Author Topic: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?  (Read 1155 times)

Ronin83

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Berghaus arran jacket. Bought almost 2 years ago. Have washed and reproofed using nikwax products. It has gradually gotten worse and worse for waterproofness. At first it was brilliant.
Today I got wet through really badly after around 2 hours of rain. I mean soaked. The jacket is wet inside.
Bit disappointed really as I had really trusted this jacket before and it wasn't cheap, especially including all the so called amazing nikwax products which are so highly recommended. Starting to get really fed up with all the claims made by outdoor gear brands and the conformist supporters of them.
The missus' brand new gtx moabs are soaked through too, I mean like sopping wet inside. Goretex water proof? Nonsense!
I'll definitely be challenging berghaus' lifetime guarantee.



sussamb

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Normally the issue is sweat from the inside or rain getting in at the top past your neck. I know it may sound daft but but first check it by wearing it, standing in your shower or bath with shower attachment, ensuring water doesn't go down past your neck.  Does it then get wet on the inside?


Shoes often appear to leak but water again gets through at the top, boots too unless gaiters are worn or waterproof trousers cover the tops of the boots.


You might find this interesting https://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/the_truth_about_breathable_waterproofs
« Last Edit: 08:07:09, 28/08/20 by sussamb »
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gunwharfman

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I agree with Sussamb, I've been caught out by inner perspiration before. Your jacket may still leak, mine did even after I identified the inner problem. I decided then that no more expensive jackets for me, just not worth it. And I've come to the opinion that another reason why it's not worth it, it doesn't rain enough!

To me gaiters are another problem, that gap (unless your trousers are waterproof) between the top of the gaitors and the hem of your jacket, equals wet trousers, wet legs and more than likely wet feet. In my early days the most likely way of getting wet was not rain but walking through long wet grass, ferns and other vegetation, etc because in my mind waterproof leggings were for rain, not when it wasn't raining.

Its all about choice and how we solve our own problems. If I was to spend out the money again I would only consider a single skin waterproof like a Marmot Precip. I can also carry a cheap poncho if for a while the weather is really bad and throw that over me to make a double layer of waterproofnes if I need to. Why pay out more? Precips can often be bought between £50 - £60. These days I prefer to spend my money on good clothes for dry weather.

Likewise gaiters, I like my Rab ones but only when I wear them under my hiking trousers, then for me even less chance of getting wet feet. I always carry two lightweight and cheap pairs of Decathlon hiking trousers (hardly any weight, or space taken up) and if the bottoms on a wet day get dirty I just change to a clean pair and use a cheap lightweight fingernail scrubbing brush to clean the dirty ones. Dry and clean in no time. I've always believed that in hiking, gaiter design and the materials that are used are pretty 'stoneage' and the companies seem to lack the imagination of how to modernise this type of product.

Ronin83

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Thanks. I'm fully aware of the sweat issue and it's not that. The missus had gaiters on too.


I'm considering a buffalo style smock. Stay warm and dry quick rather than try to be waterproof?

Birdman

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I agree with what the others wrote here. Imo, it's unlikely that the jacket is actually leaking.


However, it is common for jackets to wet out soon if they are not brand new anymore. The so-called Durable Water Repellent (DWR) layer is not durable at all, so very soon the water isn't beading off the jacket nicely anymore. Also Nikwax is very overrated imo. My experience is that a treatment doesn't last longer than a few hours.


If the jacket wets out, it still won't leak, but it doesn't breathe anymore. So condensation becomes a much bigger problem. A wetted-out jacket doesn't perform better than a plastic bag. So the DWR is really the Achilles-heel of any waterproof jacket. Another cause of getting wet is water simply entering via your face and neck, and via the sleeves. Water entering via sleeves is often a problem when walking with poles.


Personally, I don't bother with expensive jackets because I don't see the added value. The most I've ever paid was £70 for a Marmot Precip. It doesn't leak, but I get wet anyway because of condensation, like with any jacket. If you look at the specifications of different materials (GoreTex, eVent, etc), it's clear that the breath-ability of any materials can never keep up with your transpiration so you'll always get wet eventually, except perhaps on very easy flat walks without backpack.


