The Ultimate Direction Deluge Jacket and Deluge Pants — which will be released in Spring 2018 — are awesomely light, at 5.5 oz and 2.3 oz for men’s Large. But I’m more excited about the fabric.
No, they’re not made of the latest-and-greatest membrane that is more waterproof and more breathable than anything the world has ever seen. Instead, they’re made of a fabric that is most often used for tent canopies, tarps, and tent floors: 20d nylon that is coated with polyurethane (PU) on one side and silicone on the other. Hydrostatic head is rated to 1500 mm. Seams will be factory-taped.
The Deluge suit is waterproof but not breathable, which makes it different than traditional rain gear made of waterproof/breathable fabric like Gore-Tex, H2No, or Precip. I welcome this: WP/B fabrics fail (read this, this, or this for in-depth explanations) and I’d rather get damp from trapped perspiration than soaking wet from rain, especially in the Mountain West where rain events are often accompanied by plunging temperatures.
The Deluge Jacket is modeled after its waterproof/breathable cousin, the Ultra Jacket, with a similar silhouette, hood, and flip mitts. A horizontal vent has been added to its back panel, to increase airflow. I would have liked to see zippered torso or arm vents, too, but UD opted to keep low the weight and price. It will retail for $100.
The Deluge Pants have articulated knees and knee pleats, for a less restricted range of motion. Unfortunately, they feature no air vents and no ankle zips. The lack of ventilation will reduce comfort, especially during prolonged wear. And the lack of ankle zips will slow pants-on/pants-off transitions, an undesirable quality in a race environment. MSRP is $85.
Updated Ultra Jacket & new Ultra Pants
The Ultra Jacket, the first generation of which is available now, is being updated for Spring 2018. The features will remain mostly the same, but the fabric is being changed to a 2.5-layer waterproof/breathable laminate with a 10d nylon face fabric, PTFE membrane, and dot-laminated interior. In the lab it tests to 29k hydrostatic head and 33k MVTR. That’s nice, but I’d await some field use before getting excited.
The fabric substitution has driven up the price, to $190 from the current $170. The weight is about the same, at 6.1 oz.
The matching Ultra Pants will be new for Spring 2018. They’ll retail for $120 and weigh 3.5 oz. Unlike the Deluge Pants, they will have a 12-inch ankle zip for faster on/off transitions.
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