I treated myself to a pair of Mountain Equipment G2 Ultimate softshell trousers a few months back, as something that would be warm, windproof and near as dammit water proof for general walking in typical UK winter conditions – manky, wet, bit chilly, but not ultimately too offensive.
This is the bumf:-
“Designed to be worn all day. The GORE Windstopper softshell fabric offers enough protection for all but the wettest of weather and they are the perfect choice for long days in the mountains.”
This choice was based on having owned a whole variety of softshell jackets over the years, from cheapo freebies handed out at work to a Gore Tool that has lasted 6 years of 5 days a week winter commuting and is still almost waterproof. I find that its way more breathable than Goretex, and whilst it does eventually soak through in truly foul weather, it takes a good few hours to do so. I also have an Endura Stealth (fully taped) and a Rab Baltoro guide jacket (untaped), both of which are waterproof.
So I was pretty upset when I wore the pants for the 3rd time (uses 1 and 2 were in the dry) on New Years Day, when it was pretty manky out, and I ended up soaked from the waist down in 20minutes. After which I bloody froze! It wasn’t coming in through the (untaped) seams, it was just soaking straight through the fabric, like it was old goretex and the DWR coating had worn off. I’ve got jeans that would have kept me dry longer!
So I took them back to Ellis Brigham (where I got them), to be told by the returns manager “Oh they’re not supposed to be waterproof, no taped seams. We’ll send them back if you really, really want us to, but I don’t think it’s worth doing”. Really negative about the whole thing, I even showed him the spiel on the ME site, but he just wasn’t interested.
I’m currently waiting for a call back from ME, but I’m wondering what the Massive have to say? Surely Windstopper should be more waterproof than that? I’m properly unhappy, as if the Ellis Brigham guy is correct, then I’ve wasted a load of cash, and ME are mis-selling their gear, which would be a real shame as I’ve had stuff from them for well over 20 years, and it’s all still going strong!