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Zpacks ‘Vertice Rain Jacket’

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Greetings Adventurers,

Earlier today, March 17, 2017, our good friends over at Zpacks released their next generation rain jacket, called the “Vertice Rain Jacket“.

I have written about every generation of the Zpacks WPB rain jackets, so it is always an exciting day to get to share my thoughts on a new generation of this rain jacket.

To start with, I have not tried this jacket. I have not seen this jacket. (updates: see bottom of article) I do not currently own this generation of the jacket. I did not even know it was in the works. But none the less, as the person that has published more about this jacket (over the generations it has existed) than anybody else, I do enjoy sharing thoughts on it. I currently own the third generation of the jacket (the last of the three white non-nylon generations) IIRC. I have owned every generation of this jacket over the years. I sold my original 3rd gen jacket years ago, but was fortunate enough to find somebody that had one for sale and bought it – it was always my favorite generation of the jacket.

For now, and just consider this my initial disclaimer, consider this article as a placeholder with all of the specs of the jacket and my initial thoughts on design and fabrics and such. All just 100% thoughts and specs. No actual usage history.

Jacket Specs:

A size medium (industry standard size) jacket is being listed on the scale at 176 grams (6.2 ounces / 0.388 pounds).

The sizes range from small to XX-Large. It should be noted that this is the first time that Zpacks has offered their rain jacket in the xxl size. For archival purposes, should they change the specs in the future, I have got a screencapture of the jacket sizes/specs.

New/Removed Features:

The only thing that appears to be new, beyond the fabric, is that Zpacks has introduced a rain guard behind the zipper. This can been seen in this photograph.

On the removed features list, it appears that Zpacks has decided to do away with the ‘long’ version, which allowed you to order a 39.6 cm (40-inch) version, for those wanting rain protection down past their shorts and to the knees of short folks, as can been seen in this photograph of my previous generation (Challenger) rain jacket that was the long version.

Fabric Change:

As with each generation of the Zpacks WPB rain jacket, the biggest change has always been the fabric. New generations of the fabric. The new Vertice Rain Jacket is no different. Like the previous generation of the jacket, the Challenger, the Vertice is a three-layer WPB (WaterProof Breathable) fabric.

According to Zpacks, they had this fabric custom made for them and they are the only company on the planet using this fabric. The layering of the fabric is composed of (outer) 7D Nylon, (mid) an undisclosed VPM (vapor permeable membrane) of unknown weight, and (inner) tricot, also of unknown weight.

Some of you may have caught the fact that DCM was not listed in those three fabrics, unless it is the mid layer and Zpacks is just not disclosing this fact.

MVTR:

I have copied the below from my article on the previous generation, the Challenger, so go back to that article to reference and learn more about MVTR and all of that stuff, but here is the history of the ZPacks WPB Rain Jacket in regards to MVTR:

The original two versions of the ZPacks rain jackets had a g/m2/24hrs of around 20,000.

The third white version, and just before the Challenger, had a g/m2/24hrs of around 41,000.

These were numbers provided by CTC using a JIS L 1099 testing method.

From what I have been told the most recent rain jacket, the Challenger, has a g/m2/24hrs in the 22,000 – 25,000 range.

Zpacks is now claiming, based on the JISS L 1099 testing method, that the Vertice is rated at 60,000 g/m2/24hrs.

It would be really nice if Zpacks scanned the results and publically posted them. At 60k, that is a full 20k beyond the well documented level of 40k of the Toray Dermizax NX fabric, long considered one of the top end fabrics from a MVTR perspective.

Zpacks has also stated that the HH rating for the fabric is 20,000mm, same as the Toray Dermizax NX and others out there on the market.

So to just quickly recap:

Gen 1: 20k (1st gen white)
Gen 2: 20k (2rd gen white)
Gen 3: 41k (3rd gen white)
Gen 4: 22k (challenger)
Gen 5: 60k (vertice)

And on that note, I think I will wrap up this product announcement. If I ever acquire one of these jackets and get some use with it, I will of course share my thoughts. Likewise, as Zpacks continues to update their WPB jacket I will try my best to get future announcements published.

