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Critter
Woodland Creature



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Woodland Creature
PostTue Sep 24, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Hi guys, Critter here.  I recently paid over $700.00 (17.2 oz) for what should be the best rain shell (not lightest) in the galaxy, the Arc'teryx Alpha SV.  My long term plan is to see if this jacket is worth the money to someone who is on a budget.  Here's the first review/beating.  Perfect, as expected.

My forte is solo, winter, bushwhacking to remote lakes and peaks.  This jacket is important to me because I often sleep with no pad, sleeping bag, or tent.  I prepare to wait several days if I have trouble out there, often carrying a total of 6 1/2 lbs of food, for a day hike.  I f I go on a multi-day hike, I carry three exta days of food (6 lbs).  I need the best rain shell available for confidence and to wait for help, arriving at camp bone dry is a bonus.

In the summer, this jacket is important to me because I travel critter-style and often sleep with no pad, sleeping bag, or tent.  I like to be able to do things like sleep in the rain while simply leaning against a tree.

But the rain and testing begins.
But the rain and testing begins.
My Alpha SV is even mud resistant, so far.
My Alpha SV is even mud resistant, so far.
My jacket had to push through ton's of this stuff.(Devils Club)
My jacket had to push through ton's of this stuff.(Devils Club)
You can tell how much it's raining by the surface of the water.
You can tell how much it's raining by the surface of the water.

This is the unboxing.
Video Link

I really liked my Patagonia Torrentshell and it was able to perform to all of my expectations but it wore out sooner that I expected.
BTW: If you can't control how much you sweat, you'll get wet in any rain shell.

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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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seeking hygge
PostTue Sep 24, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Check back in 12 months
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Critter
Woodland Creature



Joined: 25 Aug 2012
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Woodland Creature
PostTue Sep 24, 2013 8:18 pm 
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You know I will.

With the beatings I'll be giving it, you may be right.  My goal is to follow up.  Also, I really want to show everything I put this jacket through.  I would love for someone to do the same type of experiment and keep track of their affordable rain gear...or even reminisce.

------
This post has been Critter approved.  I feel it is honest, helpful, and not hurtful.

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Frosty
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PostWed Sep 25, 2013 6:44 am 
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So that's your top covered, what have you got over your legs?

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Frosty,

Lucky enough to live where it snows in the winter!
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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seeking hygge
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 8:38 am 
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Critter wrote:
I would love for someone to do the same type of experiment and keep track of their affordable rain gear...or even reminisce.

Not sure what you mean by "keep track."  I've posted plenty about my experiences with rain gear that is marketed as "waterproof breatheable."  For your convenience, I summarize my general experience as follows: (a) ePTFE laminated (e.g., Goretex, eVent) garments are more breatheable than PU coated, but, without exception, every ePTFE shell I've owned has leaked like a screen door within a couple years of frequent use, usually sooner than that; (b) higher quality PU coated shells are less expensive and IME keep their functional* waterproofness longer than eTPFE, but they don't breathe as well; (c) Neoshell breathes better than the most breatheable Goretex or eVent and is functionally* waterproof when new, but it's too early to say more because my first Neoshell garment delammed and I only recently got my warranty replacement; (d) the lightest MH Dry Q Active (ePTFE, same manufacturer as eVent), the MH Effusion Hooded Jacket, is the best next-to-skin semi-VB piece I've used, but I have no clue how it would work as a shell because that's not how I use it.

Those observations are based on my experience.  YMMV

*I use the term "functionally waterproof" because garments marketed as "waterproof breatheable" -- even if they are new and functioning to spec -- do allow liquid water to pass above pressure thresholds that one will encounter, e.g., water that gets between backpack shoulder straps and the shell.  Contrast truly waterproof garments, e.g., rubberized fisherman's rain suit, WW's cuben fiber poncho, but they don't breathe.  (Also note that IME ePTFE garments' functional waterproofness first fail at such pressure points, e.g., where backpack shoulder straps press on the shell, butt of ePTFE pants from sitting on wet ski lifts.)

If I were buying a general mountain travel shell today and had a big budget ($500+) I'd get a Neoshell shell because Neoshell breathes  better than Goretex Proshell (Gore's most breatheable "WB") or eVent.  (I hope my warranty replacement Neoshell shell holds up.)  If I were on a limited budget I'd get a good quality lightweight PU shell for $100 and plan on getting a new one every couple years.
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Jeff
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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
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Ramen Elitist
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 9:48 am 
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BigSteve wrote:
the lightest MH Dry Q Active (ePTFE, same manufacturer as eVent)

I thought only the DryQ Elite was eVent. All this rebranding is getting confusing.
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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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seeking hygge
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 9:57 am 
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That may be so.  I'm not saying that Dry Q Active = eVent, only that they come from the same manufacturer.  I got my info via a MH employee, but he's not an engineer so maybe his info is faulty.  Anyway, the Effusion hoody is working very well for my use as a N2S semi-VB, a use not contemplated by MH marketing wink.gif
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Critter
Woodland Creature



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Woodland Creature
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 10:21 am 
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I was very impressed by how breathable this jacket was.  I was able to dry a wet merino wool neck gaiter by wearing it on my head in the rain.  Also, my shirt was a little damp but it dried out as soon as I put on my Alpha SV.  I did feel a little relief when I unzipped the pit zips.

