The Vault Regulars

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brenig's New Waterproof shell - The Aran Smock.

 We may have just had the warmest day of the year and waterproofs are probably the last thing on peoples mind at the moment so you may wonder why i’m posting about a new one.

 Background
 Last year whilst walking Cadair Idris, we got talking about routes in North Wales that would be fun to do. When i got back home i started a google search and came across the Brenig Trail. Considering i’m not that far from North Wales i had never heard of it. Searching for further info then brought me in a roundabout way to specialist gear manufacturer, Brenig.

 “Who"? I can hear some say, and yes i admit that was my reaction too. Well i had to find out more.
 Brenig are not too well known in mainstream outdoor gear and you won’t find them hanging up in The Cotswold Shop for example. But make no mistake this very small company based in Holywell Wales make some superb outdoor equipment and there is more to come, imminently.

 Brenig owner Graham Ogle has his roots in the mountains but also has an interest in cycling, walking, sailing and also amateur radio, GW8RAK.
 The company started 18 yrs ago after Graham got soaked on Tryfan and decided a new waterproof was needed. Having checked out the outdoor shops he decided not to pay the £400 but to have a go at making his own.
 Since those very early days Graham and his two seamstress have supplied Polar expeditions, numerous outdoor pursuit centres in this country and New Zealand, dog sled mushers in the USA, forestry workers, farmers, canoeists and now of course, Me.

 I fancied the smock rather than a jacket, it is a very simple, honest, no frills performance bit of kit. It was exactly what i wanted but looked a bit heavy.
 I like smocks and although i have heard all sorts of reasons why people don’t like them, i usually disagree. For example, “they are awkward to put on and take off”. Nonsense. I can put on and remove a smock faster than i can locate the zip ends and zip up a conventional jacket. Fact.

 I telephoned Graham about sizing and materials.
 "The lightweight fabric cannot be classed as a truly lightweight fabric" i was told, but it is in line with jacket weights which will be used in our sport/hobby in the demanding wet and cold UK conditions.
The fabric is polyester microfibre. I purchased one.

 We had a good chat about the products and it resulted in Graham asking me if i would be interested in trying out some new materials that he was planning on using in his 2013 range and giving some user feedback. I was more than delighted to help.
In due course, I received 2 pre-production smocks. Both completely different weights and materials, and usage of course. 

 I have now been using them over the winter and into spring/summer, walking in temperatures down to minus 3.5 deg C, in snow conditions, in torrential downpours, in longer spells of rain and in particularly cold high winds and more recently, decent temperatures. I have even tried my hand at Mountain Biking in the rain.
 I have given them a thorough testing in numerous areas of England and Scotland and the lightweight smock in particular has been a constant companion and a topic of conversation with my walking companions.


The current web site can be found hereBut note there is an new site under development and almost ready to go live as i type. The new products i have posted about below will become active to customers on this new site Here but please bear in mind that this website is still under development. You should still be able to use the site if required or phone Brenig direct on Tel: +44 (0)1352 719603 or 
email: info@brenig.co.uk


There is a Facebook page too. 


 I will start with the lightweight smock for reasons which will become clear later.

 The lightweight smock will be found on the new website named the Aran smock.

I have tested a medium size which would suit people with chest sizes up to 40”. It has been designed for people who want to stay dry and move light and fast during multiple activities.

The weight of it is 390 grams as can be seen below. (SizeM)

 There are no frills to the smock, it just functions and does it superbly well, where it matters, ie the hood, breathability and shedding water is excellent. There are lighter shells around but this is certainly what i call a functioning lightweight shell for all weathers.

 The Storm Hood.
 Has been designed so that it is compatible with a climbing or cycling helmet, although it doesn’t suit the cycling helmet with the pointed rear. There are 3 adjusters for when no helmet is worn. One at the back to reduce volume and one each side to fully enclose it around the face. The chin level is quite high, which i like, and therefore provides excellent weather protection.

 I found the hood worked well and moves with the head. The wired peak is very effective and can be easily reset to suit conditions. You can see from the photo below what a good peak the hood has. Rain ran down the sides of the hood and not once have i suffered water ingress.
 The shock chords are held with standard industry chord grips. They can be adjusted single handed due to the restraint put on the chord grip but i found it better to adjust them separately.



 The Main zip. 
 In the past i have made it clear that my experience with water resistant zips has not been good. My OMM Cyphur smock YKK zip leaked and even though the garment went back for tests it came back with no fault found. I tend to believe that the main problem with the Cyphur is having a 2 way zip. It is going to leak for sure. Why would you want a 2 way zip on a smock?

 The Aran, thankfully will have a Riri, a one way Riri Aquazip with a baffle behind it. The Riri zip is made with interlocking plastic teeth that form a hydrostatic seal and are completely waterproof. I am pleased to say it has performed perfectly throughout and has made me re-think my opinion on zips.
 I did add a 40mm zip pull as my smock only had a small zip pull. I found it difficult to grasp when wearing gloves. Maybe the production units will have a longer or extra Brenig pull.

