A couple of days ago I mentioned a particularly annoying gear conversation that I had on Saturday and a number of you picked it up. So, here is the story — I did check that my brief companion does not read walking blogs!
As we walked my temporary companion was waxing lyrically about his new jacket. I won’t mention the brand (as this is irrelevant) but we were talking about a shell jacket. This was, of course, the bees knees and had been bought after a lot of research! A little while later my companion began to say that he thought his jacket might be leaking. It was snowing but not that much. At this point I should point out that we were walking through a particularly dense mist. The humidity would have ben very high.
I explained that his dampness was probably caused by condensation. Oh, no! I was told, in no uncertain terms, that this fabric was amazingly breathable. I tried to suggest tat breathability meant nothing in this kind of condition. Further, I ventured that only really paramo would have dealt with what we were walking in.
I too was wearing a shell, my Montane eVent jacket. This Quickfire jacket is now quite old and does leak a little. eVent likes to be kept clean to work well and I hadn’t washed mine in a while. I expected some dampness inside. As we continued to descend it was clear that the mounting condensation was troubling my friend.
We stopped for coffee and tea at a National Trust shop. We took of our respective jackets to find them pretty wet inside, which is what I would have expected. Beneath my jacket I was wearing merino layers. I tried again to raise the subject of Paramo.
“I think I should have worn my Paramo jacket today; I didn’t because the weather forecast was so cold but it’s really not that bad”.
“I don’t like Paramo. It’s crap. My xxxxx jacket is far superior”.
In vain I tried to explain that while Paramo might not be good for everything it was designed to deal with water and no just vapour. Nope. It was still crap.
We sat in the cafe. I was quite damp but as I was wearing merino I was snuggly warm. My companion was in wearing totally synthetic clothes. He looked increasingly cold. And miserable.
He explained to me that his jacket was technically very advanced. He was sure that he had a poor sample. He’d done a lot of research by reading magazine gear reviews.
I tried once more to explain some basic physics. Wearing jackets like this in and dry conditions would be fine but in such humidity the breathable membranes could not simply work.
He looked at me as if I was some country bumpkin who had no idea about hi-tec outdoor clothes. We parted and went our separate ways.
This whole thing reminded me of those housebound ad elderly people who only experience the world through TV and TV news. On the face of it they seem to have a wealth of information at the fingertips and yet they seem to miss out a lot of the insights that come with normal everyday interaction.
It’s what happens I suppose when you read all the publicity material throughly and then swallow everything hook line and sinker!
I wonder how many other people like this there are out there.
Over the next few days I reckon one on line retailer is going to receive through the post a return jacket that is faulty but in reality is fine!