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View Full Version : Umbrella or Rain Gear? NOBO starting May 1st.



Chasebrooklyn
04-20-2017, 17:18
Umbrella or rain gear for NOBO starting May 1st?

I'm doing one or another, not both.

Reasons for or against?

map man
04-20-2017, 19:04
The last two AT section hikes I've done in Georgia and North Carolina have been in May and I went the umbrella route and had no regrets. I don't use trekking poles so having my hands free to hold an umbrella is not an issue. In significant rains (particularly wind driven rains) any rain jacket or pants I have tried have wetted out fairly quickly and don't provide much more warmth than a light wind shirt. If wind gusts are really bad I don't use the umbrella -- I tend to take shelter in conditions like those.

Huli
04-20-2017, 20:16
I am doing SoBo this year, umbrella and wind shirt. The wind shirt is water resistant patagonia Houdini. Just be sure your bottom half has at least fast dry.

swjohnsey
04-21-2017, 06:37
Rain gear is a windproof layer that will keep you alive in a pinch. You will hit cold weather eventually.

bigcranky
04-21-2017, 07:26
I have tried the umbrella, didn't work so well for me.

1. Can't carry an umbrella and use two hiking sticks. I could never get the umbrella to stay put when attached to my shoulder strap.
2. Much of the rain on the trail is violent thunderstorms with high winds, and umbrellas don't do so great in those conditions.

Colter
04-21-2017, 09:53
Rain gear is a much better compromise for me. Protection from rain and wind, warmer when cold, can wear when doing laundry.

ggreaves
04-22-2017, 10:33
Umbrella and your wind jacket will work fine. For the bottom, try a rain kilt. very lightweight and keeps everything ventilated down there.

Trailweaver
04-22-2017, 12:21
There are areas on the trail where you simply couldn't pass through with an umbrella - low hanging branches are gonna snag/tear it. I cannot imagine trying to hike with one & keep my balance, either. Town use, maybe.

Puddlefish
04-22-2017, 13:30
If you can work out a reliable attachment to your pack, the umbrella is awesome. I was able to put the base of the umbrella in the built in strap pocket, and secured it a few inches higher with a bit of stretchy cord and cordlock. Have a backup bit of cord/and cordlock as you'll almost certainly lose one.

Went through the snow in the Smokies with an umbrella and rain shirt. My right arm got soaked, but I was overall warm.

I have glasses, so my option in even a light mist is a wide brimmed hat, or an umbrella. The hat is fine, but can be really hot, the umbrella is really quite comfortable on warmer days, and even just for the sun. I boil in rain jackets.

dmax
04-22-2017, 13:45
Easy to go through tight places with an umbrella. There is a button on them that will collapse the umbrella. Then it's only as wide as your pack and just a hair higher than you are. .. I attach mine with shock cord. I walk hands free all day. .. Making a set up for the seat on my kayak so I can attach one on it too.... A light weight rain jacket is nice to have to supplement the system. As others have mentioned, a jacket is just part of a system......

10-K
04-23-2017, 12:08
For a May 1 start I'd take the umbrella. For a March-April start I'd take rain gear.

Umbrellas are really handy to have. You don't really-really need rain gear by mid-June since you're basically getting a free shower and an umbrella is plenty.

Chasebrooklyn
04-26-2017, 11:20
You people just can't make up your minds. :)

illabelle
04-26-2017, 11:51
You people just can't make up your minds. :)

And that's why we say HYOH. There's no "right" or "best" way. There's only the way you choose.

I didn't comment earlier because I haven't had a lot of experience with my umbrella. We took umbrellas when we went through the Whites last July, mainly for shade above treeline. They were very helpful on a couple of days when the wind was light enough to use them. So it really depends on where, and when. If, for example, I were hiking through the Smokies on the AT in summer, I'd DEFINITELY use the umbrella. In that case, not so much for shade as for protection from rain when a rainjacket would be unbearably hot.

BuckeyeBill
04-26-2017, 15:45
I use a Packa for rain protection. It eliminates buying a Rain Jacket and Pack Cover. YMMV.

JPritch
04-26-2017, 17:53
I spent a week on the AT in GA/NC first week in April during those monsoons. Had Frogg Toggs, still got soaked (I guess from sweat?). Talked to a few people with that expensive OR Helium jacket, they wetted out too. Saw one guy with an umbrella, asked him about his experience, and he highly recommended it.

I'm going with a windbreaker and umbrella next time I section. I can also use my windbreaker during light rain or cold breezy conditions. I can actually hike in it and not overheat.

Drapac
08-28-2017, 05:23
Try the Packa. It was great on my thru hike this year

Traveler
08-28-2017, 07:09
Umbrellas and rain gear serve one common goal but two different functions. The umbrella shields ones head and shoulders from rain (more when conditions are perfect) gust driven rain will be problematic. Rain gear shields one from rain body wide (presuming rain pants or kilt are used) and keep the body warm even when the body is wet from weather or sweat.

