Apr 26, 2011 at 10:10 pm #1272919
I tried on the Patagonia Houdini the other day and I now think I understand its popularity.
I was always comparing it to my polyester biking windshirt that wets out in about 30 seconds of rain, and couldnt believe that the houdini would work for like/medium rain. Well, now that I seen the houdini, I think i believe it. The fabric feels almost like a rain jacket rather than a wispy windshell.
So my question is, how will the Houdini hold up in summer rain on the Colorado trail? I have never been to Colorado so all i know is to expect a mid/early afternoon rainstorm.
I would like to be able to not bring a rain jacket and use the houdini with my Chrome dome.
When I hiked the AT it was a record year for rainfall and i didnt carry any rain gear for parts of the trail cause it was too hot. I'd rather just be wet.
shoebuy.com has the houdini for $76 so i am very temptedApr 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm #1729950
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
I'm using a similar windshirt + umbrella combo and I think its more than enough. The rain out here in no way compares to the east coast in terms of quantity.Apr 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm #1729974
That the impression I have gotten but was kind of anxious cause people talk about how quickly weather can get serious on the divide.
How does your umbrella work out above treeline and in high winds?
I used mine for the first day the other day in a pretty serious thunderstorm and the wind made it kind of difficult. It didnt invert but actually bent pretty far which i thought was very interesting but not cool.
SO, thus far the consensus says BUY THE HOUDINI!Apr 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm #1729977
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The Houdini is a great windshirt and will repel light rain for a short time, but it's not a rain jacket. Just add a Driducks jacket if you want light and cheap.Apr 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm #1729978
Adding Dri Ducks is definitely something i might end up doing. It all depends on how I like hiking with an umbrella, fortunately enough they are cheap enough (and light enough) to try both.Apr 27, 2011 at 6:29 am #1730014
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
Using in high winds gets tricky. I think this is where most potential users bail on the concept. I collapse the umbrella a little and point it into the wind as best I can. Obviously, its effectiveness is diminished at this point. You can always take both and mail home the dri-ducks if you feel confident with just the Houdini and umbrella. I think you can get by without the extra protection but its your hike and your call.Apr 27, 2011 at 6:33 am #1730016
There certainly is nothing wrong with a little redundancy in raingear.Apr 27, 2011 at 11:55 am #1730148
For a 2-4 day trip with the forecast not showing significant rain, and moderate temperatures you'll be fine. I've been using a Montane Lite-Speed (similar protection) on backpacking trips for protection against short thunderstorms, as well as a constant ~all-day light rain in temps around 45+ degrees. I get a little chilled, but as long as I keep a good pace, I'm fine.
The most important thing is protecting yourself from the winds to preserve your micro-climate. If you don't mind getting wet, a good hooded windshirt can work. However, if your insulative layer is down, long rest stops become complicated. I rarely stop to rest for much longer than 2-3 minutes, especially in rain, so I don't use my down jacket until I set up shelter for the night.
When you get into longer trips, then weather variability (temperature and rain intensity/duration) makes this less reliable. My experiences indicate that it won't work well for rain in cold temperatures, nor will it work well for a real storm.
Note that you'll have to learn how to read weather forecast models (or know someone that can), as typical forecasts are completely useless out here. A 30% chance of rain can equally mean a 95% chance of mid-day thunderstorm, or a 30% chance of significant storming all day. You'll be fine with a windshirt if the former, whereas, with the later, you'll definitely want to bring a real rain jacket.
I suppose you could do a longer trip without a rain jacket, but you may have to ride out longer duration storms under your selter if you start to get too cold. However, the weight you save would be completely negated by the extra emergency food.Apr 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm #1730167
for anything more than a light drizzle … bring a rain jacket/poncho
as others have mentioned dri ducks are light and cheap, or one of those el cheapo ponchos
or you could get an UL rain jacket in the 6-7 oz range
once a DWR wets out in significant rain and low temps …. you risk becoming a hypothermia SAR statistic …Apr 28, 2011 at 6:38 am #1730426
lots of good comments here, and I'll just echo that caution about wind in the high country where a more robust shell can really make a difference, and the fact that there are lots of lightweight waterproof jackets out there to choose from.
