Waterproof jacket - leaks?

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Frost

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Sep 21, 2019
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Hi All,

I’ve invested in a nice waterproof jacket. It has GORE-TEX with Paclite, 2.5 Layer. Almost everything about it is fine, except one thing...
It darkens on the inside when the water gets on outside fabric. Now, I understand there is a “wetting out” effect when you wear a jacket during the rain. But, in my case, the inside darkens (as if it’s wet) even when you just put water on it (without wearing it).
E.g., here is a picture of the inside of the jacket after I put some water on the outside and kept it there for 5 mins(no wearing).

82073

Does anyone else have it as well? Is it normal?


And here is what happnes after about 1 hour of wearing the jacket when it rains:

82075
 

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Jackson

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How long have you had it? Have you put it through much use? It may need a fresh DWR treatment.
 

Pianomover

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May 25, 2019
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The second photo looks like it’s failing at the seams. I’m an advocate for calling the manufacturer and explaining the failure. More often than not they will replace it.
 

Frost

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Sep 21, 2019
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The jacket is actually new. I’ve only had it for a couple of months and used it only once… When I first saw the dark spots, I was shocked… My first thought was that this jacket was leaking and failing at the seams! :(

I wonder now if all GORE-TEX 2.5L have this effect… I guess, if you have a 3L, you may not see the darkening of the inside because of the 3rd layer that covers the membrane on the inside…
 
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Wanderlust073

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What's the brand and model? Where did you purchase it?
 

Jackson

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So does water actually come through at the dark spots? Or does it just turn dark?
 

Frost

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Sep 21, 2019
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The water did not seem to go through when I tested it at home(first photo). But, when I was hiking in the rain, the jacket got wet on the inside(second photo).... a “wetting out” effect...? I guess, I will be checking with the manufacturer as well.
Does anyone have a 2.5L jacket?
 
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Jackson

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I have an Arc'teryx Alpha SL (I think those are the right letters) that's made with Paclite. Never had any trouble with it though.
 

Frost

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Thanks Jackson. It seems that your jacket has a 2.5-layer Gore-Tex Paclite as well.
 

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Tipi Walter

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I too have an Arcteryx Alpha but it's the SV model. ProShell instead of Paclite. Pro Shell makes all the difference. My expensive jacket wets out after a short rain but it's not meant to keep me dry---it's meant to keep me warm. (And in a cold snow it does both).

The main criteria for a rain jacket is its ruggedness---with a small amount of breathability thrown in, i.e. Goretex. A good goretex jacket works great for the first hour of a rainstorm---afterwhich inside humidity/sweat and outside humidity work together to stop goretex from working.

My Alpha SV is 10 years old and has been thru everything with no pinholes or rips. My old Marmot paclite jacket lasted 2 years before getting numerous holes just from backpacking.

Here's the Alpha in action during a bushwacking Hell Trek.

82477
 

Frost

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Sep 21, 2019
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Thanks Tipi Walter for the input.
I guess, the issue may be related to the ruggedness. My jacket is very thin and light.

So, I've tested it again - on different places. The inside darkened everywhere except on the hood. The material of the hood seems a bit thicker than the rest of the jacket...
The dark spots now have a "damp" feel. Not sure... but it could be related to condensation...
 

OwenM

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Aug 6, 2019
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Did you get wet, though? I'm really interested in this stuff, and these kind of issues always leave me with lots of questions.

As I'm always thinking my own beloved(and discontinued) rain jacket must surely need replacing soon, I sit around thinking about raingear quite a bit, lately. And I read a LOT of reviews. Like all of them, about everything that even remotely interests me. You know what I see? 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 star reviews of the same product by people who claim to have used them. And it makes me wonder.
I see reviews of the OR Helium jacket. Lots of good ones, but also lots of failures and complaints, and even when there's praise, it's often with caveats about not being suitable for use in heavy or extended rain, "you'll be wet", etc.
My jacket is an OR Helium HD. It's got more hood adjustment and big pitzips, but the same material as the regular Helium. It has not seen heavy use in terms of regularity, but it has seen use in heavy rain a few times-torrential rain. It's also been worn all day in light, steady rain when temps were cool enough to keep it on(I'll say screw it, and ditch the raingear rather than get soaked with sweat) several times. And nothing gets through. Ever.
Earlier this week, I hiked in the rain a bit. I thought of this thread, and went in a bathhouse by the ranger station at the TH, and examined my jacket to see how it compared to your pics. This morning, I thought of it again, and put it in the shower, hitting it with enough water to simulate a heavy downpour a couple times over.

Here it is after intermittent use in the morning, then hiking in light, steady rain for maybe half an hour:
84621


84622


And here, after the shower test(that white thing inside the jacket is a Viva paper towel):
84623

Overran my "5 minute test" by 1...

84624


So, it's "wetted out"(4.5-5yrs old, had DWR revived with Nikwax TX Direct wash-in once), discolored, transparent even, but the inside of the jacket and the paper towel *are still dry*.

I did all that out of curiosity, not to make any kind of point. Other things may result in me getting wet, that's not its fault(and NONE of these WPB materials has enough "B" to matter when it's warm in addition to wet), but my waterproof jacket has again proven that it is indeed waterproof. That's what matters to me. I don't know what more I should expect of it, or IF I should expect anything more...
 

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