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Old 29-08-2016, 18:08   #1
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Foul Weather Gear

My experience with "exotic" weather gear">foul weather gear (GoreTex and the like) in open ocean conditions has not been good. I always seem to end up pulling the old PVC bibs and jackets out after the modern stuff has failed. Gotta add my experience is from the late 70's.... I am getting ready for a run from Norfolk to the Bahamas and need foulies.... looking for advice balancing cost and performance.

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Old 29-08-2016, 18:13   #2
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Take a look at defender's clearance rack and you can find some great bargains on expensive gear. I like the Gill stuff and Henri Lloyd.

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Old 29-08-2016, 18:58   #3
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Good advice! There's some low prices there if you can get the right size. I take it the will last a passage or two?
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Old 29-08-2016, 19:01   #4
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

From experience sailing and back-country hiking: Gore-Tex is the most over-rated product on the planet. It's not waterproof and it doesn't breathe, otherwise it lives up to all of its marketing claims. (Oops, it turns out that's all of them.)

There are newer products available that work well, my wife just bought some. I still fall back on my yellow rubberized suit purchased almost 30 years ago. A bit of a sauna effect in hot weather (no worse than the bloody Gore-Tex), but indestructible and never leaks.
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Old 29-08-2016, 19:51   #5

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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Gore-tex has moved on. There are better, improved products that perform similar breathable functions.
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:09   #6
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

As a US Marine in an Amphibious MOS, I have had the opportunity to try many different products to keep my butt dry. After days in driving rain and waves, Gore-Tex made for a nice cold wet sponge. The ONLY thing that ever really worked was the heavy rubber suits and a wool sweater with a wool watch cap.
I think those yellow suits on Gortons Fish Stick boxes are the same thing
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:12   #7
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

God bless the Marines! It's interesting that my 40-year old experience with the heavy PVC fisherman stuff still's valid. Thanks!
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:30   #8
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Strangely, my Goretex Dry suit does not leak. Been in it for days of bad weather. Been diving for many hours. So if you have leaks, it is the garment, not the material. Perhaps the neck and sleeves?

a. Anecdotal reports from the 70s are irrelevant. What we have now is a different product. There were serious delamination issues in the beginning. Of course, I've worn out rain gear of every sort. Just takes time.

b. Goretex (or anything for that matter) cannot breath if the surface is fully wetted out. Water vapor isn't going to pass through a film of water, is it? In other words, unless the water repellent finish is in great condition (Did you renew the treatment as instructed? I'm guessing not.), the surface becomes wet and it does not breath.

c. Breathing in extreme wet requires designed in vents that Goretex clothing often lacks, because the assumption is it is not needed. Wrong about that.

I find most leaks are down the neck and up the sleeves when I raise my arms. A dry suit solves that. As for wool, good luck getting that dry on a boat or adventure camping. It's different on dry land with a heater and drier.

All that said, I've got nothing against coated gear. In my opinion, boats need 2 sorts of gear: that for occupational spray and wind, and that for serious wet weather. I seriously doubt anything is going to do both jobs well. I have 2 sets, and each does it's job well.
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Old 29-08-2016, 20:45   #9
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

I have a yellow Henry Lloyd jacket and bib. I've never got wet while wearing them. However, the jacket is very warm.

I have a red Bass Pro Goretex jacket that I love. It is not as heavy at the Henry Lloyd. I wear a wool sweater under it in cold wet weather.

I also have a Cabella Goretex camo hunting jacket and pants from the early 90's. They still work great.

