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What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric? [feedly]

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  • Roleigh Martin
    An incredibly informative article. I did not know about how much was enough. Obviously marketing was misleading us. Very good information to know next time
    Message 1 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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      An incredibly informative article.  I did not know about how much was enough. Obviously marketing was misleading us.  Very good information to know next time you buy something for protection on any long hike such as the JMT.

      What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric?
      http://feedly.com/e/LoMfgLMf

      --
       via my feedly.com reader
    • straw_marmot
      Thanks, Roleigh. A couple of comments on reading the article: ...the breathability works best if there is a pressure difference (higher to lower) between the
      Message 2 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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        Thanks, Roleigh.

        A couple of comments on reading the article:

        "...the breathability works best if there is a pressure difference (higher to lower) between the inner of the garment and the outer...."
        This is wrong, it's not pressure difference that's drives the passage of water vapor;  and there will never be any pressure difference between the air inside your garment and the air outside your garment unless you're wearing a rigid pressurized diving suit.

        The process is aDsorption, not aBsorption.   I think he knows this, but a spellchecker has altered it in many places.

        - Ralph
      • Roleigh Martin
        Wow Ralph, you must be a professional editor, eh? Good catch. ... Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research
        Message 3 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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          Wow Ralph, you must be a professional editor, eh?  Good catch.

          -------------------------------------------------
          Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
          _



          On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 8:33 AM, <ralphbge@...> wrote:
           

          Thanks, Roleigh.


          A couple of comments on reading the article:

          "...the breathability works best if there is a pressure difference (higher to lower) between the inner of the garment and the outer...."
          This is wrong, it's not pressure difference that's drives the passage of water vapor;  and there will never be any pressure difference between the air inside your garment and the air outside your garment unless you're wearing a rigid pressurized diving suit.

          The process is aDsorption, not aBsorption.   I think he knows this, but a spellchecker has altered it in many places.

          - Ralph


        • straw_marmot
          Well, not so much proofreading skills, as from being familiar with both words from chromatography etc. - aDsorb is not an everyday word, and easily confused in
          Message 4 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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            Well, not so much proofreading skills, as from being familiar with both words from chromatography etc. - aDsorb is not an everyday word, and easily confused in both spelling and pronunciation.  It was making me go a bit cross-eyed when the text kept alternating between "d" and "b" in the article.
          • rstrimbeck
            Could pressure difference really refer to vapor pressure difference ?-- that is the legitimate driving force for vapor movement.
            Message 5 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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              Could "pressure difference" really refer to "vapor pressure difference" ?-- that is the legitimate driving force for vapor movement.
            • Joe MacLeish
              Not to be a geek about this but I think his use of adsorb and absorb are pretty much correct. Adsorb is a surface phenomenon and absorb is a bulk phenomenon.
              Message 6 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                Not to be a geek about this but I think his use of adsorb and absorb are pretty much correct.  Adsorb is a surface phenomenon and absorb is a bulk phenomenon.  It sounds like he is saying one breathing process first involves adsorption (to get the water molecules onto to inner surface of the material) where it then migrates either along the surface of the pores (more adsorption) and then to the outside or then to the bulk (absorption) and out or to the pores and then to the outside.  He says (not me) that the other way is for the water molecules to go directly to the pores and out without getting adsorbed on the pores (like water in a pipe).

                OK, enough geekyness.

                I think I missed one (maybe two) case but no matter.  There is probably both adsorption and absorption going on in breathable fabrics.

                Joe

                 

                From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ralphbge@...
                Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 10:16 AM
                To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] RE: What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric? [feedly]

                 

                 

                Well, not so much proofreading skills, as from being familiar with both words from chromatography etc. - aDsorb is not an everyday word, and easily confused in both spelling and pronunciation.  It was making me go a bit cross-eyed when the text kept alternating between "d" and "b" in the article.

              • straw_marmot
                Well, yes, it s vapor pressure, but if you read what the author wrote it s clear that he doesn t understand that. He lists pressure differential as one
                Message 7 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                  Well, yes, it's vapor pressure, but if you read what the author wrote it's clear that he doesn't understand that.  He lists pressure differential as one factor, and low ambient humidity as another (additional) factor.   Low ambient humidity is just another way of saying vapor pressure differential, right?

