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  1. #1
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    Waterproof, windproof shell that BREATHES?

    Now that temperature dips below freezing on early mornings, I need to get a good waterproof and windproof soft shell. I do layer, so I start with an under armor later next, followed by an Ibex wool sweater with zip necks. My problem is that after 15 minutes into the ride, I am sweaty on the insider (I do sweat a LOT regardless of the weather). Could you folks suggest one such outer shell that BREATHES? I tried two different rain jackets from LL Bean (a generic one and a Gore-Tex one). The problem is that they still both get clammy. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    i have a Gore brand windproof gore tex jacket with pit zipps...and I usually ride with the pit zipps completely open and don't have that problem. However, if I close the pit zipps, it gets toast in there very quickly.

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    I prefer just to add layers under a thermal jersey. Jackets that 'breathe' don't 'breathe' fast enough for cycling.

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    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    That reminds me of the saying: lightweight, dependable, affordable-pick any two.

    This is a pretty good discussion of the issues you raise: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...y-winter-rides

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    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Breathable garments can only pass so much water vapor. I for one can out-produce what the fabric can pass. I would recommend looking for a garment that has huge pit zips & a vent across the back, which will render the need for breathability almost if not completely to zero.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    Have plenty of topcoats and have to admit that the best waterproof that breathes is one from a Hiking shop. Not cheap and not certain of the material but it does breath -a bit- but it also has vent zips under arm and across the back. I also have a Goretex jacket that is completely waterproof and breathes -a bit. However Goretex make several fabrics and mine is the heavier 3 layer fabric. They also make a two layer fabric that is lighter- is just as waterproof and breathes better.

    But the best I have is so old that the lining is falling apart . It is a Polartex smock and is also warm. The waterproofing is not as good as it used to be as after a couple of hours it soaks through on the shoulders. When new it did breath but was not used that often as it was too warm for cycling unless it was really cold.
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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Vent zips under the arms will help as will a vent across the back shoulders. However, as david58 said these fabrics can only pass so much water vapor. I've found that the layering is the key to getting rid of the clammy feeling. I try to have two base layers that transmit moisture instead of one. This allows for a slightly thinner middle layer. The key, at least for me, is getting the moisture away from direct skin contact. Even on the mildest of rides, in terms of exertion, the inside of either my GoreTex or my Marmot PreCip jacket are wet when I take them off.
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    a cycling specific one should have a big vent across the back, making it pretty breathable. You might be overdressing. I thinks its ok to feel cold for a little while 'til you build up some body heat.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    IMO, the best that can be done for longer vigorous riding is having "windproof" "water-resistant" membrane on the front of the jacket and ordinary breezy fabric in the back. This lets moisture out and prevents the jacket from inflating or billowing. It won't keep you dry in the rain, but any jacket that will will soak you in sweat. The best that can be done in the rain is to accept getting wet and have wind blocking in the front and enough technical fabric and/or wool underneath to keep you from getting hypothermia.

    The jacket I currently use is a Gore Phantom II which has a plain knit fabric back. It works pretty well, but there are other newer ones out that may be better.

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    Grammar Cop Condorita's Avatar
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    I didn't know clothing had lungs. Or gills.
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
    Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. Louis L'Amour
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  11. #11
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    Got stuck on a central Texas ride when the temp dropped severely - 89 to 64 - I was freezing with only a light weight nylon shell - In my bike bag I carry a thin reflective vest made of nylon - I put it on backwards under my wind breaker and it was able to keep at least my chest warm for the remainder of the ride...

    64 degrees may not seem very cold except when you are used to riding in 98 degree plus days...

    I am always on the lookout for a cheaper source of field clothing - Many people I know have spent more money on their clothing than on their bike...

    In the 70s we used to take one sheet of news paper and stuff it under our wool jerseys at the beginning of the ride - After warming up we would just pull it out...

    Also take a note from Runners and Motorcyclists - Always keep your neck and upper chest warm...

