Nov 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm #1282290
@addiebedfordLocale: MontanaNov 23, 2011 at 4:40 am #1804717
I didn't notice any mention of an umbrella and a windshirt… a combination that we have found to be exceptionally effective in conditions where it isn't windy.Nov 23, 2011 at 8:16 am #1804777
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
You're right, in that an umbrella could well fit into this review. I didn't include it because they're known quantities and a review wouldn't necessarily provide much illumination, and I was rather certain that given the brush down low and winds up high that predominate around here I wouldn't be able to provide an especially representative review.Nov 23, 2011 at 8:39 am #1804787
@dannymilksLocale: SF Bay Area
Hey Dave – I always look forward to any article, and now SOTMR, written by you. Both your writing style and photographs always made for an excellent read. BPL is lucky to have you on board.Nov 23, 2011 at 10:38 am #1804838
Well done! Always a good topic for further study. Was interesting to reflect upon the pre-WPB era and how it did okay.Nov 23, 2011 at 10:47 am #1804840
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
Thanks for taking this on. I look forward to the next installment.
If the temperature is cold enough (below 40F or so), I've had good luck with Paramo gear. I have their Quito jacket that weighs 17 ounces. That seems heavy. But, it has a microfleece liner. So it replaces a rain jacket, windshirt, and mid layer. As it lacks a membrane and has around 5 cfm of air permeability, it is far more breathable than conventional wp/b raingear.
I haven't tried one, but they now have a "liner only" product, that you could potentially combine with a windshirt to create a "functionally waterproof" system. Or, wear just the liner or just the windshirt as conditions dictate.
In my testing, I've found that the DWR is absolutely critical to making Paramo gear work, as it relies on capillary depression in the microfleece layer to achieve its water resistance. Contamination with dirt, sweat, or detergents will cause it to leak.
To renew the DWR, I first rinse out the washing machine and soap receptacle. Then wash the jacket with a tech wash. Then rinse the jacket and machine again. Then run a fourth cycle with a wash-in DWR product. This might seem like overkill, but I've learned that it takes this kind of meticulous washing to depend on the water resistance.
MikeNov 23, 2011 at 11:12 am #1804850
I'm looking forward to the reviews.
I agree with Damien, umbrellas should be a perfect fit for this topic.Nov 23, 2011 at 11:22 am #1804856
Stephenson's Warmlite has a SilNylon Poncho $54 for standard, $63 with backpack extension. Made to your measured length, color options. My poncho with backpack extension weighs 9.0-oz. I am 5'8" tall.Nov 23, 2011 at 11:58 am #1804870
@vdealLocale: West Virginia
Since this article is about "rainwear" I don't think umbrellas should be included because you don't wear them. If we're talking raingear then maybe. Of course rainwear could include rainhats and gaiters also along with rain gloves.Nov 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm #1804880
This is going to be a fun Series!Nov 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm #1804939
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Good to see ponchos and other alternatives included. Umbrellas should included and they are no more a "known" than any other gear, with construction, materials, and weight making for pros and cons to be considered. I would add rain hats to the mix as well.Nov 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm #1805054
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Oh this article is a tease, Dave! Looking forward to more.Nov 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm #1805059
I have to concur..
Umbrellas are useful when used strategically..
They are alternative rainwear/gear..
I have no pictures of their greatest use which is; taking a dump in driving rain under an umbrella is a sublime experience akin to seeing a pink unicorn.
The ability to take "all day" if neccesary to acomplish this neccesary task in comfort by simply popping open an umbrella is priceless.
No.. an umbrella will not keep you dry.
Yes.. an umbrella will free you from clautrophobic, myopia inducing hoods that sound like the inside of a drum when the hail starts.
Need to get something out of your pack in the rain.. Umbrella.
Need a bit of shelter from the wind on a ridgetop.. umbrella.
People that tell you trails like the AT will destroy your umbrella are wrong.
Yea, the wind will on occasion pop your chrome down inside out but they can take it.
A rain jacket and poncho are practical solutions or rather attempts to deal with the physical aspects of water falling from the sky.
A trekking umbrella addresses the psychological aspect of walking in the rain and enjoying the experience.
Either way you get wet.