                  It just undermines the author's scientific credibility a little bit.  I think perhaps he's guilty of the same thing as the promotional materials, repeating sciencey-sounding things without really understanding the science, or knowing whether they are practically relevant.
                • straw_marmot
                  Adsorption and absorption. Article: Waterproofness and breathability in fabrics is a function of a coating or lamination. This film layer (usually
                  Message 8 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                    Adsorption and absorption.

                    Article:
                    "Waterproofness and breathability in fabrics is a function of a coating or lamination. This film layer (usually polyurethane) is responsible for keeping the water out and allowing the vapor to escape. The “breathing” takes place by adsorption or direct venting.

                    In the absorption method, the film layer adsorbs your sweat vapor and then transpires it to the exterior of the fabric layer where it evaporates. The direct venting method allows vapor to escape through tiny pores without adsorbing the moisture first. The absorption method film is less expensive so you can probably guess what most jackets use."


                    This is pretty hard to follow, and I'm not convinced that the author fully understands it.  But I think he's drawing a distinction between (a) direct venting and (b) some aDsorption mechanism.    I don't think aBsorption comes into it, it looks to me as though a spellchecker is changing "aDsorption" to "aBsorption",  whilst leaving "aDsorbs" alone.   It looks to me as thouch all instances should be D rather than B.

                  • nedtibbits
                    We at Mountain Education have a unique opportunity to watch different fabrics and metabolisms work together under task. Take for example an overcast ascent of
                    Message 9 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                      We at Mountain Education have a unique opportunity to watch different
                      fabrics and metabolisms work together under task.

                      Take for example an overcast ascent of 500 feet over a mile on
                      snowshoes in powder snow (a hard workout!). Almost everyone, male and
                      female alike will express an acute awareness of sweating and their
                      inner clothing getting wet no matter what type of outer shell they are
                      wearing.

                      So, for all practical purposes, we don't see any particular functional
                      advantage to having a W/B laminate or coating worn in an external shell.

                      On the negetive side, however, we note that when exerting in a snow
                      storm where the snow piles up on your shoulders where the most heat is
                      lost, almost all seams leak right under the pack straps and our
                      students complain of getting wet there.
                      The easiest solution to this is the unpopular but inexpensive poncho....


                      Ned Tibbits
                      Mountain Education
                    • Gina Cicotello
                      Very interesting, Ned. Coming up with the right combination of what to wear in extreme cold weather, with high exertion, is an outrageously hard thing to
                      Message 10 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                        Very interesting, Ned.

                        Coming up with the right combination of what to wear in extreme cold weather, with high exertion, is an outrageously hard thing to solve.  I've had to figure out a lot of this by trial and error.  Here in the mild mid-Atlantic east coast, we just don't get the conditions to test this stuff very often.

                        Recently I was convinced to ditch the WPB shell unless it's seriously raining/snowing.  I went up to Montreal over New Years, where we spent a couple of days backcountry skiing.  The weather started out in single digits and dropped from there.  Skiing to our hut at dusk, I had on a couple of wicking layers, an 800-fill down sweater, with Goretex Pro-Shell on top.  I stayed warm, but all the moisture got trapped by the shell and my down jacket got unacceptably wet (no biggie, it dried out by the wood stove overnight).  According to this article, I was overdressed.

                        The next day was sunny, so I wore breathable fleece on the outside.  Moisture wicked away from my body, but froze on the outside of my fleece and I looked like a snowman.

                        I wonder, are softshells better than WPB laminates?  Maybe I need to come out there with the contents of my gear closet and do some training :-)

                        Gina


                        On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:48 PM, <ned@...> wrote:
                         

                        We at Mountain Education have a unique opportunity to watch different
                        fabrics and metabolisms work together under task.

                        Take for example an overcast ascent of 500 feet over a mile on
                        snowshoes in powder snow (a hard workout!). Almost everyone, male and
                        female alike will express an acute awareness of sweating and their
                        inner clothing getting wet no matter what type of outer shell they are
                        wearing.

