Waterproof Jackets without condensation
Q. I currently have a Lowe Alpine Ceramic Triple Point waterproof jacket and, whilst it is perfectly waterproof, I find that I get a lot of condensation. I'm reasonably fit but I am quite big at over 16 stone and I find that I perspire quite a bit.
Can anyone recommend a waterproof jacket or undergarment (or both) that offers exceptional breathability ?
Tony Dannatt, Chippenham
A. I've used a poncho (£14.00 from Norwich market) in military DPM pattern for about six years, and highly recommend it. When it gets windy I tie it in at the waist with an elastic bungee. At night it is my bivvy when I pitch my hammock. In the depths of winter I still use my old Mountain Equipment Gore-Tex XCR jacket or my McMurdo Parka
Lj Dellar, Norwich
A. You might give a Poncho a try, the Army use them quite extensively, and so do the hunting fraternity in America. I would be the first to admit they are not perfect, but, they do have certain advantages.
1. You only wear them when it is actually raining, which means you don't have to walk around in a damp jacket. Jackets, when wet, always have that damp transference making you feel cold.
2. They cover all your gear and you can whip them off in seconds when the rain stops.
3. They require no maintenance whatsoever, you don't even need to wash them, and they can double up for extra uses, ground sheet, overhead cover, etc.
4. An Army friend of mine gave me a tip about the problem of them blowing up over your head, a criticism often levelled at them. If you buy two pairs of walking boot laces and two sliding toggles, you can tie the Poncho just below each knee, the toggles making it quick release.
5. Condensation is reduced because of the flow of air under the Poncho, and you can pop your arms in and out as required, so there is no restriction if using poles.
I hope this is of some help, it's not the perfect answer I know, but I think it's worth considering. Don't forget, the whole industry has a vested interest in keeping us buying expensive jackets, Ponchos are cheap, and you certainly can't use them for mountaineering, or scrambling, but for general walking I think they are ideal.
Paul Wilson, Worcester