Where To Buy:

Directly from Zpacks at:

http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/wpb_jacket.shtml

 

Update:

Since publishing this article, Zpacks has sent me one of these to test and provide feedback to them. It is just a loaner and I am mailing it back after I get enough use with it to determine any thoughts that I have on it and write them up herein.

For now here is a photograph of the jacket, a size large, on my scale, at 190 grams (6.73 oz) which is 8 grams (0.28 oz) more than the size chart shows for a large, at 182 grams. (Please note that this jacket I have is an early prototype and therefore the weight is going to be different than the final production version.)

Additional Update/ Video:

I have now had a chance to use this jacket in some rather intense rain storms. From that I have been able to base some comments and thoughts about the jacket’s performance.

Written by John B. Abela - HikeLighter.Com

March 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

Posted in Gear Announcements

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

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  1. […] John Abela did recently share a first look post on his site last week for the jacket (click HERE for that post). They recently sent him one of their earlier prototype versions of the jacket (not […]

  2. I recently got a Montane 777 smock which also uses a 7 denier outer fabric, although I don’t know if the membrane and liner are comparable. In 6 hours of Scottish rain and wind at temperature of about 50-55, with a base layer and Houdini windshirt underneath I found considerable wetting on the inside. The outer did bead exceptionally well but for me, in the U.K., this jacket will definitely be a summer only option. For a weight penalty of only a couple of ounces the ZPacks vertice sounds like it might be a better option. Thanks for the review!

    Russell Hann

    April 9, 2017 at 2:54 am

    • Hey Russell,

      I think weather temps play a huge part in wetting out. Most rain jackets that I have used/tested over the years started having wet out issues, as you mentioned/indicated, somewhere in the F55°+ range. I got lucky and the temps stayed down. Even lower due to being under the Redwood canopy.

      A person can still sweat at lower temps, hyperthermia in sub freezing temps is obviously a reality, but it just seems like lower temps can help a rain jacket in so many ways. Would this jacket have wetted out if it was raining all day and temps where in the F70’s? Sure. Hell yes. What fabric out there would not, eh. Just all goes to show how thermoregulation can affect fabrics.

      • Hey john,

        To be fair to the Montane I was pushing pretty hard to try to make distance for the day so I was unquestionably pushing out a bit of moisture. My biggest complaint with the Montane (and one which I will bear in mind for the future) is design. Mine is the smock version and it has a water resistant zipper on the front with a storm flap behind. However any moisture that does get through the zipper will then run down the storm flap only to end up running onto your lower chest. I had a definite wet patch at the bottom of the zipper and this also presumably upped the humidity inside the smock. Stuff like this does annoy me as I can’t see how they wouldn’t have had this problem in testing. It could easily be resolved with better design. Anyway, for those rare UK trips when rain is unlikely or light it’s great; for all others I’ll stick to my slightly better designed waterproof.

        Happy trails John and hope the move south goes well!

        Russell Hann

        April 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

  3. What are your thoughts re: a double ended zipper? I’ve found the extra adjustability to be extremely useful for fit and temperature regulation. From the video it looks as if the hem of the jacket could creep up if you were walking at a pace.

    It may be that hiking in the humid parts of Australia that I find this more of an issue than other folks.

    Alister

    April 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    • Howdie,

      >>> double ended zipper

      I have been one of the folks out here asking Zpacks to make the switch to a double ended zipper.

      The response from Zpacks on this matter has been, “The two way zippers only come in #5 which is heavy and bulky

      So it looks like it will be a no-go, and like you, I too find the ability to use a two way zipper for thermoregulation to be highly beneficial and worth the extra weight.

      >>> From the video it looks as if the hem of the jacket could creep up if you were walking at a pace.

      That is not something that I have experienced.

      • All good to know. Thank you.

        Alister

        April 11, 2017 at 9:15 pm

  4. Yes – have one of these jackets – and the hood is not stiffened – unless you mean its a second layer of the same fabric. The jacket is brilliant – EXCEPT the hood. YOU HAVE to wear a brimmed hat under the hood – other wise it is like a wrapping of tissue paper flapping around your face. have fed back to zpacks they should add a slot for a stiffener, or tell people wear a separate visor underneath.

    Peter

    April 15, 2017 at 3:39 am


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