                        So, for all practical purposes, we don't see any particular functional
                        advantage to having a W/B laminate or coating worn in an external shell.

                        On the negetive side, however, we note that when exerting in a snow
                        storm where the snow piles up on your shoulders where the most heat is
                        lost, almost all seams leak right under the pack straps and our
                        students complain of getting wet there.
                        The easiest solution to this is the unpopular but inexpensive poncho....

                        Ned Tibbits
                        Mountain Education


                      • nedtibbits
                        Basically, Gina, what happened to you on each occasion showed that your inner microclimate is working perfectly, but the moisture generated could only condense
                        Message 11 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                          Basically, Gina, what happened to you on each occasion showed that
                          your inner microclimate is working perfectly, but the moisture
                          generated could only condense on the membrane in the way of the warm
                          interior and the cold exterior!

                          The down absorbed the moisture held in by the shell (WPB or not) and
                          the fleece condensed on the outside and froze there due to the extreme
                          cold's inability to absorb moisture.

                          Excellent application and frustrations ensue.... Your biggest problems
                          were the extreme cold and the moisture (sweat) production.

                          Mountain Education teaches our students to be constantly aware of the
                          microclimate within their shells. If you are working too hard and
                          creating a lot of heat and sweat, then slow down! When in a cold
                          environment, you do not want to get wet from either source, sweat or
                          external moisture, but you can manage both and thus stay warm and dry.


                          Ned Tibbits
                          Mountain Education

                          Quoting Gina Cicotello <ginacico@...>:

                          > Very interesting, Ned.
                          >
                          > Coming up with the right combination of what to wear in extreme cold
                          > weather, with high exertion, is an outrageously hard thing to solve. I've
                          > had to figure out a lot of this by trial and error. Here in the mild
                          > mid-Atlantic east coast, we just don't get the conditions to test this
                          > stuff very often.
                          >
                          > Recently I was convinced to ditch the WPB shell unless it's seriously
                          > raining/snowing. I went up to Montreal over New Years, where we spent a
                          > couple of days backcountry skiing. The weather started out in single
                          > digits and dropped from there. Skiing to our hut at dusk, I had on a
                          > couple of wicking layers, an 800-fill down sweater, with Goretex Pro-Shell
                          > on top. I stayed warm, but all the moisture got trapped by the shell and
                          > my down jacket got unacceptably wet (no biggie, it dried out by the wood
                          > stove overnight). According to this article, I was overdressed.
                          >
                          > The next day was sunny, so I wore breathable fleece on the outside.
                          > Moisture wicked away from my body, but froze on the outside of my fleece
                          > and I looked like a snowman.
                          >
                          > I wonder, are softshells better than WPB laminates? Maybe I need to come
                          > out there with the contents of my gear closet and do some training :-)
                          >
                          > Gina
                          >
                          >
                          > On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:48 PM, <ned@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >>
                          >>
                          >> We at Mountain Education have a unique opportunity to watch different
                          >> fabrics and metabolisms work together under task.
                          >>
                          >> Take for example an overcast ascent of 500 feet over a mile on
                          >> snowshoes in powder snow (a hard workout!). Almost everyone, male and
                          >> female alike will express an acute awareness of sweating and their
                          >> inner clothing getting wet no matter what type of outer shell they are
                          >> wearing.
                          >>
                          >> So, for all practical purposes, we don't see any particular functional
                          >> advantage to having a W/B laminate or coating worn in an external shell.
                          >>
                          >> On the negetive side, however, we note that when exerting in a snow
                          >> storm where the snow piles up on your shoulders where the most heat is
                          >> lost, almost all seams leak right under the pack straps and our
                          >> students complain of getting wet there.
                          >> The easiest solution to this is the unpopular but inexpensive poncho....
                          >>
                          >> Ned Tibbits
                          >> Mountain Education
                          >>
                          >>
                          >>
                          >
                        • berdomb
                          There is nothing waterproof with enough breathability to work for strenuous activity. Anything truly breathable wont be waterproof. Dirt and body oils greatly
                          Message 12 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                            There is nothing waterproof with enough breathability to work for strenuous activity.  Anything truly breathable wont be waterproof.
                            Dirt and body oils greatly compromise water resistance, and will cause some "waterproof" jackets to wet out and wick water thru.
                          • John Ladd
                            It s really disturbing how many rain jackets marketed to backpackers lack enough ventilation options. Basic underlying problem is that water resistant fabrics
                            Message 13 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                              It's really disturbing how many rain jackets marketed to backpackers lack enough ventilation options. 

