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Rain Jacket - Current Thinking?

Old 01-04-24, 09:19 AM
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Breathable fabric or impenetrable fabric with vents? I'll go with the vents, thanks.

Originally Posted by djb
I also find it daunting to order a jacket that I haven't tried on, for fit, for actually feeling if the quality is there with zips, etc. I took a chance and ordered my ShowersPass jacket...
Yeah, I bought a Showers Pass online. Deep discount, closeout. Good kit. djb gave a nice description of its features in post 7.

Two things I don't like that coat shoppers might keep in mind:
a) The front (hands) pockets'* bottom seam is the bottom seam of the coat. Anything you put in those pockets winds up at the bottom of the pocket (obviously) which winds up between your tummy and your thighs when you lean over the bars and pedal. #@!&% Fortunately, there is a higher (chest) pocket that is usable.
2) It's flat black. I knew that when ordering; it's why the jacket was on end-of-season sale. But could there be a worse color for a jacket you wear on the road on low light, low contrast rainy days? If I need another jacket, I think I'd not be so cheap and pony up for one in yellow, orange or viz.


*The inside of those pockets is mesh, so if you leave them unzipped** they act as additional vents.


**Not a problem since you can't really carry anything in them.
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Old 01-04-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by L134
And this is a touring forum. SP may be good for a commute when you know it is going to rain and don't have to worry much about it wetting-out. I used SP jacket to ride to Alaska in 2022 and I was cold and wet practically the whole time and that damn thing got so heavy with water. One of the guys in our group had a ShakeDry and claimed he was never wet or cold. I was skeptical but so miserable with the SP that when I got home I put the SP in the trash, bought a ShakeDry and became a believer. After one week tour this past August, my three buddies on the tour all bought ShakeDry jackets after seeing how well mine performed compared to what they were very unhappy with. I bought a second when I read they were going to discontinue manufacture of the material due to environmental concerns. I'm a cheap accountant and will say if you are going to ride in real rain, they are worth the expense. Even for commuting, I find the ShakeDry far superior to SP because it is so light and compact. I don't have to decide whether to go with windbreaker or a heavy, bulky rain jacket. The ShakeDry performs better either way and if it winds up not being needed, it stuffs into a jersey pocket easily. I'm sort of embarrassed to be so sold on them.
do you have any brand recommendations about these ShakeDry things? Or are they not made anymore at all by anyone? I'm just curious and would like to read up on them.
re wetting out, I can't tell you how much I was impressed by how a proper wash of my rain pants and then following the instructions carefully with reapplying the DWR stuff, really made the pants to not wet out anymore. They had been good for years, and just recently would get a wet in areas, but this really helped. I bought a big bottle of the stuff, so will regularly do the wash and reapply from now on, I'm sure it will make a big difference over time.

I guess also, price is a factor, I assume the shakedry things are pretty expensive?
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Old 01-04-24, 09:41 AM
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an informative article about it
https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pfc...roof-garments/

this sentence brings up some important factors, main one about it nearly always being in black, which for me it a game changer, on a narrow twisty road in the rain, I absolutely want a bright coloured jacket. I'm an attentive car driver and know how a dark cyclist in rain just doesnt stand out, so this is super important to me.

"There are a lot of cyclists who have never experienced Shakedry. It's very expensive, it's delicate, it doesn't stretch, and with a few rare exceptions, it only comes in black. There's a huge swathe of riders who dismiss it for any of those, valid, reasons."

moot point I guess if its not being made anymore, and rather expensive, so I wouldnt consider it anyway, but thanks for your experience with it. It sounds like an amazing product.
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Old 01-04-24, 10:13 AM
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I visited the Gore factory a couple of years ago for a story. A few things that I learned:
  1. The key pieces of a piece of Gore-Tex rain gear is the Gore-Tex layer (white, usually embedded within a multi-layer fabric) and the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) layer applied to the outer layer.
  2. DWR is what causes water to bead and roll off the jacket
  3. When DWR wears off from abrasion and stuff, water will no longer bead and start soaking into the outer fabric
  4. When this happens, the Gore-Tex layer is still working, preventing water from entering. But this causes a cooling of the outer fabric, creating a temperature differential that causes condensation and clamminess inside the jacket.
  5. The DWR layer can be revitalized by washing with a detergent with DWR.
  6. You can also try revitalizing the DWR layer by throwing the jacket in the dryer for 30 minutes under medium heat.

