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Author Topic: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit  (Read 2952 times)

On Two Wheels

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Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« on: February 13, 2010, 12:40:23 AM »
Hi, can anyone recommend a reliable waterproof over suit.

The ones I have been looking at are waterproof and also High Visability, but again I've been thinking if I'm going to be doing a lot of wild camping I do not really want to be as high visability as possible.

I don't want $100+ designer gear just something that is going to last out the rough handling and storage conditions of a 9 month+ bike tour.

Cheap - sensible - suitable will be more than enough.

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 11:59:02 AM by On Two Wheels »
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Stephane

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 02:15:02 AM »
A waterproof jacket can be cheap but it won't breathe. In that range, you can easily find something for less than $30. But in my opinion, this kind of gear is OK if you stay still under the rain. If you bike, hike, or even just set up your camp, you'll be sweating and get soaking wet very quickly.

Then if you want a waterproof, breathable jacket, you'll need a higher budget.

A lot of "cheap" jackets are tagged waterproof, but they usually are at best water-resistant with a coating of water repellent. Anyone who gave it a shot knows very well that these jackets are anything but waterproof (maybe the first couple of hours but that's it).

Of course, the top of the line is Gore-Tex. I personally recommend the brand Gore Bike Wear because they are designed for biking. They have the top-of-the-line bicycle Gore-Tex products (therefore, it's not cheap). Marmot is also a leader in high-quality Gore-Tex gear, although they target hiking and related types of activities (this type of clothing also suits bicycle travelers very well). The most affordable models of these two brands are the Gore Bike Wear Gore-Tex Path Men Jacket and the Marmot Minimalist (soon available at CycloCamping.com), both retailing at about $200. They have the most basic design (no special features like Pit-Zip, additional pockets, etc.), which make them extremely lightweight and very compact.

Cheaper than Gore-Tex, the next step is jackets using Membrain fabric. These jackets have a very good PSI rating with good breathability. The most affordable jacket offered by Marmot is the Paceline Jacket, which is also very lightweight and compact. This one sells for about $150.

And next, also with excellent reviews, comes the jacket with Precip fabrics. Again, these jackets have good PSI and breathability. Marmot manufactures the Precip Jacket and this one retails for about $100.

Manufacturers rate all of these fabrics at 40 - 45 PSI, so in theory they offer the same waterproof/breathability protection. The difference is how they wear over time. Gore-Tex stays waterproof much longer and handles rough usage much better.

I hope this helps...
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 07:57:37 AM by Stephane »
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Ablejack

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2010, 11:53:58 AM »
Grant recommends the high-viz Musa (I wear their knickers)
http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/musa-rain-pants/22-157

for the most stylish raingear, Hilltrek offers a cycling jacket and matching breeches.  In classy quiet comfortable Ventile 100% cotton. (yes, cotton)
http://www.hilltrek.co.uk/acatalog/copy_of_copy_of_Ventile.html

If you want to really hide in the woods go to Cabela's for some camo Gore-tex. Pretty cheap too.
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/index/index-display.jsp?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/subcategory/subcategory-index.jsp.1_A&_DAV=&returnPage=&rid=&returnQueryString=&navAction=push&navCount=0&parentId=cat470076&id=cat470082&cmCat=MainCatcat470076-cat600855




erckdotorg

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 10:19:13 PM »
I actually gave up on waterproof clothing during my extended tour.  Literally everything failed 6-8 months in.  Here's what failed: Marmot rain shell, Serius waterproof gloves, Jandd handlebar bag, Topeak handlebar bag.  We had plasticky rain pants earlier in the tour but ditched them because it seemed way too gross to cycle in them.  You might as well wear a garbage bag!

I decided that it is more important to focus on clothing that can keep you warm while cycling in wet conditions.  I really liked wool because it stayed warm and didn't get stinky very quickly. 

« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 12:13:47 PM by Stephane »

Stephane

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 11:11:43 PM »
First, I have a question for erck: What model of Topeak handlebar bag did you use? It is not the DryBag, is it? Because this model has pretty good reviews and people seem happy with it. Let me know.

