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CT thru – which rain top?


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  • #3718162
    Shawn Bearden
    BPL Member

    @shawnb

    Locale: SE Idaho

    Colorado Trail thru hike with wife ~July 1 to early August. Debating my three options for rain top: Zpacks poncho (~5+ oz), TNF Hyperair (~7+ oz), Arc’teryx Zeta SL (~10+ oz). Thoughts?

    FWIW, other clothing: running shorts, trekking pants, Montbell Versalite rain pants, LS hiking shirt, fleece hoody, Exlite puffy)

    #3718198
    Luke Schmidt
    BPL Member

    @cameron

    Locale: Alaska

    I can’t remember when Monsoon season is in Colorado but check it. I did the CT in late August/Early September and had multiple all day drizzles. A durable rain coat that keeps you drier is well worth a few more oz.

    #3784011
    Mustard Tiger
    Spectator

    @sbpark

    Locale: West Coast

    In Colorado I’ve used a Marmot PreCip, Patagonia Torrentshell, and recently “upgraded” to a lighter Montbell Versatile jacket. You have the pants, why not try the jacket? It’s a nice compromise between waterproofness and weight compared to a lot of other rain jackets. I save my Patagonia Torrentshell for wearing around town, working outside, etc., where weight isn’t an issue and want something a little more beefy and durable than the Versatile.

    #3784026
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I’ve always liked the idea of a poncho but never used one, because of the flapping and catching on branches, etc. Some folks here have devised various belts and straps that help with all that.

    I’m old and out of date. Still, my best rain jacket ever is a Rab three ply event pull over with a half zip down the front. In cold or cool rain, it’s brilliant. It might sweat out in warm rain; I don’t knw,  because I’ve never used it in those conditions. My guess is that this piece of kit is no longer made.

    Personally, I’m happy to add a few ounces to a rain jacket if that makes it more robust, especially over a longer hike where weather is unpredictable.

    #3784088
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    I did the CT mid July to mid Aug in 2020. It did not rain much that year. It will start drizzling and after I put in on – it will go away and by the time I removed it, it may restart again etc. After some time, I just stopped wearing it as it was a pain to put it on and take it off.

    There was one 2 hour window where it rained like crazy sideways rain and winds when nearing a pass. And then there was sun to dry everything. Apart from that – CT was quite dry.

    So, I would go with the poncho because of the ventilation it can provide and the fact that you don’t need heavy duty rain protection on the CT – of course this is from 2020. I remember having to peel away the rain jacket as it was becoming hot while climbing in some instances. Even if you get wet during those mid-afternoon showers, there will be sun by the time you set up camp to dry everything.

    #3784089
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    “Even if you get wet during those mid-afternoon showers, there will be sun by the time you set up camp to dry everything.”

    Thinking that what happened to you while on your hike will also occur on every other person’s hike, even years later, is not wise. I’m just sayin’. But yes, your experience may well be typical and of  course the OP is looking for those who’ve hiked the trail in a similar time frame.

    #3784221
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    No – you are right….take JMT 2018 – I went Aug 23rd to Sep 11.  I had 2 days of 2 hour rains – one with hail etc – afternoon thunderstorms and no sun afterwards. Next day was glorious sun. So, I could dry things out easily. A few people reported daily rain early August JMT 2018 trips. So I lucked out. Then in 2022 – I went on JMT late July – it rained almost every day and sometimes entire night and morning and successive days where drying became an issue.

    The mountains make their own weather.

    Colorado definitely has those afternoon thunderstorms. But a rain pant with a poncho will work great as poncho provides nice air flow.

    Best it to look at current conditions and here is what google search produced:

    “Total rainfall in June in Denver is now 1.81 inches which is 1.51 inches above normal for the first four days of month. When combined with 5.53 inches of rain in May and 4.60 inches of precipitation in January through April, Denver has measured 10.13 inches of precipitation this year. That is the 13th wettest start to the year on record in the city and about 70% of the city’s average annual appreciation which is about 14.50 inches.”

    So maybe a rainy CT this year? Who knows! Will have to research rainfall along the CT route….

    #3784226
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Sorry Murali if I came off as lecturing or pedantic. It’s a bad habit I have! I like to think I’m nicer in person.

    #3784263
    Murali C
    BPL Member

    @mchinnak

    not at all….didn’t give it a second thought…

    #3784266
    Dustin V
    BPL Member

    @dustinv

    Since the UV exposure is so high, it might be worth adding an umbrella, for both sun and rain. Maybe one without metal parts, though.