I just did #6 to a 4 year old Showers Pass jacket that was no longer beading. It beads again. I've done #5 in the past with motorcycle gear. It works too.
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Old 01-04-24, 10:22 AM
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john, the other big factor is the accumulation of dirt, body oils, sunscreen etc that clogs up stuff in breathable rain gear. The abrasion aspect is a factor, my rain pants were still beading in some areas, but not in the areas that were clearly getting rubbed and or contact with my elbows when sitting etc.
Washing gently, then doing the dwr reapply really truly made a huge difference. A bottle of dwr stuff and using a simple mist spray bottle , but following the instructions (spray the stuff on when item is still wet) is totally worth it for any rain jacket I would say, and totally worth it money wise over the long run, especially if one has numerous rain gear garments in your household.

I know I'm repeating here, but I finally realized the importance of washing your rain gear once in a while and reapplying the dwr stuff. It will last longer and work better too, a win win for anyone.
If I recall, its not good to use regular clothes detergent, something in it not good, clogs up the pores or something, but easy to read up on.
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Old 01-04-24, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
an informative article about it
https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pfc...roof-garments/

this sentence brings up some important factors, main one about it nearly always being in black, which for me it a game changer, on a narrow twisty road in the rain, I absolutely want a bright coloured jacket. I'm an attentive car driver and know how a dark cyclist in rain just doesnt stand out, so this is super important to me.

"There are a lot of cyclists who have never experienced Shakedry. It's very expensive, it's delicate, it doesn't stretch, and with a few rare exceptions, it only comes in black. There's a huge swathe of riders who dismiss it for any of those, valid, reasons."

moot point I guess if its not being made anymore, and rather expensive, so I wouldnt consider it anyway, but thanks for your experience with it. It sounds like an amazing product.
The black is definite big negative as are the other obstacles mentioned. I was of the mind "who would be so crazy as to buy a black jacket for cycling? Maybe a pro on a controlled course but no way for me." The first jacket I bought had high viz panels on back and on sleeves to get over that but those panels wet-out so second one I bought I went without. High viz, mesh vest is the compromise solution. All sorts of ways to make oneself visible besides a jacket. Mine have proved no more delicate than the two SP I have owned and tossed. SP are less expensive but not much less and so bulky and comparatively heavy. In the end, for me, the performance is worth the cost and other drawbacks.

Mine are GoreWear and I believe they are still available. Gave my son one for Christmas. Not sure about other manufacturers. When I bought my first, all the various options were expensive.
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Old 01-04-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I visited the Gore factory a couple of years ago for a story. A few things that I learned:
  1. The key pieces of a piece of Gore-Tex rain gear is the Gore-Tex layer (white, usually embedded within a multi-layer fabric) and the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) layer applied to the outer layer.
  2. DWR is what causes water to bead and roll off the jacket
  3. When DWR wears off from abrasion and stuff, water will no longer bead and start soaking into the outer fabric
  4. When this happens, the Gore-Tex layer is still working, preventing water from entering. But this causes a cooling of the outer fabric, creating a temperature differential that causes condensation and clamminess inside the jacket.
  5. The DWR layer can be revitalized by washing with a detergent with DWR.
  6. You can also try revitalizing the DWR layer by throwing the jacket in the dryer for 30 minutes under medium heat.

I just did #6 to a 4 year old Showers Pass jacket that was no longer beading. It beads again. I've done #5 in the past with motorcycle gear. It works too.
As I understand things, the big difference between ShakeDry and Gore's more traditional products is the ShakeDry fabric itself is waterproof and breathable. It is not a laminate to DWR fabric. My jackets are a single layer which, I believe but maybe I'm wrong, is in and of itself waterproof, windproof, breathable and does not need to be treated. Washing instructions are very easy. I throw it in with my cold wash and shake it dry. So far, the ShakeDry appears far less fragile and easier to maintain than that white layer that seems very prone to damage and deterioration. Apparently the manufacturing process is nasty though.

I used the specialized DWR cleaners and treatments on my SP jacket and 50 year old tent fly. They did the job on the tent fly but not the jacket. DWR will wet-out eventually and then you need your under arm zips.
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Old 01-04-24, 11:13 AM
  #33  
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thanks for that, good to hear your experience and take on it.
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Old 01-04-24, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
john, the other big factor is the accumulation of dirt, body oils, sunscreen etc that clogs up stuff in breathable rain gear. The abrasion aspect is a factor, my rain pants were still beading in some areas, but not in the areas that were clearly getting rubbed and or contact with my elbows when sitting etc.
Washing gently, then doing the dwr reapply really truly made a huge difference. A bottle of dwr stuff and using a simple mist spray bottle , but following the instructions (spray the stuff on when item is still wet) is totally worth it for any rain jacket I would say, and totally worth it money wise over the long run, especially if one has numerous rain gear garments in your household.

I know I'm repeating here, but I finally realized the importance of washing your rain gear once in a while and reapplying the dwr stuff. It will last longer and work better too, a win win for anyone.
If I recall, its not good to use regular clothes detergent, something in it not good, clogs up the pores or something, but easy to read up on.
For sure washing is important but the thing that I found most interesting was point # 5 - you can revitalize DWR with 30 minutes in the dryer. That can certainly prove helpful to someone in the middle of a big trip and struggling with their Gore-Tex in the rain.

