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  1. #41
    imscotty's Avatar
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    I'll tell you what I have been doing as a section hiker, although I know this may be open to criticism. Understand that I have been hiking the CA desert sections in May and June, the Sierra and north in August usually.

    I layer a merino wool shirt, with a fleece layer and then a wind jacket and wind pants as needed. So far over 1000 plus miles in I have experienced just one minute of hail, and zero rain. I have not regretted not carrying a waterproof shell. I do carry an umbrella which I could utilize if needed. The umbrella has been vital for sun protection. In the event of a serious cold weather downpour my plan would be to hole-up. I can set up my tarp in minutes. I carry plenty of down to keep me warm when I camp.

    To tell you the truth I've spent most days of my hikes wishing it would rain, or at least cloud up. I love the hiking on the CA PCT, but the sun has been just killing me.

    I am sure I will take a different approach by the time I get to OR and WA, but for now, given as a section hiker I have control over when I do each section, this is what is working for me.
    Last edited by imscotty; 10-04-2018 at 23:52.
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  2. #42
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    See, you've considered your trip, your style, kit, timing, on a monthly basis, the weather based on month, and what you'd do in the event...That demonstrates forethought, not turning off your brain as some do on big name trails, an awareness of the responsibility side of HYOH.

    When I went with just a DWRed wind jacket on PCT LASHES I always carried a tarp and sometimes WR bivy. I usually had a merino shirt. I kept abreast of anticipated weather BEFORE leaving an in town or sheltered resupply. I knew if a lasting mildly cold rain in SoCal was experienced, that would threaten risk of hypothermia(the risk was deemed low!) I wouldn't hike soaked and cold. BEFORE that occurred BEFORE the Wind Jacket was totally compromised I'd drape the tarp or bivy over me as an impromptu WP shell or stop and set up and get into the quilt or bag. I'd seek some protection from the elements in some way. Often the rain is of a passing nature often with some heightening of the wind. Finding which way it was coming from and seeking to get out of the wind driven rain was useful for protecting oneself. You can't fight Nature and always win. I find it's better to work with it, to plan for weather contingencies and assess situations while finding solutions. This solutions don't always have to be about what's carried in the kit either.

  3. #43
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    I'm chiming in with a related question. I'm a NB PCT thru attempt starting late April, and definitely bringing a rain jacket. What I've been debating is bringing my Montbell down jacket for cold weather vs. bringing my Melanzana fleece + a wind shell. Seems the combo of fleece and wind shirt would provide about the warmth of the down jacket but with more versatility. Could hike comfortably in the wind shirt in cool weather or the combo in colder weather, among other things. But bringing one piece vs. two also seems smart. Anyone have thoughts or strong opinions?

  4. #44
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    You may want a light rain/wind jacket for town, shelter camping, etc. Otherwise, you are right; when hiking, you will be wet no matter what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wuff View Post
    I'm chiming in with a related question. I'm a NB PCT thru attempt starting late April, and definitely bringing a rain jacket. What I've been debating is bringing my Montbell down jacket for cold weather vs. bringing my Melanzana fleece + a wind shell. Seems the combo of fleece and wind shirt would provide about the warmth of the down jacket but with more versatility. Could hike comfortably in the wind shirt in cool weather or the combo in colder weather, among other things. But bringing one piece vs. two also seems smart. Anyone have thoughts or strong opinions?
    What's the wt of the Melanzana fleece? What venting options does it have? What 'rain' jacket and other layers are you pairing it or carrying? If it's a 200wt or more fleece it might see less use.

    Those details are important. Overall that combo IMO will afford greater apparel diversity. FWIW with a late Apr start I'd seek to approach the first 700 miles depending heavily on night and early morn and evening hiking. Taking this mileage approach for SoCal can have an affect on apparel choices and thermoregulating comfort.