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    Interesting answers to the question. All are actually "correct" in that each works for that individual. Individuals are very different in their ability to tolerate cold and in their perspiration while physically exerting in the cold. The bottom line is that you just have to experiment to see what works well for you in your environment.

    Personally, I handle cold pretty well but I sweat like a stuck pig. So, I don't wear many clothes at all but change often. Others do different things. Since water conducts heat and cold very well the best answer to stay warm is to not sweat. Fat chance of that riding a bike. So, maybe you can just wear very little and take a change in a back pack or pannier? For example: When I was a runner I ran outside regardless of temperature. Whether +90F or -50F I was outside running. In the cold I wore essentially a sweatsuit with a very thin wind jacket. After an hour outside I'd be covered with frost. As soon as I finished it was a shower and dry clothes, or at least dry clothes.

    Good idea to ask the question. But, only you can answer it for you.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

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    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Condorita View Post
    I didn't know clothing had lungs. Or gills.
    Mine does.

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    I looked at the Gore Phantom, but they appear to run very small! my chest size is 47" while their largest size, XXL, is 42-44". What's up with that? Any other similar windproof water resistant jackets out there that are not made for the athletic types, but rather for common joe's like some of us???

    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    IMO, the best that can be done for longer vigorous riding is having "windproof" "water-resistant" membrane on the front of the jacket and ordinary breezy fabric in the back. This lets moisture out and prevents the jacket from inflating or billowing. It won't keep you dry in the rain, but any jacket that will will soak you in sweat. The best that can be done in the rain is to accept getting wet and have wind blocking in the front and enough technical fabric and/or wool underneath to keep you from getting hypothermia.

    The jacket I currently use is a Gore Phantom II which has a plain knit fabric back. It works pretty well, but there are other newer ones out that may be better.

  15. #15
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deego65 View Post
    I looked at the Gore Phantom, but they appear to run very small! my chest size is 47" while their largest size, XXL, is 42-44". What's up with that? Any other similar windproof water resistant jackets out there that are not made for the athletic types, but rather for common joe's like some of us???
    I don't know how Gore sizes, but Showers Pass is very generous. Not only is my jacket more than big enough in a L, the sleeves will come down over my hands and much of my fingers - which is great when you are someone that usually cannot find sleeves that will stay around my wrists. Velcro straps adjust the sleeve "fall". And the chest is very generous. Maybe you can find something there.

    I am thinking that Gore sizes more along the lines of a "cycling" jacket, where you might find a regular coat, like Columbia, for instance, might not size so sleek.
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deego65 View Post
    I looked at the Gore Phantom, but they appear to run very small! my chest size is 47" while their largest size, XXL, is 42-44". What's up with that? Any other similar windproof water resistant jackets out there that are not made for the athletic types, but rather for common joe's like some of us???
    Gore material is in several jacket lines. Each may be cut a bit different so shop around. However, based on your original post you probably will be disappointed in any jackets made with that material. A couple of us have pointed out that they just aren't permeable enough for people who sweat heavily.

    Doesn't matter whether you are wet from rain or sweat; you are still wet.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  17. #17
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
    Gore material is in several jacket lines. Each may be cut a bit different so shop around. However, based on your original post you probably will be disappointed in any jackets made with that material. A couple of us have pointed out that they just aren't permeable enough for people who sweat heavily.

    Doesn't matter whether you are wet from rain or sweat; you are still wet.
    No, nothing is perfect. But some things are better than others -- and GorTex is considered one of the better ones.

    But, as some have pointed out, you may need additional venting through pit-zips -- or maybe just opening up the front zip. That's why I never buy pull-overs -- you can't vent them so you just swim in the sweat.
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    I have not found a good solution to cooler weather rides (35 - 50 degs). I sweat a lot, so I generally try to wear materials that stay warm-ish when wet but do not get soggy and act like a giant refrigerator unit. Wool is my usual. I'll stick a windbreaker (wind proof but not waterproof) on top if I get cold or if I start cold.
    Yes, the wool gets damp but the insulating properties of wool combined with the heat I'm generating keeps me warm enough.

