Jul 13, 2008 at 7:01 pm #1230148
I was wondering if you guys would help me solve a dilemma.
I'm trying to find rain wear for the JMT in August (hopefully the PCT in 2009)
There seems to be alot of debate on rainwear and VERY different opinions from both ends of the spectrum on my initial choices.
Driducks – Light, easily damaged, breathable
Marmot Precip – will wet out, heavier and tougher
Here is what I don't understand, there are individuals who LOVE the Precip and say they are great, and those who hate the Precip. (And the same goes for the Driducks!)
Seeing as I'm starting from scratch in this gear department… What should I get?
1) Precip Bottoms (for snow and bushes, my Only pants for the trip, besides baselayer) + Precip Top (part of layering warmth) Would 200 weight wool bottoms + Precip be enough on my legs for inactive warmth??
2) Precip Bottoms + Driducks Top (for breathability)
3) All Driducks ($ + weight) but then I'd need another layer for my legs while not moving. Windpants?
A little help please.
(Open to Alternatives besides the two!)
Edit: I can get the Precip set (both) for $110 so that is a positive factor.Jul 13, 2008 at 7:17 pm #1442788
If you are doing trail walks and looking for truly good breathability at a featherly weight — then Dridcuks are your best bet.
If you want more durability along with truly good breathability — then you'll have to pay a lot more for eVENT or MontBell's jackets with their proprietary "Breeze Dry Tec" wp/b laminate. Having said that, I actually think I am being unfair to Driducks. For trail walks, my Driducks are on their fifth year of service and still going strong!
Finally, if you are OK with mediocre breathability but pretty sharp looking jacket — then Marmot Precip will fit the bill. Many Marmot Precip owners like their jackets. But if there's anyone out there who owns both a Marmot Precip and an eVENT jacket who actually believes that the Precip is comparable to eVENT in breathability — I'd like to read about his or her actual experiences!Jul 13, 2008 at 7:45 pm #1442789
Over July 4 I hiked in the Pecos Wilderness, same areas as Chupka did (nice pics). I took the old DLG silnylon rainsuit to mess around with. We ended up having rain (drizzle mixed with hail) nearly every afternoon of our 4 night/5 day hike.
The first time I used the jacket (never needed the pants), I had my hipbelt over it in front, the chest strap on and the neck drawstring closed without wearing the hood (was wearing a Tilley LT5B). As we hiked, I got warm even with temps in the 50's.
The second time I used it dayhiking I decided to alter a few things to see if it made a difference. I kept the neck drawstring loose, did not wear the hood, pulled up the front over the hipbelt and unlocked the chest strap so the whole front end could move air through it. I found I was comfortable the entire time I wore it and never heated up.
Silnylon rain suits may still be a good option if worn in this way. Equinox makes one, but their jacket seems to have too many features with that 6 oz. advertized weight.Jul 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm #1442791
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
The Driducks top and a pair of windpants like Montbell's would be a great combo for the conditions you are likely to encounter on the JMT in August, or Driducks top and Golite Reed pants if you want a lightweight Waterproof and breathable(sort of) that is more durable than Driduck and still lightweight. I personally have been using an O2 Rainshield top and the Golite Reeds for 3 season Sierra trips for about 4 years now and have been very satisfied, but my next pair of pants will be Montbell windpants(even lighter and plenty adequate for summer rains in the Sierra).Jul 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm #1442810
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
DriDucks don't have the necessary durability. Marmot Precip's laminate is not durable either. (See threads on this topic)
I recommend Cabela's Rainy River Gore-Tex PacLite parka (& pants if ya want 'em). The parka sells for $79. to $89. (depending on size and length of parka. Ditto the pants).
Of course, if money was no object I'd buy an Integral Designs' Thru Hiker eVent jacket. Sadly I don't have an unlimited budget for backpacking. I know, it's shocking, but true.
The Cabels's PacLite outfit was THE best bargain I've found in good brathable AND light raingear. I like the attention to detail and features of the rain suit. And I really like their packability.
P.S. They may be on sale now.Jul 14, 2008 at 9:08 am #1442844
Another company making Event shells is Westcomb (and Integral Designs). If you can make the financing work, I'd try to get an Event shell, the stuff is pretty great. That said, my next shell is the OR/Outdoor Research Zealot; it's Goretex PacLite, only weighs 7 ounces, and I think they're going to discontinue it… Sierra Designs Isotope pants might be a good way to go; pants weigh less than 5 ounces, pretty inexpensive. Breathability doesn't seem to be great, but I haven't found that to be as important on my bottom layers. My two cents.Jul 14, 2008 at 9:18 am #1442846
If you are looking for the highest breathability — which seems to be the case given that you mentioned eVENT and Driducks, then know that Goretex (Paclite or XCR or any other version) is noticeably inferior in this department.
