i cannot afford gore tex. what's the next best thing?
March 16, 2007 7:21 PM   Subscribe

i need to buy a rain jacket for trekking in new zealand in the next couple of days. there's quite a lot of rain here. i cannot afford a gore tex jacket. what should i get?

so, i went to Department of Conservation office [where you book your treks] and was told to get a gore tex jacket before i go backpacking. i rented a triple layer gore tex Macpac jacket and it was awesome. now i need to buy one, but they cost about $500 NZ dollars. [about 375 USD]. my budget is around 200-225 USD [250-300 NZD] which means i can only afford hyvent, triple point etc fabrics. i would like to get a waterproof / breathable jacket.

which one should i get?
what's the different between them in water resistance terms?
what does 10K or 15K water resistance mean anyway?
which one has the highest water resistance?
how many layers should the fabric have?
and what manufactures should i look at?

i have another 2.5 months here and i want to be dry when i'm tramping, but i want to have some money for travelling as well. please advise.
posted by ye#ara to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
Online outlets will have all the wonderful GoreTex XCR jackets that you want, it's the end of the season!

Hyvent, Triple Point, Goretex Paclite and similar are all pretty good too. Keep the jacket as clean as you can to keep the water repellent finish in good condition, and if during the trip it starts to lose some of it's water proofness, toss it in a dryer. It should perk up a little.

REI Outlet
Backcountry Outlet
Sierra Trading Post
posted by tumble at 7:51 PM on March 16, 2007

Check out TradeMe, they have a macpac jacket going cheap right now. Also, the Kathmandu sale is going today (2-layer gore-tex is $250), and the Bivouac sale should be ending around now as well.
posted by arruns at 8:11 PM on March 16, 2007

Hyvent is quite a bit cheaper than Goretex in my experience. A lot of north face things are switching over to Hyvent... although its my personal feeling (not backed up with any research or remotely empirical evidence) that goretex breathes better.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:16 PM on March 16, 2007

If you can find anything in eVent, get that. It's better than GoreTex (XCR or otherwise).

Also, and I don't know what trekking entails, but I LOVE my rei Taku.
posted by rbs at 9:26 PM on March 16, 2007

I like Hyvent too - worked well for me in NZ.

Also, don't want to derail - but be extra-careful of your feet. When I trekked in NZ, the skin kinda sloughed off my feet after a couple weeks of very wet tramping.
posted by ilyanassa at 9:49 PM on March 16, 2007

Or... follow the advice of the grandfather of ultralight backpacking Ray Jardine. Yes, he is insane. Yes, most of his suggestions are crapola-spooky. But he has his brilliant moments where you realize that buying (for instance) a tent is stupid when a simple lightweight tarp will suffice. Once you ditch a tent and use a tarp you might never go back.

But you asked about rain jackets. You might consider a silnylon poncho and an umbrella. Yes, and umbrella. You might consider something especially created for the backcountry, like the Golite Dome. It's a heckuva lot cheaper than any essentially non-functional, overpriced, heavy gore-tex product.
posted by terceiro at 10:00 PM on March 16, 2007

Following ilyanassa's non-derail, I'll second the point about good boots. Your jacket is of paramount importance, your feet are a close second. Living in Wisconsin, we tend to worry about wetness from the bottom up (melting snow) rather than the top down (heavy rain), so I'm probably biased to footwear, but make sure your budget allows for something to keep your feet dry.

Because there is nothing more uncomfortable than having to walk with cold wet feet.

posted by quin at 10:24 PM on March 16, 2007

how many layers should the fabric have?

It's going to depend on the technology behind the fabric. eg: HyVent uses a liquid coating whereas Gore-Tex uses a membrane which is laminated onto fabric. If it's a laminate then it'll be either 2-Ply or 3-Ply. 2-Ply is bulkier since it needs a liner to protect the membrane, because of this it'll be slightly less breathable. 3-Ply has the membrane sandwiched between two layers so it'll breath better and has less bulk.

what does 10K or 15K water resistance mean anyway?

A jacket rated at 10K can withstand 30 odd feet of rain in 24 hours before the wearer becomes wet. The higher the number, the better the water resistance. I don't pretend to understand the (mindnumbing!) standards so here's a list to get you started.

and what manufactures should i look at?


To be honest, there are so many manufacturers of waterproof breathable fabric that your best bet is to look at jackets you like, then research the company that makes it.
posted by squeak at 1:27 AM on March 17, 2007

I have a FairyDown jacket, which uses Hydropel, although I feel it's a lot lighter than say some of those thicker MacPac / Goretex equivalents, it's still water proof and breathable.

Have you looked at some products at Kathmandu? The quality isn't always there, so perhaps for a more expensive purchase I wouldn't get something from them, but have a look anyway.

You can get equivalent technologies locally for a lot cheaper, watch fake products though (there's often 'Groetexx' floating around at cheaper markets)

I've been tramping a lot in NZ (I live here, and did my Duke of Ed/Queen Scout here), and swear by the Fairydown products. Hopefully not de-railing, but where abouts will you be tramping?

email me from profile if you want.
posted by chrisbucks at 5:44 AM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: ssadly, fairydown is out of stock and out of production.

i don't want to get kathmandu - their high end gore tex jackets cost as much as Macpac [on sale] and the rest seem like crap [no storm flaps]. my former hostel owner said they do not last too well, and if i'm spending that kind of money of jacket, i'd like it to last. and preferably look good.

huh! the horror of wet boots. just got back from four days on the milford and my feet are shot. but there's not a single shoe which will stay dry after plunging knee deep into ice cold water, really.

and as for ray jardine - i read his book and got some really bad ideas, being a inexperienced backpacker. luckily, some friends, salespeople and DOC officers made me get some good gear. i think i got the "bring as little as you can" vibe going, but a poncho and an umberlla aren't going to do much good if you're crawling under trees laden with snow.

i only have the routeburn left in fiordland, and then i'm heading north - to queen charlott, abel tasman and nelson lakes.

i will look into Hyvent and some of Vaude and Lowe Alpine jacket. they're all around 200 NZD and so far no one said anything praticularily bad about them.
posted by ye#ara at 6:29 AM on March 17, 2007

DriDucks micropore rainsuit. Really light, really breathable, really waterproof, really packable, really cheap. Kinda fragile and not for bushwacking. For $20 each you can get 10 sets and stay under budget!

Available at Gossamer Gear (in stock) or Backpacking Light (not currently in stock, but more sizes).
posted by SampleSize at 10:53 AM on March 17, 2007

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