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Rain Gear Recommendations


Jeremy
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We'll shelve the jokes for now about how wet Seattle can get (I know, I know), but after some playful ribbing by folks in the PNW I have decided to come out of my fair weather cocoon and deal with the elements. But by golly, I plan to be dry.

 

So for the more seasoned individuals on the trail, what is the best thing to wear out on the wet trail? I've been surfing the REI outlet and saw some good waterproof (but breathable?) jackets, but there are sooo many to choose from.

 

So if you have something you completely love, testify! Please. I'm lost in the woods here.

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I have three jackets. The LL Bean Stoway Rain Jacket is a very good one and real Gore-Tex is rare at this price. Backpacker magazine also gave it a pretty good writeup. It keeps me dry in major downpours and stows into its own pocket for packablility. It also comes with the legendary LL Bean warranty.

 

My wife and I each have this Marmot Precip rain parka, which at $79 is great price for a waterproof, breathable jacket. It's lighter and packs smaller than the LL Bean, so I tend to bring it with me a lot more often. Similar to the LL Bean as it stores in its own pocket. It's not Gore-Tex, but rather Marmot's prorietary waterproof/breathable membrane. I find that the material isn't as breathable as Gore-Tex, but it does have ample pit zips that help ventilate when you are active. The pockets are designed so you can wear it with a pack and still access the contents.

 

My third is a 3 layer, Marmot Gore-Tex shell parka. It's too heavy for packing, so I use it for skiing in bad weather. I can't find a link to it anwhere, but it keeps me dry in very wet weather.

 

Some things to look for are taped seems, a regular hood (not a fold into the collar job) and ample ventilation. Pit zips are very nice to have. No matter how breathable the jacket is, if you are doing some strenuous hiking, you'll need additional ventilation and the pit zips are ideal for this.

 

A jacket that packs into its own pocket is also a nice feature.

Edited by briansnat
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After experimenting with several different jackets, and looking at some very expensive options, I have to say that my favorite rain gear is an umbrella.

 

Umbrella's a very cheap, you don't have to spend $100 on goretex or any other new-fangled material that you kids like.

 

Umbrellas are (can be) very compact and light, much more than almost any rain gear.

 

Umbrellas will not only keep you dry, but you can hold them over your pack, too.. and over the cache as you open and sign the log.

 

Umbrellas don't have the "breathing" problem that plagues much rain gear.

 

You don't have to take off your pack or any other gear before you use an umbrella.

 

The main disadvantage in my opinion is that it requires the use of one of your hands. Also, in strong, blowing wind, an umbrella doesn't always keep the rain off you.

 

In general, in my experience, I've much preferred to use an umbrella over rain gear.

 

Jamie

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After experimenting with several different jackets, and looking at some very expensive options, I have to say that my favorite rain gear is an umbrella.

 

Umbrella's a very cheap, you don't have to spend $100 on goretex or any other new-fangled material that you kids like.

 

Umbrellas are (can be) very compact and light, much more than almost any rain gear.

 

Umbrellas will not only keep you dry, but you can hold them over your pack, too.. and over the cache as you open and sign the log.

 

Umbrellas don't have the "breathing" problem that plagues much rain gear.

 

You don't have to take off your pack or any other gear before you use an umbrella.

 

The main disadvantage in my opinion is that it requires the use of one of your hands. Also, in strong, blowing wind, an umbrella doesn't always keep the rain off you.

 

In general, in my experience, I've much preferred to use an umbrella over rain gear.

 

Jamie

They catch on trees and don't work well in the wind though.

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There are two theories to dealing with rain, and it all depends on what you are doing and how you want to feel.

 

DRY

 

Using a waterproof layer to keep the moisture out. The base of this is a 'wicking' underwear that will keep your own sweat off your body, a mid layer to keep you warm that allows air and moisutre to freely pass like fleece, and then a waterproof top layer like Gore-tex or other similar material.

 

On your legs, if you can, go with shorts. If too cold, a synthetic shell over a very light poly tight or poly underwear will work.

 

This is the best method in colder weather as you can vary the middle layer enough to keep from sweating. Sweat is the real problem as you can get just as soaked by your own sweat as the rain itself.