    I did make a jacket out of Schoeller Dynamic fabric, which has no waterproofing as far as I can tell, but does a fair job blocking the wind. I finished it last spring, so I have only worn it twice.

    I have worn a jacket backwards, so my front is covered and my back can breathe. Looked funny but was comfortable enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    No, nothing is perfect. But some things are better than others -- and GorTex is considered one of the better ones.

    But, as some have pointed out, you may need additional venting through pit-zips -- or maybe just opening up the front zip. That's why I never buy pull-overs -- you can't vent them so you just swim in the sweat.
    Nope, nothing is perfect. In the case of these GoreTex type fabrics they are so far from perfect they are totally unsatisfactory for active wear by heavy perspiration folks. They do fine for those folks who do not sweat a lot though. I have a complete pants and jacket outfit that is absolutely wonderful for walking, hiking, or anything where I am not heavily exerting myself. I generally keep them in my emergency bag for when I get soaked and need to get dry and warm NOW. Most everyone I know does not use that expensive plastic for heavy exertion.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  20. #20
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    imo, the best that can be done for longer vigorous riding is having "windproof" "water-resistant" membrane on the front of the jacket and ordinary breezy fabric in the back. This lets moisture out and prevents the jacket from inflating or billowing. It won't keep you dry in the rain, but any jacket that will will soak you in sweat. The best that can be done in the rain is to accept getting wet and have wind blocking in the front and enough technical fabric and/or wool underneath to keep you from getting hypothermia.
    qft

  21. #21
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Actually the best thing I have for staying dry is... A trunk with fold out paniers mounted on my rear rack that is big enough to store excess layers. I carry extras with me when I expect it to cool down and start losing layers if I misjudge the cold (or my own exertion).

    Plus, if I start getting hot and sweaty, I'll open up the zips and cool things off.

    I don't think there is ANY one perfect solution. And even if there was, I would probably misjudge things and screw it up and be either too cold or too hot & wet.

    I try to do my best -- but I never get it completely right throughout a cool weather ride. So, flexibility makes up the difference.
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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Skin is waterproof, windproof and breathes very well. Everything else isn't. The only time I'll wear a jacket is if I'm cold. But while I'm riding I'd prefer to just layer under a ls jersey. In the rain I just get wet. It's better than sweating out under a jacket.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    Skin is waterproof, windproof and breathes very well. Everything else isn't. The only time I'll wear a jacket is if I'm cold. But while I'm riding I'd prefer to just layer under a ls jersey. In the rain I just get wet. It's better than sweating out under a jacket.
    I'm not sure where "Basking in the sun" is -- but it doesn't sound like you have to worry about getting TOO wet!
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  24. #24
    your god hates me Bob Ross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    Skin is waterproof, windproof and breathes very well. Everything else isn't.
    So that guy in Silence Of The Lambs was making a cycling jacket, not a dress?

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    I followed your advice and bought two different shells: a Canari Eclipse II, and a Brooks Essential II. The Brooks is actually for running, but I liked its material and its color (orange). So, I tried the Canari yesterday and the Brooks today, each on a 10 mile run. Temperature yesterday was about 30 and today was around 24.

    Overall, I like the Canari better. I felt the zippers were easier to open, and I love the fact that it has a two way zipper and I can open the bottom or top part as needed. It has a back pocket although I am not too keen on those, but also has two hand pockets. The only issue is the fit. I bought the XXL. Since I am overweight but short, it fits well on the chest but extends well below the butt in the back! I put on a Moreno wool pullover below it, and below that a shirt that wicks moisture. Overall, I think that worked well for me.

    Did any of you tried this specific Canari? Would you suggest a similar/better one? Thanks a bunch.

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