Author Topic: Meander Vs. Warmbac  (Read 7789 times)

Offline Broken Chris

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Meander Vs. Warmbac
« on: November 19, 2008, 06:15:41 pm »
Meander PVC oversuit or Warmbac oversuit? Or something else?

Anyone had both - anyone got an opionions on either (as if I need to ask!)

I had a warmbac suit about 7 years ago and remembering it being tougher wearing than the Meanders, but it having a tendancy to become rigid as time went on.

Offline paul

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 06:40:14 pm »
IMHO:

PVC: Too hot in warmer, drier caves compared to nylon suits but warmer in damp, draughty caves than nylon suits. Easier to repair and patch. PVC wins hands down if hanging around on the surface when wet and windy.


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Offline SamT

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 07:19:08 pm »
Presuming your talking about the cordura warmbac's (and not the blue/yellow pvc thing they make/made?)

then I've got both,

I mix and match mine depending on how wet the situation will be.

The warmbac is most definitely tougher if your digging, and there are sharp bits of rock/scaff/rebar etc around as the meanders tear easily, and a tear propagates easily. However, its a cold draughty wet dig, you'll be much better off with your meander as it will keep you much warmer,

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Offline paull

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 07:42:51 pm »
I'm going to buy a  meander to keep me warm for winter after i ripped my cordura beaver on my last trip , my caving friend  has used a meander all summer and has always had to strip down to keep cool even in damp caves
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Offline ian.p

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 07:46:35 pm »
for general caving use get a warmbac had mine for over 2 years and its only just begining to fall apart. My meander suite however after about 1 year is already becoming more patch than suite. what is more the cordura suite is at least slightly breathable and a lot more comfortable to wear the meander isnt breathable untill you put a great big hole in it....
yes a PVC suite is worth having for wet/windy caves where theres a lot of hanging round to be done but if i had to have one or the other the warmbac would be the obvios choice in my opinion.
Oh and the cuffs on the meander are fairly usless the velcro strips fall of so worth geting some snoopy loops to keep the cuffs closed nothing quite like having a stream of freezing cold water hiting your armpit to wake you up in the morning :lol:

Offline SamT

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 10:17:31 pm »

Yes - agreed on the cuffs - the meander ones are pretty poor.

Seen someone with some sort of neoprene cuffs to go over them, like socks without toes. seemed to work quite well, but get trashed pretty quick when crawling.

I'm going to buy a  meander to keep me warm for winter after i ripped my cordura beaver on my last trip
IFRC the beaver ones are made of much thinner material than the warmbacs and IMHO are not a patch (no pun intended) on the Warmbac ones.

in the end it really is horses for courses, are you going on lots of wet cold trips, or are you going on lots of dry warm, but sharp trips. Each has their merit.

The dig in bagshawe I visited recently requires a warmbac to get there, then a cotton boiler suit to dig in.


Offline AndyF

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 10:29:49 pm »
I know several people who have had Meanders, and they have ripped badly in a few digging trips....
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 11:36:17 pm »
Have an assortment of oversuits and pick the best one for the trip.
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Offline kay

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 10:35:26 am »

Seen someone with some sort of neoprene cuffs to go over them, like socks without toes. seemed to work quite well, but get trashed pretty quick when crawling.


They're used a lot in Yorks - having warm wrists makes a large contribution to an overall feeling of warmth. It's possible to fashion them from defunct wetsocks.

Re oversuits - depends where you do your caving - round here I use my PVC far more than my warmbac.
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Offline ian mckenzie

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 04:57:08 pm »
Good article on innovative oversuit design in The Canadian Caver #66 by someone who makes suits for the harsh Canadian cave environment. 

"Caving is an athletic sport that needs real sportswear, and I could never wear commercial cave suits that either limited my mobility or were absurdly oversized."
"...they unknowingly propagate the crazy idea that cave suits aren't sportswear and shouldn't really fit very well."
"Many caver who use cutting-edge lights, rigging and survey technology don't expect high performance from a cave suit, maybe because they have never had a better option."
"Cavers aren't used to shopping around for better suits."