                              Basic underlying problem is that water resistant fabrics aren't very breathable and most breathable ones aren't very water resistant. So you either get wet from the outside or from the inside. 

                              I've come to believe that, for me, the best bet is something fairly high on the waterproof scale (GoreTex PacLite) but to make sure I chose something with lots of ventilation options - full front zipper, big pit zips, not very tight-fitting. And I take off as many clothes as possible underneath it when I put it on -- so that when the rain stops I have dry layers to take out of my pack and put back on, rather than have clothing that is soaked in my sweat. I sometimes hike pretty cold as a result, but it's nice to have dry things to return to either when the rain stops or I stop hiking/sweating.

                              I also use fleece when it's only a light rain / drizzle as fleece is very breathable. While it isn't waterproof, it absorbs very little water. (Weigh a good fleece garment before and after dunking it in a bucket of water and you'll see how little).  

                              The military's solution to wet and cold is various grades of Polartec fleece for the inner wicking and outer insulation layers. These are matched, for rain and wind protection, with either Nextec Epic or GoreTex PacLite. - See the ECWCS Gen 3 system described here. 


                              This powerpoint presentation also makes points others have made like importance of keeping gear clean and layer and ventillate appropriately to the conditions

                              The commercial fabrics the Army has used are listed here


                              Unfortunately, Epic got some very bad reviews in civilian use and it doesn't seem to be offered much any more. 


                              But there are lots of well-ventilated GoreTex PacLite products available.





                              John Curran Ladd
                              1616 Castro Street
                              San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                              415-648-9279


                              On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 7:44 AM, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:
                               

                              An incredibly informative article.  I did not know about how much was enough. Obviously marketing was misleading us.  Very good information to know next time you buy something for protection on any long hike such as the JMT.

                              What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric?
                              http://feedly.com/e/LoMfgLMf

                              --
                               via my feedly.com reader


                            • John Ladd
                              There s a collection of technical information on clothing in our links area:
                              Message 14 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                There's a collection of technical information on clothing in our links area:


                                including more information on the issue of raingear.

                                I particularly like this one from REI


                                John Curran Ladd
                                1616 Castro Street
                                San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                                415-648-9279


                                On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 7:44 AM, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:
                                 

                                An incredibly informative article.  I did not know about how much was enough. Obviously marketing was misleading us.  Very good information to know next time you buy something for protection on any long hike such as the JMT.

                                What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric?
                                http://feedly.com/e/LoMfgLMf

                              • johndittli
                                neither.... JD
                                Message 15 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                  neither....

                                  JD
                                • straw_marmot
                                  Awesome summary, JD.
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                    Awesome summary, JD.
                                  • wncjoooy
                                    My 2 cents: When it s cold and windy or snowing, I pop on a softshell-- I have found them to breathe much better than hardshells (including GTX Paclite). And
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Feb 25, 2014
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                                      My 2 cents:  When it's cold and windy or snowing, I pop on a softshell-- I have found them to breathe much better than hardshells (including GTX Paclite).  And i prefer polartec powerstretch instead of fleece when i need a second layer and it's not windy.  While moving, down to upper teens (temperature), i'm usually wearing only a thin wool baselayer on top, with ear muffs.  I keep glove liners, shell mittens, a hat, and a Buff neck gaiter accessible-- all of which i put on or remove constantly trying to stay warm enough while minimizing sweating.  And i always have extra (dry) layers and a down puffy in my pack.   I love winter hiking (home haunts are Adirondacks or Catskills NY, or the Whites in NH) but unfortunately i seem to sweat sooner/quicker than just about anyone else i've hiked with-- don't mountaineers say "you sweat, you die" or something like that?   Oops...
                                    • trailnameskyking
                                      Just to throw this out: Ray Jardine developed the whole UL concept while hiking the PCT, and his feeling is that the only truly WPB gear is an umbrella. I
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Feb 26, 2014
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                                        Just to throw this out: Ray Jardine developed the whole UL concept while hiking the PCT, and his feeling is that the only truly WPB gear is an umbrella.  I love the Golite umbrellas (the only RayWay gear they still stock after their falling out with Ray, a decade ago), but I only tried carrying them on a hike once or twice.  I use poles, and have usually lived in much more humid climates than the Sierras, so the umbrella just doesn't work for me when hiking.  
                                        I'm currently assigned in Ottawa, so it was fun reading about that New Years trip in Quebec.  Yep... that's what it is like.  I walk half an hour each way to work, and have been down to -20F for that walk.  Gotta watch out for the eyelashes freezing shut!  I have also had all my perspiration condense on the outside of my hat.  If I slowed down enough to stop sweating, I'm afraid I would freeze to death.  I can't keep adding and dropping layers too often because I would be late to work (and my hands would freeze), so I just sweat-- but I don't need to worry about camping out at night, here.

