Waterproofing tips

BugsBunny
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Waterproofing tips

Postby BugsBunny » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:17 pm

I rode in torrential rain for 6 hours the other day and noticed my "waterproof" rain jacket lasted about 45 minutes or so before it soaked through. I'm fairly sure its been washed a few times so the water repellent coating is largely gone. But is it feasible to expect a waterproof cycling jacket that has some breathability to be waterproof in full blown rain for 6 hours - even after I re-apply the repellant coating (fyi, I've never tried it before)? Any suggestions?

human909
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:23 pm

BugsBunny wrote:I rode in torrential rain for 6 hours the other day and noticed my "waterproof" rain jacket lasted about 45 minutes or so before it soaked through. I'm fairly sure its been washed a few times so the water repellent coating is largely gone. But is it feasible to expect a waterproof cycling jacket that has some breathability to be waterproof in full blown rain for 6 hours - even after I re-apply the repellant coating (fyi, I've never tried it before)? Any suggestions?


How old. How did you wash it. What sort of membrane does it have? Is there noticeable delamination of the membrane.

It sounds like your waterproof membrane is shot. Age, wear or inappropriate care will do that, even more so for light weight thin breathable jackets. In contrast a good quality outer shell should last 5-10 years of decent use and keep you dry ALL day long.

(If the water repellent coating is gone then your jacket will effectively lose most of its breathability. Though it should remain waterproof as long as the waterproof membrane is intact and not damaged.)

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trailgumby
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby trailgumby » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:08 pm

I have my doubts about "breathable" rain jackets being able to be fully waterproof. It's kind of a non-sequitur. If it breathes, it can't be fully waterproof.

I have a Ground Effect rain jacket. It is breathable, insofar as I never overheat and I can feel perspiration wicking away and escaping. It has never gone through the washing machine. (Yes, you would think "ewwwww!" - but it doesn't smell.) Truth be told, I'm not sure if it keeps the rain out or not. I'm either wet from the rain or wet from perspiration - I'm not sure which.

It's main function as far as I'm concerned is to keep me warm and keep the chill of the rain off me. Which it does very well. Even in summer rain can be close to freezing when it hits you. I also have their waterproof breathable shorts but the membrane on the inside has died around the saddle area, so while they are better than nothing, they are only marginally so.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:20 am

trailgumby wrote:I have my doubts about "breathable" rain jackets being able to be fully waterproof. It's kind of a non-sequitur. If it breathes, it can't be fully waterproof.

Ah, but liquid water is different from water vapour!

These membranes won't let liquid water through. But they will let water vapour through to the side with lower humidity (or lower pressure as the video shows). The most breathable jacket won't breath if it is warm and 100% humidity, or the outside itself is water because the DWR coating is gone.



trailgumby wrote: It has never gone through the washing machine.

My rain jacket is the same and it is 7 years old. Washing the jacket is supposed to improve its performance. Breathability for sure (clogged pores), but I can't see it improving waterproofing.

trailgumby wrote:I'm either wet from the rain or wet from perspiration - I'm not sure which.

In heavy rain you will normally know the difference. Poor breathability you end up damp from sweat, waterproofing failure you end up soaked. I once had a borrowed rain jacket fail me badly in a location where failing of one's outer shell was a serious situation. I was soaked to the bone including a down jacket I was wearing underneath. And then the pouring rain turned to sleet.....

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MichaelB
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby MichaelB » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:48 am

I can't even begin to think of riding in torrential rain for an hour let alone 6 !!

Chapeau !!

I would think that there would be very little riding gear that would be waterproof in those conditions. Maybe a wetsuit would be better ....

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RonK
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby RonK » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:06 am

MichaelB wrote:I can't even begin to think of riding in torrential rain for an hour let alone 6 !!

Chapeau !!

I would think that there would be very little riding gear that would be waterproof in those conditions. Maybe a wetsuit would be better ....

