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Thread: SOBO Rain Gear

  1. #1

    Default SOBO Rain Gear

    Hey guys! Iím starting southbound from Katahdin on July 15th, and my current plan for rain gear is just the 3 Pís: a pack cover, a poncho, and a positive mental attitude- am I an idiot? Should I invest in a rain jacket, and if so, which are most recommended? I tend to sweat a lot, and everything Iíve read basically says ďit doesnít matter what you wear in the rain, eventually youíll get soaked regardless.Ē Plus I know southbounders are more likely to encounter drought, rather than than days and days of rainy weather. So thatís why to me it seems smarter to save the weight, and $100-200, and just carry a poncho. Any suggestions or advice is welcome, though!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by BootprintsOnMySoul View Post
    Hey guys! Iím starting southbound from Katahdin on July 15th, and my current plan for rain gear is just the 3 Pís: a pack cover, a poncho, and a positive mental attitude- am I an idiot? Should I invest in a rain jacket, and if so, which are most recommended? I tend to sweat a lot, and everything Iíve read basically says ďit doesnít matter what you wear in the rain, eventually youíll get soaked regardless.Ē Plus I know southbounders are more likely to encounter drought, rather than than days and days of rainy weather. So thatís why to me it seems smarter to save the weight, and $100-200, and just carry a poncho. Any suggestions or advice is welcome, though!
    All rain gear has pluses and minuses.

    Typically one wouldnt need a pack cover with a poncho because it should cover your pack as well.

    How do you waterproof your kit?

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  3. #3
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Donít worry, you will have days and days of rainy weather on your SOBO.

    Dry springs, too.

    But that will come later on.

  4. #4
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    How much time have you spent hiking in the rain? If you haven't dialed in a rain solution, you have plenty of time to experiment before you go. You might be more likely to encounter drought than a month of rain, but a week of rain is still going to be miserable if you haven't worked it out.

    My personal choice: a trash compactor bag liner, a homemade pack cover, rain jacket, rain kilt, and umbrella. Covers all conditions. But if a poncho is your thing, it works, too.

  5. #5
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    So you're expecting drought on an AT SOBO Jul 15 start in regards to apparel decisions?

    Maybe mistaken but talk of AT SOBO July 15 start drought is conditional and might refer more so to surface drinking water regularity.

    Maybe mistaken again but I'm fairly confident in stating most people do sweat backpacking the AT in summer...including on traditional SOBO's.

    Traditional NOBO's may take rain jackets and pants because their starting in late winter to early spring when it's colder with greater risks of snow, sleet, and cold wind. They might sweat overall less.

  6. #6

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    Any rain in July/August will come in the form of thunderstorms. Since these typically don't last too long, a poncho will work to hunker under until they pass. For hiking, a poncho isn't a good choice in Maine and NH, as the trail is often narrow and overgrown (we call those areas a "car wash") and with the often steep and rocky ups and downs the poncho snags a lot or gets under your feet. A poncho also isn't very good for wind protection above tree line.

    I would definitely carry a rain jacket with a cheap, light weight poncho as an option if need to wait out a storm. You will eventually need the rain jacket anyway as you get into the fall rainy season.
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  7. #7

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    pros and cons to any rain gear and I think I've tried everything. There's no best answer

    what slo-go-in said "hiking, a poncho isn't a good choice in Maine and NH, as the trail is often narrow and overgrown (we call those areas a "car wash") and with the often steep and rocky ups and downs the poncho snags a lot or gets under your feet."

    ponchos tend to provide more ventilation than a jacket which might be good in summer but as stated above, they tend to snag on branches sticking out into the trail especially in Vermont , New Hampshire and Maine. They can be quick to deploy if a storm comes up quickly on you. They're a pain in the neck to get on in severe winds above treeline.

    Umbrellas are very airy but useless in high winds or overgrown trails and, if you're holding one, you can only use one trekking pole in the other hand.

    A good rain jacket like a Montbell Versalite, can be pricey and can also get snagged on overgrown trails and is sweaty in summer.

    my first ever backpacking trip when I was in college was in the white mountains in June. We were poorly equipped. I think we had blue vinyl ponchos which were shredded by day two of a four day trip. We were cold (it snowed on the top of some peak we were on), wet, hypothermic and mosquito bitten. Definitely Type II fun.

  8. #8
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    You need to find out what works for you and the best way to find out is to go hiking in the rain. A rain jacket works for me. Yes, I get wet, but I stay warm, which is more important.

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    I am not one to push any specific vendor's equipment but I just came across the following on YouTube and found it intriguing. It's called The Packa and it's a combination of a rain jacket and pack cover. The jacket portion stores on the upper portion of the pack cover and when needed you simply pull on a cord over your shoulder and pull the jacket over you and the pack harness avoiding having to take the pack off to don your raingear. You can see it at: http://www.thepacka.com/. It's a bit pricey based upon my usual buying habits. I'm more of a Frogg Togg kind of person.

  10. #10

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    One of the primary functions of effective rain gear is to retain warmth even if it's wet under the jacket from weather entry or perspiration. Given the terrain, elevations, and significant weather systems that develop in the northern sections of the AT, hypothermia related problems are not far from what would appear to be a wonderful summers day.

    In my experience, ponchos can be useful for cloudbursts and/or short term use, though I have not seen them survive well in terrain with lots of snagging brush along the trail. I have not found ponchos to be of much value when trying to retain warmth. Since the Whites and surrounding environs are in a place the worst weather conditions in North America occur, snow having been observed every month of the year along with temperature changes that are stunning in their speed and severity, I would opt for a rain jacket (and perhaps rain paints or kilt with leggings) for that primary consideration.

    Have a great trip!

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