While umbrellas are handy with showers and "nuisance rain" at 3,000 feet hypothermia is a very real concern with a blowing sheet rain, temperatures sliding through the 50's, and all you have is an umbrella that has to face into wind with significant and sudden directional changes. I will sometimes use both an umbrella and pack rain gear with the weight penalty being rather low however, if faces the the either/or choice I will always go with rain gear. Hypothermia can be a problem at 60 degrees when you are wet and shelter is scarce, umbrellas won't do a lot for you in that circumstance.

Click
08-28-2017, 13:41
For two weeks I've been reading the "Flossie & Gray Squirrel" journal. They have umbrellas fastened to their pack - my guess is that 75% of the time the umbrellas worked fine for mist and non-windy rain. They also had rain gear on top with shorts/skirt on the bottom for the other 25% of the time. They have been happy with the set up.

Deadeye
08-28-2017, 14:13
I always carry an umbrella, but it's not a replacement for rain gear, so the answer you didn't want to get is the right answer: both.

Malto
08-28-2017, 14:28
I always carry an umbrella, but it's not a replacement for rain gear, so the answer you didn't want to get is the right answer: both.
I would also add that an umbrella can be combined with a rain skirt and wind shirt for a pretty robust rain system. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

JPritch
08-28-2017, 15:47
In significant rains (particularly wind driven rains) any rain jacket or pants I have tried have wetted out fairly quickly and don't provide much more warmth than a light wind shirt. If wind gusts are really bad I don't use the umbrella -- I tend to take shelter in conditions like those.

This. Last time I got caught in that situation was back in April heading from Lance Creek over Blood Mtn to Neels Gap. Wetted out and started getting really cold even while moving. Thanks goodness Mountain Crossings was there to go inside and warm up. In the future, I'm just going to wait it out under similar circumstances.

Fireplug
08-28-2017, 16:02
Your umbrella won't last. I had 50 mph winds and rain several times and it was always around 40 degrees. I only had one day when it rained without wind and actually I just walked in it. It felt great on a 90 degree day. Go with Rain Gear. They make great wind breakers also.

tflaris
08-28-2017, 18:12
After out 280 mile section hike this year with many days of rain I would suggest a poncho.

I had a rain jacket/rain kilt this year. The kilt was awesome but I was wet from the inside from sweat.


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Speakeasy TN
08-29-2017, 16:18
I know it's a $$$ piece of kit but the Packa has been great. http://www.thepacka.com/

MuddyWaters
08-29-2017, 16:28
Your umbrella won't last. I had 50 mph winds and rain several times and it was always around 40 degrees. I only had one day when it rained without wind and actually I just walked in it. It felt great on a 90 degree day. Go with Rain Gear. They make great wind breakers also.

Me umbrellas have lasted just fine
Montbell ul and chrome dome

I wedge my umbrella handle under chest strapMy ccf is across top of pack. Umbrella is pulled down over this putting it in tension against chest strap

I hikes hands free w/ poles in pouring rain .(or sun. ) No hood. No hat. No soaking thru shoulders or under straps. Usually just carry poles to keep hands dry though.

Not an either-or decision.
Its a luxury decision

Starchild
08-29-2017, 16:41
while I love umbrella hiking the solution seems to be layering, from top to bottom: brimmed watertight hat, rain hooded rain jacket, pack cover you can wrap around yourself also, rain skirt (or pants if it's cold enough).

Deadeye
08-29-2017, 22:38
Your umbrella won't last.

Mine have lasted just fine. I'm sure it would get blown apart above treeline in the whites, but it's held up fine in the woods. The trick is to hold it loosely and let it roll with the punches. Sure, you can't hike with two poles and a brolly, but I just use one cane anyhow. Getting comfortable hiking in bad weather takes some adapting.

Find your own way, Grasshopper.

kickatree
09-02-2017, 16:20
For two weeks I've been reading the "Flossie & Gray Squirrel" journal. They have umbrellas fastened to their pack - my guess is that 75% of the time the umbrellas worked fine for mist and non-windy rain. They also had rain gear on top with shorts/skirt on the bottom for the other 25% of the time. They have been happy with the set up.That's what I use too. Umbrella for the steady rains. I also use Fogg Toggs jacket for colder/ windy condx. 8oz for the umbrella and 4 oz for the FT jacket. Versital....

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kickatree
09-02-2017, 16:22
I think about current politics. that adds 1 or 2 degrees to my core temp [emoji41]

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tawa
09-02-2017, 18:57
In my opinion -----rain gear is the way to go! It will keep you drier and can be used as a layer of cover and warmth inside your bag!
Umbrellas only have one use and not multi functional.