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  1. #1

    Default Is anything breathable (so called breathable--not plastic) waterproof?

    Seriously, my experience is that nothing breathable is waterproof for more than a few minutes of exposure to water. $230 saloman boots with goretex, $75 timberland boots with goretex, and omnishield rain suit are examples that are fine for a splash or a short rain shower but I have found nothing that keeps me dry in a 30 plus minute rain. Some better than others but none are water PROOF. I'm now looking at waterproof supposedly socks and review after review say they are. I'm skeptical or just unlucky with waterproofness. Any body truly got long term all day waterproofness from these high tech material. Lizard socks is the latest I saw. Gore text socks and others are out there too. Looking for constructive input. Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    water proof socks, These keep my socks dry when kayaking in the cold, but hiking even in winter my feet sweat so bad they are useless. where are you hiking that it is so wet?
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  3. #3

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    AT section hiker from Springer to Davenport Gap done in 5 trips. Black Creek trail in Mississippi. Pinhoti. Same result any and every where when in rain or wet trail. Very good water resistance but not waterproofness.

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    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    my feet never dried thru Georgia and that was in January. i carry extra socks and the quickest drying shoes i can get.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  5. #5

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    That is my line of thinking. Looking at la sportiva ultra raptors. That is what I'm looking at and thus the possibilities of waterproof socks. Thanks ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackwater slim View Post
    That is my line of thinking. Looking at la sportiva ultra raptors. That is what I'm looking at and thus the possibilities of waterproof socks. Thanks ok.
    I made waterproof socks for hiking last winter. I wore them over a lightweight liner. The liner gets damp but its no big deal. A much better approach than gtx shoes based on my experience with both. As far as other waterproof/breathable, I am in the same camp as you. I have yet to find something that I can hike in when its raining that doesn't also have me sweating. But it is the difference between being warm and wet vs cold and wet that keeps me using a truly waterproof (cuben) rain suit.

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    Know that this is a bit off topic.........more often than not, take my Ice Breaker tee shirt off, rain jacket only, don't care about the "clamminess" of rain jacket.

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    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    There is such a thing as waterproof breathable- but only in the most minimal sense as it relates to us. A Good Gore-Tex jacket worn Car camping (around camp) at about 30-60 degrees is about right. As you've learned- any activity, let alone backpacking wets you out from the inside just as fast as from the outside. Even worse in the humid areas you mentioned visiting. As most above have noted- the general practice for outdoorsman in motion is to stay warm and dry fast- not to stay dry. Once you can no longer stay warm, it is generally cold enough that you can stay dry. I can wear a Merino 1 top and a 2.5 layer Gore-Tex and stay dry around 30. I prefer to be slightly chilled and dry in colder temps so I don't sweat. 30-40 is tricky- period- and there is no great solution but err on the side of warm and dry fast over waterproof. Above 40 I wear quick drying layers and wear a rain cape. The cape (covering pack, head and shoulders- think chopped down poncho) will stop the soaking rains from penetrating but leave you breathable but damp. Wet, but not soaked.

    As far as footwear- go with sock options, not waterproof shoes. You got the right idea with the trail runners. Play with neoprene socks or what Malto is describing (sold as vapor barrier products if you can't make your own) with a light liner.

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    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    also- I like Merino layers when I know I will be wet. Patagonia Merino 1 is my preferred base layer up to about 70 or so, then I switch to Capiline (synthetic). Still playing with them- but I'm having good luck so far with Darn Tuff socks- they perform better than most smartwools- but I only have a few hundred miles on them.

  10. #10

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    complex subject. lots of factors. EVent is currently the most breathable WP technology. Lots of things can determine just how dry you'll be than simply the material or technology. Often, what I've observed is the technology, piece, or manufacturer getting bashed when it's the user who is more to blame.

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    Well , the waterproof membrane is probably waterproof I would expect.
    But a real issue with waterproof shoes, is they have a giant hole in the top where the foot goes.
    Might work for stepping in a puddle now and then
    Wont keep you dry in rain, or with a lot of splashing, or several inch deep puddles.

    My only experience is with waterproof boots for work, or hunting. And they have been waterproof enough.
    However, I can envision seams where parts are attached together, that although the individual pieces have intact membranes, how do you bond it during assembly? I expect that some shoes may simply have seams between parts where the liner isnt bonded, taped, whatever .

