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  1. #1
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    Default REI Airflyte Running Jacket with eVent

    Has anyone tried using the REi Airflyte softshell as rain protection for backpacking?

    I am one of those who sweats prodigiously and is naturally very warm (you'll spot me hiking in a summer weight baselayer down to about 40 F) therefore the eVent fabric is attractive for its superior breathability. But I'm unwilling to shell out $300 for the rain jacket that incorporates eVent. The Airflyte jacket appears to be a middle of the line route with even more breathability than the $300 shells because it is a softshell.

    Link: http://www.rei.com/product/798999/re...nt-fabric-mens

    Pros:
    Breathable
    Waterproof aside from the stretch panels
    Wind resistant
    Replaces a warmth layer
    Stretchy!

    Cons:
    Not windproof (I have a wind/water resistant nanopuff to go beneath)
    The stretch panels are not waterproof
    Might absorb water outside the eVent membrane?
    Probably cut very slim because it's designed for running; might need to size up to enable layering

    For the record, I'm not afraid to get wet. If the rain is warm, I won't be wearing a jacket at all, just my trusty hat while I enjoy the shower. So this would be primarily a cool to cold rain layer.

    Any thoughts?
    Merry 2012 AT blog
    "Not all those who wander are lost."

  2. #2
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    Default

    Did you ever look at the REI Kimtah? It's $80 less then the $300 eVent jacket and lighter.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion Sharky. I looked for the Kimtah. Unfortunately I think REI either stopped making them or simply ran out. My guess is that it is discontinued because it no longer shows up in search results on REI, but does on google. Trailspace says they were last sighted on 9/22.

    I ended up purchasing an Airflyte jacket. It arrived yesterday, and since it had been raining all day I knew I would be able to test it out as soon as I got home. Bonus! I ran outside as soon as I got home to find that the rain had, of course, dropped to a trickle.

    One part that was not clear on the website is that the jacket is actually a hard shell with soft shell vents. From the placement of the mesh I don't think there will be issues with too much rain getting inside since the patches are only slightly larger than an open pit zip. The mesh is also water repellent, although I'm not sure if it's a coating or the weave of the fabric.

    As suspected, it has a fairly slim fit but I have enough space for a long sleeve shirt and my nanopuff (barely). The jacket is cut fairly long and provides nice coverage. One potential issue, although not a deal-breaker for me, is that the pockets will be a little difficult to get when wearing a pack.

    Just walking around town I was pretty impressed with its breathability. Hopefully it will rain tomorrow and I'll get to put it through its paces with a pack.

    I'll give a better review once I've worn it in some strong rains and with a pack.
    Merry 2012 AT blog
    "Not all those who wander are lost."

  4. #4
    Registered User Ohio Grown's Avatar
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    Default

    There might still be Kitmah jackets hanging out on REI clearance racks, my girlfriend just picked one up for about $65. I have one and really like it, I'm also a prolific sweater. If you call a store location they can usually check the inventories at all store locations to see if any of them still have what you're looking for.

  5. #5
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    So far the Airflyte jacket has made me proud. I have yet to take it out in a downpour (why do I always miss those?!) but it has performed admirably as my snowboarding shell and light rain shell. It has a good fit and breathes well enough that it's not the best solution to retain warmth. That's a good thing for hiking but it means I like to take to my hammock sooner in the winter nights.
    Merry 2012 AT blog
    "Not all those who wander are lost."

  6. #6

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    I've owned Gore-tex garments in two incarnations. First, a Sierra Designs mountaineering jacket from the mid 1990s. It's a three layer construction, the outer fabric is laminated to the Gore membrane with a hanging liner inside. I tried a Pac-lite jacket which I bought at REI two years ago and took on one hike. It didn't breathe at all as far as I could tell, and I returned it.

    Two years ago I bought an REI Shuksan. The membrane is laminated to the outer shell and the liner, making is somewhat stiff. It sheds rain well and seems to be more breathable than the Pac-lite and slightly more breathable than the Sierra Designs jacket.
    I just washed it about a month ago in Nikwax products and sprayed the TX direct waterproofing to the outside.
    The washing softened up the garment, restored the water repellancy, and even made the zippers work more smoothly.
    It seems to be decent stuff, but the label says to launder it often in liquid detergent, and steam iron the fabric to restore water repellancy, so, unless you carry or borrow an iron, it might not be ideal for a thruhike. Then again, wp/b garments are just naturally higher maintenance than non-breathable rain garments.

    The difference between Gore and eVent membranes is that Gore treats the inside of the membrane with polyurethane to repell body oils and salts which can pull moisture in from outside.
    eVent does not. Since there is no coating on the eVent, it is naturally more breathable (by breathable, I mean slightly more than a plastic bag).

