Aug 6, 2013 at 10:20 am #1306232
After getting caught in a wicked rain/hail/thunderstorm last week, I'm thinking of how to protect my lower half in really bad weather. I never really liked rain pants (unless it's very cold, which it often isn't, here). I have heard of "rain kilts"/skirts with zippers to adjust for long strides, but I was wondering if anyone had used one, and what they thought… my concern is mostly about the way water might pour off the bottom of the kilt, into my boots. Pants, though hotter, fall over the boots, keeping the rain out. Any experience/opinions out there?Aug 6, 2013 at 11:08 am #2012949
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I haven't, but if you're hiking on trail you might try just getting a drawstring garbage bag, slice the bottom so it's open and pull it up around your waist using the built in draw string as a belt to hold it up. If you like it, you could go more upscale and get a cuben one later but this would be a way to try the concept for a low investment.Aug 6, 2013 at 11:12 am #2012952
Thanks, Dena, you're definitely right! I'd still like to know if anyone has field-tested one…Aug 6, 2013 at 11:26 am #2012959
I have not tried them, though I really like the idea.
Here's one I've got my eye on.Aug 6, 2013 at 11:27 am #2012961
Shoes fill up, and drain, and dry.
I like a "rain kilt" because it keeps my butt and thighs dry(er), offers outstanding ventilation, and is easy/fast to get in and out of. I made mine big enough to not restrict my stride. It's just a silnylon straight-sided cylinder with a shock cord waist, long enough to drop below my knees.
(Temps are typically 60°+ pre-storm, dropping to ~50°)Aug 6, 2013 at 11:33 am #2012967
Thanks, Greg and Richard. I appreciate you taking the time to reply… It sounds like everything in life: a trade-off. Good ventilation, easy on/off, but wet shoes… Still thinking about it…maybe I should also consider rain "chaps".Aug 6, 2013 at 11:37 am #2012968
Yes. Its my go-to rain gear for my lower half. I use a zpacks cuben one. Its light. Its quick and easy to put on and off. Your legs don't sweat in it. It keeps you dry down to your knees. I have used it a lot in rain. I really think its hard to beat unless its going to be really cold. My best piece of so-simple-its-perfect equipment.
As to shoes, they are going to get wet anyway. I wouldn't fight that fight.Aug 6, 2013 at 11:47 am #2012974
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I have the ULA rain skirt.
It is great for thunderstorm use. As others have said it keeps your core dry and warm. For the rockies it works. I would probably switch to rain pants if I was expecting constant heavy rain like pacNW winters.Aug 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm #2013003
I need to try the trashbag trial at some point.
shoes are going to get wet regardless.. if it's raining enough to need something extra on your legs then your feet will be wet also.Aug 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm #2013036
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
Really, I don't understand what's wrong with getting wet as long as it doesn't also entail getting cold. For example, in the White Mountains where I hike I almost never wear any rain gear at all in the summer. Instead I hike in (wet) shorts or kilt and a (wet) t-shirt, and keep my dry stuff dry for when I need it for warmth, i.e., meal breaks and the end of the day.
Once in a while it's cold and wet enough to have to worry about staying dry in order to stay warm, but that's definitely the exception rather the the rule in my experience. In that case I'd wear a rain jacket and pants; but that hardly happens when it's warm enough to rain rather than snow.
Anyway, here's what I'm thinking: if it's cold enough to need rain pants I'd wear rain pants; if its too warm for rain pants I'd just go with shorts or a kilt and not worry about getting wet.
Am I some kind of idiot, or do others feel/act the same way?Aug 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm #2013043
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Am I some kind of idiot"
Well, Rick I guess you are.
I don't do well in cold, but find that in cold wind-blown rain just keeping my thighs warm (with a kilt) is more than ample. If I am moving my lower legs and feet are just fine.
If the rain isn't that cold a poncho does fine to keep water out of my pack and my upper body dry.Aug 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm #2013046
"Am I some kind of idiot, or do others feel/act the same way?"
I feel the same as you and have expressed that opinion before. I also hike primarily in the Whites.
Where I differ with you is that the threshold for wet+cold for me is definitely above the freezing/snow stage.
I use rain pants if I'm cold and always bring them if the forecast calls for rain, regardless of season. I typically don't bring them if the chance of rain is lowAug 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm #2013049
Folks – again thanks for your time & advice. I hike mostly (but not only) in Arizona/California, often at altitude, and weather is often "schizophrenic". Last week (when I got caught in the storm) it was in the 80s as I was hiking, then in the 70s…then suddenly it started raining and hailing, and temps went down to the 40s, and stayed there for long enough that we started shivering, even though we were moving. You know, crazy mountain stuff. So my inquiry is me — hopelessly and foolishly — trying to find something that might work in all these conditions.Aug 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm #2013077
Woo White's party.. :) It depends on the day i suppose. I usually don't carry rain pants but I have enough hobbies to pick my hiking days on pretty good weather days. Also the trail list i'm working on don't react well to water….