    #3784281
    Dan
    BPL Member

    @dan-s

    Locale: Colorado

    In your place, of those choices I would bring the Hyperair. The odds are that you will have mostly nice weather with some fast moving storms and also a fair amount of windy weather. The odds of really wet weather don’t justify heavy duty raingear IMO, but be warned that I’m generally the person who brings what will work for 90% of the time, and then I just make do for the other 10%.

    In the Colorado mountains, I find a light wind jacket to be useful during stops and/or around camp in windy conditions, which are pretty common, so the Hyperair would be more versatile for me than the poncho. I usually carry a OR Helium in the front pocket of my pack, and often slip it on every time I stop for a snack and I’m typically wearing it when setting up camp or cooking.

    #3784295
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    I think it’s pretty common to see thunderheads in the afternoon. They usually leave just as quick as they come in. Sun protection may be a bigger issue.

    I agree, a poncho may be handier. Maybe with Frogg Togg shorts. I carry a rain jacket because I already have it and it’s light. Mostly I’m counting on a 4 x 8 tarp to throw over my head for maybe an hour of rain.

    #3784329
    Drew Smith
    BPL Member

    @drewsmith

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Mid-July to mid-August is the classic season for daily late afternoon thunderstorms in the CO mountains. But that pattern is no longer reliable. You could very well encounter all-day storms, or predominantly dry and sunny weather.

    The CT is very well maintained and much of it is above timberline, so snagging a poncho on brush should not be a barrier to using one, if you are so inclined. A poncho – windshirt combo is versatile and effective for this kind of hiking.
    However, my Zpacks poncho is a bit too short in front, my shorts tend to get soaked. If yours fit the same, you might consider adding a rain kilt or modding a tyvek strip to add length.
    Another  strategy to consider is switching to heavier rain gear at Monarch Pass/Salida. Unlike the northern half of the trail, there are few bailout options from there to Durango, and a 50-mile stretch above timberline.

    #3784374
    Jeff L
    BPL Member

    @jlovrencevic

    Outdoor Vitals Tushar rain jacket is light and does really well in a quick storm. Great hood and has pit zips. I agree with other commenters that whatever jacket you decide should double as a windbreaker

    #3784376
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    Last year it rained almost every day, sometimes all day and night, it was a wet one.

    My daughter lives very close to the start of the trail, she just sent a video of flooded streets……again. Plus a tornado warning.

    These conditions have been common all of this spring.

    I used an EE Visp last year and it worked well, I’d definitely lean to the waterproof side of breathability if you can.

    #3784401
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    The tornado warnings are for southeast of the Palmer Divide, away from the trail. Where the mountains meet the plains. Then out towards Elbert to the east. Looks like Denver got a good burst.
    I’m 50 miles southeast of Waterton, it was a bright , sunny day here. It was 85* at Indian Creek on Monday.

     

    #3784428
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    I couldn’t link the pics or video my daughter sent me, but she lives about 15 minutes from the trailhead. Fequent nasty storms with heavy rain and large hail have plagued the area. The tornado watch was until 9:00 pm last night at her location.

    Heres the news link from yesterday.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/news/tornado-watch-9-p-m-13-counties-east-central-colorado/

    #3784442
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    #3784444
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    George W: as to your link: WOW!

    That’s why I suggested early on that a more robust if several ounces heavier rain jacket for a through hike over many days is my choice. Sometimes un-forecast conditions show up midway through a hike.

    #3784448
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    That’s why I don’t hike in Denver.

    #3784479
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    #3784481
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Anything near the trail?

    #3784483
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    I didn’t get any reports today.

    #3784484
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    Sounds like the weather is fine on the trail.

    #3784502
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    It’s pretty nice out there right now.

    No doubt about bringing a warm layer unless you’re a fast packer. Over a months time an all day rain is not out of the question. Winter for summer is not unheard of.

    I have a pair of EE Torrent insulated pants along with some treated light wind pants. I’m having doubts about bringing rain pants. eVent fabric, long side zippers… They’re too stiff and they wear funny. If you lift the knee, the butt pulls down. I’ve found this in many a pair.There’s no stretch.
    They’re nice for sitting in camp. I tend to leave them in the pack. I’ll get my legs wet first. Mostly as long as my pack stays dry inside.

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