after being sick...and tired...and sick...I am finally back with part 3 of this series...ALL ABOUT OUTERWEAR!!!! First of all...lets recap shall we?? We have learned that to achieve ultimate comfort you must keep moisture outside from getting in while allowing inside moisture to escape...which let's face it...isn't the easiest task to achieve.
But now for OUTERWEAR...which is the "keeping moisture outside from getting in" part...there are two kinds of waterproof-breathable materials...(1) Membranes and (2) Coated Fabrics.
Membranes are themselves waterproof (i.e. Gortex) without any modifications of the fabric. Coated fabrics are just general everyday fabrics with a Durable Water Repellency (DWR) coating that has a microscopic structure which allows for moisture to escape while keeping rain/snow out.
Goretex is the most famous of the membrane fabrics and, in my honest opinion, is the absolute best. You don't get better function and reliability than goretex. Although Cabelas has their own form of waterproof fabric in its Dry Plus series, it just doesn't cut it in extreme conditions when compared to goretex. In this situation...you definitely get what you pay for. I tried Dry Plus Rain pants when hiking a Mountain in Alaska, and I was completely drenched from the waist down...but my top half which was encased in goretex was bone dry...
Both of these fabrics...Goretex and Dry Plus...have windproofing technology. Windproofing is SO IMPORTANT if you want to keep warm. It might be the one most important part of this system in keeping you warm. No matter how many layers you have or what they are made of...if the cold chill and wind hits your skin...you are done. That's the bottom line. So always look for windproof materials in your outerwear!!! ALWAYS!!! NO EXCUSES!!!
Another plus for membrane materials is that they will not lose effectiveness with hard use or washing and are guaranteed to perform for life in most cases.
I would suggest just passing on by anything that is "weatherblock" or "water-repellent". They won't keep you dry in any condition that is above jumping in a puddle, and I am not quite sure it would even keep you dry for puddle jumping.
Although many spray on coatings...like Nikwax or Grangers...boast the ability to apply the DWR to your fabrics and keep you completely dry...BEWARE. It is EXTREMELY hard to waterproof seems of fabrics that aren't made to be waterproof...and they will most likely leak. To be honest...these spray on coatings are best for reapplying to a membrane fabric that may be losing a bit of performance quality but that are waterproof initially at the seams. If you are going into an extreme adventure...my advice...just don't trust the sprays to take care of your waterproofing needs.
SO...short lesson...go for goretex and windproof...you will be SET!!! ;)
I hope that my series has helped you find a great system for layering!!! I was going to make it a four part but...I think this is the most important information that you need!!! Have a great Thursday and here's hoping you stay warm and dry on YOUR next adventure.
Happy Fishing All...
LIZZY aka The Fisherbabe