/ Waterproof jackets

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spamo on 25 Sep 2012

So I am wondering how waterproof my waterproof jacket needs to be. Now that will no doubt sound like a stupid statement/question as there is so much advice out there (believe me I have read it all) and will be dependent on the various sports I will be doing but bear with me.

I climb, cycle, run/walk and ski and want a decent waterproof that will cover all the bases. I saw what I think looks a good deal (£80) for the rab volt which fits me pretty well:


My only problem is that it is quite a 'light' jacket and its waterproofing is pertex rather than some more hard wearing and more waterproof coating like Gore Tex/eVent.

I want to get into winter climbing but will not have the opportunity to do that for at least a year so don't feel I need to splash out on what I would call a more 'heavy duty' waterproof yet.

Any opinions on the jacket/Rab/pertex shield + fabric? And can you 're-waterproof' pertex in a similar way to gore tex?

Many thanks to all helpers!
Jonay - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to spamo:

GoreTex Performance/Pro shell is the "thickest" decent waterproof membrane on the market at the moment and is the most durable and waterproof. For Winter Climbing and scrambling and all that rough stuff..

Then you get into eVent which is thinner - argubly just as waterproof but not as durable. For walking/climbing and lighter winter activities

GoreTex Activeshell follows - which has been designed for lightweight high aerobic activities like running/cycling or just as a lightweight summer jacket.

Polartex Neoshell is realitivly new - it's a stretchy waterproofmembrane that a lot of people like - for climbing and skiing etc and jsut as a normal waterproof.

Pertex is really just a showerproof shell IMO - the different grades refer to durability rather than waterproofness (ofcourse some waterproofness is gained by having heavier duty materials) Endurance is the thickest, to the flight and quantuim etc which are lighter.

These are all my personal opinions based on experience first hand.

That Volt Jacket looks just to be a lightweight/alpine overjacket to keep showers off.

Are you looking just for a shell jacket or for a jacket that also has insulation in it or will that be accomplished by a insulating mid layer (primaloft?)

Shearwater - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Jonay:
> (In reply to spamo)
> Pertex is really just a showerproof shell IMO - the different grades refer to durability rather than waterproofness

Pertex Shield is an actual waterproof fabric well within the legal definition of the term. It has a waterproofing membrane, not just DWR like Pertex Endurance, etc.
spamo on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to Jonay:

Thanks! I am just looking for a waterproof shell. No insulation needed really as I prefer layering. Ie I'm not looking for a bulky ski jacket

As shearwater said, it seems like this jacket 'technically' comes under the same banner as the other waterproofs due to the way it's made?!
In reply to spamo: I'm not familiar with Perterx Shield but more generally, have you had a read of this article? Waterproof Breathable Fabric Explained: http://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=4556
ripper - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to spamo: As Shearwater says the Pertex Shield is a proper waterproof fabric, unlike previous Pertex products which were windproof and showerproof but not waterproof. I haven't used it in anger so can't really comment on its performance but be aware there are two versions, Shield and Shield+. The + is a bit stretchy and slightly lighter, but one would expect the inevitable trade-off of slightly less durable. Rab has certainly bought into Pertex Shield and other manufactuers (eg Montane) use it too, in jackets marketed as waterproof shells.
RachelP - on 25 Sep 2012
waterproof...that famous word that so many jackets claim to be...

My solution to this problem is to find a half price sale and to pick the most expensive one I can find... you get what is meant to be a top knotch jacket for far less doolies that it should be...winner!

or accept that youll have to buy a new one in a year cos that re-proofing stuff stops re-proofing afer a while too.

btw i do live in my jacket as i am an instructor, so they do take a bit of abuse to say the least!!! never buy the bottom of the range one, always get one model up!
ripper - on 25 Sep 2012
In reply to RachelP: In my experience half price sales are great if you're a size small or XL, not so brilliant if you're 'average' (that's in men's stuff anyway). I'm in the process of buying a new hardshell and it's taken a lot of searching to find a decent one at a knockdown price in a size that fits! I currently have four at home, all bought mail order, and will be trying them all on tonight with helmet, harness, layers etc before choosing one and sending the other three back
Berghaus Velum (Gore Active Shell) is looking favourite at the moment, also got a Mountain Hardwear Stretch Cohesion (pockets look too low for harness compatibility but we'll see), Outdoor Research Paladin whch is made of Pertex Shield and looks good but is a bit too big as the supplier only had large left, and a Norrona Falketind in the manufacturer's own Dri3 fabric which looks good but is £40 more than the Berghaus.
spamo on 26 Sep 2012
Cheers for the help everyone, lots of useful info.

