I am being asked a lot of ...

I am being asked a lot of about KUIU’s rain gear.  The requests are to make it quiet, light, packable, durable, breathable, 4-way stretch, inexpensive and dependable. Quite a punch list!  I agree if we could develop rain gear that meets these requirements we would have the ultimate product.

The market for waterproof and breathable laminates was created in 1978 when W.L. Gore stretched Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) AKA Teflon and created Gore-Tex.  Most of us are aware of the breathability advantages of WP/BA in wet conditions during a climb. Over the past 32 years there have been some nice advancements to Gore-tex and PTFE laminates as well as the introduction of additional waterproof breathable technologies.

The link below is to an article hosted by REI and is a great synopsis of current raingear technologies.

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/rainwear+how+it+works.html

The downside is that it tends to focus on PTFE (Gore-tex & eVent) and only touches on other technologies. As I am researching I am finding a marketing slant to studies, articles and publications pushing the laminate found in the garment they are selling. Those other technologies include:

-Polyurethane (PU) Films
-Polyester Films

The overlooked advantage to these other technologies is cost and stretch. Something I will research in greater detail as we move forward with the discussion.

This article is a good start to have a better understanding of WP/BA technology. It will help as we dig into more detailed information in future posts.

If any readers have links to great information on WP/BA studies or information please post back in a comment. I would love to read it.

Jason

This article has 15 comment(s)

  1. Pedro Ampuero

    I have a very quiet rain gear, it has like a suede finish, but it takes at least a week to dry. I went hunting to Asia and it didnt dry in the hole trip. A rain gear must be dry with just a shake.

    For me that is more important than noise, since you can have serious problems if you spend a few days humid. I bowhunt, so I really apreciate noise issue, but now I only use the rain gear when it is necesary. Todays clothing can cover you from a very little shower without a problem. If it is not raining you can take it off for stalking, and if it is raining hard, rain noise will cover ours. For that reason the rain gear should be light and packable, and also easy to put on. Some rain gears seems to be like a medical glove.

    Thanks for the info, will take a look calmly,

    Good luck in the woods!

    Pedro

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Pedro,

      I am glad you brought this up. It is one of the biggest tradeoffs in rain gear and one we are going to have to address at KUIU. In my experience & research you can have quiet or dries fast but not both.

      As you mentioned in your comment, quiet rain gear is primarily due to the choice of face fabrics (yours being a suede type fabric). This is achieved by using a soft “fuzzy” face fabric to muffle the sound of the glued and stretched laminate. Cabela’s MTO50 is a good example, which uses a warp knit face fabric bonded to a WP/BA laminate and is fairly quiet in the rain gear world.

      The down side is weight, bulk and long dry times. I have heard the same complaint as yours from many guides in Alaska and Canada. Once this type of rain gear is wet it will stay wet for an entire trip and they do not recommend it for their hunts.

      I cannot disagree with what you are recommending. More input from others would be great here.

      Jason

  2. Tyler Preszler

    I would have to agree with Pedro here. I am also a archery hunter and spend many long and hard days in the backcountry. With that said I need to stay dry on a 10 day hunt.

    If its a light drizzle out I’ll take off my rain gear during the stalk. If its a downpour and I’m talking in on a high country buck at 12,000 ft I’ll leave the rain gear on as the noise of the downpour will cover my stalk.

    Pedro summed it up perfect!

    • Jason Hairston

      Tyler thanks for your input.

      I am looking at several really good choices for WB/BA fabrics. Some are quieter than others without a fuzzy water collecting face fabric. They are not silent but may be the right choice for KUIU.

      Jason

  3. Pedro Ampuero

    Jason, I was talking about the Cabelas MT050!!!!

    Hope you can come out with the perfect rain gear, I am tired of searching!!

    One stupid thing, do not make a very rigid hood, in some rain gears when you turn the head, the hood does not turns with it, not allowing you to see. Hate that!!! hehe In th MT050 happens that.

    Good luck!