Hmmm - well, an adorable Dirtsuit perhaps.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

human909
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:12 am

I've never really ridden in heavy rain for much over an hour. But I've certainly hiked in such rain not to mention hail, sleet and snow for full days.

Spring last year I was commuting in heavy rain during big thunderstorms. Waterproof shoes, pants and jacket with hood kept me dry enough that I could arrive at work with no need to change clothes.

MichaelB wrote:I would think that there would be very little riding gear that would be waterproof in those conditions. Maybe a wetsuit would be better ....

Any item of clothing advertised as waterproof should be.

I can't speak for 'riding gear' but I know of outdoor clothing brands that sell suitable clothing items including ones specifically targeted towards cycling.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby Discodan » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:00 pm

I probably feel qualified to address this one, in a previous life I was the technical specialist for ANZ and looked after the cycling market for a particular company that makes a pretty good waterproof breathable fabric that begins with G and ends in TEX.

a few random thoughts:
- to answer the OP's question: yes it is feasible to expect a waterproof breathable garment to be completely waterproof for 6 hours but it's not easy
- it's unclear if the OP's issue was leakage through the fabric itself or just a failure of the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) which stops water from soaking into the face fabric. As mentioned by other posters, if your face fabric soaks through you can lose breathability and if you're sweating you'll soak through from inside and it's really hard to tell if the water's coming from the outside or inside.
- Breathability and waterproofness can absolutely co-exist, it's complex combination of chemical and physical properties but the net effect is vapour vs liquid get treated very differently by the membrane. Interestingly that cool video of the air pumping through fabric isn't particularly relevant as you want moisture vapour to pass through not air, that fabric may well block vapour for all we know.
- a few years ago, well after I changed careers away from this stuff, I bought a new generation jacket (Mountain Designs Gore-Tex Active) and was amazed how good this new stuff is. Standard Gore-Tex was great at waterproof and moderate exertion but could not beathe enough for full aerobic activity. With the Active fabric I ended up doing the highland fling (6 hours at race pace) and the last 4 hours were in the dry and I was bearly sweating. I understand the new shake-dry fabric is even better again.
- Before you reapply DWR just put the jacket through a warm cycle in the tumble dryer which will re-activate it. If that doesn't work a good DWR such as scotchguard or grangers will do wonders.
- As mentioned washing mainly improves DWR (removes dirt) but don't overdo it. It also removes oils which can impact waterproofness in some types of fabric
- Garment design comes into play a lot during extended rain. It's actually quite hard to design a really waterproof garment, simple details like how you sew in the zip carrier can see water wicking along a single piece of thread which then spreads up the entire length of the zip and soaks your front. In that company before any garment manufacturer (i.e. Castelli) was allowed to release a garment using our fabric we'd get a sample garment from them and deluge the crap out of it on a dummy in our rain room. I'd then work with the manufacturer to tweak their designs to make sure it could be guaranteed waterproof.
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MichaelB
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby MichaelB » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:03 pm

Great info there, but I'm on the side of "if it's raining that hard, I don't NEED to ride". I'll stay dry and read a good cycling book instead.8)

BugsBunny
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:21 pm

Hi guys - awesome inputs.

Let me share more.

The jacket I used was the Rapha Pro Team Race cape.
https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/shop/rcc-pro ... ct/RRP03XX

Its "newish" without tears - seams are like new - but has been washed maybe 6 or so times. It was washed with regular clothing detergent - not the special fabric wash for waterproof garments and 80% sure no fabric softener was used. A short spray of water on it will still bead water but clearly when out riding in the rain the beading lasts no more than an hour. I've also not yet re-sprayed the DWR coating nor heated it in a dryer.

I was on a cycling tour in Kyoto, Japan and we had to make the 150km/6 hour ride - where the rain didn't cease from the time we started rolling. Temperature was about 15 Celsius - so it was rather uncomfortable being soaked through. Whilst we got warmish whilst riding, I think at the pace we were going I wasn't generating much sweat/moisture from the inside-out. You could see the top layer of fabric change color as it began to soak through.

