Is anything REALLY waterproof?

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Cathryn, 23 Jul 2007.

  1. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I was planning to buy a decent waterproof come Autumn, but it occurred to me today that actually, I need it now.

    I'm planning to buy an Altura jacket - but just wondered if it was actually waterproof? I got caught up Pen y Ghent in what I thought was a waterproof a few months ago....and it didn't work at all. Has anyone got any experience of how dry I'll stay?

    Also...waterproof shoe coverings. Worth it? Do they work too? And favourite brands??
  2. Hugo15

    Hugo15 Über Member

    I have an Altura Crosslite Jacket. Has been out more times than I would have liked in the last few weeks. Seems to keep me dry and I don't sweat too much in it. Rolls up small enough to go in a jersey pocket too.

    Reviews here
  3. chris42

    chris42 New Member

    Deal, Kent
    I don't belive anything is truly waterproof.
    If it is i.e a plastic bag and you are raising your tempreture by riding you will sweat and get wet.
    Assos sums it up on their website about their own climafit jackets, they say they are designed to keep you dry & warm for the first 20 mins of a ride after that you will then get wet as no matter how breathable a jacket is it is not as good as your skin at wicking moisture.
  4. Chuffy

    Chuffy Veteran

    With waterproofs there is always a trade off between breathability and being waterproof. Nothing does both 100%. If you're doing long, slow days in the saddle then get something that errs on being more waterproof. For short, hard days, go for something breathable. There is also a third way. I use a long sleeve merino base layer which keeps me warm even when wet and dries quickly. I throw an Altura Nevislite over the top if it's really giving it some, but the merino is good enough for long rides in the kind of weather we're having at the moment, ie wet but not too cold.
  5. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    I have been wearing an Altura jacket for a about three years now with no problems...
  6. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I've always found with motorcycle gear (where they don't have to worry about breathability and can go to town on the waterproofing) that no matter how good the clothing is, if you are out in it for long enough and it comes down hard enough it will eventually get through.

    At least with cycling your body heat will dry the stuff out when the rain does stop.
  7. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    I'd go with this.
    90% of the time if it's raining I go with a long sleeve jersey and a Gilet (the best cycle clothing item after shorts), it does not need to be expensive as Merino, I have a H*lfrauds Bicycle-line long-sleeve top (£15 in the sale) and it's peachy, with an inexpensive Parrot Gilet I survived 80 miles of non-stop stair-rods without feeling cold...or strangeley enough, feeling wet either.
    Also use an old Altura lightweight rain jacket, but usually worn more often to keep out the cold than rain.
    Short-sleeve top and Gilet when warm and wet!
    Using this method, trick also is to keep moving (or chuck-on the waterproof when stopping), otherwise can get cold quickly.
  8. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    I go with FF on this one, keeping a light windproof jacket for when you are wet but have stopped riding is very important IMO!!!!!!!!
  9. dub-no-bass

    dub-no-bass New Member

    Dunno if it helps, but vents seem to be very useful features for avoiding the boil-in-the-bag effect.

    I have a cheapie Altura Nevislite jacket, and a far more expensive Gore windstopper jacket. Both are waterproof, but the Altura jacket has vents in the back, side and under the armpits, which the Gore jacket lacks. Whilst the Gore jacket is supposed to be more breathable, I find myself sweating (and therefore getting wet from the inside) far more with the Gore jacket than the Altura jacket, just because there's nowhere for all my steam to go. I think the Gore jacket will be good for the depths of winter but it's too sweaty in mild weather.

    I have been caught in hours of heavy rain in the Altura jacket and yet been fairly dry on the inside (this was October and so cold enough to be very sweaty mysefl). They're really not bad at all considering that they're at the lower end of the price range (and that everyoe seems a bit snobby about Altura).
  10. toontra

    toontra Über Member

    I have a Gill Pro Speed jacket made from eVent fabric. It is fantastically light and after several consecutive days in the rain (up to 10 hours per day) it has yet to leak. I have never found it to cause condensation either, but my average speed is usually in the high teens, so not race speed.

    It seems pretty miraculous to me, after trying almost every waterproof jacket out there.
  11. OP

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    Interesting stuff, thank you. I know I have to be realistic about how waterproof anything can be, but if I'm paying good money for something, I want it to work.

    Off to the LBS for me....hurrah!!
  12. alfablue

    alfablue New Member

    I have had a few Gore Tex PacLite jackets (general and bike specific ones) and also Gore Tex 3 layer, before PacLite came out. All of these were fully waterproof, and acceptably breathable, however all have failed eventually - but the thing with Gore Tex is they are guaranteed for life to keep you dry, and Gore really do honour the guarantee (Gore have refunded me directly on a 4 year old one, others by the manufacturers), so although I have had several, I have only actually paid for two outright. (they can "de-laminate" so the membrane seperates from the outer fabric, I am apparently unlucky to have had this happen).

    Last year, whilst waiting for a replacement PacLite, I bought an Altura Reflex, this was waterproof and even lighter than PacLite, however this has failed after 10 months - I got a full refund, but may not have been so lucky if it had been a couple of years old or more, so I have gone back to Gore Tex. When PacLite works it is excellent, breathability is supposedly matched by eVent fabric but these don't come with a lifetime guarantee so I won't be buying one of those.

    Although Gore Tex (and PacLite) will remain waterproof even when the water repellent coating (DWR - durable water repellent) wears off, without it the fabric "wets out" and then they won't breath properly, so it is important to care for this by washing with non-bio detergent or soap flakes, or dedicated gore-tex wash, re-treating it, and conditioning it by tumble-drying.

    Despite the reliability issue, performance is the best in my experience, and reliability no worse than anything else, yet backed by a real life-long guarantee.
  13. goo_mason

    goo_mason Champion barbed-wire hurdler

    Leith, Edinburgh
    I find that my skin is the best waterproof, so even on rainy days it's still the lycra shorts and cycling top for me. My only compromise is my now-tattered Altura neoprene overshoes to keep my cycling shoes from filling with water.

    I tried jackets and I do boil like a kettle (and produce the same amount of condensation as one) inside, so they're reserved for only the coldest winter days.
  14. alfablue

    alfablue New Member

    I see your point Goo, just when on long multi-day camping tours without a warm place to dry out I find waterproofs necessary to preserve body heat and general well-being. Even on my 20 mile commute I find them preferable, that said I am not a particularly energetic rider, rarely averaging much over 14 mph - if I was really going for it I would probably want to strip to speak.
  15. Sore Thumb

    Sore Thumb Veteran

    I wear a pearl izumi gillet and some arm warmers. I wash these then apply a water repellent made by nikwax. I then put then in the dryer so the water repellent will work better.

    I commute to work which is 8 miles in all weather and never gone to work in my car for the last two years.

    I find the above a good solution and it keeps me dry for the 30 minutes max it takes me to get to work. Also if you do get too hot you can just take the arm warmers off without having to stop.
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