In order of breathability, it's eVENT, Montbell and Driducks — then a pretty big drop to Goretex and the rest.
Obviously, there are other factors to consider other than breathability — such as venting, weight, other features, price, etc. But if eVENT is "high", Goretex stuff is "middle" and others like Precip, etc. range down at "lower middle" and "lower". Stuff like Red Ledge would be considered "lower" although they do have well-designed venting.Jul 14, 2008 at 9:30 am #1442851
Regarding your question: "Here is what I don't understand, there are individuals who LOVE the Precip and say they are great, and those who hate the Precip. (And the same goes for the Driducks!)"
For the most part, the spectrum of opinions on any piece of gear is related to that person's specific activity, level of exertion, physical constitution, prefences, and experience with similar products. If you have have only ever used non-breathable raingear, then you will likely find the Precips to be a wonderful step forward. However, if you have worn Event or good Gore-tex, they will be deficient in durability and breathablity. So, past experience will likely produce different conclusions.
An example: many ice climbers here in the Northeast rave about Powershield softshells. I find my (very expenseive) Arcteryx Gamma MX to overheat quickly and be useless against any kind of non-frozen percipitation. Turns out that they were (often without acknowledgement) comparing it to wearing a Gore-Tex jacket on approach, whereas I always wore a windshirt. These different frames of reference lead to different conclusions.
If you lack a frame of reference, all you can do is compare objective properties- which you are doing. So, Precip is more abrasion resistant, but the coating does eventually flake off (so durability depends on use here). Precip is not as breathable, but looks nicer.
With that said, I'd go with the advice to look at Cabelas Paclite gear. Very good price and Paclite is more durable than both, and more breathable than Precip.Jul 14, 2008 at 10:42 am #1442860
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
This isn't exactly what you wanted to know – but at the end of the day I think it is more relevant. Before comparing jackets, compare fabrics. Many have already mentioned eVENT – but you really need to take this suggestion more seriously. I own both eVENT and Gore-Tex Paclite stuff and the breathabilitly of Gore-Tex isn't even on the same chart as eVENT. Just last night, we had a brief rainstorm roll through central Virginia. In an attempt to test some other gear, I got all dressed up in my backpacking stuff which included a pair of Rab eVENT pants and a Gore-Tex Paclite jacket. Within MINUTES….my upper body was sweating quite a bit even while using the cuffs and zipper to their fullest extent. In fact, after about 10 minutes, I just opted to take the jacket off and get rained on as I walked back into the house as I would rather just get rained on then be saturated with sweat. Now granted, it is humid during summer months in central VA, but my legs didn't get hot at all. It seems every time I wear this outfit I get the same result and this includes when I swap eVENT/Gore-Tex gaiters which I wear quite frequently. Personally, I'd own a eVENT jacket if it weren't for the fact that I've had a HUGE amount of trouble finding one that would fit (and one that is lightweight enough). Rab, Montane, Westcomb, and Integral Designs all make nice stuff…and I paid for one of each and ate the shipping when I returned it – but each was way too small for me (they all cut the armpit area entirely too close…maybe it's a European thing). Wild Things makes a nice jacket that would fit, but it was too heavy for something I didn't plan on using often. In short, as soon as some eVENT manufacturer makes a jacket lightweight and in my size, I'm going to buy it without hesitation….it makes THAT much difference to me. Before you get your mind wrapped around all these lightweight options, look into eVENT first and make the best choice. If you can find one that fits – BUY IT – if not, explore all these other options.Jul 14, 2008 at 10:54 am #1442863
We share the same "predicament" actually. eVENT is the undisputed breathing champ but eVENT is not a UL laminate (light but not superlight). It's why some eVENT jacket manufacturers try to shave weight with smaller sizing and tighter cutting — as well as dispensing with all venting except for the front zipper (which really can't be opened in the rain). Then they try to tell people that eVENT makes venting obsolete — which not only isn't true but is more a reflection of manufacturer's dishonesty and desperation (trying to cut weight off a laminate that isn't so light to begin with).
