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#210583 - 10/29/10 09:20 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7155
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Oware
The information was posted by the Yosemite park service and writtenup in various climbing mags. They also threatened
to fine those who had to be rescued who carried down garments
for insulation instead of synthetic. This was after a couple
of fatalities where the gear of goretex and down were considered
contributing to the deaths.


Interesting. I must say I haven't seen the writeups to which you refer, although I don't keep with the climbing literature to the extent that I formerly did. Anyway, if this were so, surely this statement would be reflected in the climbing safety section of the park web site. Here is what I found:

"# For rain, use coated nylon, sailors’ oilskins, or the waterproof/breathable fabrics. Take rain pants and jacket, overmitts, bivy bag, and hammock or portaledge with waterproof fly. The fly is critical – it must overlap your hammock generously and be of heavy material, in excellent condition, with strong, well-sealed seams. For sleeping on ledges, take a big tent fly or a piece of heavy-duty, reinforced plastic and the means to pitch it. Then hope that your ledge doesn’t turn into a lake. Do you know to run your anchor through the fly without making a hole? Did you spend more for lycra than rainwear?
# WARNING: Several climbers have blamed the waterproof/breathable fabrics for their close calls. They claim that no version of it can take the punishment of a storm on the walls. Whether true or not, you must be the judge; test all of your gear ahead of time under miserable conditions, but where your exit is an easy one."

This is a bit more believable. In fact, this whole section was a very edifying read - a very extensive and thorough discussion of climbing hazards and the measures that help forestall them - the kind of discussion you might have with a fellow climber who knew a lot about the local scene and was passing on the information to you. It portrays the NPS as friend and advisor and not as nanny. This is indeed a welcome change from the attitude I saw on my first trip to Yosemite in 1958, where things were a lot more arbitrary.

I also looked up references about Goretex in Tim Setnicka's [/u]Wilderness Search and Rescue[u], page 482

"For[/i]storm clothing[i]rely on coated (waterproof) nylon, or Gore-tex in a cagoule or rainpants and jacket".

I totally agree with the comments about first generation Goretex. I had one such parka, and it wasn't worth a pitcher of warm spit. Later Goretex was much better. And nothing is perfect or bomber in any and all situations. Coated fabrics have their place, as do the breathables.
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#210597 - 10/30/10 01:59 AM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

A MVP material is always preferred over a non MVP barrier material in cold conditions as moisture will build up in the insulation materials next to the skin that are working and degrade them to point that they are actually making the situation worse.


Not a personal knock but I suspect that you picked up the idea that non-permeable materials condemned a wearer to being wet from sweat from Gortex advertising and that you are too young to have extensive experience wearing non-permeable gear, and how it can be managed to prevent moisture buildup.

Yes, non-permeable gear can mean you get and stay wet from sweat, and that moisture can defeat the insulation. But it doesn't have to be that way. People have been stomping around the north woods for thousands of years before Goretex. Long before VPMs, Vapor Permeable Membranes, people learned how to actively manage their ventilation. A popular term from a few decades ago was that you learn to actively "drive" your gear.

In this case maintaining an active awareness on how active you are, how active you're going to be, whether humidity inside the coat is starting to build, and doing something about it like working the openings, or removing layers, to avoid excess moisture buildup is a skill that has evidently been lost. Or at least forgotten about.

For a long time people have known how to actively work their clothes to prevent them from getting soaked with sweat. It takes effort, an effort people who wear VPMs need not expend so much of to stay comfortable, an effort that many people don't know to make, a situation that may cause them to fail to survive, but if the effort is made it can be as effective, even working with a $.50 trash bag.

VPM is to non-permeable outwear what ABS is to normal breaks. It is an improvement over the older technology but it does not invalidate the earlier technology. The old stuff still works quite well if you are willing to actively drive it. Goretex just does much of the driving for you by automatically controlling moisture levels.

I admit that VPM technology has improved over the last 40 years. It has got better and more reliable. There's scarcely a mountaineer or explorer who doesn't use some of it. Even the US military, as stodgy and conservative group as there ever was, has largely shifted to VPMs in their outerwear.

On the other hand commercial fishermen, construction workers, and loggers still use a high percentage of simple rubberized or plastic coated fabric. Grundigs is a mainstay, and it is made of simple and highly reliable cotton or polyester, heavily coated with PVC. It doesn't breath worth a damn so you have to handle the ventilation manually.

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#210598 - 10/30/10 02:01 AM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: JohnN]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2792
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnN
Originally Posted By: dougwalkabout

But with the advent of second-generation Goretex, factory taped seams, and durable water-repellant (DWR) coatings, those problems largely went away. I am currently on my third Goretex jacket and I really do find them effective. The only drawback with the less expensive 2-ply ones is that they tend to be on the heavy side. Lightweight 3-ply is great stuff, but it's pricey.


It isn't just an issue of the seams. The best most modern breathable fabrics still will soak through given enough water.

-john


I haven't seen that in practice (while hiking and backpacking). YMMV of course.