This LINK will explain better than i can the subtle differences of the Riri and YKK and why the Riri is best suited to outdoor jackets.

 Sleeves.
 Raglan style cut and the cuff closure is by a rubber hook and loop system. If anything i would have preferred an inch longer sleeve so that i could pull my clenched hand up into the sleeve when i didn’t want to wear gloves. But that’s personal preference and may not suit everyone except maybe bikers and climbers for instance.

 Hem.
 Closure is again shock chorded with chord tensioners on both sides. The smock length is slightly longer than current lightweight fashionable trends and for me i found it much better dealing with the elements. After all that is what we want. It keeps the derriere covered and is well below my rucksack hip belt. Other lightweight jackets sacrifice this length to reduce the weight spec.


 Materials. 
AtmosAktive is how the material will be known.

 Breathability is specified as 10,000 gsm/24hr MVTR (RET factor of 4) but i must say that this jacket has performed better than my Cyphur jacket*, which is specified as 17000 gsm/24hr MVTR. So forget about figures because our bodies tell us how a jacket performs.
 I actually found that i could wear this smock as a windproof in all temperatures up to about 10 degrees C without feeling clammy. Therefore i could leave my windproof at home. I couldn’t do that with the Cyphur.
 After 10 degrees C i wanted to wear my Montane litespeed purely from a weight point of view.
 Even when pushing the pace and i knew i was hot, there was no sign of any moisture vapour on the inside. At one point during a walking trip in the Lammermuirs i was asked, "was i not sweating cobs wearing my waterproof”, so i had to prove the inner was still dry.

 Breathability is always subjective. Its absolutely paramount that you wear a good wicking baselayer with any waterprooof. If you don’t, then your warm body heat cannot be transported through the layers. You will end up wet and cold and then blame the waterproof for not working. Also important is your rucksack. If it sits directly onto your waterproof then it doesn’t matter how breathable the material is you are not going to transmit your body heat through the sack. It will condensate and stay wet. You need to have a gap between your waterproof and sack.

 Waterproofing. Again specified as 10M hydrostatic head. Throughout my walks in driven rain and snow i have been perfectly dry. The membrane material is hydrophylic and it doesn’t have any holes to get clogged and reduce efficiency like other membranes do. Therefore it doesn’t need washing every few months.
 All the seams are tape sealed and i found it worked perfectly well.

Inner face layer is a wicking knitted scrim that provides the dry feel. Just like when you wear a good wicking base layer, without one the difference is soon noticeable. It is very comfortable and warm to touch.

 The outer material is made from a re-cyclable Polyester, made in the UK, which is then laminated to the inner fabric in Austria. The cut and manufacture is then completed in Wales. The outer fabric has been treated with a DWR treatment that contains no flourocarbons. This gives good rain beading and helps prevent dirt and stains.

 Aftercare. The smock can be washed at either 30 degrees C or 40 degrees C depending on needs but the DWR treatment will last longer the lower the wash temperature. The usual 3rd party proofers like Grangers or Nikwax can be used if or when necessary but the DWR treatment should last a good half dozen washes. In my case thats quite a long time.

 Cost. What i understand at this pre-launch status is that the RRP for the smock will be £145 and as an initial internet launch there will be a special price of £120.

 The material the Aran smock is made from will also bring to the market a shell jacket called the Berwyn and also a pair of over trousers. More news on these items to follow.
Costs will be RRP £170 for the Berwyn jacket and £90 for the OT’s. Again a special launch price will be £140 for the jacket and £70 for the OT’s. So keep an eye to the website or i will do a separate post when this happens. 

Release date for the new waterproofs is Mid September.




The New Aran Smock and Berwyn Jacket


*(I have mentioned the OMM Cyphur smock as a comparison garment simply because it is the only other smock i possess. I am not saying the Cyphur is poor.)

Verdict on the Aran Smock.
 Smocks are not everyone’s cup of tea but for me the fewer the places that water can get in the better. Having a short zip and no pockets provides a superb pure and simple waterproof. It’s comfortable to wear, lightweight and small to pack. It's extremely breathable with a superb hood and dries very quickly. All at a cost that won’t break the bank. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing it and can recommend it with confidence.

Similar products, OMM Cyphur smock £180.00 and PHD Alpamayo. £247.00
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 The 2nd of the 2 smocks.
The material is known as Aclimatise.
 It looks and feels exactly the same as the Aran smock, therefore no need for further photographs, except that it has a different membrane that includes 30% aluminium.

 It is said to be thermoregulating, which in short means when the temperature inside and outside changes, the material modifies to either cool you down or warm you up.**

 I tried it a couple of times backpacking but quickly came to realise that it is far from perfect for this activity within the majority of temperatures we encounter in the UK. I felt clammy very quickly and worse at temperatures above 8 degrees C.
At temperatures down to -3.5C ambient with a strong cold easterly wind making it feel much colder, i was still able to wear just a 150 grade Merino baselayer without feeling cold. Quite amazing really and i think this coat is best suited to very cold conditions where it would be an asset.