    You are right. There is waterproof, or there is breathable.
    Waterproof membranes dont breathe well enough to not wet out from sweat on the inside eventually, and wet is wet, regardless of how it gets there.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 08-25-2013 at 21:49.

  12. #12

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    But a real issue with waterproof shoes, is they have a giant hole in the top where the foot goes.

    LOL. I don't get it. please explain.

    The Sierra Trading Post site has some decent info about WP membranes. In general YES there are WP non breathable and WP breathable membranes/technology.

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/waterproof-guide/

  13. #13

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    Ok my experience is not from sweat out. I have had that. I mean the waterproofness goes away. I can feel the cold water going in my shoe and not over the top. The arms of my shirt under my waterproof jacket wetter than the back and shoulders whencarrinh a backpack. I'm just not convinced they are water PROOF.

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    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    if the item in question functioned at one point, then failed to function after repeated use two things have happened;
    The DWR coating has expired (even WPB fabrics rely on a DWR coating to shed water from the shell fabric. As the shell fabric wets out, the membrane can no longer breath. On a decent (as in known to work membrane from a name brand company) the membrane doesn't leak. One reason shoes never work is there is no waterproof shoe materials to attach a membrane to.
    the second thing that happens in the membrane gets dirty- skin oils and actual dirt. Like your skin- your pores get clogged and it stops working.

    Either problem is solved by washing and re applying DWR per garment manufacturers instructions. Wet forearms- usually failing DWR... Water falls down the jacket- gets absorbed by the shell fabric- the shell fabric wets out and the membrane is now "underwater" and can no longer breath. it never leaks, but the wet heavy fabric presses against your skin, increasing trapped moisture at that location and makes you feel wet. Some cheaper or worn membranes may actually leak- they do wear out and are delicate.

    Gore-Tex and some others have enough labwork and results to convince me they are waterproof in and of themselves. But a dummy standing in a shower isn't a backpacker in motion- unfortunately- as of now- it's as good as it gets. Umbrellas work well- honestly.

  15. #15

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    Thanks for the input...valuable. Ill keep experimenting till I get it right.. Keeps gear manufacturers in business anyway. Thanks

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    Registered User quasarr's Avatar
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    I have come to learn that certain marketing claims are always a lie. One is "no scrub cleaner" and another is "breathable rain gear."

    No point in spending $$$$$ on Gore Tex or some other techno fabric. These make only the tiniest difference. Just get an i expensive waterproof shell (like Frogg toggs or something similar) and accept that you are going to sweat. And if it's hot enough just embrace the rain and go jacket less. (You should always bring rain gear, but sometimes you're gonna sweat so much it's not even worth it to wear!)

    The only truly breathable, waterproof item is an umbrella!! I am not a huge fan of umbrellas as rain gear, but they are hella breathable!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by quasarr View Post

    The only truly breathable, waterproof item is an umbrella!!
    I agree with most of what you wrote. But there is one other... a poncho. You have a pretty big area underneath for ventilation. I don't use one...my daughter does.

    My approach is if it is warm/hot get wet. If it is cool/cold then ventilation is less of an issue as long as I keep my layers under the rain jacket to a min so that I don't get hot.
    Love people and use things; never the reverse.

    Mt. Katahdin would be a lot quicker to climb if its darn access trail didn't start all the way down in Georgia.

  18. #18

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    The term "breathable" is really misunderstood. Technically, the term applies to air passage of the material when compared to plastic which lets no air pass in any reasonable time. Therefore, I do not think a person's body can really detect the difference between plastic and what is advertised as breathable. The term is a marketing term and not really a functional term. All that said, the key is to get air flow or get wet from the inside out. The Packa or an umbrella are the best I've used but each has its own drawbacks.
    If you faint in the face of adversity then your faith is indeed small--Solomon

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    i think rocky goretex socks are on my list of top five winter hiking gear options! recommended by Sgt Rock, and I have really enjoyed them.
    Lazarus

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    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I've not found a pair of shoes yet that's waterproof after being in the water for a while, unless they're made of rubber. I do have a Gore-tex jacket that's never late water in but I always carry my $19.95 Academy jacket hiking, like it better and it's never let me get wet either.

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