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Rain Jacket Blues


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Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 52 total)
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  • #3812258
    Patrick W
    BPL Member

    @mando12

    Over the last several years I’ve tried various 2 and 3 ply rain jackets.  Currently using one made of pertex. I’m ok walking in warm rain, but when I want to be dry, I want a rain jacket that keeps me dry.  Haven’t found one.  Never tried anything above $500 or weighs more than 11 oz.  Everything I’ve tried wets out in just a few hours.   Not from sweat, from rain.  I treat and wash my rain gear with the products that are recommended—still getting wet.  I’d be interested in solutions anyone else has found.

    #3812296
    Joey G
    BPL Member

    @joey-green

    I think a lot about rain jackets. Spent a lot of today thinking about them in fact. Have you tried the Montbell Storm Chaser? That’s the one I plan on trying this season.

    #3812318
    Bill Budney
    BPL Member

    @billb

    Locale: Central NYS

    Patrick, somebody wrote an article discussing your questions recently:

    https://backpackinglight.com/rain-wind-jackets-testing-shell-game/

    #3812319
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Four options for keep rain out over an extended time

    1) Shakedry, last I looked, GoreWear still has jackets in a few sizes. Best but baby it.

    2) Columbia Outdry Extreme.  More durable than Shakedry. Not as breathable as Shakedry… about the same as most other WP/B.

    3) Frogg Toggs Ultralight (aka DriDucks. Easily tore but reparable with duct tape.  So/so breathability.

    4) A non breathable rain jacket with mechanical venting or poncho. Longest lasting of the bunch… but you have to manage internal moisture production and deal with water than condensates on the inside when it’s cold.

     

    #3812371
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Silnylon ponchos in combined rain and snow:

    Some condensation, but if we kept moving (especially climbing) we stayed plenty warm. Being wet does not matter, as long as one is warm.

    Cheers

    #3812374
    Patrick W
    BPL Member

    @mando12

    I’ve tried a couple poncho designs, but didn’t like how they perform if there is wind, or undergrowth tight on the trail.   I did have a Montbell Versalite but it wetted out like all others.  They do have a couple of new jackets using super dry tec—not sure what that is but I’ll be watching for reviews.  I’m interested.
    Meanwhile I am leaning toward Mark’s #4.  I’m thinking a DCF shell with mechanical venting.
    The rain jacket bums a ride in the bottom of my pack 90% of the time, but when I want or need to be dry, I really want it to work.  And be UL.

    #3812404
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    MontBell Super Dry-Tec:  My guess is it’s just a reformulation, because of the ban on “forever chemicals”, including WPB membranes like ePTFE.

    See here and here for more info.

    So similar to Gore moving from ePTFE to ePE, Super Dry-Tec is probably their in-house PFC-free WPB fabric.  My take:  I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting something revolutionary.

    #3812413
    Bob Shuff
    BPL Member

    @slbear

    Locale: SoCal

    The new formulations will require more cleaning to keep the DWR working. Gore suggests you wash, dry and keep the dry new items in the dryer for 20 minutes on medium heat. They expect even the mfg, shipping and normal retail handling will deposit oils and other contaminants on the garments before you get them.

    To clarify, the membranes are fine, but it’s the new DWRs that need regular revitalizing.

    if you have an older jacket, then maybe try the DWR spray.

    #3812420
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    Count me among those who have lost faith that DWR can be relied upon with these new eco-friendly formulations.  Don’t get me wrong, I own several rain jackets that rely on DWR, but in any sustained rain they all seem to wet out eventually.  It’s too bad Shakedry is being phased out.

     

    #3812421
    Patrick W
    BPL Member

    @mando12

    Bob, I’ve tried both the wash in dwr product and the spray on.  But I still find every jacket I’ve tried will wet out in several hours.

    #3812425
    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member

    @sbhikes

    Locale: Santa Barbara

    I bought an Exped Pack Poncho UL in the smaller size. I modified the hood so that it doesn’t have a bill (I will wear a cap and the original bill flopped into my face so I couldn’t see) and I cut off the big internal pocket that it packs into. I used a piece of the internal pocket to sew on a stuff sack so it can stuff into itself. Got the weight down to 6.2oz/176g. It has a bubble on the back to accommodate a large backpack with a zipper to close it if you wear it without a backpack underneath. I might figure out if I can remove the zipper. It also is sewn shut along the sides, only allowing ventilation through the “sleeves”, so maybe less flappy in wind. It’s very large for me (5’3″) and my small pack and walking around town in the rain it worked very well. Looking forward to bringing it to the CDT this summer. I don’t see this ever mentioned in any rain gear discussions and it is different from most ponchos.