I took the jacket in the shower today to see how waterproof it really was and was pleasantly surprised. With the power shower blasting 2 inches from my head and shoulders I didn't get wet at all!! When I took it off you could see where the dwr coating couldn't handle the torrent of water around the shoulders and had come up against the waterproofing membrane but it all looked ok.

Seems to work pretty well all in all and is a good cut with decent pockets and easy arm movement. I'm still concerned about durability but will just have to put up with it and be careful not to wear the coat whilst I'm climbing a chimney!!

One again cheers for the input
Jonay - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Shearwater:

Thanks for the info on Pertex Sheild - I never knew it was an actual membrane. I've only seen it in the shops and assumed it was like the others as i haddnt seen any reviews on the stuff.
Darkskys - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jonay: Pertex shield is a membrane but I'd look elsewhere if you we're looking for an all season waterproof.
As stated above its showerproof and basically that's what it is. I have a Rab jacket (forget the design) and I love it for summer/autumn light rain but for anything heavy...out comes the Gore Tex.
I had it in the lakes a few weeks back and it hammered it down, kept me dry to a certain extent but my inside layer was also very damp!
captain paranoia - on 26 Sep 2012
In reply to Jonay:

> GoreTex Performance/Pro shell is the "thickest" decent waterproof membrane on the market at the moment [...]

This isn't right. The robustness of a waterproof laminate (or coated, come to that matter) fabric has little to do with the technology of the waterproof membrane (be it Gore-tex Performance Shell, Gore-tex ProShell, Event or whatever).

What determines how thick, heavy and robust a fabric is (or, conversely, how thin, light and fragile) is the face fabric used to make the fabric laminate.

The membrane can be bonded to a whole range of face fabrics. So, there are lightweight ProShell fabric laminates out there, and there are heavyweight ProShell fabric laminates. Just as there are lightweight Event fabrics and heavyweight Event fabrics.

Gore do tend to have a better range of better face fabrics in my experience.

Pertex Shield+ is a coated fabric, not a membrane, but is seems to have a pretty good breathability, as do many of the more recent PU coatings. Pertex call it a 'PU film laminate', so maybe it is a genuine laminate rather than a coating; maybe creating a film first allows them to control the thickness better than applying a PU coating.


As with all things, the maxim 'light, durable, cheap: pick any two' probably applies. Lightweight fabrics have their benefits, but they also have their drawbacks, in that they are not as robust, and really shouldn't be expected to last as long as something with a more robust face fabric.
spamo on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:

Cheers. I don't know if this helps but on the inside of the jacket there is a what i would call a plasticy transparent 'membrane' so this might be what they are referring to.
spamo on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to spamo:

Just a thought. From the link it claims to have a hydrostatic head of 20k. Now I believe that's pretty good and suggests it should stand up to the elements reasonably well
LeadBalloon - on 28 Sep 2012
In reply to spamo: Yeah the hydrostatic head pretty much tells you how waterproof it is, and 20,000mm is plenty, it also has a very high mvtr at 25,00 meaning it is very breatable(this is shield+ not just shield which is less). I got the Montane Minimus just before a trip to the alps this year as a lightweight carry everywhere jacket. I've also used it quite a few times in the UK now and although I don't think it will be incredibly hardwearing it's taken any rain I can throw at it and it almost feels like wearing nothing as far aas breathability is concerned. Can't vouch for the Volt, although it looks like a lovely jacket, but the pertex shield+ is awesome.

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