Shops/Vaude/Products/09569/SubProducts/095690690500
and another 3 layer with great reviews except for a routine criticism of a terrible zip.
http://www.rei.com/product/785692

Cheers,
Hans.
(feeling the wallet pain already)