Like you, I too will spring for a UL eVENT rain jacket with pit zips. But for now — I find my MontBell Peak Shell jacket a great "runner up". It comes close to the breathability of eVENT (no Goretex or any other PU wp/b laminate or coating can make this claim) — it is made much more versatile with different venting options and other user friendly features — and it still manages to come in at under 11 ounces for a medium. Folks can get it down to 10 oz. by snipping off unneeded features.
If high breathability is the target, stay away from Goretex or any other laminates/coatings that require an additional PU layer to keep rain out.Jul 14, 2008 at 11:31 am #1442868
If you believe all the stories about raingear posted on this site, you might get a picture of all these people wearing their rain jackets on hot, humid days, sweating buckets into their rain jackets and expecting the jacket to do all the work of evaporating the sweat. No jacket, not even an eVENT one, is completely up to this task. Again, if you believe people's stories, the eVENT will keep you a little drier than the other laminates will, but it's not cotton. You're still dealing with two layers of ripstop nylon and a waterPROOF membrane.
There's also the issue, as someone mentioned, of various individuals' frame of reference. For instance James posted a story about how he was wearing eVENT pants and a Gore-tex top and how his upper body got more overheated so he concluded it was the Gore-tex that was at fault. I would seriously question this conclusion. The upper body generates more sweat and has more surface area than the lower body. Thus, it will always feel hotter than the lower body. I don't mean to pick on James in particular. I'm just saying we all have our own anecdotal evidence to support our opinions, but anecdotal evidence is not the same as empirical evidence from a controlled experiment (for various practical reasons in this regard–who has the money to buy every type of raingear there is anyway?). Again I don't mean to pick on James in particular, but probably 95% of the people who post to this forum, myself included, form our opinions from anecdotal evidence, so it's always important to keep these things in mind.
If you want my recommendation, just get some raingear made of Goretex Paclite. It's proven its merit for me many times in terms of breathability and breathability, is generally lighter than the eVENT gear, and not as expensive as eVENT either. Moreover, if you plan on sweating buckets into a rain jacket, at least there are some Paclite jackets available with pit zips.
I use an OR Zealot jacket (no pit zips) and OR Celestial pants as my main raingear. On shorter trips, I'll use Driducks pants for the weight, but trailside brambles and such can tear those to shreds so I don't like to depend on Driducks for longer hikes.Jul 14, 2008 at 11:47 am #1442870
Good point, Art. We are talking about relativity here. One can sweat buckets wearing a thin cotton layer in Houston — or even hiking stark naked!
OTOH, the same relativity goes for durability as well. Face it, any "trailside brambles and such" that can actually "tear [Driducks] to shreads" will also tear ultralight / ultrathin nylon! Yes, even ripstop nylon.
Reading the posts above, hardcore bushwhackers are likely smirking and shaking their heads at ALL of our recommendations. It's all relative. But given OP's purpose (trail walking the JMT) — Driducks and any of the other UL garments mentioned are more than tough enough. I hiked up Mt. Whitney wearing my Driducks jacket and it performed wonderfully.Jul 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm #1442871
I still have my Marmot Oracle jacket and pants that I use for the rugged stuff in cold temps.
If you are just trail hiking I would use the upgraded DriDucks jacket. It weighs a few ounces more but is much more durable and has more features. For the pants, just make a kilt out of thin plastic and a little velcro and wear it above your hips to keep it there.Jul 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm #1442873
Or just get a really cheap thin pair of silnylon ones and spray them down with DWR.Jul 14, 2008 at 12:09 pm #1442875
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The JMT is the equivalent of a back country super highway which poses no threat to DriDucks from a durability perspective. If I was choosing rain gear for the JMT in Aug it would be a DriDucks jacket and skip the pants. Wear shorts of zipoffs that dry reasonably quickly.
When thinking about raingear on more generic terms…
I would agree that no rain gear works very well in hot humid conditions. Then again, why wear rain gear in those conditions? Why not wear fast drying clothing and enjoy the cooling effect of the rain?
As to eVENT -vs- PacLite… I have also found eVENT to be superior. I think there are two factors beyond the pure "breathability" numbers. The first is the form of transmission that is used. All forms of Gore Tex and most PU items like Precip require water vapor to condense before it's transmitted. PacLite is better than most at buffering this effect, but it's pretty easy to overwhelm. So even if the vapor transmission is adequate in these garments, they are going to feel clammy against the skin. The second issue is that most human perception tests have shown that air permeability has a large impact in human perception of "breathability".