 

Also think abut your head. I love the Outdoor Research wide brim hat as it is warm, waterproof, and the wide 360 degree brim will keep water from going down your neck as you look, bend, etc... I hate hoods for the 'blinder' effect.

 

WET

 

Like a wet suit, provide a close fitting layer on the skin to heat up and retain that heat. A long polypro underwear does this well. Then, layer on top what is needed to stay warm. The idea is that you allow the water to get in, but the heat does not get out. I like this method in the warm weather as it is nearly impossible to keep dry and not create a sauna-like situation.

 

On the legs, synthetic shorts are the popular choice. I will either do a bathing suit type with a mesh liner (although it is a short) or a aynthetic boxer under a synthetic short.

 

In either case, AVOID cotton as wet cotton is very heavy, and provides NO insulation value.

 

Hope that helps.

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and they require another hand to hold them -

 

stick in right hand

 

gps in left hand

 

where does the umbrella go?

 

--

 

my favorite wet gear is the old three piece yellow rain suit - and they are cheap too!!

 

pants - jackt - hat - (think Gortons) :)

Edited by CompuCash
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and they require another hand to hold them -

 

stick in right hand

 

gps in left hand

 

where does the umbrella go?

 

--

 

my favorite wet gear is the old three piece yellow rain suit - and they are cheap too!!

 

pants - jackt - hat - (think Gortons) :)

Great for fishing. But not so good for hiking.

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my favorite wet gear is the old three piece yellow rain suit - and they are cheap too!!

 

pants - jackt - hat - (think Gortons) 

 

I find that if I wear non breathable rainwear like that, I'm wetter inside from sweat and condensation than I would be if I didn't wear anything.

 

good to know -

 

Have not tried to hike in the yellow suit - has been good for a lot of other stuff tho -

 

hmmm.... but $50 for a rain hat! yikes !!!

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Ooo! Glad somebody else brought this up, as I've been giving it much thought.

 

I'm torn between something in a DrizaBone (very cool, would look unbearably slick on Harrison Ford, will make me look even more like a bag lady off her meds), or some kind of traditional nautical yellow slicker.

 

Or maybe something in that smelly oilcloth stuff.

 

Or a very large hat.

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my favorite wet gear is the old three piece yellow rain suit - and they are cheap too!!

 

pants - jackt - hat - (think Gortons) 

 

I find that if I wear non breathable rainwear like that, I'm wetter inside from sweat and condensation than I would be if I didn't wear anything.

 

good to know -

 

Have not tried to hike in the yellow suit - has been good for a lot of other stuff tho -

 

hmmm.... but $50 for a rain hat! yikes !!!

70 cdn. but worth every penny :)

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Umbrellas dont keep your legs dry, or your rear end, or your knees-

Hard to bushwack with one in your hand...

Poking your caching partners in the eyes is never liked...

 

but $50 for a rain hat! yikes !!!

 

I feal the most useful thing to have is a good Gortex hat- whatever your favorite style of hat, you can probably find a gortex one. They are not cheap- but if you do anything outdoors that you might get rained on (golf,fishing,hiking,biking,canoing,etc) - having a good hat is a must.

 

I prefer light weight gortex jackets for most of the year, but for the bad stuff in spring and fall when warmth comes into play- I find

aa Filson Coat like this is the way to go. But, unfortunately, youll need to have the Liner

 

I was graced by my grandfather, who's similar but well worn jacket was left to me when he passed away. I couldnt afford to replace it, thats for sure!

 

Oh, and a good durable gortex pant or bib is great for when you are out in the woods, or feilds etc during or after a rain. I go thru lots of these, so any brand you find would work. I get the camo hunting style, but I use them for that more, so....

Edited by Pto
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Timely topic as I was going to do some micros I can walk to from home. It is blustery and a bit wet here today. Let us not tell everyone.. that this is the most beautiful place in the USA to live .. let them think it is wet all the time.

 

Does the gear have enough pockets.. can you carry everything you might need for an hour walk or dayhike.

 

Access to the pockets easy or cumbersome. Got a jacket once worked absolutely great until.... I put on a daypack.

 

If your going to use your fav daypack or more.. take that with you when you try on the gear.

 

That said...

 

LL Bean is by far my favorite outdoors store for clothing, packs and assorted camping accessories. REI since it being local for gotta have now!

