Rain Jacket for NZ conditions
Hi everyone, I'm in the market for a new rain jacket since my old one from Kathmandu is starting to fall apart after many years of use. I'm moving to Wellington in January (currently in Sydney), and will be joining the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club. Based on that I think my staple trip will be Tararuas, but I also want to do trips to Tongariro and Taranaki, and more alpine stuff on the south island once I gain the necessary experience. With all that in mind, I've been looking at the rain jackets available from Macpac, and am really unsure what to get! Below is a breakdown of the jackets I've been looking at. Macpac Lightweight Prophet Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 480g, marketed as an alpine hardshell. Gets great reviews on the Australian website, sounds like a great jacket but quite expensive. Macpac Traverse Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 340g, marketed as an allround rain jacket. Macpac Copland Long Rain Jacket: Weighs 650g, covers down past the waist, marketed as a jacket for staying warm and dry while hiking. Seems heavy to me, but may be worth it if it replaces waterproof pants. Macpac Resolution Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 620g, covers down past the waist, marketed as a jacket for stormy weather. Again seems heavy, but might be worth it. I am conscious of the weight of the longer jackets, so I would only seriously consider them if they replaced waterproof trousers in conjunction with knee-length gaiters. I've got the following questions for you guys: How much of the time (generally) do you wear your rain jackets in NZ conditions? If you wear them most of the time then the heavier weight of the long jackets might not matter. How much of the time do you wear gaiters? I assume most of the time in the Tararuas, not sure about Tongariro and Taranaki or other alpine environments. Is there a significant difference between a 'rain jacket' and a 'hard shell'? I know some of the differences in theory but not sure how they translate in practice. I do want to do alpine stuff so not sure how much of a difference that makes. I'm quite happy to fork out for a good jacket if I know it will last a while and be the right jacket for my use. I thought it might help to get input from some of you experienced in NZ conditions. Cheers!
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@waynowski I also have an Outdoor research goretex shell with pit zips under arms and I prefer it to my Arcteryx goretex one without pit zips... I got a couple of pairs of gaiters, all goretex but I don't wear them much, except maybe in mud/snow + the climbing ones (thicker) in mountains with venomous snakes (in Romania not in NZ)...
I’ve been using Marmot Pre-cip for years, simple, light and inexpensive, I replace mine every 3-4 years as they wear out, for me it’s worth it. I would not consider a jacket without pit-zips. Also as others have said - no jacket will keep you dry if it’s rsining long and hard enough, learn to manage moisture because thre is no way to stay dry if you’re out there for a while.
I have a Macpac lightweight prophet (5yrs old) which is Pertex shield(20,000/20,000) so very waterproof and breathable. I really rate pertex as a membrane and although I agree nothing is perfectly waterproof indefinitely, this jacket kept me warm and dry for the first 4 hours of torrential west coast rain on the three passes. It’s great for a bit of everything but cut shorter for harness compatibility. With what you’re describing activity wise I would move to the Traverse jacket instead which is slightly longer but made with the same waterproof pertex membrane. It’s a more versatile jacket and the hood isn’t helmet compatible so a better fit when you’re just doing your regular tramping. It also rolls away when you don’t need it - sometimes I prefer a wide brim hat to my hood as it allows me to move my head more freely so it’s nice to tuck away. The Copland jacket has a more durable face fabric but is less waterproof than the above (10,000mm hh). Great for tramping and will keep the tips of your legs warmer but not so good for mountain climbing as it’s less breathable when you’re really getting a sweat up and I find the longer cut a bit restrictive on really steep terrain just personally. The resolution is a similar style but with the higher waterproof/breath ability rating of the first two (note the higher price). Im not sure about the fashion comment regarding these jackets, the designs have been around for decades and are well tested in NZ environments.
10,000mm hh is waterproof enough to be stormproof.
Arctryx hardshells are good in my experience although expensive. No jacket will keep you dry, I am to keep comfortable when wet rather than dry when its raining.
sometimes people say, oh my coat let the rain through. often thats actually the simple buildup of sweat, although through capillary action moisture can work its way through clothes from the hems, i find the 3 layer jackets can be worse the extra knitted nylon layer inside helps the moisture move its way up your sleeves and down your neck. gore tex used the phrase, "Guaranteed to keep you dry" doesnt help when people believe the hype about how much their technology breathes, and because they are paying a lot of money they may think surely it will keep them drier... but the figures they give you are for a laboratory setting, not the real world. the chemical DWR treatment outside has to keep shedding water, and they vary greatly on how well they do that and for how long... eventually in heavy enough rain everyones jacket gets soaked on the outside then you might as well be wearing a plastic bag . gore tex don't test their garments in the lab or longer than 5 hours in a singhle stretch, thats enough for them to class it as storm proof. gore tex boots are the worst. the water still gets in through the top plus sweat and they dry out a great deal slower than non gore tex boots. the only advantage of gore tex is keeping your feet warmer in cold preferably dry weather... in summer they just make them sweat boxes, but they manage to get their material into so many boots and they then get marketed as waterproof.... in warm weather, gore tex is the last thing you want in your boots. repeat something often enough and people will believe it having said htat, gore tex is bonded to quality woven nylon face fabrics and comes with good workmanship guarantees, thats one reason to buy it
1 deleted post from aardvark
Its interesting that the water and breathability rating is based on the membrane but this can only achieve that if it is dry. I have to wonder what the rating of uncoated face fabric without the membrane but only dwr would be. Im seriously considering going back to a warehouse pve when my current gortex fails. I still have the one I used to use before my current and previous proper coat. Its in the back of the 4wd and last time I used it it was jammed under my recovery box. Its washing instructions include using a stiff scrubbing brush
Have you tried the Macpac offerings @geeves? The people using them seem pretty happy, although they are on the heavier side.
garments wont remain waterproof with DWR alone columbia havee waterproof clothing that is a toughened polyeurethane with no other face fabric attached, , it doesnt need dwr, water runs off well., the heavier the face fabric the worse the breathability. i read a report where someone tested moisture buildup in various jackets.. and fabric weight played a part in how well the garment breathed. lighter fabrics have more threads, more gaps betweeen threads for the moisture to get out, and of course lighter material isnt as hot to wear in the first place so you stand to sweat less in it.. DWR Durable water repellency , wears off after a while.. you can reproof it, if you are ok with using chemicals to do so. its contentious because the chemicals involved can be persistant in the environment, they have been found in the environment where people go wearing their rain gear in reasonable number the more effective ones are more persistant and some have been banned because of that, the less persistant ones don't last on the garments as long.
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