Rain jacket for Wa. Pct

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    tom lakner
    BPL Member


    Locale: midwest

    Just wondering if anyone has any input about a rain jacket for a Wa. south-north Pct section hike i'm doing this summer(late July start).
    I'm thinking on using a Dry Ducks top with a snow peak umbrella and a LUL pertex Quantum bottom.
    My question is weather the top would be adequate for this trip.
    Thanks for any answers.

    R Banks
    BPL Member


    Locale: everywhere i guess

    Hey TomL,

    I used a zpacks rain jacket during my thru, but because I had used it since Kennedy meadows I found that the DWR wore off, and I would wet out the jacket. My friends who had just ordered dri Ducks for WA stayed perfectly dry. I had used dri Ducks before and I traded off with them one day to test out of it was really better. I stayed drier (to an extent) and warmer. I am now a huge fan of dri ducks. I used argon wind pants for most of the trail and while they were very useful especially for their weight (1.8oz) I found that once they got wet they stayed wet for a while and made my legs cold. I made a trash bag rain skirt (less than 3oz) and that worked awesome. Kept my thighs and upper legs warm. My lower calves didn't usually get cold.

    Nicholas Meadors
    BPL Member


    I switched to driducks recently, and am very pleased with their breathability. I'm slightly worried about using my jacket as a windbreaker under my pack though, so I bring another wind shirt and rely on the driducks for rain only.

    I also stumbled onto this article:

    and it works really really well for the driducks pants. Solves almost all of the problems I had with them. Most people find they split at the seams when worn as pants anyhow, and the lower legs will get snagged on something and rip rather quickly. Removing the legs below the knees still provides quite a bit of rain protection because of gravity, and they are ridiculously breathable. Annnd I don't have to worry about splitting the seams. Mine cut up in medium weigh in at 2.5oz, and they can be repaired readily with duct tape.

    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Ponnnnnncho! That will keep your pack dry and most of your legs. It could rain a lot— or very little, so be prepared with something you can wear for days. If there are long hours of drizzle and cool high humidity, it will work its way into every crevice. Synthetic rules too.

    Scott S


    Locale: New England

    Driducks should be fine. I used an O2 Rainshield (same material) on my thru, and the same jacket lasted me the entire trail. It will keep you dry, and it breathes better than anything except eVent at less than one tenth the price.

    Stick with the driducks and throw yourself a sendoff party with the extra money you're saving not buying an overpriced jacket.

    Curt Peterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    As as year-round Washington Cascade backpacker, I'm totally fine with just a Dri-Ducks jacket. It's my preferred rain gear by far. Haven't taken a Gore-Tex or eVent jacket on anything but dayhikes or urban walks for years. The Ducks breath well, weigh typically about half as much, and don't turn into soggy, soaked messes in persistent conditions. And they're easily replaceable. Cheap, effective, light. That combination doesn't happen much in the lightweight backpacking world.

    John Mc
    BPL Member


    Locale: PNW

    I'm also a year-round Washington State hiker. I never leave without my Golite umbrella, so I'm glad to see you have plans to bring one. Search the internet and you can find ways to attach it to your pack.
    There's nothing worse then the feel of the rain hitting your face and finding a path down your neck. An umbrella prevents that.

    I've never found a pair of rain pants that truly work. I currently use a Zpack rain kilt and I love it. Sure my ankles will get wet, but I can live with that.

    I know a guy that has done the PCT twice. The first time it rained 20 out of 21 days in Washington. His second trip was the exact opposite… you never know.

    And as Dale said…..Synthetics rule in the rain. For me a nice jacket with around an 80 gram sheet of synthetic insulations works well. Down will get wet.

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