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  1. #1
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    Where to buy light-wgt breathable & waterproof environmentally friendly fabric?

    Hi tourers,

    A quick question: Any of you know where to buy a light-weight breathable & waterproof environmentally friendly fabric - available for private purchase? To be used for custom sacks for biking....

    Greetings,

    Jesper

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    If you were talking clothing, I'd suggest wool, which covers 3 out of 4. I don't think any water-resistant fabric qualifies as "environmentally friendly," those fabrics are synthetics that receive a variety of chemical treatments.

    Not sure what you mean by "sacks" though.

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    There is cotton duck, such as what Carradice use for their bags, and it can be re-proofed with wax. Cotton in itself isn't particularly environmentally friendly, but as Bacciagalup pointed out, neither is most of the competition.

    Jesper, what kind of environmentally friendliness are you looking for? An Ortlieb PVC bag can be argued to be environmentally friendly in the sense that it's very durable and doesn't need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

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    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
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    I prefer Eau de Tri-flow. Seriously, that shiz smells good!

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    I don't know if they sell fabric, but Patagonia's products are less-damaging than similar products of competitors like LL Bean, Lands End, etc. For example, some of their fleece apparel is made using recycled plastic bottles. Here's some info on the fabrics that go into their products.

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    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Your skin meets those conditions. Just make sure you ride in warm rain.

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    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    You want waterproof and breathable sacks??

    If you want waterproof bags for touring, Ortlieb and a lot of other companies make them. I just use a non-waterproof cheap set of panniers and put certain items in zip-locks for water proofing -- works fine.

    IMO and IME - most things that advertise "waterproof and breathable" are full of ****. I work on a boat in all weather conditions and get rained on weekly..sometimes multiple days. I have many goretex, dry-tech, etc. jackets, pants, boots, hats, etc. and while many of them are fairly water proof (water resistant is more apt, since rain finds it's way in when you're moving..I don't care what you do) NONE of them breathe worth a darn if you're getting your heart rate up.

    I don't care what the package says, or what some random person who probably doesn't work outside tells you at the store. None of that crap breathes. Actually, several of my goretex pants and jackets are great on windy days on the water....because they don't breathe and block the wind!
    Last edited by unterhausen; 09-01-10 at 09:46 PM. Reason: please don't work around the censor
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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    As a compromise, some people prefer "water resistant" rather than "water proof" because they usually breathe better.

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    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as a waterproof & breathable bag. The idea behind W&B jackets is that sweat (vapor) can get out but water can't get in. Equipment doesn't sweat so such fabric in a bag doesn't work.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    Hi everyone & thanks for replying.

    I'll be using the fabric for small bags for electronics & clothes & possibly to make a duvet. All is to be transported in wet & humid weather and I'll need them to stay dry and make them custom sized.

    Ortlieb makes some very light dry- bags, see e.g. http://ortlieb.de/index_white.php?la...e=p-search.php , however, I'm not sure they're breathable (to the extent possible) or environmentally friendly.

    I am aware of Patagonia but haven't seen their fabrics sold on their own ...

    @SBRDude: Hmmm... Global warming comes into my mind ;-)

    So, if one of you know of a retail outlet where I can buy such fabric (e.g. recycled) I'd appreciate a hint.

    Best regards,

    Jesper

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    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
    Hi everyone & thanks for replying.

    I'll be using the fabric for small bags for electronics & clothes & possibly to make a duvet. All is to be transported in wet & humid weather and I'll need them to stay dry and make them custom sized.

    Ortlieb makes some very light dry- bags, see e.g. http://ortlieb.de/index_white.php?la...e=p-search.php , however, I'm not sure they're breathable (to the extent possible) or environmentally friendly.

    I am aware of Patagonia but haven't seen their fabrics sold on their own ...

    @SBRDude: Hmmm... Global warming comes into my mind ;-)

    So, if one of you know of a retail outlet where I can buy such fabric (e.g. recycled) I'd appreciate a hint.

    Best regards,

    Jesper


    You aren't making any sense, if you are making bags for electronics you want them 100% waterproof, why would you need anything "breathable" for dry sacks?

    Also I linked you 2 sources for materials...
    I prefer Eau de Tri-flow. Seriously, that shiz smells good!

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    check : http://seattlefabrics.com/
    recycled is ends of rolls at manufacturers of stuff ,
    as the outsourcing of labor intensive sewn stuff has gone to Asia that is a problem

    look for used gear to cut up for their materials

    Truck tarp can be gotten , but you need an industrial sewing machine to assemble it into stuff..

  13. #13
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
    So, if one of you know of a retail outlet where I can buy such fabric (e.g. recycled) I'd appreciate a hint.
    You might try thrift stores to buy used clothing for the material. You might also do some research/googling about how material is recycled, who does it, and where to get it. It might be a wholesale only thing, but ya never know.

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    "I don't care what the package says, or what some random person who probably doesn't work outside tells you at the store. None of that crap breathes. Actually, several of my goretex pants and jackets are great on windy days on the water....because they don't breathe and block the wind!"

    They block the wind and do breathe. But whether you feel any better is another mater. It is the art of the possible. Outdoor environments are highly variable. You mention working in extremely wet conditions. Many people observe that when it rains, let's say it is hot inside or out, and you now have to wear a jacket, big increase in how warm you feel. The combined greater warmth, the fact the jacket is covered in water, the fact every opening has been cinched tight to keep water out, may mean you fell no better than you would in a rainproof. That is the basic case Patagonia made for not going Goretex.

