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Re: Rain Gear

I too understand the plight of the starving student (hopefully soon to be 
the starving grad student) looking for good deals on gear.

Ultrex is a good suggestion.  As a matter of fact, it doesn't work on the 
same principle as Gore-Tex.  Gtx is a waterproof and breathable laminate 
put onto a fabric (usually nylon, but polyester holds it better over 
time, I understand) which is then coated with a water-repellant to keep 
the fabric from saturating.
In Ultrex, it is actually the fabric I believe, that makes it waterproof 
and breathable.  It is woven tightly, or whatever they do to it.

As a consequence, Ultrex is a little less waterproof, in general (although 
there are different grades in each category) but requires less regular 
maintenance (Gtx should be washed periodically and eventually will need 
to be recoated, etc.  over time it will probably delaminate but most 
companies making Gtx gear offer a lifetime guarantee and will fix it for 

Campmor's Camp-tech and many other brands use a polyurethane coating 
which is cheap but not as durable as either of the above.  I have a 
Marmot Gtx shell but I saved some bucks and went for the poly-coated 
pants, which won't take as much of a beating from the way I use them 
(hopefully!).  Actually, my pants (probably around 50 bucks) are made by 
Tashin, which is a big worldwide manufacturer of this type of rain gear.  
I suspect they make Campmor's too (I saw them and they looked suspiciously 
In any case, when the coating wears off, I'll just use a Nickwax 
recoating solution.  I'll have probably shredded them long before then, 
but I'm sure I'll have gotten my money's worth by then.

By the way, I only got the Marmot shell because I got a good deal on it, 
I'm not a particularly big fan of Gtx.  As far as I am concerned most of 
the home brands are good too (Patagonia's H2No, Columbia's Omni-Tech is 
OK, Helly Hanson's Helly-Tech is very good, etc).  I also picked up a 
heavier-duty Solstice shell for winter use made out of their proprietary 
Microshed.  I'm pretty happy and Solstice concentrates on making quality 
gear that is more affordable than say, Pataguci - whoops,I mean Patagonia.
The more important thing is finding a shell whose design will keep you 
dry (ie - the hood doesn't dump all the water down your neck, etc).

In any case I recommend looking through the Sierra Trading Post catalog.  
They have really good deals (especially if you are a really small or 
really big size that they can't sell quickly).

Whew, that was a mouthful, let me know if I can clarify anything
(maybe I did learn something working outdoor retail)

Jeff Mosenkis,                                                   
University at Albany - Psych, Anthro, Judaic Studies             

"Welcome to the psychotherapy hotline.  If you are obsessive-compulsive, 
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