 It’s a lovely jacket if your outdoor activity is less active and i will certainly be using it for my fell race marshalling duties where i am static in exposed positions on summits. It may possibly work in Scottish or Scandinavian winter conditions when temperatures are well below 0 C. But i havn’t proven this one way or the other.

 I see this product best suited for people who take on duties like, Climbing instructors, marshall’s at events like orienteering, cycling, marathons, cross country, fell racing. I can also see it being perfect for farmers, dog mushers, county council workers, forestry or walkers who walk more sedately or who get cold quickly.
 But not hiking and backpacking in the majority of UK conditions. The RET factor is 6.

 **If this type of jacket or smock is of interest to you then you may wish to read more about it's technicalities. Click on the link here to read more.

 The weight is also higher due to the additional membrane material but still very reasonable considering how the jacket performs in the cold and wet.


Weight of the Aclimatise smock.  539 grams for a medium size.

 I would like to thank Brenig and Graham in particular for allowing me the privilege to assist in the testing of these products. It’s been quite challenging and has got Sheila and I out on the hills in some foul weather when i otherwise would have waited for the weather to abate. 






































94 comments:

Big Jack Brass said...

Aha! the mystery smock revealed at last! It certainly looked intriguing from the glimpse I had a while ago, which is more than you can say for the majority of waterproofs on the market. I shall certainly be keeping an eye on Brenig.

Alan R said...

Hi John,
Thanks for the comment. I remember when you had a look at it that you was surprised with the weight being so light and it having a good peaked and wired hood. The hood has proved to be excellent.

Congrats on your Challenge btw and do keep an eye on the new Brenig website.

-maria- said...

"I can put on and remove a smock faster than i can locate the zip ends and zip up a conventional jacket. Fact."

Agree.

It is good to get some gear for testing so have to get out in foul weather ;-)

Alan R said...

I'm pleased that you agree with me Maria. Some zips can be quite fiddly and very difficult with gloves on.

Our first trip to Scotland earlier in the year was simply to get out in foul weather and we wasn't disappointed.

Dawn said...

Having a couple of smocks I am impressed. Good write up Alan. Apart from anything else what I admire is that it will not have a 'made in China' Label. Will check the website out..

Alan R said...

Hi Dawn,
Having European sourcing and also the re-cycling element seems to take a very high priority. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot compete with the east. I think Graham has proved that here with the quality of the product and the cost to the customer. Like Oookworks, Brenig are a small company supplying great gear and its been a pleasure to help.

Michael R said...

Alan,
You have piqued my interest with the Aran Smock. Please can you let me know if the baffle behind the zip has a means of directing any water that may escape past the zip back to the outside face of the jacket via a drainage hole formed just below the bottom edge of the zip.
I was just having a look at my old Haglofs Oz Pullover and it has this feature which seems like a good design feature for a smock.
Thanks in advance.

Alan R said...

Hi Michael,
There is no hole in the prototype Aran. Also no holes in the OMM Cypher, The Paramo Adventure or the PHD so i guess this feature is Haglofs alone. I must admit i don’t recall seeing it on the new Haglofs either but i may be wrong here.
From my testing which was quite extensive over 6 months, i didn’t have any problem with water ingress behind the zip. The Riri zip combined with the shape of the front of the hood kept ingress at bay. One day in Glen Tilt i cycled for 2 hours into a head wind with heavy rain and didn’t have ingress behind the zip. If you fancy the Aran smock then i wouldn’t be put off by this nice to have feature not being there. Zip technology has also moved on since the first OZ pully i would suggest. The excellent hood design of the Oz was the bench mark for others to achieve though. Thanks very much for your interesting comment.

Andrew W said...

So, is this a worthy contender for the TGOC Alan (not that I have a place yet), because I have been let down badly by both my Paramo and my Berghaus Temperance 2, and this looks potentially like a contender.
I have also looked at the Berwyn Jacket as well.
To be honest, can't make my mind up, which is best.
Would like to see one in the flesh first though.
Looks like an interesting product though.

Alan Rayner said...

Hi Andrew,
The Paramo doesn't surprise me. Mine lets me down every time i use it in the rain. I am a little surprised that the Berghaus let you down. I thought this was a decent jacket.
I think the Aran or Berwyn would be ok for the Chally. The Riri zip imho is the best of the bunch.
I prefer the smock simply because there is less leak points. But if you prefer a full zip then i don't see it being a problem.
If you want to have a look at my Aran then i will send it you. Its a size medium so i don't know if it would fit you but at least you will get a better idea.
But as with all waterprooofs it's all about body temperature control and a good wicking baselayer like capilene. I found i really don't need to wear much under the smock.

Andrew W said...

Cheers Alan.
I have sent them an email about sizing.
I doubt they would send me one on spec.
It would be nice to try one on, but not if you are using it.
I suspect the medium would fit, but it is more about shoulder and chest width.
Quite fancy one in Red too.