But I can see potential problems in other situations where you sit in water and mud. Goretex is pretty good when nice and clean, but from what I've read, serious fouling of the outside of the garment can saturate the membrane and lead to leakage.

For my uses, Goretex has proven itself over and over. So I trust it. But that doesn't mean it's the ideal solution for all situations.

(Aside, and a horror story: I was looking at nice North Face Goretex jackets in a mall "outdoor" store, and the retail monkeys had punched the anti-theft tags right through the membrane, 3/4 way up the back! Idiots! Somebody paid a lot of money for a nice jacket and almost certainly got a soaked back in the rain!)

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#210611 - 10/30/10 01:19 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 2000
Just a quick interjection to make a few points.

There are good and bad "breathable" waterproof garments and that relates to design, construction and materials.

I will respectfully remind everyone that "perfect" can be the enemy of "good" and having something with you like an inexpensive garbage bag or two, albeit imperfect, is better that nothing and can be, and has been, the difference between life and death.

Finally, WRT Gore-tex, I will note that all the high tech immersion/dry suits these days are constructed with Gore-tex and they are, indeed, completely waterproof when completely immersed or when sitting in a wet life raft for extended periods.
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#210617 - 10/30/10 04:58 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Oware Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 41
Loc: 49th parallel
Doug-

Have there been tests on the immersion suits for repeatable use?
I could see a one time use working well, but for example boots
of Goretex with some wear will wet through from wet
grass quickly.
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#210622 - 10/30/10 08:50 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 2000
Like any clothing, they may require maintenance from wear and tear, but, for example, Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmers wear them day in and day out for years with appropriate maintenance. They spend a good deal of time in the water and they cannot afford a leaky suit. Many kayakers and scuba divers wear them for extended periods. I know folks who have used the same Gore-tex socks for years with no leaks. I can't speak to your boots and grass wetness issues, but certainly that has not been my experience using quality Gore-tex products of the like.
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#210623 - 10/30/10 09:58 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
In this particular case, a woman caught out without suitable gear, the garbage bag made a critical difference.

Making this into a comparison between appropriate gear, in whatever for that takes for you, Vapor Permeable(VP) or not, and a garbage bag missed the point. I've never used a VP jacket that didn't cost considerably more than $100 and weight more than a pound. A garbage bag is roughly $.50, a fraction of a pound, and small enough to fit in a shirt pocket.

Should you accidentally find yourself lost in the woods, far deeper into it than you thought with night falling, you're not going to start turning out pockets and find a full-on mountaineering jacket. Much less a full suit, bivy bag and tent. Figure fifteen pounds, most of $1000, and big as a breadbox. If you turn out pockets and find a garbage bag you are in luck.

In fact it isn't an either/or situation. I've got bit and pieces of gear scattered about in outerwear I go to the mall in. Shaking out one of the lightweight shells I wear while camping I find a trash bag, a mini-Bic, a leaf bag, half a roll of Lifesavers, half a bootlace, and an acorn. You never know when they might come in handy. I'll be sure to stuff the Bic and the bag back in.

If she had a knife, lighter, and some wilderness skills she might have made a simple shelter and warmed it with a fire. The bag would still have helped but perhaps not been so vital. As it worked out she used what gear, strength, and skills she had and it kept her alive when others might have perished. When a survival situation rolls around your going to have to make due with what you have with you. A garbage bag stuffed into clothing your likely to have when going for a walk might make the difference. You might even stuff one into the pocket of your high-tech Gortex shell. It can be used as a groundsheet, tarp, or pulled over your legs as a field-expedient bivy bag. And even if its not a survival situation, say you stumble upon the mother of all mushroom patches, you have a bag to carry them out with. Lots of uses.

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#210624 - 10/30/10 10:47 PM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
Oware Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 41
Loc: 49th parallel
When my goretex pants failed to stay dry in the Hoh Rainforest,
I found that rubber bibs OVER the goretex worked well. The
insensible sweat made it out through the gore pants and the
rain didn't penetrate the rubber overpants.

In a similar fashion, when rain eventually soaks through my
Goretex Hunting Coat, a light DriDucks jacket UNDERNEATH
helps keep my under garments dry and the fragile DriDucks jacket
is protected from brush pokes.
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#210627 - 10/31/10 12:26 AM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
rebwa Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 295
Well, I'm glad she had the garbage bag and she was darn lucky that the search teams found her when they did. With that said, she was totally unprepared to be day hiking in the Cascades in October. The day before she was found there were search teams working both sides of the Cascades as a plane went down on the western side and both the search for the plane and the one for her were called off due to weather. They got a break in the weather the day she was found.

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#210636 - 10/31/10 01:52 AM Re: Garbage bag saves women from cold [Re: Oware]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2472
Loc: Big Sky Country
It's easy to Monday-morning-quarterback these things, but I'm continually amazed that people venture into the woods so ill prepared. Anyone that would frequent a survival site like this obviously has a different mindset than the average person but who here would even consider a day hike outside of maybe a city park without at least the minimum survival essentials? I'm glad she survived but she might have actually been comfortable with even a few pounds of well chosen gear.
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