I'm on the warpath to make sure I don't get caught out like this again :-)
Lesson learnt!

Bugs

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby duncanm » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:29 pm

trailgumby wrote:I have my doubts about "breathable" rain jackets being able to be fully waterproof. It's kind of a non-sequitur. If it breathes, it can't be fully waterproof.


doubt away - but it definitely works.

I dunno about cycling, but I have other sport-specific gear that keeps me dry in rain and heavy inundation (waves) and breathes enough to actually dry out any wet clothes I may be wearing underneath.

I have only had good experiences with the expensive fabrics such as goretex. Never had any success with Polyester/Nylon (OP's jacket).

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:14 pm

duncanm wrote:doubt away - but it definitely works.

I dunno about cycling, but I have other sport-specific gear that keeps me dry in rain and heavy inundation (waves) and breathes enough to actually dry out any wet clothes I may be wearing underneath.

Agreed. :-)

But since we are getting technical let me correct you here: :wink:

duncanm wrote:I have only had good experiences with the expensive fabrics such as goretex. Never had any success with Polyester/Nylon (OP's jacket).

Goretex etc isn't a 'fabric'. It is a membrane used in the construction of a layered fabric item. It is very common for Nylon to be the main outer fabric used in a 'Goretex' jacket.

The jacket linked is a '3-ply' laminate and seam sealed. These if made and treated correctly should be high performing. But I can't comment on this specific Jacket. Given the eye-water prices of Rapha one would expect them to use a brand name high performing membrane but it seems they haven't otherwise they'd be listing it loud and proud.
Pertex, Event, Gortex are all brand-name breathable membranes. Many in the industry now consider Gortex to be the inferior product. But still good!

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby Discodan » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:32 pm

To be pedantic Gore-Tex is both a membrane and fabric depending on the product. Gore manufactures the full 3 layer laminated fabric which has the membrane as the middle layer or a 2 layer fabric (outershell bonded to the membrane) for use where a lining is in the garment. They don't provide just the membrane to allow others to create their own fabrics.

Agree on the lack of branded fabric on the Rapha jacket, who knows what it is. What a lot of testing we used to perform showed that some of those fabrics, Pertex being an example, had good initial pressure resistance (measured in m of head) but didn't have the durability when exposed to cold flex. We used to have this room full of Maytag top loading washers which we brought in from the US because they were the most brutal washing machine you could find. We'd put the various fabrics through hundreds of hours of wash cycles and most of them would lose waterproofness pretty quickly.

It's a saying that gets over-used in cycling and from forum 'gurus' but it really is a case of "getting what you pay for" when it comes to performance fabrics
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baabaa
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby baabaa » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:33 pm

And... a yarn can be coated in and with goretex, woven and then made into a fabric.
I tend to agree, it is hard to track the origin of most Rapha items. I also would expect that as most come from various factories and several countries, the suppliers would have to work hard to maintain contract specs with the number of items made per line being really very small.
Sometimes it will take an organisation such as Rapha quite a while to find the best manufacturer/ factory to make an item. They maybe happy for you to return the item so they can do a QA/QC audit?

For longer than 45 minutes in the rain I would just expect to get wet from the outside or inside from sweat but I would expect you need to go the really top $$ items made by Gore-Bike for something able to take hours and hours of rain....
such as....
http://www.goreapparel.com/gore-bike-we ... color=3599

Gore-Bike seem to get good reviews out of the US.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby Discodan » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:14 pm

baabaa wrote:And... a yarn can be coated in and with goretex, woven and then made into a fabric.

Definitely not. Gore-Tex is a thin membrane made of ePTFE that comes in sheets like thick white glad wrap. No way you can coat yarn and if you did it would leak like a sieve as the water would go through all of the holes in the weaving.

