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Street gear: Coated nylon rain jacket

May 13, 2013
Not stylin' enough for you? Click image to enlarge.

Not stylin’ enough for you?

You see these jackets a lot in Vancouver, B.C., usually being worn by workers, notably landscapers. I’m not referring to cheap solid PVC jackets and overalls — these dry out and crack, and are uncomfortable. I mean a jacket made out of a coated nylon. I have, and usually see, the type made by a Canadian company called Viking. It’s features can stand for the same style of work-wear jacket made by many companies.

A Viking Journeyman Jacket is made of coated polyester nylon, with double welded seams, is multi-vented for breath-ability, and meets specific industrial standards for flame, shock, and oil resistance, though perhaps not all at the same time. The collar is lined with cotton corduroy. You can buy this jacket for $30 to $60.

The coated nylon is utterly waterproof, and feels soft to the touch, and stays flexible — I’ve never had one dry out and crack. As for breath-ability — Gore-Tex’s big advantage — this is how it is for me: I’m comfortable as long as it’s raining. When it stops raining I get hot and want to take it off.

In 2009, I was working, and bought a $300-plus MEC Gore-Tex-style cycling jacket which lasted for nearly two years; At first it was brilliant; proof against any deluge, comfortable and light, and it rolled up tight and fit nice in my pannier. By the end it leaked like a sieve! A Gore-Tex-style garment is a three-layer affair — a thin waterproof-yet-breathable membrane sandwiched between an outer and inner fabric. The membrane suffers wear-and-tear(s), particularly, I found, around the neck and shoulders — and don’t dare wear a backpack! Once the membrane tears, the jacket is done for. The original Gore-Tex patents ran out some years ago, so Gore-Tex-style rain gear is cheaper, and more common than ever, but, in my experience, it isn’t very durable.

My personal recommendation to Canadians dead-set on spending $300 or $400 dollars on a Gore-Tex-style jacket — take all the polymer $20s (or the new $5s), some contact cement, and glue them together to make a simple cape. You’ll get several $100-worth-of 100 per cent waterproof gear, and when you tire of it you can peel the bills apart and use three or four of them to buy a coated nylon jacket which will do you for years, and years. Click the image to enlarge it.

A free alternative — garbage bags!

From → Gear, Homeless life

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