    Pedro

  4. Tom Ryle

    I have been a long-time owner of the MT050 and feel the same way, and I generally can’t stand hiking in rain gear of any kind because I sweat a lot and get soaked from the inside. I have a love/hate perception of Gore-Tex. I’ve never found it to breathe well (wet on the inside), nor have I found it waterproof after an hour of continual rain. My shoulders are always wet.

    Hoods – they need a lot of work, as do collars and wrist cuffs.

  5. George Hicks

    I continue to search for the perfect back-country rain gear and can’t wait for you to develop it Jason. I thought I had found it a few years ago when I looked at Frogg Togg’s, but gave up on them after wearing some under a backpack in the rain and getting soaked everywhere the pack contacted the jacket. With the wish-list you collected from people, there will be compromises, but being waterproof shouldn’t be one (ha ha). Even though I am always trying to shed ounces from my pack, I would have to say that weight, as long as it isn’t absurd, is the least on my worries for my rain gear/wind layer as long s you score in the other areas. Good luck, and hurry!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi George,

      I too am excited about KUIU’s development of the perfect rain gear. I agree if it is not water proof it cannot be considered rain gear and is a must. My goal is to develop the perfect balance in weight, bulk, noise and stretch for backcountry hunting. Thanks for your comments and ideas. Keep them coming.

      Jason

  6. Kendall

    Jason – Ever since eVent gave me a test pair of gloves at OR back in like 2002-3, I’ve been sold on eVent for both breathability and waterproof. The gloves died after a short life of backcountry skiing due to poor construction, but the fact that I could climb/ski all day with the gloves on and not sweat up was amazing and sold me on the fabric. I’ve since owned 2 jackets and 1 pant that are made from eVent and despite having purchased (then sold) a number of GORE pieces as they’ve improved their fabric eVent is still FAR superior to Gore in my book and my pants/jackets get all the backcountry ski time they need.

    I ended up in a wicked rain/snow storm last year on the archery opener in Utah and it was bad enough that I donned the red eVent shell to keep from getting hypothermia.

    I’m curious to know if you could laminate a micro layer of poly-softshell fabric to the exterior sie of eVent to get a softer outer but also one that inherently breaths and will shed most water? I should do more research to see if this is being done but you might also check out what Westcomb has been doing with eVent as they’ve been using it for a while in various applications.

    Stoked to see you surface again in the hunt world.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Kendall,

      Thanks for your comments and kind words. EVent has the best breathability stats on the market and is arguably the best PTFE laminate choice. I am Not surprised with your experience with eVent it is a great product.

      There are several manufactures of waterproof/ breathable soft shells. Sitka’s Cold Front product line uses a Gore-tex soft shell fabric. This certainly helps with the noise, but adds to bulk, weight and packability. For short hunts or cold bad weather days it is a very good choice.

      Keep the comments coming.

      Jason

  7. Matt

    It be nice if the perfect mountain hunting pants were breathable enough to wear slogging up hill, yet water proof. For example, Sitka Ascent Pants, yet water proof. Bummer for the gear makers as they would only have one pant to sell, but great for us as that would be one less piece of gear to haul up the hill. Based on your reserach do you feel it would be possible to make a dual purpose pant like that?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Matt,

      This is a great question. I would love to have a pant that could do it all. The challenge with wearing a waterproof/breathable laminate is as you said it is breathability. There is not a laminate that breathes well enough to make just one pant. The other challenge is the noise that a laminate creates when it is bonded to a face fabric. These two challenges need to get figured out before one pant can get it done for all needs.

      Jason

      Jason

  8. josh

    “The link below is to an article hosted by REI and is a great synopsis of current raingear technologies.

    http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/rainwear+how+it+works.html

    The downside is that it tends to focus on PTFE (Gore-tex & eVent) and only touches on other technologies.”

    hi jason,
    just to clarify-
    goretex is a PTFE
    e-vent is a ePTFE
    not that it matters a whole lot, you’ve already made your fabric selection, but thought you might be interested anyways…
    Josh

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Josh,

      This is a very good write up. Thanks for posting.

      Jason

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