I am thinking of selling off some of my gear on EBay to cover the costs.

Alan Rayner said...

Andrew, email Graham, tell him you are a walking friend of mine and explain the situation. That you didn't get chance to have a look at the smock when we were in Scotland but quite fancy getting one. However because you haven't seen it you are unsure about it. Now I would imagine Graham will have come across this type of situation before and will have a solution.
In the end my offer still stands. But mine is dark blue and I haven't seen it in red.

Andrew W said...

I have sent him 2 emails Alan.
Sadly had no joy at all.
Not even a reply to either.
I sent one direct, and one through the web site.

Shame since I quite like the look of it.

Andrew W said...

Shame. :-(
Tried every which way but driving to Wales to make contact.
No joy.
Looks like he might not make this sale.

Alan Rayner said...

Hi Andrew,
I have not had contact either. Obviously it goes without saying that something is wrong. This is not like Graham as he always responds to my emails quickly. All i can say is if you are not desperate to buy a new waterproof then just hold on a short length of time. If you are needing to buy right now then i can't blame you for going elsewhere and i thank you on Graham's behalf for at least trying your best.
Thanks Andrew.

Graham Ogle said...

Andrew,
Sorry for the lack of response to your emails, but changing the hosting of the Brenig.co.uk domain caused both that and the Brenigoutdoors sites to crash and, although the ISP never mentioned it, I also lost email function all last week. We've had contact today and I hope I've answered your questions. If you need more information, just ask; I think all the technology is working now.
Regards
Graham

Graham Ogle said...

Just an update on the new waterproofs. Everything is in stock and ready to go,apart from the zips from Riri, but these are due "soon". I haven't had a firmer date than that.
Garments will be in red with yellow zips and black with green zips, but if enough people want more conservative colours, I'm open to suggestions.
With regards seeing samples, the best way is to order one and tell me that it's on approval and I'll know what you mean. If you decide it's not what you want, then return it and I'll refund your purchase price. (These are standard distance selling terms and apply to all goods bought on the web.) I used to just take credit card details and only process it once the customer accepted the garment, but someone gave me "wrong" details and it's not something I want to repeat.

Hope this helps,

Regards

Graham

Alan Rayner said...

Thanks Graham, I knew you would have a solution to what is quite fundamental from a customers viewpoint.

David said...

Will they be available in other colours, for example Olive Green etc ?. How about pit zips, and maybe a little longer ?.

Alan Rayner said...

Hi David, Thanks for your comment.
As far as i am aware Brenig are only offering production Outer’s in Black and Red. Although my prototype is dark blue. I too would have liked an olive green or a greeny - brown like the Working Smock. Brenig is only a small company so i would imagine carrying large rolls of different colours would be quite an expense.
For me, having used it quite extensively, pit zips are not required on either the smock or the jacket. The length is slightly longer than many jackets offered by the big names in the retail world but if you want an extra long one then i would email or telephone your requirement direct to Graham. Both can be found on the web site.
If you are using the smock or jacket in a cold climate primarily, you may want to consider the model with the Aluminium membrane. Yes, it’s warmer than the other when pushing hard but as a waterproof when the elements are bad, its second to non in my opinion.
I think i am right in saying that the production outer’s also have a chest pocket whereas my pre production one hasn’t.
I hope this helps you decide but like i say, give Graham a call and explain your exact requirement.

David said...

...Many thanks Alan, good review btw.
I don’t require it very long, just, enough, to least equal a thermal jackets length, or a little longer, to cover it/if/when used, underneath.
What’s the working smock like, I am sure, someone had it on some blog, I actually, recently, asked Graham about, on face book (with pick) :) ?.

https://scontent-a-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1471898_10151879857306700_1193990327_n.jpg

Merry Christmas!

David

Alan Rayner said...

Thanks David.
It covers my PHD Minimus, my TNF Zephyrus and my Uniqlo gilet no problem. Its not a shorty smock/jacket in any way. I have the working smock and suggest its not for backpacking. Its way too warm and I found it wetted out too fast. It also took too long to dry out without some form of warmth. Its good at what it was designed for which is forestry or farming type occupations. Brenig have 2 materials one which the Aron is made from which covers pretty much everything the UK could throw at it and then they have a second material which I covered on my review that is a slightly heavier weight but has aluminium within the membrane. Its ideal if your hikes are usually cold weather hikes as we are having currently. One of the good things about this material is the fact that you can get away with just a decent base layer in most circumstances and therefore you can control your body heat better.
As for your question about seeing the working smock on a blog somewhere, I think I remember it on PTC's, but it was going back a bit.

David said...

Sounnds like, i should get one then ;) , just not a fan of black, and blues, well not olive :)

many thanks
Merry Christmas again !

Alan Rayner said...

Merry Christmas David. What are you going for Red? Do you fancy the std or Acclimatise material? Smock or jacket? I do wish Graham would try and do an olive green because it is a colour that covers lots of outdoor activities.