.Nov 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm #1805081
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
Is any mention going to be made of the jacket + pants Driducks? I see the poncho, but the Driducks missed the WPB SOTM, and it looks like they're getting a miss here, too. I can read reader reviews, but I'd like to see them in a head-to-head comparison.Nov 23, 2011 at 11:55 pm #1805097
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Yeah, the Ducks should have been in the breathable membrane test. I know that BPL has limited resources, but something so common to UL gear lists as DriDucks should have been included,Nov 24, 2011 at 2:41 am #1805111
nmNov 24, 2011 at 8:30 am #1805154
+1. I know they aren't alternative (essentially a traditional rain suit, but since they were missed, it'd be nice ot see them compared head-to-head.Nov 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm #1805309
@skeetsLocale: Melbourne, Australia
re driducks – agree that they are light and start off as waterproof, but in the bush in Australia and NZ, the rubber material tends to catch and snag on our scrub (teatree, gorse, blackberry, numerous other spiky plants I can't name but know all too well, etc), and as a result quickly leads to tears the outer, resulting in leaks. WPB materials such as Event, goretex, dryplus or any plastic material etc are generally better options, here at least, as the smoother surfaces don't catch and tear. I destroyed my driducks pants this way in a single day of heay scrub bashing, whereas some cheapo nylons were still going strong after weeks of bashing through fire re-growth, blackberries, NZ gorse, and Tassie scrub on river edges.
re ponchos – one problem that most reviewers don't often discuss is that you need to take it off to set it up as a tarp for the night. If raining, you get freshly wet just before bedding down, which is not optimal. The problem that no absolutely one discusses is that some more mature gentlemen need to get up make one or more toilet trips during the night, and if your water proof is your tarp, you'll get wet each time without separate rain gear of some sort. sorry to mention the unmentionable for some of the older guys.Nov 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm #1805312
@umnakLocale: Southeast AlaskaNov 25, 2011 at 12:31 am #1805321
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I have been considering cutting some rain "shorts" for those times where I don't mind my legs getting wet but don't my thighs/crotch to get wet.Nov 25, 2011 at 5:51 am #1805341
@annapurnaNov 25, 2011 at 9:17 am #1805394
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Matt is correct regarding the pros and cons of the umbrella.
I've used an umbrella for years on the PCT and the CT. They excel during that light rain that's too much for a windshirt but not enough for full-on rain gear. Even when the full gear must be used, having the brolly over your head means you don't need your rain hood. You'll stay a lot cooler this way, especially when hiking uphill under load (it rarely rains when I'm going down – I think the Trail Gods have it in for me).
Umbrellas and high winds are not friends, but they can be made to play nicely together. The trick is to hold the umbrella canopy very close to your body and use it as a shield while walking into said wind. I usually keep it at or near eye level so I can just peer over the edge of the canopy (must remember where the tips of the ribs are when doing this or risk poking self in eyeball).
Umbrellas are great for closing off one end of a tarp, as Matt's photo shows. They also work nicely to block some of the wind by your stove, although you'll still need your usual windscreen. I've successfully done this on a picnic table in a campground during very breezy conditions.
They are superb for keeping the sun off my noggin in the desert or when hiking extended lengths of open, exposed trail and/or above timberline (insert wind caveat). Failure to remember said caveat cost me one GoLite umbrella very suddenly in the desert. The wind tore the (removeable) canopy off so rapidly that it broke two of the nylon ribs, rendering the umbrella virtually useless, even after replacing the canopy. I put cord loops on both the tip and the handle so I can use my umbrella as a hanging, infinitely adjustable sun screen while resting under a Joshua Tree during the heat of the desert day.
Over the years, my wife has made a variety of different holders for my pack-of-the-moment that allow the umbrella to attach directly to the pack bag below my shoulders and along my spine (I tried the shoulder strap holders and didn't like the results). All of these required me to reduce the diameter of the umbrella's handle grip – those rubbery knobs so popular these days are terrible – so it is only slightly larger than the umbrella shaft in order to fit down into the lower attachment point. The long wooden handles, being smooth, work best. I just saw off the "J" at the bottom. She also adds one or more velcro loops at or near the top of the pack to secure the upper shaft and so keep the whole thing from just tipping off to one side. These modifications allow for true hands-free use of my umbrella so I can use my trekking poles while hiking.
The downside of such a mounting behind my back is that I have to remove my pack to remove or lower the umbrella. This can be frustrating and time-consuming if faced with a lot of intermittent overhanging branches. Getting careless or rushing during this process can lead to bent or broken ribs. If it's going to be windy or brushy, I don't mount the umbrella and just carry it in my hand.Nov 25, 2011 at 10:39 am #1805415
yeah i agree, bear in mind some people are just totally hell bent on saving weight at the expense of practicality. i see people from overseas coming to nz using gear they use overseas which doesnt do the job here, poncho's and tarps dont keep the rain out in our regularly stormy windy cold conditions. softshells dont keep out our heavy rainNov 25, 2011 at 11:41 am #1805426
nonsense … to say that all these UL solutions wont work in any environment is BPL blasphemy … you have BPLers putting down your lack of skills in using UL rain gear in hurricanes … as we all know that no environment is a tough and wet as cali ;)Nov 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm #1805492
The same UL gear works in California, Oregon, Washington, New mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
I might have been born in California but i have hiked across all those states using UL techniques and gear in the past three years.
I have not been to New Zealand but several hikers I met during my hikes live there and use the same techniques and gear as me.
Does the rain come up from the ground in New Zealand or something? Maybe my kiwi friends forgot to tell me that!
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