    Or say you are in the arctic, or at altitude. It is cold, and you need max protection, You are wearing a vapour barrier. Not much good in the goretex there. There are lots of other micro climates. But properly made goretex does have a wider comfort range. It also raised the price of of upper end rainwear to the extent that you pay pretty high prices for stuff that doesn't have a hope of being breathable in any condition also. The only downside to goretex was when it was breathing and leaking. I have mostly the really old 3 laminate stuff, and it serves pretty well with relentless seam sealing, they say the new stuff is "fixed". Couldn't say myself.

    Having lived in places like Ireland where you either played in the rain, or not so much. I have the neoprene wear, Barbour waxproof, goretex, etc... It all has some niche, but nothing is perfect for every climate.

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    One legged rider
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    Im sorry to say, but I work for an oil company, and am involved with the fabrics division and the sustainable energy division (nylon, polyester, it is all made directly from oil) with the exception of lanolin coated wool, there is no such thing as "environmentally friendly breathable waterproof fabric". That is pretty much the situation that lead to the invention of GoreTex. Wax coated cotton does not breathe, and neither does rubber, and those are pretty much the limit of waterproof fabric prior to the invention of nylon.
    There is one exception though, pure silk, but my guess is that it is going to be out of your price range, and is not durable enough for bags.

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    One legged rider
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    and from reading the OP's post, I am assuming he means making panniers out of something that comes from a plant or an animal, not an oil well or a laboratory.
    Wait!!! seriously, you could go for leather! I am serious. Lightweight leather with a light coating of wax is fantastically water resistant. Lasts pretty much forever, and is, all things considered, extremely environmentaly friendly...no cow was ever killed for its skin, its just using a byproduct to the fullest advantage.

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
    The idea behind W&B jackets is that sweat (vapor) can get out but water can't get in. Equipment doesn't sweat so such fabric in a bag doesn't work.
    The one big drawback for a completely waterproof pannier (think Ortlieb) is, you put a wet towel in there and not only does it stay wet, everything else in the pannier will be moist as well after a few hours. If it's warm, you will have stuff growing on your clothes in no time. A waterproof and breathable pannier would be great, but I doubt it would be breathable enough.

    To Jesper, my other hobby is sea kayaking, and none of the really light drybags stay dry for long in that use. They wear right through the fabric in no time. Your intended use, they just might work there. But they tolerate very little abrasive wear. FWIW, I haven't seen a breathable drybag.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    The one big drawback for a completely waterproof pannier (think Ortlieb) is, you put a wet towel in there and not only does it stay wet, everything else in the pannier will be moist as well after a few hours. If it's warm, you will have stuff growing on your clothes in no time. A waterproof and breathable pannier would be great, but I doubt it would be breathable enough.
    This problem is fairly easily avoidable by not putting the wet towel in the pannier in the first place. I strap my wet stuff to the outside. I can see why people want a breathable jacket, but I'm not so sold on the need for a breathable pannier.

  19. #19
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    a lot of hospitals use goretex sheets in pathology.

    Patagonia was slow to jump on the bandwagon of waterproof breathable fabrics. Early Winters did some of the first clothing with Gore-Tex, and their tents of course.

    I forget what Patagonia's Waterproof fabric was called, was it H2NO? their classic Anorak back in the early 90's epitomized the chimney venting and the dirtbag heritage behind NOT embracing waterproof/breathable clothing.

    environmentally friendly coated fabrics? goodness....


    Look into procuring fabrics from the Schoeller group of Switzerland. Bluesign approved production of highly technical fabrics.

    And I need to edit to add, I hope everyone knows about the rich heritage of VENTILE cotton?

    Cotton clothing went to the poles first. Organic ventile cotton, hmm..........
    Last edited by Bekologist; 09-02-10 at 09:20 AM.

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    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    And I need to edit to add, I hope everyone knows about the rich heritage of VENTILE cotton?

    Cotton clothing went to the poles first. Organic ventile cotton, hmm..........
    Has it been back lately? Not trying to diss cotten, but there were fewer choices back then, just like people used to use covered wagons instead of cars.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    Has it been back lately? Not trying to diss cotten, but there were fewer choices back then, just like people used to use covered wagons instead of cars.
    I use cotton or wool. Waxed cotton works great for panniers and outer clothing. Merino wool for clothing, occasionally with Tin Cloth cotton outerwear.

    I am not a total Luddite, I do own a set of PVC Ortlieb waterproof panniers.

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    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    Has it been back lately? Not trying to diss cotten, but there were fewer choices back then, just like people used to use covered wagons instead of cars.
    Ventile cotton never left! Not as common in the US, but Wiggy's uses it for some of their gear.

    as to historical references, I can't find the name for tight woven long staple cotton, 'waterproof' and breathable gear used in Shackeltons' era, Ventile is a WWII era trademark.

    Ventile cotton is still in use in flight suits, and the Norwegian military has used a high tech cotton blend in arctic outerwear.

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    I remember years ago, my Mother kindly raided my outdoor fabric collection to make me a pack to carry all my toiletries in. She made it of Goretex, which made me kinda mad because without a heat source it was going to be just like any waterproof fabric. Cost about 35 dollars a yard at the time. Still have it, within a short period lots of outdoor companies where making the same thing for cheap.

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    A little info on Ventile cotton here and where to purchase. as close to the ideal lightweight, breathable and waterproof cloth around that's environmentally friendly.

    Schoeller wouldn't be a bad high tech choice if a laminate is preferred.

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    This problem is fairly easily avoidable by not putting the wet towel in the pannier in the first place. I strap my wet stuff to the outside.
    If the weather is good enough for that, I just put the towel on top and leave the pannier loosely open. But if I'm camping and get a couple of days of constant rain, there will be too many wet/moist items to strap on the outside.

    Ability to ventilate the pannier, one way or the other, is good. Like I said, I'm not sure breathable fabric is the best way to arrange that.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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