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Thread: River's West vs. H/H Impertech rainwear & our Caribou trip

  1. #1
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    Cool River's West vs. H/H Impertech rainwear & our Caribou trip

    Prior to my sonís upcoming deployment, we wanted to get in a Caribou hunt. It took a lot for him to get leave with the ops tempo they are keeping up, but he got here. Now let me draw the comparison of Riverís West outerwear and Helly Hansonís Impertech. My son wore the HH and I took the RW.

    All of the terrain was barren ground tundra with the typical mix of muskeg, bogs, creeks and so forth. In all cases, we use a variety of layering and wicking layers.

    Day one: Spotting, with short 3 mile hike. Weather Ė partly sunny, light wind, low 50s
    • HH stayed in my sonís backpack. It was not required.
    • Riverís West Ė Jacket went into backpack as it was too hot. With all zippers and vents open the pants did not breathe adequately creating a layer of sweat trapped in the pants. Not a terrible problem because of the warm temps. Performance acceptable.
    Day two: First day of hunting. About a 5 mile perimeter done to where game had been spotted previous day. Weather Ė partly cloudy, scattered rain showers, some wind, temps in the upper 40s.
    • HH jacket stayed on my son most of the time, coming off when we were exerting ourselves to the point of overheating. Pants stayed in the backpack. Performance acceptable.
    • Rivers West Ė Maintained a good level of warmth in the showers. Stayed dry. Vents worked reasonably well with the temps dropping but still had problems with lack of breathing for sweat. Interior was damp. Performance acceptable.
    Day three: Son wanted to push out to where we had spotted a main herd on the way in. We started very early and worked our way out to about the 7 mile point with the weather much like the previous day. At that time, the storm hit. We later learned it was from a typhoon in the Pacific. Winds Ė estimated at 50 to 60 mph (We are both pilots, so we are pretty confident of this estimate). Temps dropped to about freezing. Heavy rain and sleet. This rain was horizontal and unrelenting.
    • HH Ė kept the rain out. The product did what it was supposed to do and stayed dry on the inside. How could you ask for anything else?
    • Riverís West Ė It took a little while to realize that this product was failing miserably in these conditions. At first it kept the water out but the fabric became saturated. Because of the lack of breathability and previous sweat problems it was a while before I realized the water was coming in. The fabric retained the water and possibly quadrupled the weight of the garment. On the positive side, it did provide protection from the wind and stayed somewhat warm on the move, but if stopped for a while it cooled rather quickly. Once I realized RW leaked like a sieve, I donned my military rain parka which helped. Another significant problem was that as the water leaked into the pants and flowed down into my boots. My boots became saturated from the inside. Guess what wet boots do to you with a return trip of about 10 miles in wet boots Ė kind of hard on your feet. Before long the water gathered around my toes and just sloshed around in the boots.
    We got back to camp about 10 that night to rest up and hunt the remainder of our trip.

    The Riverís West outerwear was done. It did not dry out that night. It did not dry out the next day. It did not dry out the following day. It did not dry out until it hanged in my garage for more than a 24 hour period.

    Obviously I think it is foolish to continue to use a product that does not perform as promised and puts one in a potential perilous situation. The product is represented as waterproof Ė we all have seen the displays Ė but I guess they did not mean in conditions one can encounter in AlaskaÖ.




  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    man, i can't belive people still buy rivers west, someone in here posted a few months back "that stuff will get you killed" i think was what he said. spot on.
    Rubber rubber rubber rubber, there is no other rain gear, thats is sprinkle gear, even mist gear that isn't rubber or some sort of coated pvc, but for rain/alaska rain gear its gotta be rubber, no breathable nothing. if it "breathes" you'll be wet. drop the RW next to the gore-tex and cabela's "rain gear" and dump some gas on it...don't worry it'll soak it up...say goodbye and touch it off...
    HH is great stuff, the impertec is what i recommend to all my clients, very few listen, most go home and buy it.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  3. #3

    Default Thanks for the insight.

    Well, that took care of any more reading research. HH Impertech it is.
    Thanks fellas.

  4. #4
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    Talking thanks

    good info. i just happen to know a guy has some HH impertech posted on this site.... and he'll take less than advertised. tell him i sent ya. later. j

  5. #5

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    I own a RW jacket and the HH impertech pants/coat.

    I primarily use my RW jacket for coyote hunting. It's light and warm which makes trekking through the snow much easier. I can also throw my winter camo coverups over the top of this jacket and I am not over bulked. I was highly surprised a jacket this thin would keep as warm as it did. But I never really tested the RW jacket in a heavy rain until a few weeks ago.

    I took my family on a trip to Seward for some fishing and camping. The weather was horrible, your typical down poor just because it's the weekend type rain. So I decided to throw on the RW jacket and give it a good test. After miserably standing in the rain for an hour I gave up. I was dry but the jacket was completely water logged. Kind of disappointed, but I want to try a fleece water proofing agent that is "supposed" to work. It's worth a shot, I bought the jacket for half of today's going rate.