However, even if you get wet, the jacket still keeps the wind out (and most of the water), so it is still very useful. I can also recommend a merino baselayer to go with it because it can keep you warm even when wet.
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

pauldawes

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I can see why you are not happy. I always find “lifetime guarantee”..especially for walking goods a strange phrase.


It palpably doesn’t mean a guarantee of garment lasting a full lifetime regardless of use (and abuse)....so what does it mean??


I think one reasonable interpretation (of lifetime guarantee) is that if garment fails because of a defect in design or production quality...that the firm will sort out issue whether you have had garment for 1 year or 20. (But if you’ve used it, and used it and it’s simply worn out..that’s not covered.)


My own feeling is that it’s reasonable to expect an expensive waterproof jacket...maintained correctly to maintain a good level of waterproofness for well over 2 years. (Assuming free from abrasion damage, rips, etc.)...5 years upwards is a completely reasonable expectation, I think.


So if performance has dropped off after 2...there is at least possible there’s a production or design fault and lifetime guarantee (as defined earlier) ought to provide some remedy.


As I plodded round today’s had a quick brood what I’m be expecting Berghaus to do, if I was in same situation as you.


I’m not sure...my best “guess” is that I would be hoping that Berghaus had a good 2 way conversation on how I’d used and maintained the jacket (just to ensure I’d not “dropped a clanger”..which I do from time to time)...then assuming that didn’t find anything obvious they would then examine jacket very, very carefully to identify problems...and would remedy any issue identified.


Let us know how things proceed...it’s the “acid test”, I think of any firm how well they deal with issues like this.



pauldawes

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I agree with what the others wrote here. Imo, it's unlikely that the jacket is actually leaking.







I tend to disagree..I think it pretty likely jacket is leaking.


In a way that’s immaterial, I think. This is a jacket which Ronin knows well, has maintained properly, and it has shown a marked deterioration in performance after 2 years.


The issue is how acceptable it is for performance to drop substantially in that time. Barring extraordinary usage or abusage...I think fall off in 2 years is darn disappointing, and suggests an original defect in design or materials.

WhitstableDave

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I tend to agree with Paul.

When an experienced walker reports a problem with waterproofing, I wonder why they're frequently told that water can get in at cuffs, ankles, neck or wherever. Or that the problem is likely caused by sweat and lack of breathability. Surely this really is a case of teaching grandmother how to suck eggs? 

I'm not sure how many outer shell jackets I've owned, but it's quite a few. I started at the very cheap end and was never truly satisfied until I eventually bought a Rohan Vertex jacket just over a year ago. It has many excellent qualities, but most important is that it is far more breathable than anything else I've tried. Prior to the Rohan, my most successful jackets have been Berghaus - less breathable but always waterproof.

As for boots and shoes, I've started to prefer non-waterproof ones that dry quickly over waterproof ones that get wet eventually then don't dry!

Birdman

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I have had 3 hardshells in the past ~15 years. None of them kept me truly dry. When analysing where the water came from, I have never found any leaks. Based on where I got wet, the moisture always seemed to come from condensation/ sweat or from leaking into openings (neck, sleeves, etc). Possible exception could be the area underneath the shoulder straps when carrying a backpack (water may get pressed through), but on a dry day these areas usually also get soaked (from sweat) so I can't really tell.


Of course your experience may differ :)
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

Birdman

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Regarding waterproof boots: My leather GoreTex boots keep my feet dry as long as they are NEW. Usually the first leakage starts after about 500km and then gets progressively worse.


Some of the wetter hikes that I have done, I started off with new boots and never got my feet wet. This includes WHW+ Cape Wrath Trail and the Kungsleden, all completed without any water leaking in. (of course in these cases I took my boots off when crossing a stream that was more than ankle deep).