                                        Chris/Sky King
                                      • Gina Cicotello
                                        Chris/Sky King: Right?? Frozen eyelashes, crusty nostrils... I m actually grateful for the pain response that lets me know something is fully or inadequately
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Feb 26, 2014
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                                          Chris/Sky King: Right?? Frozen eyelashes, crusty nostrils... I'm actually grateful for the pain response that lets me know something is fully or inadequately exposed. Truly, Canada has taught me everything I know about how to cope with astonishingly cold weather.  We used to go ski the glades at Mont Sutton every new years, this time we spent a few days at Papineau-Labelle. I especially love the sounds, the crunch and squeaks of skis and poles in snow when it's that cold.

                                          I'd slow down, except my friend always claims he's not working nearly as hard. He doesn't train anymore than I do, just very different metabolisms. That old canard about "Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow?"  Ahem...

                                          I've been shopping for softshells, and haven't tried them yet.  Definitely appreciate all the references and input!

                                          Gina


                                          On Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 5:43 AM, trailnameskyking <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                           

                                          Just to throw this out: Ray Jardine developed the whole UL concept while hiking the PCT, and his feeling is that the only truly WPB gear is an umbrella.  I love the Golite umbrellas (the only RayWay gear they still stock after their falling out with Ray, a decade ago), but I only tried carrying them on a hike once or twice.  I use poles, and have usually lived in much more humid climates than the Sierras, so the umbrella just doesn't work for me when hiking.  

                                          I'm currently assigned in Ottawa, so it was fun reading about that New Years trip in Quebec.  Yep... that's what it is like.  I walk half an hour each way to work, and have been down to -20F for that walk.  Gotta watch out for the eyelashes freezing shut!  I have also had all my perspiration condense on the outside of my hat.  If I slowed down enough to stop sweating, I'm afraid I would freeze to death.  I can't keep adding and dropping layers too often because I would be late to work (and my hands would freeze), so I just sweat-- but I don't need to worry about camping out at night, here.

                                          Chris/Sky King


                                        • cehauser1
                                          It seems like neither adsorption nor absorption should be involved in water vapor correctly passing through a breathable shell layer... aBsorption basically
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Feb 26, 2014
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                                            It seems like neither adsorption nor absorption should be involved in water vapor correctly passing through a breathable shell layer... aBsorption basically means "a liquid soaking into the volume of something", while aDsorption basically means "a liquid wetting the impermeable surface of something".  I'd imagine that liquid water would aBsorb into the volume of permeable natural fibers, but would aDsorb onto the surface of impermeable synthetic fibers.  However, it seems to me that if a waterproof breathable shell is causing condensation of water vapor into liquid water, then it is failing to do its job.  The water vapor should pass out of the shell in vapor form, without turning into a liquid.

                                            Chris.


