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  1. #1

    Default Do rain *proof* jackets actually exist?

    I understand I am going to sweat and get wet, but there has got to be a jacket out there that is really rain proof. I've looked at jackets from $70 to $300 and every single one of them has people ranting about how rain is only kept out in sprinkles and that as soon as a real down pour starts they get drenched.

    I'm going to be starting in late March and I'm a little concerned about conditions once I hit the Smokies. I will be wearing a merino wool midweight base layer (pants and long sleeved shirt) with a Pantagonia nano puff jacket over that. If I have a crappy shell that doesn't actually stop rain I'm going to freeze solid. Should I just give up on this search and find a poncho?

  2. #2

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    [QUOTE= Should I just give up on this search and find a poncho?[/QUOTE] You could do worse.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  3. #3

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    Marmot precip does a great job for me!

  4. #4

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    Trust me, ponchos are worse. They don't protect your arms, they flop around in the wind like a sail, they don't do a whole lot to keep you warm and thier a pain to put on and take off.

    Gortex does a good job of keeping the rain out, as does the Marmot Percip. Although in theory these matterials "breath", in practice it has to be wicked cold and dry outside the jacket for that to happen, which makes them good in the winter while hilking in the polar vortex.

    Just get a good quality jacket with taped seams (which is where a cheap jacket is most likely to leak) and that will be the best you can do. You will get damp from sweat, but you'll stay warm and won't get soaking, dripping wet with is the most important thing.

    It's not too often when you have to hike in a really heavy rain, mostly it's the light, on and off all day stuff. Thunderstorms are the exception, but they typically don't last long and it's reasonably warm once they pass.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5
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    There are plenty of jackets that will keep out the rain. A plastic bag will keep out the rain. The price you will pay for a plastic bag is that it also traps all the moisture you produce while hiking. That's alot. For just keeping the rain out a good jacket is Frog Trogg. For hiking you will make a compromise. 1. Ability to keep out rain 2. Total weight 3. Venting ability 4. Price For less than a hundred bucks you will find rain jackets that will do what you want. If you care only about keeping out the rain then you will find plenty of options that are poor for hiking. The same can be said about caring only about venting or caring only about weight. For me, my choice was to find a jacket that is light weight that does an OK job at keeping the rain out and does some venting that costs about 60 bucks. I notice that other hikers care less about venting and care more about keeping out the heavy rain, they have a poncho or a Frog Trogg type rain coat. On the trail in March in a heavy blowing rain, I suffer, I get wet but not soaked to the bone. That is the price I pay for my choice.

  6. #6
    Registered User The Old Boot's Avatar
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    Or you could try a parcho - it's got arms and even some hand coverage that works well with hiking sticks or can be tucked back out of the way.

    I made mine specifically for the type of pack I carry and adjusted the length so it goes just to knee length.

    It's roomy like a poncho but has an adjustable pull in the bottom so if it's windy out I can gather it in.

    Yes, I look like the Hunchback of Notre-Dame if I'm wearing around camp without the pack on but it does the job.

    I figure I'm getting the best of all worlds with it!

  7. #7
    Registered User Hot Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Boot View Post
    Or you could try a parcho - it's got arms and even some hand coverage that works well with hiking sticks or can be tucked back out of the way.
    Thanks for mentioning this. A quick Google for 'parcho' led me to a pdf of how to make it. It's pretty close to what I have been wanting to try.
    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

  8. #8
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    WWW.lightheartgear.com - I have rain jackets that are from WATERPROOF fabric, not waterproof/breathable (which to me is an oxymoron).When the membrane in the waterproof breathables get dirty, the waterproof factor goes away.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    WWW.lightheartgear.com - I have rain jackets that are from WATERPROOF fabric, not waterproof/breathable (which to me is an oxymoron).When the membrane in the waterproof breathables get dirty, the waterproof factor goes away.
    Well, those look very interesting, but I do not quite get the sizing. I wear, when I can find it, a mens large tall. What would your equivilent be? I'm 6'3" and about 195 lbs.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  10. #10
    Registered User The Old Boot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Flash View Post
    Thanks for mentioning this. A quick Google for 'parcho' led me to a pdf of how to make it. It's pretty close to what I have been wanting to try.
    The PDF is missing the diagram for the neck opening and the hood. There is a pattern made but it seems to be perennially out of stock and with the exception of those two parts you don't really, really need a pattern, everything is straight lines.

    I took a hooded rain jacket I had and drafted my own hood pattern and then used math, geometry and trial and error...lol..to come up with the neck opening.

    It is NOT a project for a beginner - I'd say it's at least an intermediate sewing skill but if you can do it, they turn out to be a very useful combination of rain jacket (hood, jacket like top), pack cover and poncho all in one. Some of the instructions are rather obtuse and have to be read multiple times until lights go on. Better to do that than use the seam ripper.

    The one thing I did add to it was a tie belt for when I'm not carrying the pack, it helps pull it in and just gets stuffed in the inside pocket when not needed.

    The whole thing stuffs down into it's own stuff sack that's about the size of a Nalgene. I tuck it in one of my packs side pockets and attach the draw string to a D ring by a mini carabiner for added security. Things have a way of popping out of the mesh pockets when I do any bushwhacking.