So my experience is that they work well when new but the waterproofness decays pretty quick (the boot lasts a lot longer than 500km - one pair that I still use for dayhikes has well over 3500km now, but 1500km is more typical - really depends on the terrain- and by that time they are leaky as a sieve).
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

pauldawes

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Re: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?
« Reply #10 on: 16:07:07, 28/08/20 »
On boots, I think “answer” is to go for a full leather upper with minimal stitching so (appropriately treated) the boot does not rely on the Gore-Tex membrane for its waterproofing.


I would certainly be peed off if any quality boot I bought started leaking after 500 kilometres use...and also very surprised if a properly maintained full leather design did.

Birdman

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Re: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?
« Reply #11 on: 16:23:52, 28/08/20 »

I would certainly be peed off if any quality boot I bought started leaking after 500 kilometres use...and also very surprised if a properly maintained full leather design did.


My last 4 pairs have all been Meindl Bhutan full leather + GoreTex. It's all the same. And yes, they are religiously maintained.


Btw: I also prefer leather non-Goretex boots, but they are hard to get! Marketing has told everybody that you need Goretex, so that is where the demand is. I have tried one Meindl full leather without goretex ("Borneo"), but unfortunately the mid-sole didn't work for me so I went back to the Bhutan. But I really liked the leather lining of that one.
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

sussamb

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Re: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?
« Reply #12 on: 17:05:46, 28/08/20 »
I have a Berghaus jacket that is around 20 years old and still water proof, as are my newer one, 5 years old, my Marmot Precip and my Keela MRT jacket. I do though still get damp from sweat on the inside and wet in heavy rain due to rain being blown down past my neck. I've occasionally doubted their waterproofness but the shower test always proves me wrong.


If Ronin83 sends his back it'll be interesting to hear the result
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kinkyboots

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Re: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?
« Reply #13 on: 17:24:35, 28/08/20 »
Btw: I also prefer leather non-Goretex boots, but they are hard to get! Marketing has told everybody that you need Goretex, so that is where the demand is. I have tried one Meindl full leather without goretex ("Borneo"), but unfortunately the mid-sole didn't work for me so I went back to the Bhutan. But I really liked the leather lining of that one.

This thread may be worth a read if you haven't already seen it but some of the boots mentioned are now no longer available http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=38921.0

Hanwag seem to be the biggest player in the market at the moment but it's are hard to find stockists in the UK willing to tie money up on stock they may find hard to sell.

It should also be noted that Meindl's build quality and quality control isn't what it once used to be and certainly nowhere near the quality that they built their name on.

pauldawes

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Re: Berghaus arran jacket failure. Waterproofness nonsense?
« Reply #14 on: 17:32:58, 28/08/20 »




Btw: I also prefer leather non-Goretex boots, but they are hard to get! Marketing has told everybody that you need Goretex, so that is where the demand is. I have tried one Meindl full leather without goretex ("Borneo"), but unfortunately the mid-sole didn't work for me so I went back to the Bhutan. But I really liked the leather lining of that one.


We had a thread on this very subject (leather boots without a Gore-Tex lining) a while ago. Apparently there are more available in US market...but tough to get in UK.


Kinkyboots put together a list of ones available in UK, which I’ve cut and pasted:-

Meindl Borneo 2 MFS
Meindl Bernina 2 (wider fitting Comfort Range)
Hanwag Tatra II
Hanwag Tatra II Bunion
Hanwag Alta Bunion
Hanwag Yukon
Hanwag Yukon Wide
Hanwag Nazcat
Hanwag Lhasa II
Hanwag Lhasa II Wide
Lowa Trekker
Scarpa Delta Leather (end of line with very few still remaining in odd sizes around the country)
Scarpa SL Active (3-4 season crampon compatible)
Altberg Defender military boot (low level walking only)


Baffled why we have had such different experience on leather boots retaining “waterproofing”. The pair I’ve used most in recent years have been Zamberlan Ultalights—-had those for about 4 years, done over 3000 miles (been re-soled)...and they still have a good level of waterproofness.
« Last Edit: 17:43:40, 28/08/20 by pauldawes »