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Thread: Rain Gear Observations and Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Rain Gear Observations and Questions

    Hello.

    I am new to this forum, but not new to Alaska. About 20 years ago I was working as a forestry technician for the U.S.F.S. on Baranof and Prince of Wales Islands. My co-workers and I came up with the following clothing list for working in the field:

    Polypro Long Underwear
    Wool Socks
    Filsonís Double Tin Pants
    Wool Shirt
    Extra-tuff Boots
    And possibly a commercial pvc coated cotton jacket stored in our cruising vests as a backup.

    The logic behind this was that we moved so much in the brush, that the heavier commercial raingear was too bulky and hot for regular field use. Anything other than commercial gear or Filsons would not last. The brush would tear it up too quickly.

    The Filson double tin pants were great in terms of handling the brush, but we had to dry them out each night, and re-coat them with wax every few days. They were never water proof, but could repel most water if coated well with wax. I could also never get more than one season of use out of them because even they wore out (mostly from rot due to being continually wet.)

    I have searched through the forum and found that the same problem still exists. You can either choose to get wet from sweat (pvc coated commercial gear) or wet from the rain (Filsonís, Gore-Tex, etc.) Many have advocated the new Impertech gear, but I doubt it would last long in the brush (seems too thin for my tastes.)

    With that said, has anything changed in 20 years (besides perhaps merino wool for long underwear?)

    I was wondering if anyone has tried the newer commercial grade pvc coated synthetics like Grundenís Harvestor series?

    http://www.grundens.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=27

    They make a parka and a bib. I was thinking that they might be a little better than the older pvc cotton duck versions.

    I was also wondering if anyone has tried a heavier nylon based rain gear like the one Viking sells?

    http://www.go2marine.com/product.do?no=20430F

    It seems that 600 denier nylon might be better for brush resistance (at least it would not rot from being wet like the Filsonís) I could not find out much about its water resistance.

    I would appreciate it if anyone could comment about the above two products, and/or what has worked for them.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Do a search for Helly Hansen Impertech. There are probably 100 threads on raingear.

    Good luck,
    Richard

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    Member muskeg's Avatar
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    You would be surprised how tough HH Impertech can be in the brush .... just don't spill your deet on it ..... LOL

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NLite View Post
    Many have advocated the new Impertech gear, but I doubt it would last long in the brush (seems too thin for my tastes.)
    Impertech isn't new. I bought my first set around 1996 at Gary King's when it was still the go-to outdoors shop. It is still holding up just fine, though I use Marmot Precip when I really want to go light. Impertech is way tougher than its thickness would lead you to believe.

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    Default My .02

    Quote Originally Posted by NLite View Post
    Many have advocated the new Impertech gear, but I doubt it would last long in the brush (seems too thin for my tastes.)
    I am no Alaska expert, but on my hunt there last year, I had call to wear HH most of the time I was hunting.

    On the return to camp each night in the dark, on a horse, the brush would be constantly at my legs, because the horse knew the way and I wasn't steering. We went through brush, more often than round it and the HH stood up without a single hole.

    It gets my vote for good, solid, all round rain wear.

    oz
    Last edited by ozhunter; 05-06-2008 at 06:00. Reason: add stuff
    il vaut mieux Ítre bon que la chance

  6. #6

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    You're right - not much has changed in the last 20 years.

    But when I think about it, I believe maybe the most significant change has been the widespread availability of gore-tex or other waterproof/breathable "hunting" gear. What distinguishes this gear from regular waterproof/breathable pants and jackets is that it usually comes in camo, and has a soft-textured outer material to make it quieter. You didn't see this stuff 20 years ago.

    The merits of this type of gear as opposed to PVC raingear has been debated extensively here and elsewhere. Personally, I love the new stuff, and will never go back. Caveat: I use it for hunting deer in SE, which for me amounts to 10-15 days of hard hunting each year. Throw in a couple of hooter hunts, and a few days camping on fishing trips, and that's about all the use my pants receive. So I'm not sure how well they would hold up in the hard day-to-day use of, say, a timber cruiser in the USFS.

    Another important point: I own the high-end stuff - Cabela's MT050. The pants are well-constructed and made of real gore-tex, not somebody's cheaper waterproof/breathable spin-off. But they are expensive - no two ways about it. In many cases, I'm not a gear head, and tend to go simple and cheap, but as mentioned, I really like this stuff, and I think you get what you pay for.

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    Thanks for all the comments.

    I am surprised no one has said anything about the Grundens poly/pvc gear or the Viking stuff.... It would be nice if the Impertech held up, being lighter than the commercial gear. I will take another look at it, and possibly buy a set for testing, although I think I might end up with commercial grade for the bottoms.

    -Have a good one.

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    Default rain gear

    I know a State Fish Biologist who tried the Impertech in SE, it lasted less than 3-days.

    My preference is Watershed, Admiral or best was Ni-rite, which I don't believe they sell any more, but can find Industrial Nylon version at Gemplers.com. This rainwear used to last a minimum of one year in the brush wearing everyday.

    It looks like the Viking raingear you referred to is similar to these other products.

  9. #9
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Having been a surveyor for eight years in bush Alaska including stints along the coast outside of Seward and the upper panhandle near Haines I can say that the only rain pants that held up for me were commercial grade HH or Grunden pants. However, as a surveyor I was not alway taking the path of least resistance because I was forced to stay "on line" at times and chainsaw a path. When I hunt I am far easier on gear than when I was working in the woods.

    I also was a Filson pants with poly-pros underneath kind of guy. They may have gotten soaked, but you were protected from devil's club, stobs and other sharp brush. If the rain stopped and there was wind they would dry out in short order. At the end of the season they were junk, but they outlasted any other work pants I tried by a long shot. After my first season I rarely wore any rain pants at all unless I was stuck standing by the intstrument all day in the rain. If I was on the move the tin pants were what I was wearing.

    Also, when I was on the move and working I rarely wore a rain jacket. I simply wore two layers of poly-pro long sleeve tops. In my pack was a rain jacket, heavy wool hat and a fleece coat for when I had to stop for any length of time.

    Another funny thing about working in the field is that I never wore hip boots either. I just wore high top basketball shoes when I worked around the swamps on the lower Kuskokwim and Yukon Delta. I just jumped right in the water. Eventually you would pump out the water and just keep going. The water would just run out of the tin pants. By wearing hip boots you were guaranteed to be wet anyway once you went over the tops. Now that I spend more time hunting I wear chest waders, but even the best chest waders would last less than a couple weeks cutting brush in swampy country. In southeast I wore HH rubber boots because my calves wouldn't allow me to wear ExtraTuffs.

    Hunting is an entirely different game than working in the woods. We tend to take the path of least resistance, move slower, and spend long times behind binoculars and spotting scopes. This calls for an entirely different method of clothing management. For hunting I will be wearing Impertech after giving up on all gortex and gortex type fabrics that I have tried.

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