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  1. #1

    Lightbulb How about a garbage bag with a hole for my head?

    I know during the winter and fall I'll want good rain gear, but I don't particularly mind getting wet during the summer. I know that if we're out for several days and it rains the whole way, it would suck, though. Has anyone taken this "ghetto" way out? Did it work? Or did it even just work for a day or so?

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    Would have to be a big to also cover your pack
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    Yep, it's been done before. We met Squam in 2008 on this thru using a garbage bag for his rain gear. The garbage bag fit over his upper body and his pack. He had to have someone help him pull it over his pack. He was doing major miles with a very light pack – about 13 pounds with food! He didn't carry a tent and he said packing light does not come without some discomforts. I think he did his hike in less than 100 days. It was his first thru-hike and he was hiking home from college after graduating. Nice guy. Impressive first long hike!

    I guess another option if you are thinking of the garbage bag route is to just get the 99 cent rain poncho from Walmart. I would imagine both methods might require replacements every once in a while, but the cost would be right.

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    +1 on the cheap poncho. Better ventilation, the coverage is at least as good, and you can always tie a belt around yourself if it's windy enough to need one.

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    Registered User vamelungeon's Avatar
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    I tried to do the garbage bag thing once- though not hiking- and you're better off buying something that was designed as rain gear.
    You won't just need a hole for your head, you'll need two more for your arms which will then get soaked. You MIGHT keep your torso dry, if you cut the holes perfectly. Really, using a trash bag as human rain gear is false economy.

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    I made a garbage bag vest during my hike through Washington on the PCT. I didn't have a rain jacket but I had an umbrella, not that it worked or anything. I was really cold and hoped the vest would add warmth. I was still cold and the garbage bag formed a lot of condensation on the inside. I didn't think it worked out very well. I consider the garbage bag emergency fare at best.
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    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    I've done it in an emergency, but as the others have said, it's really sub-optimal.

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    Totally useless. It won't keep you dry and it won't keep you warm, plus it gets torn to shreads in no time. A trash compator bag would last longer, but still not worth it. Better off with nothing.

    You don't get several days of rain in the summer time, you get quick and heavy thunder storms. These usually go from a few drops to buckets in an instant, leaving you with no time to even think of getting under cover. If you do have a few seconds to prepare, pull out your tarp or ground cloth and hunker under that until the storm passes.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    You don't get several days of rain in the summer time
    Summers sure are different across the river!

    Kidding aside, ditto on the lack of utility of a garbage bag as raingear.

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    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Dang.. this is the closest to a concensus I think I've ever seen.

    Stick around here long enough and you'll see everything!

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    umbrella works better.

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    Registered User Just Jack's Avatar
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    Anybody tried using the garbage bag for a rain "skirt"?

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    Just get a cheap sil-poncho on sale somewhere. Love this in the summer. When a quick/violent thunderstorm comes, just find a rock or downed tree trunk, throw on your poncho, and hunker down nice and dry until it passes.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jack View Post
    Anybody tried using the garbage bag for a rain "skirt"?
    No, but I am always looking for an excuse to wear women's clothing.

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    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    I've been resisting this all day but I've got to say it or I'm going to pop....

    Every time I look at the title of this thread I read it as "What about a garbage bag for this hole in my head?"

    There I said it....

  16. #16

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    This sounds like an idea I had once about wearing rubber gloves while running in the rain. Didn't work. I raised one of my arms and the sweat literally poured down my sleeve. As others have said, I think the condensation would be the biggest thing. It was raining one year when I ran Boston and lots of guys were wearing trash bags. The sides of the road were covered with the bags after a very short while. Too hot and sweaty. THE 99-cent poncho might be a better idea.

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    Registered User q-tip's Avatar
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    Default Plastic Bag Rain Gear

    Hey;

    I have several thousand dollars worth of Mtn. climbing-backpacking gore-tex rain gear. In my experience-none of it worked. After all of my gear failed mountain trekking in India-I contacted gore-Tex support. After three months of dialogue and replacement of all my gear-the told me that in my case-I sweat too much. After 1,00 mi. on the AT this fall-the bags worked the best.

    Hence-I use a 39 gal plastic bag as a rain vest (putting my other layer underneath-and the 39 gal. bag for a rain skirt. Also-use 1 gal bags for gaiters-none of them repel water as far as I know. I am bringing this set-up to the CT this summer. With confidence.

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    Ghetto means it doesn't work. Not that it's cheap. What you are doing can better be referred to as redneck ingenuity.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhapsody98 View Post
    I know during the winter and fall I'll want good rain gear, but I don't particularly mind getting wet during the summer. I know that if we're out for several days and it rains the whole way, it would suck, though. Has anyone taken this "ghetto" way out? Did it work? Or did it even just work for a day or so?
    I dunno- for my pack, I always use a heavy duty trash bag- one inside as a lining, one outside with holes for the straps.

    BUT, on the subject of raingear, I'd have to disagree. On my thru (which was eventually chopped down to a 1,400 mile section), I decided to send my rainpants home in Virginia right before entering the Shenandoahs. I thought, hey, it's late May, warm, I'm a good hiker, it'll be fine.

    So I kept just a poncho. There were four days of pouring rain, back to back. One of the days was chilly and windy, and I went from feeling bad to worse. (As I look back, this makes me feel very stupid) I was wearing shorts, my short sleeved shirt and my poncho, and I was shivering like crazy. I was feeling very, very bad. Not thinking straight, hating being where I was, and finally realized that I was going to have to set up camp and change, or I might end up in real trouble. Right as I was about to burst into tears, a sobo sectioner came my way, and gave me his rainpants (who carries extra rainpants? Wonderful people). I warmed up almost instantly. I could not believe the huge difference it made. I feel IMMEASURABLY better almost immediately.

    Moral of the story? Raingear can make a huge difference. Not because it keeps you dry, but because it keeps you WARM.
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    You don't get several days of rain in the summer time, you get quick and heavy thunder storms. These usually go from a few drops to buckets in an instant, leaving you with no time to even think of getting under cover.
    On a typical AT thru-hike you'll have plenty of both kinds. And those sudden thunderstorms don't just come from out of nowhere; you have to be pretty oblivious not to know something is happening. But you'll get some multi-day soakers, too.

    Raingear can make a huge difference. Not because it keeps you dry, but because it keeps you WARM.
    Ding ding ding. We have a winner. I totally agree. I think you can go light and crappy on the raingear and do OK -- I can get behind the poncho, or the super-cheap raincoat, but the you can do much better than the bag.

    For what it's worth, when I thru-hiked I didn't have a rainshell per se. What I had was a "water resistant" nylon coat with a very thin polyester terry lining -- sort of like a primitive version of your modern Marmot Driclime stuff -- and I sprayed it with scotchgard before the trip to make it bead (yeah, I probably damaged my chromosomes too, who knew). After hours in a downpour it wet out, like practically everything will eventually, but it wicked well and dried quickly from the inside, and I always stayed warm and safe.

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