I love my houdini, but it stays in my small daypack for mtn biking and trail runs, anything more (or if conditions look sketchy) I definitely take something more robust. It would be much better than nothing in a summer afternoon storm, but it seems like a suboptimal choice of gear to me for backpacking in CO.
Because of the likelyhood of the combination of high wind and rain and low temps, the poncho options seems like not the best choice to me for high country trips as wellApr 28, 2011 at 7:41 am #1730441
+1 on becoming a SAR statistic.
Being a GA boy that relocated to Colorado the fisrt thing I learned was that rain in Colorado is cold. There is never the warm hot rain of the AT where you can choose just to be wet. When it rains here it means the temperature is dropping and your going to be hyperthermic if your wet. Being wet in Colorado is not an option. Pass on the Houdini and get a rain jacket.Apr 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm #1730568
Thanks for all the comments guys.
It looks like i'll be passing on the Houdini this time cause i really cant afford it, even on sale.
I can still dream though!
Anyways, I'll probably be going with the driducks anyways and eventually get a houdini as well. I tried on the jacket today at Dicks sporting goods and it was really comfortable, the inside was soft and feels like it wouldnt be clammy at all like a rain jacket would.
Has anybody attempted to tailor their driducks to get a more 'athletic' fit?May 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm #1731620
Based on real world experience, I disagree. While warm rain doesn't really happen out here, being wet in moderate temperatures is not dangerous. You will not become hypothermic as long as you're generating enough heat by hiking (for me, this point is around 45 degrees). In fact, when the rain stops, I'll usually be dry within 30 minutes. When you stop for an extended period, you set up (or find) shelter and put on your insulative layer. No problem at all.
The mantra out here is always bring a rain jacket. However, I've found that this is not always the case. While you will need a rain jacket out here sometimes, you do not need it for every trip.
EDIT: Oh, and by varying the weight of your baselayer, you can adjust at what temperature you'll feel comfortable in rain. However, go too heavy, and you'll get quite warm once the rain stops and the sun comes out.May 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm #1731636
A windshirt is not raingear. Take real raingear always. Playing Russian Roulette with weather (potential hypothermia) is dumb.May 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm #1731649
It's not Russian Roulette. Wet does not mean hypothermia. Cold does. You can be warm and wet in a windshirt, as long as the temperatures are moderate and you're moving. Your body can easily generate enough heat to keep a warm microclimate, even in cold rain, providing you have protection from convective cooling (windshirt).
If for whatever reason you make a mistake, it's very simple to set up shelter, warm up, and wait it out. If you don't have shelter or insulative gear, yes, you're playing Russian Roulette. As I mentioned before, this is not for thru-hiking, where weather is unpredictable. This is for 2-4 day trips when rainstorms are not predicted. In Colorado, while the rain may not be predictable, long duration rainstorms are. Either a system might move in, or it won't.
If you haven't tried it, give it a go sometime. Of course, bring backup gear until you find what moderate means for you – sort of like determining how low in temperature your sleep gear can get you. I allow for a 5 degree temperature margin of error in both cases, or a 10 degree margin if bailing isn't an option.May 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm #1731660
You are absolutely right for 2-4 days. My biggest education moving here was the difference in climates from the SE. I too have hiked without any rain gear in the SE because it was just to hot. I personally was not comfortable covering that distance (488 miles) from Waterton Canyon to Durango with out access to extra baselayers, forecasts, or rain gear. I took rain gear to use for both wind and rain. Worked out perfectly and I was glad I made that choice.May 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm #1731719
Very important to know your route for the day. The key in Colorado is making sure you are below treeline in the Afternoon. I have ducked under a large Spruce tree a number of times and stayed bone dry. I know there are sections of the Colorado Trail that are above treeline for long stretches in the Southwestern sections. Anyhow, just study your map so you familiar with that days route and try to avoid being above treeline in the afternoon.May 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm #1731738
Beyond rain protection, a wind shirt (Houdini or others) do have other benefits. A long sleeved hooded base layer with a wind shirt work well together while on the move and can be adjusted easily depending on conditions. I struggle with thinking I have to jackets myself but they all get used.
DriDucks and umbrella aside I think you will wear the wind shirt a lot out here, I know Patagonia is good but you can find cheaper brands.
There were a couple of CT gear list discussions over in the gear list forum recently too.
Have a great hike, wish I could join you.
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