    #3812427
    Todd T
    BPL Member

    @texasbb

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Being wet does not matter, as long as one is warm.

    Until one acquiesces to this truth, s/he will never find acceptable rain gear.

    #3812440
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Quickly went through recent WPB jacket reviews after reading this thread and the new DWR coatings definitely do not last as long. However, I remember reading about some Alaskan long trips requiring the long term wear of WPB jackets = caused  them to wet out with the old chemicals though.  Pack wear and abrasion has always been a problem.

    One a recent 3 wk long trip with weekend rain, I’d wear my windshell if possible, saving my WPB (a Montane 777 shell) for when it was absolutely necessary.  Even then I would usually get by with just the hood and the sleeves loosely knotted in front as kind of a “cape” (= no abrasion).  When hiking in real rain however, I’d zip both up with alpha-direct and a baselayer underneath it all, feeling pretty cozy.  In fact had to undo the front WPB and even windshell zip a few times hiking in the rainy morning until the sun came out.  I was cozy enough to think more rain wouldn’t be a problem (i.e. far less sun), though the trip itself would be less fun.

    Read where some of the cottage UL WPB rain jackets fit loose while my 777 is snug.  May think about one of those when the 777 gives up the ghost, but that adds a little more to my windshell weight.

    Still, until the DWR or WPB tech catches up, maybe an impermeable rain shell is the answer?  Along with a windshell, something high performing for cold/wet (silpoly or, more “niche” due to total impermeability, DCF options) … vs a discount store poncho for warm/wet.

    #3812441
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Looking into this further, ran into a gear list from a well known thru hiker who just finished New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail and used a Yamatomichi seemingly loose jacket of some sort (“All Weather”) made of Pertex Shield Air fabric continuously in that rain.  Looking at the manufacturer ma website the fabric is durable but does not retain heat.  Apparently the fabric structure allows air flow through it.

    The water repellency isn’t long lasting, but maybe breathable enough to allow serious hiking with less sweating?

    Also ran into some reviews of Rab’s Phantom pullover at about 3 oz in WPB Pertex Shield 2.5, very minimal features but stretch fabric. Users say it’s great as an emergency shell with some buying a one size for summer and a larger one for winter to layer a puffy underneath.  Pretty slim fit, but if people are buying two…

    Just some ideas but maybe they’ll work for some.

    #3812442
    David D
    BPL Member

    @ddf

    I almost went for the Exped poncho last year but it being sewn shut on the sides is going to make it a lot hotter, so I went for the Sea to Summit poncho tarp at 6.5oz but gave up sleeves in the bargain, which I’m fine with but I could see people preferring sleeves up where winds are high above treeline

    I bought one of these cheapo things as a proof of concept to see if I’d like the Exped type design but I was just way too hot in it (but I run hot)

    #3812447
    Terran Terran
    BPL Member

    @terran

    Hike naked. Your clothes won’t get wet.

    #3812448
    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member

    @kbabione

    Locale: Pennsylvania

    @Patrick W – I’m sure the rest of BPL is sick of me repeating this, but I’m a huge fan of The Packa.  For me it provides the best features of a poncho and a rain jacket – and has huge pit zips to boot.  He has multiple fabric options from which to choose.  Does it wet through in a continual downpour?  I actually don’t know – I generate so much sweat when hiking in any rain jacket that it’s hard to tell!

    One other thing I really love about The Packa is that I can put it on in “pack cover” mode if it looks like rain and tuck it in around the pack.  If it starts to rain I can put my arms through the sleeves and zip it up while walking (while my other hiking buddies stop, take off their packs, pull out their jackets, put them on, and then pull their packs back on).  Then, when it stops 5 minutes later, they reverse the process while I simply pull my arms out and tuck it in behind me while walking.

    Oh yeah…And the cost is reasonable.

    #3812449
    bradmacmt
    BPL Member

    @bradmacmt

    Locale: montana

    The Packa looks great – all the benefits of a poncho, none of the detriments.

    #3812450
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    Kevin,

    Do you have the version that uses 40d breathable fabric, or one of the lighter Sil/PU non-breathable fabric versions?    In what region of the US (or the world) do you backpack with it most often?