David said...

Here here, Olive Green ideally, or even a foliage green etc (much like colours used, with Maxpedition bags/rucksacks pouches etc (very much a fan off) , but a Olive would be ideal !.

Andrew W said...

I am curently still working on this with Graham. I will personally be going for for RED with yellow zips in the Smock with Acclimatise material, and hopefully an inner pocket as well as the outer.
I am also going to discuss a mod to the Brenig over trousers to see if they can have a full length zip in them like the paclites.
Not sure about Olive Green though. It's all a bit beige isn't it.
That's the colour of clothing you buy when you wear your trouser belt halfway up your chest.

Alan Rayner said...

Good for you Andrew. You definitely don’t want the OT’s in acclimatise material, I like greens (but not light green) and browns and black. Looks like red will be TGO colour 2014.

Andrew W said...

Actually thinking about it, I probably don't want the acclimatise material, since I will be using it with other layers, as long as the normal material is fully waterproof.
What is your opinion on that. Definitely don't want trousers in it.

Alan Rayner said...

Hi Andrew. Most, ie 90% of the testing I did with the smock was with the Std material. It breathes well and I have never been wet through in it. The Acclimatise material adds even greater waterproofing but is heavier and warmer. My opinion is that May will be too warm for the Acclimatise. It is better in very low temps. The main thing like I have mentioned before is body temperature regulation.

Andrew W said...

Cheers Alan.
See how Grahame gets on with my requirements.
And also his seam seal issues

Alan Rayner said...

Seam seal issues? What's that about then. I am not aware of anything detrimental. Tell me more.

Andrew W said...

When Grahame was testing the pocket request, I believe he found that there was a possible problem with the seam sealing tape on the red fabric, causing variable waterproof seams. Might have been the last batch of tape/material, so he is investigating it with manufacturers, and hopes to know soon. Once that issue is resolved, I will be ordering one.

Alan Rayner said...

OK I understand now. Phew!

David said...

Olive Green/dark green. But a nice grey or sim would be ok also :)

Alan Rayner said...

Yes. I like the earthy colours rather than around town colours. I am also not keen on the loud zip colours either but Haglofs seem to have no problems selling their gear with them.
As long as the gear performs well i can live with it.

David said...

Do ask Graham, next time you chat, on other possible colours coming out in the Aran Smock.
Many thanks

Alan Rayner said...

Hi David, Graham reads this so he will probably reply here. If not, then i will find out and reply. Are you using a Working Smock when you posted about a Brenig waterproof keeping out the weather? If you are, then one of the new ones will be a significant surprise to you. I don’t seem to be able to add a comment on your terrific blog btw? Which is a shame.

David said...

Hi,Alan
That was not my Blog :) , i just used, for example purposes :)

Alan Rayner said...

Hello Alan, David, Andrew and all other readers. It's very interesting reading on here about what people want and new colours. Certainly green will be the next colour to be added, but I need to get the existing colours working and making money before outlaying more capital. However, another fabric from APT Fabrics we have been using is their Tempest 3 layer. It is very durable, but still lightweight, soft, supple and comfortable and it comes in olive green, (more green than military olive). If anyone wants to see a sample, I'll happily send some out.
With regards the taping problem mentioned above, I'm waiting for the fabric manufacturers to finish their tests and hope to have an answer soon.
The Aran smock has a chest pocket as standard, but I've also been asked for another internal pocket which would be more waterproof. This can be done but will benefit from being a bonded on pocket rather than stitched, so I'm looking at laser cutting pocket material and adhesive film tomorrow.
Some way up the blog, there is a question about a drain on the zip for venting any water which happens to get inside the zip. I had to wait until I had the Riri zips before answering, but have come up with an elegant solution. The zip tape continues below the plastic end stop for 20mm and forms two parallel lines of tape with a gap in between them. By leaving some of this gap showing when the zip is stitched in, we can form a natural drain hole. Rain which penetrates the zip runs down the inside of the inner baffle and into a small pocket which is the back of the drain.
Finally, it is very satisfying to see the amount of interest in these new products and fabrics and once we've got the initial problems sorted, I'm sure you'll be as impressed with them as I have been.
Graham

David said...

Hi,Graham

I wouldnt mind a sample, of this Tempest 3 layer material !

David

AlanR said...

Hi David,
Please go on the Brenig web site and click on the contact button at the top left of the page. You will need to request it there and provide your contact details. Thanks, Alan

David said...

.. Done :)

David said...

..I reviewed the sample Tempest 3 layer material, Seems good, but a little too dark/what I expected, I ideally prefer an Olive green/Foliage green etc.

What’s the latest, on the Smocks/sold a good amount?

David

AlanR said...

Hi David, Well at least you had the opportunity first hand to check it out. As for sales, I am not privileged with that information.
Latest news: I emailed Graham earlier this week for an update on the seam taping problems he was experiencing. I have not had a reply to confirm either way. If I hear anything I will add a comment with the status. Sorry that I cannot be more clear.