Regarding washing, I used to use the Gore-Tex specific detergents but I'm currently experimenting with simply using less regular detergent.
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Old 01-04-24, 11:25 AM
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re the dryer thing. I readily admit that my experience doing this goes back a looooong time ago, so probably doesnt apply to goretex stuff now, but I was very underwhelmed when I tried this a long time ago.

but as you say, an easy thing to do and if it is documented to help, thats great (I'd still be pretty darn careful with a commercial dryer, I seem to recall getting some melt ishy marks on something once using a laundry mat somewhere on some trip in some small town, so it was too hot)
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Old 01-05-24, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
Aus--what is your personal take and experience with multi layer fabric, 3, 4 vs the 2 layer stuff?
Cycling wise my last two jackets were Outdoor Research Helium 2.5 layers (Pertex). IIRC one was the early version and the second one is a II. Prior to that, it was an early Shower Pass Elite which is today 3 layers but I cannot recall if my two (lost one) were before the current version. The Shower Pass was not great and is too bulky packed for my riding approach now. The Outdoor Research Helium ticks the packed size box but any rain over an hour and they just do not seem to handle it. My worst day with one of them was eight hours of bucketing down rain. All it was good for was some wind protection.

Anyway after too many Tim Tams the Helium is a bit too small for me now.

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Old 01-05-24, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by L134
Mine are GoreWear and I believe they are still available.
Gorewear still have them listed but it seems nothing bigger than medium.
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Old 01-05-24, 07:32 AM
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Maybe somebody wrote that already ... if so sorry for the repetition.

To me an important factor for a useful rain jacket is that I can fit a thin down jacket underneath, so a very tight rain jacket is not so much an option.
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Old 01-05-24, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker
Cycling wise my last two jackets were Outdoor Research Helium 2.5 layers (Pertex). IIRC one was the early version and the second one is a II. Prior to that, it was an early Shower Pass Elite which is today 3 layers but I cannot recall if my two (lost one) were before the current version. The Shower Pass was not great and is too bulky packed for my riding approach now. The Outdoor Research Helium ticks the packed size box but any rain over an hour and they just do not seem to handle it. My worst day with one of them was eight hours of bucketing down rain. All it was good for was some wind protection.

Anyway after too many Tim Tams the Helium is a bit too small for me now.
Ya, my old Showers Pass was a Transit model, and quite bulky and much heavier than my newer one, and being smaller and lighter really made a difference for bikepacking with less space.
I weighed both and there is quite a difference, cant recall numbers now

I guess I just accept that a jacket is never going to be perfect, and if its cool I have layers under that keep me warm if damp, and I really do appreciate air flow vents that keep me from feeling too clammy. But yes, a day long crap wet day is never going to be pleasant, and generally this doesnt happen too often for me, so I can live with a jacket that isn't perfect.
I'm still a rain jacket, rain pants, shoe rain covers and helmet cover guy--so at least wont be miserable and cold if the total shyte day happens. Heck I even break out the dishwashing gloves and thin gloves inside for when its really chucking down and cool or cold out. Looks goofy but works.
I hate being cold.
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Old 01-05-24, 08:55 AM
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I have found a packlite goretex jacket is about the same as a shakedry jacket I dont notice much difference between them and the packlite is a fair amount les. it may not create quite as well.
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Old 01-05-24, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker
Gorewear still have them listed but it seems nothing bigger than medium.
If you are interested, keep checking back. Several months ago it seemed most sizes were not available and then they were again...
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Old 01-05-24, 09:30 AM
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Goretex is nothing but expanded PTFE (Teflon). Other manufacturers got around their patent by using expanded polyethylene. Later for environmental reasons Goretex themselves switched to expanded polyethylene.

Nowadays Goretex and other competing fabrics are all similar to one another. Goretex commands a high price due to brand name recognition. Consumers will not pay a premium price unless they see the Goretex tag.

So don't think Goretex is mandatory. There are published tests that rate the performance of different fabrics.
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Old 01-05-24, 09:55 AM
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I know this thread is asking about jackets. But, for non-competitive uses there are other options that have other pro/cons. So here goes: https://cleverhood.com/

I have been using an Urbanaut for commuting with great success this winter. It's all polyester so water absorbtion like nylon is impossible. It's heavy gauge fabric doesn't billow. It's open on the bottom so moisture accumulation & venting are complete non-issues.

The Urbanaut is a bit bigger/longer in dimensions than the Rover and it has the retroreflective thread woven into a grid pattern that the Rover does not.