Bottom line, I've been happy with Goretex products.
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Old 29-08-2016, 21:08   #10
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Just like everything else on CF, one guy loves it, the other guy hates it, two more have no idea what they're talking about but still give their opinion and there's always that one guy that doesn't play well with others.
Wool keeps you warm even when it's wet and smells like a goat. When you're in some sh&thole wearing what you were issued, provided by the lowest bidder and it says "Gore-Tex" and you're soaking wet, you really don't care about the performance characteristics of being"fully wetted out" and water vapor transmission. You want to be dry. Rubber and PVC made me sweat, but the rain stayed out.
I still wear Gore-Tex, but in a light rain. If i truly want to be dry, i wear what the pro's wear; rubber and pvc.
And it's 90's anecdotal evidence.
And we're talking about foul weather gear, not a drysuit,
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Old 29-08-2016, 22:20   #11
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Re: Foul Weather Gear


Unless you have used high end GorTex (which military issue is not) then you have no idea what you are talking about. Sailing dry suits are full immersion suits, you can jump in a swimming pool and stay bone dry. So if you have GorTex gear that is allowing water in then it's the design not the fabric.

Entry level foul weather gear is notorious for leaking at the seams and seals (neck, waist, wrists). Because using cheap construction methods is an easy way to reduce the manufacturing cost. High end gear, even short of a dry suit, will keep you dry standing in front of a fire hose.

If you look at the guys sailing RTW on open race boats they are not wearing rubber suits, but high end tech gear. Because it simply works better.

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Old 29-08-2016, 23:09   #12
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

I purchased and love the Henri Lloyd "ultimate cruisers " jacket. Price was under $200. And compared side by side to their 900.00 jacket and a $800 musto, it had better features and I wore it all over the Bahamas last winter and across the Atlantic this May. I highly recommend it for what you are doing. I used cheaper bibs, they worked ok, rarely needed them.

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Old 30-08-2016, 07:00   #13
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Some folks get it. Goretex (and similar fabrics that I'll just refer to as Goretex as well), done right, will keep you dry. Things to consider:

1) How are the seems and zippers protected? If they aren't fully taped, they will let water in. Old jackets where the seams are worn will let water in. Worn seams can be patched with glue like stuff for a while, but there is a limit.

2) Goretex requires a water proofing type wash to be applied to it. This wash keeps the fabric from becoming wetted out. Wetted out fabric cannot breath. If the fabric cannot breath, you will sweat. Often people mistake sweat for rain water. This wash breaks down with use. If water doesn't bead on the fabric, then it is time to reapply. I do this at least once a year and I don't wear my jackets often. This is just like Sunbrella.

3) Goretex is not as breathable as cotton/wool/fleece and never was sold as such! It lets water vapor out, not liquid water. If you are working hard enough by winching, you will build up enough internal heat and start to sweat. It will take time for your body to turn the liquid into vapor. Once needs to learn how to regulate your body temperature to avoid sweating. This means removing under layers. This is the biggest downfall of sailing jackets that come insulated; you can't remove layers! Use a Goretex shell and you can control your internal temperature better.

4) The simple fact that mountaineers put their lives in the hands of Goretex shows that the fabric works. Being wet in sub freezing temperatures means death. Go to REI not West Marine.

5) Did other fabric work 100 years ago? Absolutely. But today's fabrics are significantly lighter, allowing faster and bigger climbs. Heavier fabric on a boat isn't as big of a penalty, but it still slows your movement down.

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Old 30-08-2016, 15:57   #14
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Check ebay. You can find a lot of windbreakers and jackets for really good prices. Some are older vintage, but sometimes those are the coolest looking. I found a great Gill heavy duty jacket for $1.00! I just had to pay for shipping.
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Old 30-08-2016, 16:20   #15
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Re: Foul Weather Gear

Purchased MUSTO BR2 Jacket/bibs for a trip from HI to CA last summer. spent 10 days beating north before turning east. It got cold and the seas were BIG (25'+). If you can imagine 5 friends throwing 5 gal buckets of water at you for days on end, you'll get the idea.

I was the only one w/ MUSTO. I was dry and I was warm. BR2 is not their top of the line either. Highly recommend.

As someone counseled me...1) buy oversized to allow for layering without affecting range of motion and 2) try everything on. There is a vast different in how the jackets/bibs (in particular) are cut.

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