Monday, 11 August 2014

The end of my OMM Cypher smock?

The old warhorse
How much value is good value for money?
How long can a waterproof actually be waterproof for?
At what point do you give up attempting to re-proof it, give in and splash out on a new one?

These are the questions I've been asking myself for the last couple of months, mostly in the rain, and mostly as my arms and head get wetter and wetter.

I've had my OMM cypher smock for a couple of years now. I wouldn't say it is old, but the model no longer seems to be made, it being replaced with the new and snazzy Aether smock- 40g lighter, and with an internal pocket (instead of external). Which seems a little odd to me. An internal pocket won't make it any more waterproof- it'll just make things more difficult to access, and enable rain and wind to get into the smock when you try and get your compass/food/camera etc. But that isn't the point of this post.

The Yellow Jacket, as it is affectionately known has held out remarkably well from some pretty tough conditions, being scraped down rocks, slid down hillsides, and generally abused as a waterproof in whatever the British weather could throw at it.

It has a couple of holes in it, (entirely my own fault), from barbed wire and various rocks, but it isn't that which is why I think this jacket is beginning to be on its way out.
The arms were wetting out pretty significantly on a run a couple of weeks ago, and I noticed that the fabric on the hood really isn't looking like it should do.
Have a quick look at the below pictures

Above is a bit of the delamination occuring on the cuff of one of the sleeves- just by the thumb loop.

 Above is the outside of the hood- the jacket has just been washed, and you can see what looks like dark patches through the yellow material. Thats basically what it looks like when it wets out - some of the rest of the fabric is still much more of a vibrant yellow, even when wet.

 This shot is a close up of the hood- interesting how the material around the taped edge still has that really really bright yellow, and the fabric on the body of the hood is much darker- like it is letting moisture through. (It isn't dirt, I promise you).

 This is the inside of the hood- which if you contrast it to the photo below- the inside of the jacket itself, you can see that the hood section is becoming a lot more translucent.
 The differences can be seen much more readily in the below photo- inside of the hood- translucent, inside of the jacket - not so.

I'd love to give some statistics about how much I've worn this jacket, but have no real idea. I bought it in August 2012 (THIS blog shows it in a much better condition), and suffice to say it has been used through 2 winters in the Peak district, has been in a rucksack or bumbag on pretty much every single run that I have done since then. Which is quite a lot.
2 Years of Hard service. I wonder if I can squeeze any more out of it.
What would be interesting would be to hear from either eVent, or OMM to see if this is what they expect to see from the fabric towards the end of it's life, or if this is simply something that can be resurrected back into full waterproofness again...

I suppose I'll just have to start looking over the options for a new one for winter.
Hands up, the usual suspects- OMM, Haglofs, Montane, Inov8, Berghaus.

But first... ah, happy memories. 

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