     

     

    #3812471
    Bill Budney
    BPL Member

    @billb

    Locale: Central NYS

    Kevin: I think that many of us are Packa-curious, but we pause at the weight, and maybe a bit of complexity about which size to choose, especially if we use more than one pack. The Packa’s price is at the top end for ponchos and non-WPB stuff, while their WPB fabric doesn’t appear to be all that breathable. Perhaps the price is reasonable for the sophistication of the garment, but it may not be an easy impulse purchase just to experiment with it.

    Then there is Andrew Skurka, who tried it and didn’t love it. Shrug… he is a special kind of guy, and I don’t automatically assume that my experiences will even remotely resemble his.

    So… I think it is helpful when you do discuss it. I know that the maker (Eddie/CedarTree) checks in here on occasion. That’s good, too.

    #3812476
    Paul S
    BPL Member

    @pula58

    DWR should be called NDWR:  Non-Durable Water Repellent!  ;-)

    #3812487
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    How to use the Packa, from Cedar Tree web site, to illustrate what Kevin wrote:

    (Photo from ThePacka web site, presume it’s Eddie of Cedar Tree, hope he doesn’t mind.)

    Cheers

     

    #3812488
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    WPB rain jackets are not waterproof, nor are they breathable. It’s a common topic here on BPL.

    Caffin has the best solution — lots of venting with a poncho. There are smaller ponchos for those windy and brush filled terrain, like the zPack poncho/groundsheet. Using it as a ground sheet isn’t a good idea of course. It has been my goto rain gear since around 2011.

    The poncho is pretty small and barely fits over my larger McHale pack. It is made from DCF and doesn’t catch on brush like other woven materials. Catclaw thorns usually just slide over the material. As a negative, the arms are pretty open, but I don’t use trekking poles, so I just tuck my arms inside in cold rain. Also it is short, and in really cold weather I wear a DCF kilt or DCF chaps.

    Edit to add: mine weighs 4.09 oz. I think the newer ones are a little heavier with a belt and perhaps larger dimensions.

    (above on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania)

     

    (above on the Buckeye Trail in Ohio)

     

    Below is a picture from the zPack website:

    Another good thing about it happened many years ago. My wife and I were hiking in the foothills of Palm Springs and rain was in the forecast. She asked me to please not bring the poncho because it looks like a trash bag. I didn’t listen to her. When we got to the end of the trail, we decided to take a loop through the downtown corridor. Looking at the poncho she refused to walk with me and crossed to the other side of the street.

    So I hiked alone. Then people started stopping me. She was curious and crossed back after a mile or so.

    “Why are all these people stopping you and talking to you?” she asked.

    “They are giving me money.”

    “Why?”

    “I don’t know. Perhaps they think I’m homeless.”

    “You aren’t accepting the money are you?”

    “Yes, I am. I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”

    “How much money?”

    “Around $50”

    “Oh, take me to lunch.”

    “Nope. You were too embarrassed to walk with me.”

    ;-)

    #3812490
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    All this has got me wondering: why are ponchos so long? Or so wide?

    In solid rain my legs get wet anyhow, so the extra length seems useless. OK, maybe the length (and width) comes from the idea that the poncho can become a mini-tarp or a groundsheet, but does it have to be that way?

    I even wear a simple poncho around the farm sometimes. Not for farm work, just for simple things like going from the house to the barn. (We have had a lot of rain recently.) And it seems to me that I would be as well off with my wide-brimmed bush hat (like a Sunday Afternoon special) with a silnylon ‘poncho’ over the hat and down to my waist, or maybe even shorter. Might not need sleeves. The hood would be big enough to fit over the hat. My head and shoulders would stay dry.

    Anyone ever tried anything like this?

    Cheers

    #3812501
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I’ve never wetted out my Rab Demand three ply Event jacket. I don’t think it’s made anymore. granted, in the Sierra, if it’s raining at altitude it’s cool or cold. So sweating out isn’t an issue. In winter when it’s snowing of course it won’t wet out. thunderstorms  are often short lived, so no issue there. But I’ve been out in all day  rains and never had this piece fail me. Perhaps at the shoulders…I can’t really recall. And so despite the logic of  a poncho–and it may as well be waterproof and not ‘breatheable’,  given the air flow it allows–despite this, I never tried one. I’ve seen hikers struggling with them blowing in winds and snagging on vegetation. It put me  off.

     

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