    Good luck and feel free to PM if you've any questions during construction

  11. #11
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Waterproof/breathable garmets get a lot of dissing on WhiteBlaze. Granted that no such thing works 100% at both. 100% is not my standard in raingear. My goal is warmth and comfort.

    I simply cannot wear a rainjacket without some level of breathability and more importantly ventilation. I have no illusions that I will be dry at all times.

    For me, the eVent Packa is the most comfortable/dry garmet I have found while on the move. It's pit zips, and because it is worn OVER your backpack, gives it tremendous ventilation options. The eVent Packa is heavier that many other options but I have found it well worth the weight penalty.
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    Registered User sadlowskiadam's Avatar
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    Avoid a heavy water proof jacket which can make you hot and sweaty. Your rain jacket can also be your wind jacket on really cool and breezy days. During major downpours, your jacket will stop working and you will get wet (there is nothing you can do). The jacket will be for warmth at this point.

  13. #13

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    You may already know this, but it is worth mentioning again. The best way to ensure not getting cold is to make sure you have a reliable way to keep a set of clothes dry for when you stop walking. It may be impossible to keep remotely dry while you are walking down the trail, but that only becomes an issue if you have no way to get warm once you stop. It might be best to pack your puffy jacket in a 1 gallon glad bag zipped up tight (or some other waterproof closed container) to wear once you stop walking (I keep a heavy wool hat with ear flaps, and some polar fleece bottoms in the same bag as the down for keeping warm while not walking). A pair of always dry camp socks goes a long way too.

  14. #14

    Default No jacket is truly waterproof.

    At a minimum, all jackets have holes for your face and arms. In wind or heavy rain, water will get in or drip from the edges even if you aren't moving.

    The trick is to manage how you deal with those conditions. Basically, when hiking in rain, you will get wet. The trick is to stay warm whether wet or dry. In some conditions, it makes sense to sit out the worst of heavy downpours. Stay in a shelter or let trees with heavy, dense canopies provide shelter.

    I have a page devoted to rain gear on my web site. It includes pro can con charts for types of rain gear, materials used, and discussions for managing a variety of conditions.

    http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor/raingear.html

    I hope you find it useful.
    Visit my Travels and Trails site: http://friends.backcountry.net/m_factor

  15. #15
    Registered User Hot Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Boot View Post
    The PDF is missing the diagram for the neck opening and the hood. There is a pattern made but it seems to be perennially out of stock and with the exception of those two parts you don't really, really need a pattern, everything is straight lines.

    I took a hooded rain jacket I had and drafted my own hood pattern and then used math, geometry and trial and error...lol..to come up with the neck opening.

    It is NOT a project for a beginner - I'd say it's at least an intermediate sewing skill but if you can do it, they turn out to be a very useful combination of rain jacket (hood, jacket like top), pack cover and poncho all in one. Some of the instructions are rather obtuse and have to be read multiple times until lights go on. Better to do that than use the seam ripper.

    The one thing I did add to it was a tie belt for when I'm not carrying the pack, it helps pull it in and just gets stuffed in the inside pocket when not needed.

    The whole thing stuffs down into it's own stuff sack that's about the size of a Nalgene. I tuck it in one of my packs side pockets and attach the draw string to a D ring by a mini carabiner for added security. Things have a way of popping out of the mesh pockets when I do any bushwhacking.

    Good luck and feel free to PM if you've any questions during construction
    Thanks for the heads-up, but it won't likely be an issue. I regularly draft my own clothing patterns both for modern wear and historical clothing. If German Renaissance clothing didn't defeat me, it's not likely a poncho will.
    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

  16. #16

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    This thread topic is so entertaining to watch from the sidelines as it unfolds.

  17. #17
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    Like a couple others said, you can't stay dry inside a rain jacket unless you are walking very slowly or not walking at all. You're not even dry when wearing shorts and a t-shirt in sunny weather, so how do you expect to stay dry when it's raining and wearing a plastic bag (aka rain jacket)? The main benefit of a rain jacket is that it stops the rain from directly pulling your body heat away. It's a little like a wet suit in that way. If you really want your clothing to stay dry, then you're going to need to wear a vapor barrier suit against your skin. You'll still get sweaty, but at least your clothing will stay completely dry. This is a technique I'm hoping to test in about a week...if only it'd rain in California.

  18. #18
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feral Bill View Post
    Well, those look very interesting, but I do not quite get the sizing. I wear, when I can find it, a mens large tall. What would your equivilent be? I'm 6'3" and about 195 lbs.
    Feral Boll,

    You will have to measure your chest and hips, or measure a garment you have - the measurements listed are the FINISHED measurements of the garment - yiou want it to measure at least 8 - 10 inches bigger than you are to give room for layering, and movement. my hips measure 38" - the medium fits me well, at 48" finished.

    everyone that has tried them on /bought them, (male type people) have said they fit well - if they generally wear a large - my large was perfect for them. I have fitted people up to the 3XL.

    I don't have any in the "Long" or X Long" size, but I can , and have made them, they would be 2 - 3 inches longer, longer sleeves as well. Pit zips will also be longer than the standard sizes.

  19. #19
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    I go for a walk every time it rains hard...my $19.95 Academy jacket has never let me get wet.

  20. #20

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    I'll sport most any rain jacket, long as it has big ole pit zips.....that's what I use anyhow.

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