That jacket is made using standard Gore-tex which is heavier and not as breathable but more robust. If you want highly breathable aim for the Gore-Tex Active fabric or the ultimate is the new Gore-Tex shake-dry which requires no DWR and is superpackable and breathable. Just done use it for MTB as I suspect it would not like trees and bushes

http://www.goreapparel.com/on/demandwar ... ry-landing
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baabaa
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby baabaa » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:26 pm

Yes, but I was not really referring to making waterproof garments.
Will have to check the yarn samples I have in the shed but pretty sure they are gore coated. The end-fabric was to be made up for a wool blend firefighting jacket fabric where the aim was to have some of the hygroscopic properties of the wool with the repel of the gore coated synthetic to keep the wet weight of the finished garment from getting heavy. Raw material costs made the finished item too high so we stopped going down that track but I think Voormi have taken on this type processing for performance fabrics but it is certainly not intended to be water proof.
I consider that this performance fabrics sector of textile industry is still open to lots of new and exciting products people just need to work out what level of wet is better than sweat and chill.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:29 am

baabaa wrote:Yes, but I was not really referring to making waterproof garments.
Will have to check the yarn samples I have in the shed but pretty sure they are gore coated. The end-fabric was to be made up for a wool blend firefighting jacket fabric where the aim was to have some of the hygroscopic properties of the wool with the repel of the gore coated synthetic to keep the wet weight of the finished garment from getting heavy. Raw material costs made the finished item too high so we stopped going down that track but I think Voormi have taken on this type processing for performance fabrics but it is certainly not intended to be water proof.
I consider that this performance fabrics sector of textile industry is still open to lots of new and exciting products people just need to work out what level of wet is better than sweat and chill.


You seem to be confusing what is commonly called DWR treatment with waterproof breathable membranes.

Both are important in a rain proof jackets performance but they perform different functions. The function you mention above is DWR treatment.


(And maybe the DWR product was a 'GoreTex' brand. But that is why we need to differentiate between BRANDS, and materials etc.)

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby duncanm » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:18 am

human909 wrote:
duncanm wrote:doubt away - but it definitely works.

I dunno about cycling, but I have other sport-specific gear that keeps me dry in rain and heavy inundation (waves) and breathes enough to actually dry out any wet clothes I may be wearing underneath.

Agreed. :-)

But since we are getting technical let me correct you here: :wink:

duncanm wrote:I have only had good experiences with the expensive fabrics such as goretex. Never had any success with Polyester/Nylon (OP's jacket).

Goretex etc isn't a 'fabric'. It is a membrane used in the construction of a layered fabric item. It is very common for Nylon to be the main outer fabric used in a 'Goretex' jacket.

indeed - I am aware of this... wrong use of the word 'fabric'.

human909 wrote: Given the eye-water prices of Rapha one would expect them to use a brand name high performing membrane but it seems they haven't otherwise they'd be listing it loud and proud.


Exactly -- so I assume (as have you) that the OP's jacket does not have any (insert-name) membrane.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:52 am

duncanm wrote:Exactly -- so I assume (as have you) that the OP's jacket does not have any (insert-name) membrane.

Given that it explicitly says "three-ply laminate fabric" I would bet that it does have a waterproof breathable membrane. As this is the typical construction of decent waterproof jackets.

Of course, the middle ply could be tissue paper rather than a water proof membrane for all I know. But I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are just using a non brand name membrane.

I'd bet that through washing and use the membrane has been damaged.

All speculation of course.

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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby duncanm » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:08 am

I stand corrected: https://www.rapha.cc/gb/en/shop/rcc-pro ... ct/RRP03XX

Hi, the new RCC Pro Team Race Cape is made of Polartec Neoshell.


mmmm

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=567495

human909
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Re: Waterproofing tips

Postby human909 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:35 pm

duncanm wrote:https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=567495


Ooh another forum that I'm already a member of! :mrgreen:

And judging by some of those reports Polartec Neoshell has the durability of tissue paper. :lol:

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