Basically he uses state of the art materials, and makes suits that fit snug but allow mobility by pre-bending arms and legs and using a sort of expanding bellows at the waist.  I wore one of his prototypes for many years, it was the best suit I ever owned and I've had a few.

Offline Rachel

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2008, 03:42:13 pm »
In my experience, Meanders are only too hot on the first 2 or 3 trips. After that, the numerous holes will cool you down nicely.
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Offline Christian_Chourot

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2008, 11:18:26 pm »
Good article on innovative oversuit design in The Canadian Caver #66 by someone who makes suits for the harsh Canadian cave environment. 

So who is he? Is there a website where I can see these delights?

Offline ian mckenzie

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2008, 02:27:37 am »
Dan Green; no website, all word of mouth I think.

andymorgan

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2008, 01:11:35 pm »
Warmbac make a PVC oversuit now. I don't know how good it is though.

Offline Lurker

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2008, 01:41:38 pm »
Quote
Warmbac make a PVC oversuit now. I don't know how good it is though.

I have (or had) one of these.  The material seems a bit different from a Meander - a little thicker I think, so it doesn't seem to rip so easily if you're in a sharp pointy cave.  It's also very warm and great for cold wet caves.  But the major problem I've had is that I reckon the PVC is actually too thick.  This means that within a few weeks of buying it, the suit started to wear holes in itself in all the places where the material regularly has folds e.g. the elbows and the back of the knees.
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Offline damian

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2008, 05:15:32 pm »
I have (or had) one of these.  The material seems a bit different from a Meander (...)  This means that within a few weeks of buying it, the suit started to wear holes in itself in all the places where the material regularly has folds e.g. the elbows and the back of the knees.

I also have one. The fabric is quite different from the Meander fabric and, as Lurker says, it appears tougher. However, it is nowhere near as flexible as the Meander fabric and patches don't really stick to it very well. My preference is, therefore, the Meander (although I don't like them much!)

Offline Sally-J

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2008, 02:46:55 pm »
Think I agree with Chris about choosing the appropriate oversuit for the caving trip, which is why I'm going to be asking Santa for a PVC oversuit  :)

My caving battery sits in the sleeve pocket of my cordura Warmbac currently, so the Warmbac PVC oversuit would be ideal as it too has one of these pockets. However I do want to be able to actually move in it! Does anyone know if the Warmbac PVC oversuit is just less flexible than a Meander, or also less flexible than the cordura Warmbacs?

Offline damian

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2008, 07:13:30 pm »
Does anyone know if the Warmbac PVC oversuit is just less flexible than a Meander, or also less flexible than the cordura Warmbacs?

I wouldn't say the problem is that you can't move in them, but rather that the fabric seems much less easy to fold and wears out at creases too easily as a result.

I've never had an issue with movement ... just worn-out fabric that is hard to patch.

Offline ian.p

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2008, 10:12:36 pm »
the other thing you can do is if going to a wet/windy cave in a cordura wear a cheap old waterproof either underneath your cordura suite or alternativly keep it in your tacklsack and just put it on whilst youre waiting around, a very effective solution.

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2008, 12:02:23 am »
MEANDER I like to think that when the boys decide they need t'toilet further up stream I'm somehow more protected...

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Offline Broken Chris

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Re: Meander Vs. Warmbac
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2008, 12:41:29 pm »
Aaah, so this is where I posted it - wondered where the topic had gone (thought it was a drunken imagined memory)!

Some interesting responses, I hadn't really considered you might want a different oversuit for digging due to rip properties - I can see where people are coming from with the comments about sharp stones on the Meander.

I did have the yellow & blue PVC thing in mind when I was talking about the Warmbac - I had one for my first oversuit, there's no way I'd use a cordura unless I was in a nice warm area, or possibly Mendip or digging. I find the wind chill on most walks back from caves to be the worst thing so like prefer PVC.

Also, good point about the Warmbac wearing out due to it being too stiff - I think that's what happened to my first Warmbac, looks like they've not improved the design then.

Think I'll get myself another Meander for Christmas.