A cape is anything but aero. But, you are not going a speed where aero matters.
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Old 01-05-24, 02:42 PM
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Can you get Santini in Australia ? They make a number of rain jackets from $100-400 USD.

These have a hood :

https://www.santinicycling.com/us/cl...7.html?iPage=2
https://www.santinicycling.com/us/cl...l/558-color-af

They are both Polartec variants, Powershield and Neoshell. I have a Sportful Fiandre Pro Neoshell jacket and it's not like anything I've ever worn before. It has a natural stretch to it and breathes incredibly well. It's quiet and has a soft hand to it on the outside, like a fresh peach. I've read that if you blow hard you can feel it come though the other side. I don't know how it would cope in all day rain, but for the short rain I've encountered I stayed dry. The Santini version looks a little more relaxed fitting that the Sportful which is full on body hugging race fit. I mean painted on fit. If not either brand, at least check out any other that may be made of Neoshell or Powershield as an alternative to anything Gore.

If you don't mind a looser in the upper body but still fairly trim cut(for a hiking jacket), I have a Montbell Rain Trekker jacket w/hood I bought a few years ago. It's my go to everyday off the bike rainwear. It's made with Windstopper Infinium from Gore and seam taped. It has not leaked and I've worn it in pouring rain on and off the bike. It weighs a whopping 7 that's seven, ounces, that's like 200 grams. Thus it has no fancy vents for that kind of weight. The hood is a fantastic design, as are the shoulders/arm. Long sleeves and no binding at the shoulder when reaching.

https://www.montbell.us/products/disp.php?p_id=2328241
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Old 01-05-24, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
Goretex is nothing but expanded PTFE (Teflon). Other manufacturers got around their patent by using expanded polyethylene. Later for environmental reasons Goretex themselves switched to expanded polyethylene.

Nowadays Goretex and other competing fabrics are all similar to one another. Goretex commands a high price due to brand name recognition. Consumers will not pay a premium price unless they see the Goretex tag.

So don't think Goretex is mandatory. There are published tests that rate the performance of different fabrics.
Gore's patent for Gore-Tex expired in 1997. They knew that day was coming so they made Gore-Tex a desirable brand, much like the Intel Inside campaign from decades ago.

I visited their facilities in 2019 for a story that appeared in RoadRUNNER Magazine. They appear to have stringing requirements from clothing manufacturers before they can use Gore-Tex in their products. This includes factory inspections, quality control of finished products, and even review of the machines that will be used in the production of Gore-Tex labeled products. We visited a rain room where products can get tested against a falling rain or a driving rain (i.e., a motorcyclist) for hours. We visited a cold room. We saw abrasion testers, leak testers, flex testers, and room filled with what must have been 100 clothes washers for some type of test that I no longer recall.

I would imagine that brands producing critical gear for first responders, mountain climbers, and other adventurers conduct their own level of testing as well. I can't say whether it is at the level of Gore or better or worse, but it was eye opening to see the level of detail that goes into a Gore-Tex labeled product. What I would advise people is to pay a little extra for a brand that has a solid reputation if they can afford to.


Cold room

Abrasion test

Rain test

Rain test


And if you're interested, a boot flex test and a boot liner leak test and the rain room.

EDIT: Here's a story I found while researching for my story.
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Old 01-05-24, 10:09 PM
  #46  
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Thanks for that John, interesting read.
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Old 01-06-24, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
I know this thread is asking about jackets. But, for non-competitive uses there are other options that have other pro/cons. So here goes: https://cleverhood.com/

I have been using an Urbanaut for commuting with great success this winter. It's all polyester so water absorbtion like nylon is impossible. It's heavy gauge fabric doesn't billow. It's open on the bottom so moisture accumulation & venting are complete non-issues..
Interesting options. For me the Zipster jacket would be my choice. I am not familiar with polyester in this use, so will look into it further.
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Old 01-08-24, 04:00 PM
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Hey Aushiker, been looking here in Aust as well and have the same issue. Not many placed here in Sydney carry stock, and I want to try on and get a feel for the fit as I have long arms. I'd be interested in where you land on this one.
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Old 01-08-24, 04:06 PM
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I know 7Mesh is expensive stuff but I will say that it is folks from ArcTeryx and they make some of the finest outdoor wear. I have a jacket that is now 12 years old and could pass for relatively new and it did not get an easy life. I would be buying a bunch of 7Mesh stuff if they had larger sizes because I know they have an eye for detail, quality and durability like ArcTeryx.
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Old 01-08-24, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyAussies
Hey Aushiker, been looking here in Aust as well and have the same issue. Not many placed here in Sydney carry stock, and I want to try on and get a feel for the fit as I have long arms. I'd be interested in where you land on this one.
Realistically, considering price and availability, I suspect I will land on a Ground Effects jacket. At least it is easy to return if the sizing is wrong.
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