 

LL Bean imho is better quality and a huge thing to consider... many of their clothing comes in tall sizes. Nothing worse than a waist length jacket that is too short.

 

I have shopped both flagship stores for these guys. Salespeople with knowledge is pretty darn good at both. My edge still goes to LL Bean here too. I darn sure wish LL Bean was closer. That is a very long drive to drop in.

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Does the gear have enough pockets.. can you carry everything you might need for an hour walk or dayhike.

 

I find that most of the hunting lines of waterproof gear are very well set up with pockets, zippers, and easy access to these. Hunters like to carry all kinds of crazy stuff (TP is a must:) )

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I like to rough it. My kangaroo-skin bush hat is my main, all weather, apparel. For heavy rain, I add a light gortex-style jacket, and in cold weather, pants of a similiar style and gortex boots.

 

Most of the time I just get wet or find a temporary shelter. One of my favorite things to do is hike in the woods in the rain. If I can find some kind of shelter, I like to set up a rustic "campsite" and play like I'm lost in the woods, stuck in a life threatening storm. :):D

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I'll have to dig up a link for my raingear. I got it from EMS and paid under $100 for the complete set. I'll give you a few recommendations from experience. The first and most important. Buy some repair tape. You will tear it at some point, thorns tend to put holes in raingear faster then a hot knife cuts butter.

 

Another important feature. If you like to wear a hat when hiking, make sure the hood is big enough to cover the bill of your hat. This is something I never thought about until I saw the feature. To me, this is easily worth some extra money.

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I like to rough it.  My kangaroo-skin bush hat is my main, all weather, apparel.  For heavy rain, I add a light gortex-style jacket, and in cold weather, pants of a similiar style and gortex boots.

 

Most of the time I just get wet or find a temporary shelter.  One of my favorite things to do is hike in the woods in the rain.  If I can find some kind of shelter, I like to set up a rustic "campsite" and play like I'm lost in the woods, stuck in a life threatening storm.  :)  :D

So I’ve heard B)

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Wow. Great suggestions! I especially appreciate Dukie 'n' Dad's thorough response.

 

I currently have an REI waterproof stowaway jacket (pics in my log for Bandera Mountain, but after some mild exertion I created my own rainforest inside it. You're a tourist if you have an umbrella in Seattle, so that's out too :) It also didn't rain on Bandera mountain that day, but the condensation on the trees made me thoroughly wet anyway, so another case against umbrellas.

 

The fleece concept is a good idea. I'll have to head over to REI and check out the jackets. I also wear gaiters with my shorts to keep the mud off my legs (I have them in the picture as well).

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I have worked out in the rain for many years. I've also hiked in thunder storms. After 20 odd years of looking for the right rain gear I've just given up. I work or hike in whatever I'm wearing that day and change into dry clothes in my car or office as soon as I'm done.

 

I know it's not what you're looking for but it's the best solution I've found.

Edited by Harrald
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works for me:

 

GLAD® Handle-Tie® Bags have extra-strong, built-in handles to make garbage collection more easy and convenient. GLAD® Trash Bags are always strong and sturdy. Handle-Tie® bags are easy to lift and carry, so you can transport even the fullest bag as easy as 1-2-3:

 

Tie the two handles.

Grab bag by handles.

Toss the secure bag into the garbage.

 

GLAD® Handle-Tie® bags are available in many types and sizes

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I work or hike in whatever I'm wearing that day and change into dry clothes in my car or office as soon as I'm done.

I pretty much did the same thing until I caught myself on Bandera mountain wondering if I made a mistake. Due to the varying conditions I could have easily had hypothermia within a few hours.

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Jeremy,

 

Replace the cotton with synthetic items from your hat to your socks and I think you will be amazed at how wet you can get and not feel cold. Assuming it isn't already frigid conditions, and then you really do need a moisture barrier, but that is also the time where sweating inside is less of an issue.

 

Layers. I rather wear 3 or 4 very thin layers than 1 or two thick ones so that I can take something off if I am warm.

 

Also, Gold Bond powder in the crotch and feet before you dress can help a lot in keeping the areas from getting uncomfortable with moisture.

