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Thread: rain gear - moisture wicking problems

  1. #1

    Default rain gear - moisture wicking problems

    Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem, and if so what was your fix. I was fishing out of Seward all day yesterday in the rain. Not a hard rain but fairly steady all day long. Wore my HH Impertech bibs and jacket. After a few hours of fishing I noticed my forearm area feeling wet, a few hours later my upper arms are feeling wet. By the end of the day both arms were wet up to my arm pits. Not dripping wet but fairly moist. I had a long sleeve poly pro shirt on as a base, a fleece top and my HH jacket. Best I can tell water was slowly leaking in around my wrists and wicking up my arms throughout the day. I had the velcro cuffs cinched but not overly tight. I'm curious if its the inside lining material on the HH Impertechs that is wicking the moisture, or the other layers I was wearing. I'd experienced this before while wearing similar layers with my Impertechs while working in the rain on a boat all day. Not such a big deal when I can go inside at the end of the day to dry out but it does concern me on a multi-day hunt where it may rain and my ability to dry out isn't the same.

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    That is persperation wicking out. Your body heat sends the persperation to the top/shoulder area where it condenses against the cool inner fabric of the rain gear and runs down your arms.

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    Hadn't considered that, thanks. But wouldn't I experience the same moisture issue elsewhere, such as along my chest / shoulders, especially closer to the core of my body? Obviously I've experience moisture problems with Impertech when I'm active as it doesn't breathe, but I was about as inactive as possible yesterday. Yes, the fishing was quite slow

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    Our bodies constantly perspire, and the warmest places on our bodies is our head, the armpits and between the legs, two of the three are above the chest. Body heat sends it all to the top of the impermeable membrane to collect, condense and then run off,etc. Spending 10 years in Helly Hansons and Grundens gave me great opportunity to ponder exactly this.

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    It could be either one I know for a fact that the material inside wicks moisture up. The seams can also let moisture in as well found that out on a float during a downpour.

    What you describe sounds more like water wicking in than perspiration out

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    Quote Originally Posted by FloorGuy View Post
    It could be either one I know for a fact that the material inside wicks moisture up. The seams can also let moisture in as well found that out on a float during a downpour.

    What you describe sounds more like water wicking in than perspiration out
    Certainly that can happen, more often than not it is persperation.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    hh imperetch scks. I feel your pain, im stuck with mine for yet another moose hunting season.

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    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    This is an extremely wet season. You will not stay dry in ANY rain gear, over a prolonged period of time in the downpours and humidity levels we have been having. Helly Hansen is water-proof, and short-term that is what you want. For long term, moisture needs to be "managed".

    A base layer of synthetic fishnet underwear, under a light cotton layer, under a waterproof layer will result in dry, warm skin. The cotton will wick away the perspiration and catch any vapor that becomes moisture when it reaches the cool surface of the outer layer.

    Yes, cotton. I said it. Polyester cannot wick away fast enough under these circumstances. NEVER wear cotton directly against the skin, however, if you will surely be wet.

    Moisture MANAGEMENT is the goal during monsoon season.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I've been satisfied with Helly Hansen Impertech for many years, but you certainly get condensation inside. As Marc said, you have to know how to manage it. When to batten down all the hatches, when to leave it partially unzipped, etc. That's what you can expect from a 100% waterproof membrane. It doesn't let moisture pass through in either direction. Until someone comes up with breathable rain gear that doesn't eventually leak, that's what we're stuck with.

    Another poster said that HH Impertech leaks at the seams. This is not true. Impertech rain gear seams are WELDED. Leaks in the seams are impossible, unless the weld came loose (in which case there would actually be a visible hole). Not saying it's impossible, but I've never seen a seam leak or a seam failure in many years of using the stuff.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, Impertech will also eventually leak, particularly at normal wear points (seat, knees, elbows, etc.) I have an older set that appears to have pinholes across the back and shoulders, and the thigh areas. I think the material is actually oxidizing, and I plan to replace both bibs and jacket. That set is probably 10-12 years old and has seen heavy use. First time I've seen that with Impertech. You can hold it up to a light and see the pinholes and yes, it does leak now. Anyway, it carries a lifetime warranty, so I'm sure they'll take care of it.

    You can find more info on Impertech on our Product Review area.

    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    I've been satisfied with Helly Hansen Impertech for many years, but you certainly get condensation inside. As Marc said, you have to know how to manage it. When to batten down all the hatches, when to leave it partially unzipped, etc. That's what you can expect from a 100% waterproof membrane. It doesn't let moisture pass through in either direction. Until someone comes up with breathable rain gear that doesn't eventually leak, that's what we're stuck with.

    Another poster said that HH Impertech leaks at the seams. This is not true. Impertech rain gear seams are WELDED. Leaks in the seams are impossible, unless the weld came loose (in which case there would actually be a visible hole). Not saying it's impossible, but I've never seen a seam leak or a seam failure in many years of using the stuff.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, Impertech will also eventually leak, particularly at normal wear points (seat, knees, elbows, etc.) I have an older set that appears to have pinholes across the back and shoulders, and the thigh areas. I think the material is actually oxidizing, and I plan to replace both bibs and jacket. That set is probably 10-12 years old and has seen heavy use. First time I've seen that with Impertech. You can hold it up to a light and see the pinholes and yes, it does leak now. Anyway, it carries a lifetime warranty, so I'm sure they'll take care of it.

    You can find more info on Impertech on our Product Review area.