Wool is indeed an excellent material to bike in. I used the best wool (Merino wool) from Icebreaker and I was very impressed by the performance (extremely comfortable, breathes very well, dries quickly, doesn't wrinkle, doesn't stink, and very durable - what else can you ask, right?).

However, it won't be of any help in wet conditions. Wet wool is not only very disagreeable to wear (as is any wet clothing), but most importantly, it will no longer keep you warm. For wool to be efficient, it has to be dry.

Not all rain shells lose their waterproof effectiveness after only 6-8 months. It is true that the cheaper rain shells lose some of their waterproof power after extensive use, especially in rough conditions. As I said earlier, Gore-Tex is the most suitable for long trips, as it is the fabric that will stay waterpoof the longest over time. I have a Gore-Tex jacket from Gore Bike Wear that I used extensively during the entire duration of my 5-year bicycle tour of the world, including during 2 monsoon seasons in Asia.  I continue to use it today... and it is still waterproof and still breathes beautifully.

The key is to take good care of your Gore-Tex clothing.  Here are some tips to follow:
- Do not wear a very heavy backpack if the jacket is not reinforced in the shoulder (some hiking jackets do have this extra layer). The weight will damage the Gore-Tex layer.
- Do not roll the jacket really tight; this will stretch and damage the Gore-Tex layer.
- Do not use the jacket to sit on or lay on.
- If the jacket gets really dirty, let it soak a couple of hours before washing it.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to wash your Gore-Tex (check the tag inside the jacket/pants)
- DO NOT use fabric softener. DO NOT use bleach.
- Wash it with soft laundry powder or liquid. The best product to use is Nikwax product
- If you use your jacket extensively, wash your jacket with Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-in several times a year.
- I personally use a low spin cycle so that the water is not forced through the Gore-Tex layer.
- Regularly apply a new layer of water repellent (DWR) - Nikwax is also the leader for this kind of product.

I know it might seem like high maintenance, but personally when I spend several hundred dollars in a jacket, I want it to last. And I don't mind spending the extra bucks because I really dislike biking when I am wet and cold.  Good maintenance of your Gore-Tex will help to keep you dry for many years. In the long run, I believe it is a good investment. It worked for me.

I should add that there are situations when the Gore-Tex won't keep you dry, for example, when you are sweating a lot under a pouring rain (like on a hard climb and/or in high temperatures). I found that if I sweat a lot, rain tends to penetrate the Gore-Tex much more quickly.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 09:29:11 AM by Stephane »
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petervanglabbeek

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 05:38:22 AM »
I have been using the same Vaude rain jacket for 5 years. It was not cheap, but it is still water proof.
It is red, with reflecting stuff on it. It hasn't been a problem for wild camping.

But I have to say that on my trip it didn't rain a lot. I used the jacket mostly as wind stopper. On cold days with a fleece jumper underneath.
I biked in total maybe 10 days of rain in Europe, none in Asia, none in Australia, 30 in South America (in 2.5 years) and 3 in North America. Usually the rainy weather only lasts a day or two and you can decide to do something else. In the rain seasons in the tropics the rain falls usually in a few hours in the afternoons and it is anyway too hot to wear rain gear.

Only in very wet areas you really need good rain gear. Like Patagonia, west coast of New Zealand, west coast of Norway, UK, north west Europe. If you have time, even in those regions you can wait for the good weather to come.

In the Netherlands many people cycle to work. Also when it rains. Therefor almost everyone owns a rain suit that you can wear over your working suit. You can buy them in many places, like HEMA for example for about 30 Euro. It is usually pants and jacket together. They are quite baggy, not designed to fit tight and the material is not breathable. You just cycle a bit slower and you won't sweat as much. I don't think breathable material works as well as we are told. I think the difference is really only 20-50% or so. But the price difference can be about 1000% (10x more expensive). I still sweat in my expensive Vaude jacket.

Peter
Peter van Glabbeek

petervanglabbeek

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Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2010, 05:41:54 AM »
Here a link to the rain gear most Dutch people wear. Only in Dutch I am affraid:
http://www.hema.nl/nl-nl/winkel/fiets/fietsaccessoires/regenjack-(34414488).aspx
Peter van Glabbeek