That's why people like DriDucks, Montbell's Peak, and eVENT. All three materials let water vapor vent directly. None of them will keep me sweat free when it's 60F… but on a hard uphill, neither does my base layer without anything over it.
My recommend has been go with DriDucks if you care about cost and aren't doing a lot of off trail hiking in scrub country. If you need something a bit more durable I think it's worth the extra cost / weight of Montbell's BreezeTech or eVENT rather than PacLite and most other options. If you are facing really abrasive conditions or really nasty scrub, then none of the ultralight materials we typically talk about here will survive very long.Jul 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm #1442877
I would vote for the Driducks jacket. I have taken it on many hikes and haven't gotten any holes yet. On the JMT you won't have to worry about any vegetation getting your jacket. Just be careful of some of the rocks when you are lounging around.
I would recommend Golite Whim pants if you are looking a wind pant type layer.Jul 14, 2008 at 12:37 pm #1442880
Coming to think of it… PCT in August — I'd leave the rain pants at home. No wind pants either. A quick-drying nylon hiking pants (e.g. REI Sahara convertible pants) should be just fine.Jul 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm #1442895
I have both.. Precip jacket and full zip pants for a few years. Just received this summer a Montane Quickfire jacket and Montane Venture pants in Event
Had to get the stuff from England. Expensive.. eVent is amazing stuff. it really does breathe while being waterproof – so far
As for durability, time will time.. These are exceeding well detailed and finished productsJul 14, 2008 at 2:01 pm #1442896
I don't know that much about the JMT but I just did a section of Smokies here in the SE and took my rain jacket with me but wound up not wearing it during a 2-3 hour downpour. My reasoning is I would've sweated so much in it that I would've been just as wet as I was not wearing it and the temps were warm so I did just as Mark suggested and enjoyed the cooling effect of the rain. My GF wore her Precip jacket during the same downpour but more for warmth because she tends to get chilled easily.Jul 14, 2008 at 9:43 pm #1442961
@lightworkerLocale: Sierra foothills
I have both a paclite jacket and just recently The triumph anorak from North Face made from hyvent. Now to me north face has been a four letter word in the past. But I must say that for the weight 5.4oz this anorak dose the trick keeps me dry and a lot more breathable than the paclight even though it has pitzips. For leg protection I love my ULA rain wrap paired with a event gaiters. The rain wrap weighs a mere 3oz keep most of your legs dry down to your lower calve and because it is basically a sil nylon skirt I never get hot in it. Also it has tie out loops on the corners and covers from the tip of my toes to my chin when staked out flat on the ground pretty decent for a ground cloth. Did i mention that it only cost 25bucks!!!Jul 15, 2008 at 11:31 am #1443033
I am trying to remember a few threads on here that talked about WPB type materials and below freezing conditions and that they would freeze up and not let the moisture pass out. Am I remembering that correctly?Jul 15, 2008 at 12:22 pm #1443043
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
Troy – do you have dork issues when wearing the ULA rain wrap? I was given one as a gift and like its features and multi-use, but wearing a blue plastic skirt is raising vanity issues I didn't know I had.Jul 15, 2008 at 1:24 pm #1443050
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
Can't speak to Troy's dork issues with the rain wrap, but I have resolved my own! The bottom line is this piece of kit works. Most of the kids who giggle at me are lugging loads of 30 to 40 lbs, and are using entirely conventional main stream gear. They also tell me it's impossible to backpack in sandals and umbrellas are for Mary Poppins. Who cares what people think?
On the other hand I have no idea why Brian Frankel chose neon blue for his "skirts". It sure is hard on the eyes.
CheersJul 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm #1443060
@ericnobleLocale: Colorado Rockies
Brett, I think what your trying to remember is related to EPIC treated fabric. Ryan Jordan mentioned this in a post some time ago. I'm going off my memory and I believe this was over 2 years ago, at least, so I could be wrong.Jul 15, 2008 at 2:47 pm #1443064
Thanks everyone for their helpful comments.
As much as I would like to try Event, the cost is a bit too high for me.
Since my rainpants are going to be my only pants (besides lightweight smartwool bottoms) I think I need a bit more durability than Driducks.
The Revised choices are: Precip ($42) or Golite Whim Windpants($45)
Can the Whim survive as my rainpants for a Thru-hike of the PCT? Will it keep me dry even in WA?
I'm leaning towards the OR Zealot for the lightest Paclite ($120) with Driduck top as backup. At 7.7oz (advertised) does it eliminate my need for a windshirt? Any other jackets I should consider within a $150 range?
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