David said...

..I feel when there available,ideally in a Olive etc :) then, it would be good ideal/to put a review up, on the likes of YouTube ;)

AlanR said...

Yes. I agree with you.

Stanley Russell said...

HI, i thought i should just add a point to the above comments, i supply Brenig with the lightweight fabric he uses in the Aran smock, unfortunately i was only advised at a late stage that there was an issue with tape seaming of the fabric ... Once it came to my notice in late January i took the fabric to one of the tape manufacturers i work with and the issue was resolved within a matter of days, i have given the taping instructions to Graham and he should be able to process orders... On our Aclimatise site we will also be offering a version of the smock with Riri zips to our own design and also 2 climbing jacket versions. These will be branded under our Eco Air brand ,,there will also be an Aclimatise version of the products ...Interested to note colour requirements as we have a lighter coloured version of the Olive used in our Aclimatise range, so it would be fairly easy to produce . As we manufacture our fabrics in the UK we have a degree of flexibility in what colours we can produce

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley. Thanks for the update. I’m glad things are moving in the right direction for the fabric. I have spent many hours testing the lightweight fabric and admit that it has never let me down. The Aclimatise fabric is slightly heavier but it has the benefit that it is warmer and therefore a layer of clothing can be left off under most UK conditions.
Colour is an individual trend and you cannot please everyone. For me i prefer earthy colours for my gear but companies like PHD for example like orange for smocks, a colour which i would never buy but other people don’t mind it.
My pre production smocks didn’t incorporate a chest pocket because basically it was the material i was testing. I miss one badly and its not until you don’t have it that you realise how important one or even two is. I think Graham is putting one into his smock design now but just thought i would mention it to you here as well.
I’m sure the readers of this blog will find the Eco air garments of interest. Thanks,

Stanley Russell said...

Hi Alan: Our version of the smock has a Chest pocket, we will have 2 climbing jacket versions one with 2 chest napoleon pockets and a second version with Chest pockets and high side pockets. We are also discussing with Mountain Rescue teams what additional pockets they wish to have in the 4 pocket version : We are just ironing out a couple of tweaks in the designs but we will be manufacturing the smocks within a week or two with the climbing jackets to follow.. Smocks Black with orange RiRi zips to match Aclimatise logo & Red with Navy Riri Zips ..if you use Fbook keep an eye on Aclimatise for news of launch or twitter.. but i will also let you know

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley. Now there you go, i don’t understand why have a black smock with orange zips. What is wrong with black zips on a black smock etc? I know other companies have gone this multi colour route but being honest here, it puts me off, i just don’t like it.
I’m very pleased you are using the Riri zips, i think they are even better than the new Aquaseal’s. But thats just my opinion because i think they will last longer.
I don’t use facebook or twitter as i find the blog takes up enough of my time but my other half does and so its easy to pop over to see what your up to. Thanks for the info and i look forward to seeing the gear on your pages.

Stanley Russell said...

HI Alan: I went with the orange zips purely as they match our Aclimatise logo on the wrist grips..as the product line develops we will probably introduce conventional Black coloured RiRi Zips as well as other colour combinations: On the Facebook site we publish all our testers reviews warts and all as i wish to show people we are transparent and respond to anything that needs amended on our garments prior to launch ..without our testers we wouldn't be able to manufacture our products. BTW your review on the Brenig jackets was also posted on our site.

Stanley Russell said...

HI Alan As an after thought i forgot to mention we have also developed a Hi visibility version of the Lightweight fabric so watch out in the future for Cyclist versions using this technology. Also take your point about our Aclimatise fabric version working better in lower temperatures although i have found it to work well in temperatures of +37C ..i just thought i would give it a whirl in those temperatures and it reduced the clamminess and heat build up: In my opinion the acclimatise fabric is better used in its 2 layer version with a base layer lining as utilised in our Osprey jacket ..see a link to a review carried out by one of our testers : http://www.hikersblog.co.uk/aclimatise-osprey-jacket-review/

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley. It would be interesting to offer zip colour as a drop down menu when ordering the garment and see what happens with the stats. I will pop over to your site and check it out as i wasn’t aware of my review showing there.
I wouldn’t mind a bit of +37 degrees right now.
As i understand it the Osprey has a mesh type loose lining?

Stanley Russell said...

Offering a drop down menu may be cost prohibitive on RiRi zips as they are made to order and size ( and they are not cheap) I agree i wouldn't mind warmer temperatures now ..but then that would be bad for business.... The Lining in the Osprey jacket is a loose full base layer lining not a mesh ( and if your base layer gets wet you can wear this jacket next to the skin) ..REf the review that you did for Brenig it was a link that Graham gave me to your blog that was put up.

AlanR said...

