CHOOSING THE BEST POSSIBLE RAIN FABRIC
Originally posted on 29th August 2013 by Nick Hussey
When I began creating Vulpine I started looking for the BEST fabric for a rain jacket. Each manufacturer has an individual definition for ‘best’ performance. My best fabric would create the most comfortable stylish jacket in adverse conditions. It had to work, and last. Quality and performance.
When I began creating Vulpine I started looking for the BEST fabric for a rain jacket. Each manufacturer has an individual definition for 'best' performance. My best fabric would create the most comfortable stylish jacket in adverse conditions. It had to work, and last. Quality and performance
Most comfortable does not mean the most waterproof. No matter what the marketing tells you, here's an industry secret (and I've no agenda here, because I could have chosen whatever fabric I wanted): There is NO ideal fabric that can be both perfectly waterproof and breathable. Its a two way system. You have a sliding scale between point A, where no rain gets in, and point Z, where no sweat builds up inside. Higher quality fabrics improve the compromise considerably, but lets be clear, its a compromise. The Perfect Waterproof and Breathable Fabric is a marketing lie.
Ever noticed how you buy a really expensive waterproof garment and you still get wet? Its not because its rubbish at stopping water get in, its because you're sweating so damned much it has nowhere to go. So you get wet from your own perspiration. Then bacteria break the sweat down and you stink. Yack. ….Not with Epic Cotton.
Why Epic, and what is it?
Epic is a process of applying a technologically advanced silicon treatment developed over years and many millions of dollars. The yarn is extruded through the Epic treatment, leaving a microscopic layer of silicon on each thread. It is then woven and retreated. The fabric is then tested many times before it leaves the factory. It takes months to even make the fabric, let alone a garment. That's why our Epic garments have taken so long to restock.
This process is completely different from a 'DWR', where an entire fabric or garment is dipped into a coating. This is a common, cheaper way of proofing garments, but it rubs or washes off. Epic does not. It lasts the lifetime of the garment, or specifically 200+ washes. The Epic treatment is part of the (excuse the pun) very fabric of the garment, rather than an outer layer, so it stays.
Epic can call itself "waterproof' (actually a legal definition), but because we don't tape the seams of garments with plastic (reduces breathability) we cannot, so ours are 'showerproof' or 'water-resistant', which in our case means "really well proofed against water and wonderfully breathable, but there's not enough space or time to go into this much detail".
Any owner of a Vulpine Original Rain Jacket or Harrington Rain Jacket will tell you of the pleasure of seeing water droplets sit on Epic Cotton before reaching a large enough size to fall or slide off. You can go out in a storm and simply shake the jacket off before entering a building. It'll look almost unworn.
The jackets have received incredible reviews in our first year:
"The details are impressive and it is my current favourite" – Editor's Choice, The Independent Newspaper's Best Summer Sports Gear (and only cycling garment chosen).
Top 20 stylish accessories for Winter – The Guardian, Weekend supplement.
"The Cotton Rain Jacket bristles with practical cycling ideas. All of which are very Impressive." – Tim Dawson, The Sunday Times.
The Vulpine Rain Jacket has to be one of the finest garments on the market – Brian Palmer, The Washing Machine Post.
"Made with rainproof cotton, the Vulpine Harrington rain jacket would be an ideal addition to any cyclists' wardrobe as it is ideal for commuting or going down the local. Features such as reflective cuffs and its magnetic buttons make Vulpine's latest creation a definite winner on a garment that looks as smart off the bike as on it. – John MacLeary, The Telegraph
The reception has been so wonderful we decided to make shorts and trousers from Epic too. It's stretchy but hold its shape and is tough, so its ideal for high movement and stress areas like knees and legs. Plus you can ride through a puddle, get covered in muddy water, and simply shake it off your legs or bum.
Its also not frightened of scrapes and brambles, so its a fantastic MTB and touring fabric. Epic is not flimsy. Think more comfortable than jeans, but as tough, if not tougher.
To tell you the truth, I'm really not a fan of that name…EPIC. Its a bit SHOUTY MARKETING. But its a trademark and it's awesome stuff, so heh.
The only other pitfall with Epic is you have to wash with a bit of care, but nothing out of the ordinary. Wash cool, without conditioner. Conditioner binds with the fabric, nullifying the Epic treatment. Luckily all you have to do if this happens is rinse it throughly and preferably tumble dry and its good as new.
But DO wash it regularly. Sweat and dirt will stop the Epic working. You might not notice because its very hard to make Epic smell. But bacteria will eat at all that dirt, like any jacket. You don't need to be afraid of washing Epic fairly regularly, in fact we positively encourage it for best performance.
The other great advantage of Epic is that its cotton. Cotton for a performance garment?? Firstly, it looks great. Its not crinkly, there's no static buzz and funny looks as you walk into the boozer. It cuts great for tailoring and gives a crisp, smart but casually stylish look. It will age like most cotton garments, losing a little colour as it is washed, so it looks great as it gets older and more used.
Epic Cotton is woven, its not a plastic sheet, so it naturally has tiny holes in it. So as you move the warm, moist, or rather sweaty air is pumped out through the fabric and out into the big wide world. So you stay comfortable and odour free. Luckily the way Epic works means that water tension on the fabric surface means that water doesn't enter. So it really is a great two-way barrier, letting warm moist air out and stopping cool wetness getting in.
And its windproof.
Stainproof (yep, that includes chain oil).
ECO-safe (cotton is natural and will eventually biodegrade and silicon is inert).
All this adds up to our decision to use Epic Cotton. The best possible comfort in rain. The greatest style in its field. We could choose anything. You get the culmination of all that research. Check out the amazing reviews and enjoy. We're really proud of these garments. We literally can't make them fast enough.