                                          • straw_marmot
                                            Chris, The process is complicated and well beyond intuition or thought experiment. Not all WPB materials use an adsorption mechanism, but Goretex does.
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Feb 27, 2014
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                                              Chris,

                                              The process is complicated and well beyond intuition or thought experiment.   Not all WPB materials use an adsorption mechanism, but Goretex does.  Goretex has an inner polyurethane layer.  Water adsorbs to the hydrophilic surface, and diffuses through the solid polyurethane.  I'm not sure if it's meaningful to specify the phase of the water at this stage, as it's single molecules diffusing through a solid plastic (not through holes).  The water then desorbs, and in gas phase diffuses through holes in the next layer.
                                              or there's a brief but I think pretty well written explanation on the REI website.

                                              Ralph

                                            • straw_marmot
                                              Chris, The WPB fabrics are complicated, pretty far beyond simple physics intuition. An adsorption mechanism is indeed used in the Goretex multilayer material,
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Feb 27, 2014
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                                                Chris,

                                                The WPB fabrics are complicated, pretty far beyond simple physics intuition.  An adsorption mechanism is indeed used in the Goretex multilayer material, although not in other types.   The Goretex inner layer is hydrophilic polyurethane.  Water adsorbs and diffuses through the solid - i.e. solid state diffusion, not through holes.   I'm not sure that it's meaningful to specify the phase of the water at this stage, as it's single molecules diffusing through solid plastic.  The water evaporates (desorbs?) at the outer surface, and diffuses in gas phase through holes in the middle layer.
                                                Or there's a concise but pretty well written version on the REI website.

                                                Ralph
                                              • nedtibbits
                                                Gina, What is it you are training for? PCT thru hike? This year or next? Softshells? I think I have one somewhere, but they are not my first choice... Ned
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Mar 19, 2014
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                                                  Gina,
                                                   
                                                  What is it you are training for? PCT thru hike? This year or next?
                                                   
                                                  Softshells? I think I have one somewhere, but they are not my first choice...
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  Ned Tibbits, Director
                                                  Mountain Education
                                                  www.mountaineducation.org
                                                   
                                                  Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 5:56 PM
                                                  Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] RE: What Exactly is Waterproof Breathable Fabric? [feedly]
                                                   
                                                   

                                                  Very interesting, Ned.

                                                  Coming up with the right combination of what to wear in extreme cold weather, with high exertion, is an outrageously hard thing to solve.  I've had to figure out a lot of this by trial and error.  Here in the mild mid-Atlantic east coast, we just don't get the conditions to test this stuff very often.

                                                  Recently I was convinced to ditch the WPB shell unless it's seriously raining/snowing.  I went up to Montreal over New Years, where we spent a couple of days backcountry skiing.  The weather started out in single digits and dropped from there.  Skiing to our hut at dusk, I had on a couple of wicking layers, an 800-fill down sweater, with Goretex Pro-Shell on top.  I stayed warm, but all the moisture got trapped by the shell and my down jacket got unacceptably wet (no biggie, it dried out by the wood stove overnight).  According to this article, I was overdressed.

                                                  The next day was sunny, so I wore breathable fleece on the outside.  Moisture wicked away from my body, but froze on the outside of my fleece and I looked like a snowman.

                                                  I wonder, are softshells better than WPB laminates?  Maybe I need to come out there with the contents of my gear closet and do some training :-)

                                                  Gina


                                                  On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:48 PM, <ned@...> wrote:
                                                   

                                                  We at Mountain Education have a unique opportunity to watch different
                                                  fabrics and metabolisms work together under task.

                                                  Take for example an overcast ascent of 500 feet over a mile on
                                                  snowshoes in powder snow (a hard workout!). Almost everyone, male and
                                                  female alike will express an acute awareness of sweating and their
                                                  inner clothing getting wet no matter what type of outer shell they are
                                                  wearing.

                                                  So, for all practical purposes, we don't see any particular functional
                                                  advantage to having a W/B laminate or coating worn in an external shell.

                                                  On the negetive side, however, we note that when exerting in a snow
                                                  storm where the snow piles up on your shoulders where the most heat is
                                                  lost, almost all seams leak right under the pack straps and our
                                                  students complain of getting wet there.
                                                  The easiest solution to this is the unpopular but inexpensive poncho....

                                                  Ned Tibbits
                                                  Mountain Education

                                                   
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