Can you compare the waterproof/breathable ratings of jackets?

How would you compare the waterproof/breathable ratings of The North Face Venture, the Marmot Precip, the Mountain Hardwear Epic, and the Isis Torrent? CYD Falmouth, Maine

Jan 13, 2010
Outside Magazine

To do that question proper justice I would need a degree in textile science from MIT. Since that's not going to happen, here's my opinion: All four jackets you mention are waterproof, breathable, and so finely constructed that you'll last outside in a rainstorm for hours. All have a polyurethane coating, but they differ slightly in how they're treated. Marmot's Precip's ($100; marmot.com) polyurethane coating is impregnated with silicon dioxide particles that allow sweaty vapor molecules to escape, while at the same time don't allow big rain drops in. Mountain Hardwear's Epic ($120; mountainhardwear.com) has a polyurethane coating that contains silk proteins that give the inner fabric a softer feel next to your skin. And both the Isis Torrent ($129; isisforwomen.com) and The North Face Venture ($99; thenorthface.com) use a microporous laminate membrane that, in the case of the Venture, consists of nearly half a million holes per square inch, which allows perspiration to pass through as a vapor before it condenses to a liquid.

Additionally, all of these jackets can be compressed to squeeze into a water bottle and are fully seam-sealed for further protection. So, it's a win-win-win-win situation. What it really comes down to is price, personal fit, the feel of the jacket against your skin, and your color preference.

Filed To: Gear Girl, Hard Shell

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