    The majority of the first 700 miles backpacking the vast majority of the time during daylight when on the move you will not need to wear a fleece, especially a heavier wt fleece with less ability to vent, and wind shirt through May into early/mid June. Later the April NOBO start probably the more so. It will not be the wet hike that may be perceived. So many, largely east coasters who have done or are familiar with AT spring starting NOBOs(Mar- April starts), seem to have muddled weather Apr PCT NOBO start anticipations.

  6. #46
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    With a late April start it is not going to be a daytime cold wet hike. You will not experience precipitation in the form of drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, grapple and hail falling on you to the extent that maybe an AT NOBOer experiences.


    I 100% disagree with any notion that pushes a "if you're hiking you must be wet" agenda. That's completely ridiculous particularly for an April starting PCT NOBO.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wuff View Post
    I'm chiming in with a related question. I'm a NB PCT thru attempt starting late April, and definitely bringing a rain jacket. What I've been debating is bringing my Montbell down jacket for cold weather vs. bringing my Melanzana fleece + a wind shell. Seems the combo of fleece and wind shirt would provide about the warmth of the down jacket but with more versatility. Could hike comfortably in the wind shirt in cool weather or the combo in colder weather, among other things. But bringing one piece vs. two also seems smart. Anyone have thoughts or strong opinions?
    Wuff, I bring both. You won't need the fleece most days for the first 700 miles, but the fleece/ wind jacket allows you to start hiking early and keep hiking late. You will be surprised at how quickly things get cold once the sun sets down. And windy! The wind will cut right through thin fleece, you need the wind protection. I have a Houdini, gives pretty good protection in a light rain too.

    My down puffy I use in camp only, never when hiking. It really does get cold in the desert at night, sometimes I wear it to bed. If I had to pick one, it would be the fleece wind jacket combo.
    “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
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    Maybe i should clarify what i meant when i wrote that "you will be wet no matter what". If you hike on the east coast during spring/summer months, you will get wet from rain and/or perspiration or both. No way to avoid it. Don't have (yet) PCT hiking experience. Also, I have a "Breathable" wind jacket, but not even five minutes of a strenuous hiking, and i'm dripping with sweat.

  9. #49

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    My rain jacket weighs 7 oz and the Houdini Hybrid Pertex wind jacket weighs in at about 9 oz.I wear one during the day and switch into the dry one in the evening unless I bring the 5.5 oz Frogg Togg jacket.At my age,cold and wet is really not an option..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanD View Post
    Maybe i should clarify what i meant when i wrote that "you will be wet no matter what". If you hike on the east coast during spring/summer months, you will get wet from rain and/or perspiration or both. No way to avoid it. Don't have (yet) PCT hiking experience. Also, I have a "Breathable" wind jacket, but not even five minutes of a strenuous hiking, and i'm dripping with sweat.
    Hmm, maybe we shouldn't rely on breathability so much to stay comfortable?

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    Wuff, I bring both. You won't need the fleece most days for the first 700 miles, but the fleece/ wind jacket allows you to start hiking early and keep hiking late. You will be surprised at how quickly things get cold once the sun sets down. And windy! The wind will cut right through thin fleece, you need the wind protection. I have a Houdini, gives pretty good protection in a light rain too.

    My down puffy I use in camp only, never when hiking. It really does get cold in the desert at night, sometimes I wear it to bed. If I had to pick one, it would be the fleece wind jacket combo.

    East coast based PCTers not familiar with deserts and the temp extremes and variable Mojave Desert elevation can be caught off guard. It can be near 100*f blazing sun during day time highs with it getting to freezing -32*F or below in April. The word desert can conjure up thoughts of heat, sun and lack of water but it can be just the opposite in a desert.


    Exactly what Imscotty said, if you plan on taking a 100wt fleece and wind jacket...hike during the coolest periods and at night. It's beautiful hiking the PCT at night in the Mojave Desert. That torso apparel scenario is decent for those hiking periods in April. Dont always seek to change your kit. We can change our approaches to allow for and work with our kits and the hike's changing conditions. It's my illusion you'll be a better hiker if you do.

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