I did my best not to sweat.  If I would have been sweating I'm sure I would have gotten wet.

Steve, thanks for the info.  I've heard your views on Gore-tex but I find them hard to believe.  My gore-tex gaiters are still water proof and they're four years old.  They receive nothing but abuse.  Anyways, I hope I'm right, we'll see.

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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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seeking hygge
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 10:33 am 
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Critter wrote:
I've heard your views on Gore-tex but I find them hard to believe.

You callin' me a liar, son?  jab.gif

more liars

liars, liars!

yet more liars!

There are hundreds more internet accounts of Goretex losing waterproofness, all posted by liars, of course.

Gore annually replaces thousands of garments per its "guaranteed to keep you dry" warranty, a key part of its false marketing campaign.  All products returned by liars, of course.

And check out this lying liar:

Quote:
take it from a geezer who has done 5 trans-atlantics in small sailboats – Gortex is a joke in salt water environment…Check it out: do you EVER see lobstermen, clammers, crabbers etc. wearing the stuff? NO, all of them wear RUBBERIZED outerware like Carhart or Cabelas, or the stuff construction workers wear. Goretex simply soaks up water after it has been wet with salt water – most sailors laugh at it…it’s for wearing at regattas and sailing parties where you want to look good. The round-the-buoys crew guys wear Gortex wet weather gear (Gill, Henri Lloyd, Herlly-Hansen, etc.) because the manufacturers give it away to them to get their gear in the yachting mags color spreads.

BTW, salt water is alot like sweat
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Critter
Woodland Creature



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PostWed Sep 25, 2013 10:49 am 
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Frosty wrote:
So that's your top covered, what have you got over your legs?

Okay, but you're gonna laugh.  I've gone through a few pairs of Storm Venture Rain Pants from Campmor, but I like them and they're what I stick with.  $700.00 top $30.00 bottoms.  I also liked my old Helly Hansen Packables.  My gaiters do most of the work and my old rain jacket hung down pretty far.  The big muscles in my legs, which are doing all the work, get hot and seem to help facilitate the drying/warming process.

I wouldn't really recommend the full zip campmor pants, I've owned them and I don't like the zipper.  I really like the ones in the link.

I'm am looking to upgrade my shell bottom so I don't need to keep replacing pants.  I don't know if I need such extreme protection on my legs, but I'd like to keep my pants dry.  I should probably start an affordable rain pants thread to see if anyone has any better suggestions.

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ranger rock
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One of the boys
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 12:01 pm 
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7-critter-tests-out-his-new-cuben-fiber-tarp
7-critter-tests-out-his-new-cuben-fiber-tarp
10-critter-with-his-new-coat
10-critter-with-his-new-coat
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GeoHiker
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PostWed Sep 25, 2013 1:58 pm 
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This should be a fun thread to watch.   I see BS tried not to take the bait, but jumped right in.  lol.gif You lost me at "over $700" for a jacket that MSRP's for $649.   huh.gif

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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coldrain108
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Thundering Herd
PostWed Sep 25, 2013 3:45 pm 
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GeoHiker wrote:
You lost me at "over $700" for a jacket that MSRP's for $649.   huh.gif


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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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cairn builder
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PostWed Sep 25, 2013 8:48 pm 
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My friend bought a rain shell at Costco for about $100. We'll say half of that was the jacket. He's had out a year and a half, with moderate use. When it wears out, he'll buy another one. He could buy 14 of them before he's spent as much as your Arcteryx. Is it 14x as the Costco one?

Arcteryx is known for their gold plated pricing. What do you get for your money?
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Relax
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PostWed Sep 25, 2013 8:55 pm 
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Anyone else gone with essentially 2 pairs of gaiters for pants?

Normal sized gaiters won't go around the thigh though, so have to get mighty large ones.  Also without the bottom strap sown on.

Easy on off.

Awesome venting.

Bomber proof (Cordura!)

Doesn't weight much as one already carries heavy duty gaitors.  Ok, I do as I generally need crampon protection and don't have tons of $$$$$ to buy 3 different types of gaitors.  Obviously can go lighter option on gaiters like the ankle type and the weight "savings" go kaboom under that scenario.

Only downer, no water proof butt.  But I always carry a CC foam pad for that option anyways...

Then again every pant that is supposedly water proof develops leaks where the pack rubs or you sit on a slightly pointy stick and POOF goes the "water proof" pants anyways.

Besides winter, the biggest problem is sweat ventilation(For me at least)

If heavy rugged work, I wear rubberized bib/pants from HH.  IE fisherman, Landscaping, Logger, construction heavy duty rain gear.  Dirt cheap as well, but they weigh a ton and they still get holes in the knees pretty quickly.
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