    Mike
    My experience differs from yours, I have 2 seams that leak and they are not visible holes.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I wear impertech for low impact activities of limited duration where I will likely get it muddy/stinky. Fishing off the back of a boat with a cabin or mudding the quads is impertech activities. I spend the money and buy quality breathable shells for hard hunting/hiking use. Torray, eVent or GoreTex produced by a quality manufacturer is the only way to go. Wildthings gear is made in the USA and produces solid shells with eVent fabric. Kuiu is solid stuff and Kryptek has great reviews as well. Arctyrex makes great rain gear but they are not hunter friendly. Westcomb is another solid company. Shop close outs for good deals, departmentofgoods.com or Sierratradingpost.com are two sites to keep an eye on. The liner fabric on the impertech is amazing at its ability both capture sweat and to draw water in through any opening and drench you

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FloorGuy View Post




    My experience differs from yours, I have 2 seams that leak and they are not visible holes.
    No problem. It was not my intention to speak for others. Clearly you have had issues with Impertech that are not the same as mine. Readers need the whole story.

    Regards,

    Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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  13. #13

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    After working in the woods of SE for several years, if I had my druthers I would choose oilskin products. Two downsides to this product is that it won't really work in a downpour unless it has a good layer of oil on it. And two you really need to let it hang overnight in a dry place for the next days activities. However, given the situation with the OP, it would work quite well. It turns the rain, breathes OK, & just seems to work. Filson, makes some top notch stuff, but I'm sure you can find it in places like Sierra Trading Post, different Aussie places, etc. If it starts to leak a little you just lather it up with more wax. If you knew you weren't going to be in an all day downpour, it would be the first off the rack for me.

    Sorry to hear about the Impertech rain gear. I figured this would be my next goto raingear for mult-day trips. The thing I don't like about all the breathable fabrics, it has been my experience that they only last for a few years of hard-average use. That starts to get expensive at $400 (or thereabouts) minimum per suit. I'll be trying out Redledge on my next big trip and will report back on how it does. It's pretty thin stuff, but got good reviews from bucktracks.

    Alas, I don't think there's perfect raingear. Maybe Ventile if your serious & have a Swiss bank account.

  14. #14
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Management because no one material or garment is perfect...

    Although I don't have nearly the field experience, I like Marc's concept of moisture MANAGEMENT. Staying dry is a set of solutions for a set of problems, constantly changing. No material covers the whole Breathable-to-Waterproof spectrum perfectly.

    Breathability: Lujon in a 2009 thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...vent-Rain-Gear) posted the best reference (http://www.shelby.fi/tips/breathability.pdf) I've read on these forums; essentially that some rain gear materials are more breathable (less resistance to vapor diffusion) than others, and also that any material eventually cannot keep up as the inside humidity rises. No material is perfect but breathability under a waterproof layer is one approach. In 2009 though, I didn't think that the top of the breathable material market was that great in terms of being effective in field applications.

    Waterproof: was pretty good though and HH Impertech is among the best; tough, waterproof and stretchable too.
    Impertech has weak spots too:
    a). won't led perspiration-vapor out and
    b). has a liner fabric which wicks water up. How I know dis? Standing in shallows with bow line in hand while my buddy maneuvers the jet boat. The water, she wick up.

    State of the market: breathable rain gear nowadays is very effective, but the top of the market runs $600-900 a set. This price ceiling will probably keep rising, but IMO at least we are getting a product which works; keeps rain out, lets sweat/water vapor out too while stretching and is lightweight. They have improved vastly since 2011 (or so). The Kuiu I've used lately and what Sitka Gear is using now are the same materials used in high tech clothing for non-hunting market. It all costs the same too. Rain gear in general, but especially rain gear aimed at hunters has come a long long way since 2005, when Jonathan Hart and Jason Hairston opened Sitka after recognizing the need(http://kuiu.com/thehunt/jason-hairston?page=1, and http://www.sitkagear.com/history) .

    The only other tactic I have read which works is the vapor barrier liner (VPL) strategy, field tested by Andrew Skurka on the backpackinglight forums (http://andrewskurka.com/2011/vapor-b...y-application/. Although Integral Designs makes an excellent, effective product (http://integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=672), which was the best solution I found to avoiding cold feet after hiking up/down steehead streams, I think clothing applications will be limited, because there are probably health (and legal) hazards shutting down the bodys natural cooling process.

    Staying dry, its true takes moisture management. Understanding the strong and weak points of my needs, available materials and what I can afford helps me. Plus, I watch end of season sales for deals!

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Ventilation... still works

    Old stuff is often great stuff; and wool is still one of my favorite as a base layer. Oil skin has been around a long time and I search harder and harder for waxed cotton baseball hats I like. Ventile, that's the tightly woven cotton stuff? I somewhere (maybe Jimmie C Rosenbruch, DVD: Hunting Alaska's Coastal Giants) an idea about why oilskin works so well. Like Impertech (which they wear in the DVD), oil skin is usually loose fitting. They wear hip boots and Impertech panchos in the DVD, which allows enough ventilation to keep dry when walking in the rain, yet gives enough protection when sitting at the edge of a clearing, both from the rain and wet ground.

    Buck Nelson's research is impressive. I hardly hear about Red Ledge, but it's true Buck found it worked very well for him, ... for the first 700 miles of his hunt anyway. I couldn't find his Gear Review from that trip on his website (http://bucktrack.com/) today, but remember it was especially useful because of his comments about how that piece of gear performed, an after-action report.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kushtekaa View Post
    After working in the woods of SE for several years, if I had my druthers I would choose oilskin products. Two downsides to this product is that it won't really work in a downpour unless it has a good layer of oil on it. And two you really need to let it hang overnight in a dry place for the next days activities. However, given the situation with the OP, it would work quite well. It turns the rain, breathes OK, & just seems to work...

    ... I'll be trying out Red Ledge on my next big trip and will report back on how it does. It's pretty thin stuff, but got good reviews from bucktracks.

    ...Maybe Ventile if your serious & have a Swiss bank account.

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