Thanks Stanley. I have just been on the site and watched Ed’s video so now i understand the lining. It looks a sound idea. As one that doesn’t like to layer up too much i can appreciate the idea of just a base layer. I remember Sprayway did something similar years ago but that was when neoprene coatings were around but the polyester fleecy lining worked very well and i still have it today.
The Osprey has a lot going for it, i do like a zip cover even on waterproof zips although the waist band pockets don’t suit my backpacking ways. I can see them being ideal in other pursuits though.

Stanley Russell said...

The Osprey jacket utilises the same technology as in our award winning Seahawk fleece but obviously doesn't offer the same levels of insulation around the shoulder areas... There are plans to make a version of the Osprey jacket with pockets moved up to facilitate a rucksack hip belt , but on the whole this jacket is geared for people going out for a walk and hiking without a rucksack : although as can be seen by Eds review it can quite easily be used for hiking with a rucksack

AlanR said...

The Seahawk looks a very nice piece of kit. Yes a good idea to make the pockets higher on the Osprey. For me i would accept no lower pockets at all especially if 2 Napoleon pockets were there. I have found that just small hand warmer type pockets for when i wasn’t using a rucksack are useful but not a necessity.

David said...

...Sounds promising the above Smock !. Out of interest,Brenig Aran Smock, all of a sudden, isnt on there web site, taken off now !.

Any ideas guys ?.

AlanR said...

Hi David, as far as I am aware there has been some performance differences in the fabric between prototype and production. The material has gone back to the supplier. That's why the product has been taken off the site. Temporarily I hope. If I get any other info I will let readers know.

Stanley Russell said...

HI all, i thought i would give a few answers to your questions in reference to the fabric used in the Brenig Aran smock.. I am the fabric supplier and i designed the fabric to meet a very high performance requirement which it did..Between sample production and main production of the fabric there was a supposed difference in characteristics in the way the fabric was accepting the tape seaming ..not in the fabrics performance ... When i was made aware of the issue i contacted the tape seaming manufacturers and asked them to solve the issue ... this was resolved within a matter of days ..there is no reason why the Brenig smock can not be produced as i have not stopped any supply of the fabric to Brenig and have furnished them with the full taping instructions so that they can make the garments.so there was no reason for Brenig to remove the jackets from their website.. Rest assured that if Brenig do not produce the smock ..I will be producing a version under the Aclimatise Eco-air brand utilising RIRI zips available within 2 weeks ( red with Navy RiRi zips, Black with orange RiRi Zips)....i am just fine tuning our design .. There will also be a climbing jacket version with 2 napoleon pockets and a full Mountain rescue version once i have fine tuned it with the MR teams i am working with.. I will be quite happy to answer any further questions posed on the performance aspects of the fabric or the garments either through this forum or through aptfabrics@gmail.com

AlanR said...

Thanks Stanley. Good to hear from you. As I am not privy to Graham business strategy I don't know why he would not carry on with production if it was as simple as revised taping instructions. As so much testing was done by myself and others, and orders were definitely being made, it is disappointing somewhat that the smock has been taken down. But, at the end of the day Graham has to be completely happy with what he releases to the market.

Stanley Russell said...

TO be honest with you alan, when i was shown the comparative results between the Hydrostatic head at the tape seamed points of the original sample & including the production sample i would not have been happy.. that is why when i was advised of the issue with tape seaming and specifically cross seams ...i called in the experts who as i said earlier solved the issue in a matter of days, to the extent that we were getting in excess of 10m HH at the cross seam which was significantly higher than before ... I do not know why Graham took down the ability to purchase his version of the smock as i am more than happy with the production i am getting from one of my other manufacturers... and it wasn't as simple as revised taping instructions ..it was correct taping instructions for the specific fabric from the tape manufacturer .. And since i offer a full 100% money back guarantee on my Aclimatise products if i wasn't happy with the production they would not be available for sale. As it is I'm tweaking the design and the smocks will be available within 2 weeks to order .

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley, Thanks for the update. It’s a real shame that things are as they are. I wish i could help but alas, i am unfortunately “only the messenger”. The Aclimatise smock and the Atmos active smock i tested for Brenig are 2 of the best waterprooofs i have used. The Aclimatise has been used by me throughout this wet and windy winter and i have grown to like the fact that no middle layer is needed when you are hiking. Although you do need to put one on when you stop.
As you will have gathered from this blog post there has been lots of interest from those who have commented and i know others who were just waiting for the ok to go.
Anyway, all i can say is good luck with your smock and i look forward to reading about it on the web page.

Stanley Russell said...

Hi Alan, Please note that the Aclimatise Eco Air version of the Smock we will be producing uses exactly the same material as was used in the Aran Smock ( Brenig called it Atmosactive) .. we will probably create an Aclimatise version as well.: If you liked the Aclimatise version ..i think you may like the Osprey jacket ..its more a general wear jacket but it has the full aclimatise system installed : Outer fabric with inbuilt base layer .. If you send your details to me at aptfabrics@gmail.com i will send you one to play around with.

AlanR said...

That will be intersting. Thanks.

Andrew W said...