for longer trips a rain kilt could be nice because you can keep your shorts dry, let your lower legs get wet and not have to carry extra pants.Aug 6, 2013 at 6:25 pm #2013103
I made a rain skirt out of a pair of frogg toggs pants recently and have been pretty happy. got the idea from mike clellands blog here: http://ultralightbackpackintips.blogspot.com/2012/07/instructional-illustration-rain-skirt.htmlAug 6, 2013 at 7:42 pm #2013136
I have the knee length zpacks cuben fiber one. I like it because it keeps my shorts dry which is important when I know that there is no chance for them to dry out until I get to the next town; I hate putting on wet clothes in the morning. But at the same time, it allows plenty of air flow so you don't sweat under it. Doesn't work so well if I'm wearing pants for obvious reasons or when its cold and I want the extra insulation of rain pants.Aug 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm #2013144
All the time. I have used rain pants and other things but went to the trash bag rainskirt. I also use it as part of my sleep system if it is raining out and cover from my knees down with it. Total dirt bag and very cheap. Roll up you pants if you need to. But then again if I am wearing one it is below 60F and I am wearing my wool socks and Chacos so I don't worry about my feet getting wet.Aug 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm #2013192
@drusillaLocale: Wild Wild West
Valerie it sounds more like a layering problem to me. If you were shivering then you might not have had enough layers to rely on. The rain gear layer is only the outer part of your clothing system wheather or not you use a cuben rain skirt, plastic bag or rain pants it's all about what you are wearing from the skin out. And carrying an umbrella (lightweight of course) and using it to protect yourself from being soaked works great if the wind is not too bad. I use one down here cause the temps are usually pretty warm and rainwear is like a sauna, and if its really pouring I'll use the zpacks rain kilt and just let my lower legs and feet get wet, storms don't last that long here and my nylon pants dry out quickly. When I'm in the mountains above 8,000 I always have some sort of long underwear, silk or wool to get into in case it gets below 40 degrees, along with a warmer jacket or coat. I can always change if the weather gets better or after I warm up. I had a friend in the Mogollon Rim area that liked to hike in light smart wool leggings and running shorts. He looked kinda funny (the leggings were purple) but it was a pretty good system for him, if the leggings got wet he was still warm.Aug 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm #2013195
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
If rain pants are too warm, try wind pants. They will get wet but they will still keep you warm, just not as warm as rain pants. They are somewhat water resistant so when they do wet out your body heat will warm up the moisture without having fresh, cold water flowing through freely.Aug 7, 2013 at 12:09 am #2013205
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
"Am I some kind of idiot, or do others feel/act the same way?"
I don't think you're an idiot at all, Rick. My experience is that in the Appalachians, in the summertime, it is very rare that I have ever needed true rain protection, especially for my legs. It's generally warm enough that I can simply get wet and dry out later– either in camp or on the move when it stops raining.
In general, I find that the west coast ranges are more exposed and less humid, so there is a greater chance that even summer rainstorms can be accompanied by colder (and more sustained) winds and colder air temps. Just my experience, and it only applies to the summertime.
Sorry to the OP if we've hijacked your thread a little bit…
As far as rainskirts go, I've never tried one, but it seems like an easy enough thing that you could make out of a trash bag and try out for yourself. IMHO, just give it a whirl and see if you like it. If so, then make a permanent one for yourself… easy as that :)!Aug 7, 2013 at 8:15 am #2013235
@brianleLocale: Pacific NW
I like rain skirts, or sometimes a poncho which is sort of like a short-sleeved rain jacket plus pack cover plus rain skirt all rolled into one unit (that can also serve as a somewhat minimal shelter …).
I've layered a very light wind skirt with rain chaps a time or two, because a wind skirt can be frustrating to use when there's significant wind. The wind sort of blows the skirt open and up; you can try to connect the bottom of the skirt wrap (depending on which skirt you have) but this can be a PITA and/or make it harder to walk if you snug it up enough against the wind.
So if it's cold and windy, my preference is rain chaps or no lower body rain cover. Still, on long trips when I've had the wind skirt, I still put it on when it's cold + wet + windy. So long as you accept that it's going to flap open some, it does help.
In less windy conditions it's great — the concept is excellent IMO. Keep the upper parts of the legs warm and you've got most of the value IMO of rain pants, while allowing for ventilation with a piece of gear that's much easier & faster to put on and take off.
I've used the Packa, which hangs pretty long and so has some rain skirt effect (rain mini-skirt built in? :-)). Overall now I prefer the flexibility of a very light rain jacket plus one or all of Zpacks cuben pack cover and rain skirt if I want that level of coverage.Aug 7, 2013 at 8:38 am #2013243
I wear the zpack kilt and like it. It keeps my butt and thighs dry for minimal wieght. I find myself using it more as protection from a wet ground or dusty ground. I carry it in an outer pocket and whenever I stop I throw it on the ground to sit on. I like to take my shoes and socks off and it gives me a nice dry/clean surface.Aug 8, 2013 at 12:13 am #2013514
This summer i had to improvise. I had an oversized piece of tyvek with me, so i cut a strip off that would be big enough to wrap around my waist and reach down to about ankle length. Then i cut square loop holes along the top edge. EnLightened equipment sent me some large elastic band webbing with my quilt, and weaving one of the bands through the top holes allowed me to fasten the tyvek as an improvised kilt. Under my rain jacket it was enough to keep me dry from the thighs up. It was not a perfect solution, but i liked it enough that i will look for a kilt for next season.
/edited because i was obviously half blind last nightAug 8, 2013 at 5:47 am #2013528
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
I use my polycryo ground cloth. Wrap around twice and knot it at my waste.
I combine with a short rain cape for my top and add windpants depending on the chill factor.
Regarding: "I don't get it?",
Hypothermia is a good reason to wear a rain kilt. It can really reduce heat loss in gusty rain.Aug 8, 2013 at 6:47 am #2013535
I've got the ULA rain kilt and like it when I'm not wearing waterproof footwear.
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