    Basically, I feel as though I got high tech, but even more highhype. It's ok, but not worth the cost, imo.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    I've owned Gore-tex garments in two incarnations. First, a Sierra Designs mountaineering jacket from the mid 1990s. It's a three layer construction, the outer fabric is laminated to the Gore membrane with a hanging liner inside. I tried a Pac-lite jacket which I bought at REI two years ago and took on one hike. It didn't breathe at all as far as I could tell, and I returned it.

    Two years ago I bought an REI Shuksan. The membrane is laminated to the outer shell and the liner, making is somewhat stiff. It sheds rain well and seems to be more breathable than the Pac-lite and slightly more breathable than the Sierra Designs jacket.
    I just washed it about a month ago in Nikwax products and sprayed the TX direct waterproofing to the outside.
    The washing softened up the garment, restored the water repellancy, and even made the zippers work more smoothly.
    It seems to be decent stuff, but the label says to launder it often in liquid detergent, and steam iron the fabric to restore water repellancy, so, unless you carry or borrow an iron, it might not be ideal for a thruhike. Then again, wp/b garments are just naturally higher maintenance than non-breathable rain garments.

    The difference between Gore and eVent membranes is that Gore treats the inside of the membrane with polyurethane to repell body oils and salts which can pull moisture in from outside.
    eVent does not. Since there is no coating on the eVent, it is naturally more breathable (by breathable, I mean slightly more than a plastic bag).

    Basically, I feel as though I got high tech, but even more highhype. It's ok, but not worth the cost, imo.
    I've had a pretty similar experience with shells - which is why I'll typically pass on wearing one. A poncho sort of works, but even that is sticky. Plus, I'm vain and don't really like the look.

    Regarding the care of the garment, washing and ironing are for two different things - mostly. Both Gore-Tex and eVent use PTFE, aka teflon, that is manufactured to be fibrous with extremely small pores. The pore size and surface energy characteristics prevent liquid water from passing through but permit water vapor to pass. It is this PTFE membrane that is waterproof. Ironing will not affect the PTFE membrane. But, as you talked about, the salts and oils can stick to the membrane. If they do, they will change the surface energy of the PTFE and permit water to wet it and pass through. So it's a good idea to wash those off periodically.

    As long as the PTFE membrane is kept clean and intact the garment will remain water proof (Note that they might not be water proof in rain driven by hurricane force winds .)

    A note on Gore-Tex and eVent: Both coat the PTFE membrane. Gore uses a solid polyurethone coating. eVent uses an undisclosed coating that apparently leaves the pores of the PTFE open.

    As for the ironing and drying, those work to restore the durable water repellant coating (DWR) that is on the outside of the garment. They giving the water repellant coating just enough heat so that small defects repair themselves. As long as the DWR coating is still present on the fabric, the repellancy can be restored.

    Basically, washing is for the PTFE membrane and the DWR coating, while drying/ironing are for the DWR coating. My point of view is that as long as the PTFE membrane is intact, I should stay dry.

    REI has some technically sound articles about PTFE and DWR.
    DWR: http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...nwear+dwr.html
    PTFE: http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...+it+works.html
    Merry 2012 AT blog
    "Not all those who wander are lost."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc View Post
    I am one of those who sweats prodigiously and is naturally very warm (you'll spot me hiking in a summer weight baselayer down to about 40 F)
    Hey, sounds like me! Driducks and then you can go to 30 with no insulation I've only ever noticed condensation inside them at > 60 f. and that was only slight.

  9. #9
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    I've owned various waterproof-breathable jackets over the years, and never really been happy with any of them. Like many of you, I sweat a LOT, and have never really found a shell that I thought was truly waterproof and breathable. I've been wanting to try eVent, so I picked up an Airflyte jacket (on sale!) recently, and am so far, pretty happy with it. Great for backpacking, and I've also used it for road cycling. The eVent website gives a lot of good information about care and cleaning, and recommends cleaning it frequently to keep it performing well. I'm waiting for a truly good rain storm to really see how it works, but so far, so good. And REI has it for $115 right now, so it's a good time to buy it.

  10. #10
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    Default goretex /event / dri q

    Quote Originally Posted by sierracanon View Post
    I've owned various waterproof-breathable jackets over the years, and never really been happy with any of them. Like many of you, I sweat a LOT, and have never really found a shell that I thought was truly waterproof and breathable. I've been wanting to try eVent, so I picked up an Airflyte jacket (on sale!) recently, and am so far, pretty happy with it. Great for backpacking, and I've also used it for road cycling. The eVent website gives a lot of good information about care and cleaning, and recommends cleaning it frequently to keep it performing well. I'm waiting for a truly good rain storm to really see how it works, but so far, so good. And REI has it for $115 right now, so it's a good time to buy it.
    I've found that the difference between goretex and event/dry q is apparent after just a few moments of wearing a jacket in the store.

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