 

And to really freak out the masses.... I have found that I prefer the 'indian' method of 'wiping' far superior to the TP method of westerners in the woods. 1, you don't have the disposal issue, and 2, you feel cleaner. Just be sure you know which water bottle is used for what... (:))

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I work or hike in whatever I'm wearing that day and change into dry clothes in my car or office as soon as I'm done.

I pretty much did the same thing until I caught myself on Bandera mountain wondering if I made a mistake. Due to the varying conditions I could have easily had hypothermia within a few hours.

That's where fleece (or wool) comes in handy. Check Sierra Trading Post for good prices on fleece clothing. And a decent, waterproof/breathable shell that fits easily in your pack. Breathability is key for activewear. Non breathable rainwear is OK for sitting in a boat fisihing, or watching a football game, but thats about it.

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And to really freak out the masses....  I have found that I prefer the 'indian' method of 'wiping' far superior to the TP method of westerners in the woods.  1, you don't have the disposal issue, and 2, you feel cleaner.  Just be sure you know which water bottle is used for what...  (:))

The indian method eh? Could be used in conjunction with Surface Disposal Smearing :D

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check out Eastern Mountain Sports at EMS.com. 100% satisfaction gauranteed on anything you buy. The thunderhead parka is a great jacket. You could also go with the Wildcat Ridge Jacket that also allows for a liner (fleece, softshell, etc.) to zip into the inside for warmth during colder days. Plus, you can also find some good geocaching tools at EMS. Hope this helps. I love EMS gear, it's great. They also sell the name brand stuff.

 

There is also another jacket, very inexpensive, not sold at EMS. The RED LEDGE jacket and pants. It is treated with a waterproof membrane. Great service from that company too. Can usually find at an outdoor shop.

 

And don't forget the waterproof footwear. Nothing worse than cold, wet feet.

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I have a set of the Pre-cip for warmer wear, but in cooler temps, I have a TNF Mountain Light Jacket, that I wear over layers. I have a pair of Eddie Bauer GoreTex pants for the lower half, and most importantly, I alway insure that my boots have a GoreTex liner. I'm on my second set of Vasque hiking boots. I've worn them in some fairly heavy weather conditions and my feet stay relatively dry. As others have mentioned, I always look for an attached hood on my jacket, although I like a goretex hat, like the OR in light, non blowing conditions. Everything but the boots are available at REI, as well as most other outdoor outfitters.

Edited by Team Madog
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After experimenting with several different jackets, and looking at some very expensive options, I have to say that my favorite rain gear is an umbrella.

 

Umbrella's a very cheap, you don't have to spend $100 on goretex or any other new-fangled material that you kids like.

 

Umbrellas are (can be) very compact and light, much more than almost any rain gear.

 

Umbrellas will not only keep you dry, but you can hold them over your pack, too.. and over the cache as you open and sign the log.

 

Umbrellas don't have the "breathing" problem that plagues much rain gear.

 

You don't have to take off your pack or any other gear before you use an umbrella.

 

The main disadvantage in my opinion is that it requires the use of one of your hands. Also, in strong, blowing wind, an umbrella doesn't always keep the rain off you.

 

In general, in my experience, I've much preferred to use an umbrella over rain gear.

 

Jamie

They catch on trees and don't work well in the wind though.

Not to mention most NW trails are dripping wet all over, not just from the top. You can very easily become soaked with an umbrella around these parts.

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please- everybody should skip the gore-tex and use oilskin. check out www.filson.com for the BEST in rain protection.

Oilskins require appropriate oiling maintenance or it will degrade very quickly as well as lose it's waterproofness. A properly coated oilskin will also stain anything it touches so make sure to keep it in a bag after it's been dried and not in use.

 

I used to own one and it's great for the outdoors, but the high maintenance made it a real pain to take care of.

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I use a Columbia TitaniumJacket. Pull out the liner it's a rain jacket. Put it in it's a jacket. Get the down liner and it's pretty warm.

 

My old one is 10 years old and I'm not sure it's as waterproof as it used to be but I don't get wet, and I don't worry about rain. It's been used to survey all day in rain and sleet and I come back dry. It's fairly good about branches and the like. Barbed wire though will do them in.

 

Once upon a time they had a pullover version and a jacket version. They may just have the jacker version these days.

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