Advice on picking a rain kilt/skirt

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  • #1328388
    BPL Member


    Locale: Virginia USA

    I made my self a DIY rain kilt and I like it but it was not the best design. I would like to buy one of the cottage offerings but not sure who makes the best one. Ones available are by ULA, MLD, Light Heart Designs, Helium Hiking Equipment or Zpack? Cuban or silinylon?

    Chad “Stick” Poindexter
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast USA

    My choice is for cuben… However, I gotta say I like the older version of the ZPacks rain kilt more than the new version… I am not sure if I am sold on the zipper since I often use mine as a ground cloth too and I figure that the zipper wouldn't do too well in these situations… Granted, I do not have the newer, zippered version, but if I had to replace the one I have now I think I would ask for a custom order, or just buy a length of cuben and make one myself by hemming the edges and installing the shock cord around the waist…

    BPL Member


    Locale: NYC metro

    Hi Chad,

    I'm actually pretty happy with the zippered version. I originally thought I'd prefer the older one (mostly to save weight), and even considered having Joe make me one from lighter cuben material. But I think the heavier fabric is worth it for using as a ground cloth. I don't see any problems with the zipper in that regard. The nice thing about the zipper is that you can adjust the length in the back so when you are hiking it doesn't tear the fabric (for example, when hiking uphill). Does the non-zippered version have a closure at the bottom to keep it from flapping around?

    The zippered version is 1.9 oz, btw.

    Jameson Tisch


    A couple weeks ago I just got a cuben kilt from James at Helium Hiking Equipment. Cheapest one available I believe and darn light. I believe it's 1oz with corner loops to for multipurpose loops. What I like about using Helium Hiking Equipment is that you can tell James whatever you want/need and he'll make it happen (at least in my couple of experiences with him as I have purchased a couple products of his).

    I think it depends on what closure system you want ultimately. My kilt has a simple velcro closure which I like. Simple, easy and works great.

    I would definitely recommend cuben fiber though over silnylon and not just for weight purposes. I find the cuben keeps it's form better and repels the water more whereas silnylon can become clammy and stick to you when saturated. Just my .02

    Theo Diekmann
    BPL Member


    I have the MLD version and like the snap closure. Stays put but will open in case there's a lot of stress on the fabric and hence prevent ripping.
    I haven't used it in the field yet but tried it around town and it seemed to fulfil its purpose.

    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    I have one of the zPacks with Velcro at the bottom of the slit. This is handy because when in difficult terrain if you have to leap, jump, or ever extend your legs the Velcro will give. I think a zipper might cause a fall, unless you get a big baggy one at the bottom.

    One nice thing about Cuben no one mentioned is the fact it looks like a trash bag. Add a thin Cuben poncho, which always looks crinkled (at least mine is), when you walk into town you look worse than a thru-hiker and worse than most homeless people, so no one is going to bother you or talk to you. Sometimes people will stop and give you money. The downside is that you can forget about hitch hiking if you need a ride.

    Ben C
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kentucky

    In addition to being very fashionable for panhandling, cuben makes a good kilt because it has enough stiffness and water resistance to keep it from clinging to your legs when everything gets damp. I have the old Zpacks one with velcro on the waist but no velcro on the slit, and I really wouldn't change it at all.

    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member


    Locale: Santa Barbara

    I have the ULA rain skirt. It works fine. One side has elastic for the waist band. Even if there was a way to remove it, it would be too much trouble to put it back, so if you are looking for a dual purpose skirt, like to function as a ground sheet, this one isn't the one you want.

    Brett Peugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    I just bought some draw string heavy duty garbage bags and a cord lock. I think they cost me about $6. I don't use the rain skirt that much so it lasts a really long time. All i did was cut a 12" slit up from the bottom in the middle of the back. 'nuf said.

    Brian Lewis


    Locale: Pacific NW

    I doubt that many people have more than one manufactured rain skirt, so difficult for anyone to do an in-person comparison. I've got the zpacks cuben, an older one I think, and I like it well enough.

    But as I'm replacing my rain jacket, I've ordered the zpacks "challenger" rain jacket. It comes with an option of making it extra long — so that it in essence builds in a modest rain skirt. I'm going to give this a try. I rarely use rain pants or chaps, so it seems to me that most of the time that I want a rain jacket, I'd like to have my upper legs covered as well.

    I thus foresee less fiddle-factor. Finding the rain skirt to put it on, separately, taking it off separately, putting it away separately, all extra steps. I find that I pretty much never use the rain skirt for anything else (i.e., as a sort of mini-tarp for example). Mine also has a sort of directionality, based on where it wraps together, and depending on the wind direction this can open up. There's also a cord lock for the waist cord, and I have to take care that doesn't end up between my hip and the pack waist belt, or it's uncomfortable.

    I've happily used ponchos, but too often I want sleeves, or I want a jacket that I can wear in town, or I want a coat where I can partially unzip the front for better ventilation control, or I just want to access my phone (on a pack strap) or things in a waist belt pouch.

    I'm hoping that this sort of zip-up cagoule from zpacks will hit the happy zone for me.

    Billy Ray


    Locale: the mountains

    I have a zPacks cuben rain kilt. First time I used it I sat on a rock for a rest break and put a hole in it. Cuben punctures more easily than nylon.


    BPL Member


    Locale: Virginia USA

    Thanks everyone, look Iike I have two company's to pick from that sell Cuban rain skirts. I personally like the older style Zpack offering, I might have to have Joe do a custom one for me.

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