Thanks Stanley.
It is all a bit of a mystery and a shame for Grahame.
I was definitely after an Aran Smock, but I have already got a coat replacement.
However, I was also pondering on some of the over trousers.
Are you thinking of doing trousers?
I have looked at the site, but can only see tops.

Stanley Russell said...

Hi Andrew, over tousers are coming as well as waterproof walking trousers, we are just examining what are considered the best styles and then we will produce our version .... Quality waterproof thermoregulating golf trousers will also be available shortly designs have been made and are away for photo shots

David said...

...Also talking out loud, I’ve always quite like the idea, of a simple, rain jacket, using a old West German Flectarn Gore-Tex rain jacket as a pattern, pretty much copy its loose fit/length/bottom pockets, bar, adding a proper technical hood with peak etc, and say a napoleon
, zip pocket top left, for your phone etc. Have no liner, that they do, so the seam seals can easy be seen/fixed, latter down the line, of need be, in a simple Olive etc. Possible pit zips, for some breathability, if necessary.

AlanR said...

I think Flectarn UK do that jacket David. I bet it would weigh quite a bit though.

Stanley Russell said...

David Brenigs Rhinog jacket is not far off what what you are looking for although the colour would be military green as opposed to an Olive

David said...

..Yes, i had almost forgot about Brenigs Rhinog Jacket, it does, pretty much tick all those boxes :) . AanR, yes, im aware of flecktarn, but all pretty much combo stuff.

Stanley Russell said...

First look at preproduction Merlin Smock : what do you think of Pocket position, it will hold a map and shouldn't interfere with straps :https://www.facebook.com/Aclimatise/photos/a.131192720286946.26974.131190070287211/682796988459847/?type=1&theater

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley, I have commented on Sheila’s facebook page. Alan

David said...

Looking most promising :) Would be Colour options?

Stanley Russell said...

Initially we have red, black and navy fabric available to be manufactured into solid colour garments with black zips in Climbing jacket version: we will be launching the smock ( 2 front pockets) with black water resistant zips but plan to move into using RIRI zips once finalised design and colour combinations are decided on

David said...

...Any Olive Options, in near future,coyote/tan, or grey etc?

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stanley Russell said...

IF the garment or style is a success other colours will be introduced to the range, as i will be developing a fishing version of this jacket Olive will be one of the colours

David said...

Stanley Russell ... Now, that sounds more like it ;) Do keep us informed via here/facebook !.

Do you think under arm ventilation zips, could be possible?.

Stanley Russell said...

My products do not require pit zips, normally they are only required on products that don't move moisture namely microporous systems and example of which is Goretex

AlanR said...

Hi Stanley, Please let me know when you release the new products onto the web site and I will do a new post providing a link. I had quite a lot of interest on the TGO challenge.

Andrew W said...

And while you are here Stanley. What is happening with waterproof trousers? I sent you a couple of emails, but never heard back.

Stanley Russell said...

Apologies must have missed the emails: I was at the factory last week discussing developments with the owner/tailor : Everything has been on hold for several weeks as the owners son was killed in a car crash and i needed his input into finalising the designs: Over trousers are coming : Storm flap covered water resistant zips to knee, elasticated hem : 2 storm flap protected waterreppelent zipped trouser pockets with additional storm flap protected access to interior trousers. Elasticated waist band with drawstring.

Andrew W said...

I worry every time my son & daughter go out..

Liking the trousers already and haven't seen them.
Look forward to seeing some later in the year.

Stanley Russell said...

Here is the first look at our version of the smock : In this case the Aclimatise version: Both of the front pockets should be capable of taking an OS Map. As we know the fabric works the smock will be going out to test over the next 2 weeks with Alan Sloman checking out the fit. If he gives it the thumbs up i will start producing the jackets as soon as the factory is back in 2 weeks : This version for a size 42" chest weighs 600g .. based on this design we envisage the Eco air version to be 200g+ lighter : We will also be creating a jacket version based on this design for fishing with bellows pockets replacing the napoleon pockets..so that means drab olive as a colour will become available https://www.facebook.com/Aclimatise/photos/a.131192720286946.26974.131190070287211/713620825377463/?type=1&theater

David said...

Excelent :)

AlanR said...

Perseverance eh David!

David said...

...Indeed AlanR, it can pay off in the end :)

AlanR said...

I just hope that you like it when you get one. I’m sure you will though.

David said...

AlanR ... Indeed, im sure I will (partic in a prefered colour) but im quite open on shades.

David said...

Latest News/Info ?

Stanley Russell said...

Eco air version of smock : black with 2 orange riri zips & red with 2 blue zips available at the end of this month : Countryside version in Olive/brown shade to follow

Andrew W said...

I am still hankering for a pair of the waterproof trousers.
You any closer to an ETA off those...
Winter and big wetnessness beckons soon.

David said...

..."Countryside version in Olive/brown shade to follow" ,, Good to here, will outlook for pics info, on facebook/here.

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