    The HH impertech......well...it just plain works.

  6. #6
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Thumbs down RW

    I also had earlier posts concerning Rivers West rain gear and how poor they functioned. I now have one positive thing to say about their product--their 10 year warranty. I returned my year old set to the dealer for a full refund.

    Coyote hunting in dry weather-great.

    Any kind of hunting in the rain--BAD!

    kingfisherktn

  7. #7
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    Default

    Did you need a reciept? Or did you make contact with their main office? Used my Rivers West three time twice it leaked and hotter than heck, worse than the heavier Helly Hansen stuff I bought before Impertech, you know the kind they use on the boats... Helly Hansen Impertech will always be there for the extreme times (my understanding buy them while you can)but everyday stuff, a total switch to SITKA Mountain gear is my path for the future.... Spent a butt load of money on Rivers West, Cabelas Crap called MT050, and every other things that is made from China bearing Cabelas logo "Dry Plus" is gone from my inventory, all crap..... My .02 cents.....

  8. #8
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Default Mt050's

    before RW-both junk. I didn't have a receipt, local dealer is good outfit for reimbursements on unhappy clients. I'm sure he sent them back to RW. You could probably give RW a call and claim their 10 warranty statement.

    kingfisherktn

  9. #9
    Member AKdutch's Avatar
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    Default Rivers West

    I just wanted to put out my exp as well. RW is just worthless, and may be worse then worthless as I was soaked and most of my inside layers as well. After riding for one hour in a downpour on the Ferry Trail the RW jacket and pants were waterlogged and weighed a ton. My pants and inside jacket were soaked as well. I can't believed they claim to be waterproof. Second problem was wearing the jacket and pants in warm weather. When I got back to camp after dressing and packing the meat I felt damp and realized the inside of both jacket and pants were soaked from moisture from me sweating. I have never made such a bad choice in gear before and wish I had read the reviews on this site. Half way through the hunt I ended up driving back into town to get some Helly Hansen rain gear as all my clothes were damp and the temps dropped down into the 20's. I hope this will help somebody make a better decision then I did. John

  10. #10

    Default Unhappy with RW

    I have Rivers West pants. They have always allowed water to pass through and get me wet! Also too hot on mild days. Looking for a new pair now! I'll have to try out that 10 year warranty!

  11. #11
    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Default

    Proof that the most expensive gear isn't the best you can buy.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  12. #12

    Default Beat this Dead Horse

    Another bad review for RW.

    I wanted to try RW on a Kenai black bear hunt this spring but didn't want to go out with all RW gear so I purchased only the RW gaiters at Sportsmans to give them a try.

    They were worse than nothing because they didn't keep any water out AND the velcro kept coming off as I walked. Not happy with them at all.

    I was glad my jacket and pants were HH, they worked great

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    Lightbulb

    I have used H.H. imp' for at least 10 years. Rubber in m.h.o. is the only thing that will keep you dry from the outside in.

  14. #14
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i sent rivers west a link to this thread...i want them to see what guys have to say that don't get paid or free gear from them to give them great testamonials.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  15. #15

    Default Dont mess around with bug dope

    I have used HH for 20 years cant beat it ! But dont spray on bug dope if you have it on take your gear off,spray then put it back on. The material will melt if you get any deet on it. Makes you wonder what that stuff does to your body?
    Pick A Spot

  16. #16
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    haha mik ain't that the truth, i've seen some wrist watches you couldn't read anymore from bug dope and actually, not to hijack here, when i lived out in the village we used the military stuff when we'd play basketball in the wee hours of the am. when i get to a place with no bugs i started to get sick, headaches and what not, they did some tests and i was going thru withdrawls for deet!!! stuff soaked into my blood stream or something and i was hooked...guess thats why they call it "dope". i don't use it anymore.
    so i don't have to worry about it on my HH, but thats a great tip!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  17. #17
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    Default yes RW = Wet

    My client wore RW this fall and he was soaked in mild rain

    I think as long as it doesn't rain you'll be fine though

  18. #18
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    Exclamation I'm sold...

    After reading all of the threads in the last few weeks and having my trusty Cabelas MT050 fail on me AGAIN this season, Impertechs it is. Now, where can I get them? Thanks folks....

  19. #19
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    Lightbulb

    swampdonkey;

    bucknrut did a group buy for h.h. imp' on here a while back. contact him and maybe he will do another if there if sufficent interest?

    other wise there are lots of places to get the imp' you will not have a problem.

  20. #20
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    Lightbulb the truth hurts

    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    i sent rivers west a link to this thread...i want them to see what guys have to say that don't get paid or free gear from them to give them great testamonials.

    You crack me up. you are too much. they need to read this thread, then go back to the dessign table. good idea.

    If it is sold at Cabela's, be wary....

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