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  1. #1
    Registered User AuntieSarah's Avatar
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    Default rain gear to use with an umbrella

    Hi folks--I just bought a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella at the strong recommendation of my trail mentor. For those of you who have used one, what do you wear underneath that?

    I have a 12oz Patagonia H2No jacket which I know will be hot to wear in the summer and an older 10oz Marmot Precip wind breaker that I've used year-round (and love)...I was thinking of bringing the H2No for the cold shoulder seasons and using the Precip for summer. I hear that it's redundant to carry both a rain jacket and a wind shell and it seems most people recommend that if you had to pick one, bring the rain jacket. To keep weight down, I've also been toying with the idea of getting FrogToggs instead of the H2No and replacing my Precip with a really lite windshell (4oz) to keep the weight down. But the less new gear I have to buy the better. Help please! Thanks!

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    If you haven't used the umbrella yet and aren't 100% sure that it's for you, choose your rain gear so that you can get by without one. I'm not trying to dissuade you in any way from using one, because many people love theirs, but I think the consensus is that umbrellas aren't for everybody, and some people get frustrated and ditch theirs quickly.
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    Registered User 4Bears's Avatar
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    I have read several trail journals of PCT hkers who used the umbrella primarily for sun shade while hiking. If I didn't hike withpoles I might consider one but see some real drawbacks in a wooded section where things are close.
    "You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

  4. #4
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    So, you have a few different decisions to make here. First, windshirt or no. The Precip is actually a rain jacket, not a windbreaker. Real windshirts are awesome--really versatile, light, and they add a surprising amount of warmth. If it's cool out, my windshirt is the first thing I put on if I get cold while hiking or when I stop. Having an umbrella probably wouldn't affect my decision to carry a windshirt on a thru-hike because I would wear the windshirt on dry days. Also, once it warms up in June, you could potentially bounce your rain jacket ahead and just go with the umbrella/windshirt in wet weather. The windshirt will not be waterproof but it will protect you against spray that blows under your umbrella.

    As for which rain jacket to take, the advantages of the Frogg Toggs (and similar jackets like the O2 Rainshield that I love) are that they're cheap, super light, and extremely breathable. You won't get super sweaty under Frogg Toggs like you might under the Precip. But the tradeoff is the flimsiness--they tear easily and will get shredded if you aren't careful about brush. My thought is that if the jacket tears on the trail, I can patch it with duct tape and buy a new one for $20 when I get to town. Others prefer more durable jackets.

    Bottom line for me is that the combined weight of my windshirt and Rainshield is still less than nearly all rain jackets alone, and my combination is way more versatile and breathable (when it's really cold, I will hike in my base layer + windshirt + rain jacket together--that works down to 20 degrees or so).

    BTW, there is a lot of good info about windshirts, rain jackets, umbrellas, etc. in the forums backpackinglight.com.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I've used an umbrella for years, won't go without. Usually, I don't wear anything but a t-shirt, but as it gets cooler, I may switch to or add a long-sleeve shirt, then maybe a fleece (with the arms ripped off), and if it's quite cool, or really pouring, I wear my Dry Ducks or a thin nylon windshirt. I know it sounds wierd to wear a raincoat under the umbrella, but using an umbrella in combo with light raingear is very comfortable, since the raincoat doesn't wet out it can breathe as well as possible, you can leave the front open, and you don't need the hood.

    In short, there are a lot of possible combinations.... experiment for comfort.

  6. #6
    Registered User AuntieSarah's Avatar
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    The Precip is actually a rain jacket, not a windbreaker.

    Oops, my mistake--meant to say I have the Marmot DriClime Windshirt--Sorry! (I *used* to have a Precip but that was replaced with the H2No).

    But otherwise your comments are quite helpful...thanks!

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    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    I've got the DriClime Windshirt, too. I originally bought it to use on AT sections, but now I think that it's too warm to hike in and not warm enough for sitting around in, so it stays home (except in winter for x-country skiing). I still say go with a lighter windshirt.

  8. #8
    Registered User AuntieSarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burger View Post
    I've got the DriClime Windshirt, too. I originally bought it to use on AT sections, but now I think that it's too warm to hike in and not warm enough for sitting around in, so it stays home (except in winter for x-country skiing). I still say go with a lighter windshirt.
    I also use it for x-c skiing, so I was also thinking it would be too warm to hike in compared to a t-shirt and unlined windshirt. But then I had this thought: maybe I could use it instead of a mid-weight layer between my base-layer and puffy jacket and also wear it as a windshirt in cooler weather, and then during warmer weather be okay hiking in a t-shirt with the umbrella? Or is this a bad idea?

  9. #9
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieSarah View Post
    maybe I could use it instead of a mid-weight layer between my base-layer and puffy jacket and also wear it as a windshirt in cooler weather, and then during warmer weather be okay hiking in a t-shirt with the umbrella? Or is this a bad idea?
    I stopped using a mid-layer years ago. The only time I bring one now is for sleeping in. Here's how I layer things typically:

    Warm weather - just my base layer
    Cool - base layer + windshirt
    Wet - base layer + rain jacket
    Cold - base layer + windshirt + rain jacket
    Really cold - base layer + puffy jacket (that would be below 20ish for me)
    Even colder - base layer + puffy + rain jacket. Or maybe just bail out and go to town until it warms up.

    And, of course, gloves and a hood or warm hat can make you warmer regardless of what you're wearing on your upper body.

    As a ULer, I don't bother with a mid-layer because it duplicates other things that I carry. My goal is to be able to wear all my clothes at once. Sometimes I bring an extra long-sleeved shirt to sleep in, but that is just for sleeping and not allowed out of my pack during the day.

    But lots of other folks do use a mid-layer. Clothing is very individual--it depends on how cold you get, so you'll have to figure it out for yourself. On a thru-hike, it's pretty easy to mail extra stuff home, but it's more work to have things sent to you or buy extra clothes on the trail. So maybe the cautious thing is to carry the extra layer.

  10. #10

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    On the AT your clothes, especially shirts, keep getting wetter and wetter and not drying overnight, so a mid-layer is not a bad idea.

  11. #11
    Registered User Hot Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Bears View Post
    I have read several trail journals of PCT hkers who used the umbrella primarily for sun shade while hiking. If I didn't hike withpoles I might consider one but see some real drawbacks in a wooded section where things are close.
    It's very easy to rig an umbrella for hands-free use. And yes, as someone who has hiked a lot in the Sierras and arid parts of California, I love my umbrella.

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    I would recommend rain gear you can use without the umbrella. Maybe a windshirt will work. The big benefit is the umbrella allows your head to be free of a hood and you can open the top of your chest zipper.

  13. #13

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    I don't think an umbrella is all that practical on the AT. If your out in the open there is usually a lot of wind and if your in the woods, there are a lot of low hanging branches to get it snagged on. I don't think I've ever seen a hiker with an umbrella on the AT.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I don't think an umbrella is all that practical on the AT. If your out in the open there is usually a lot of wind and if your in the woods, there are a lot of low hanging branches to get it snagged on. I don't think I've ever seen a hiker with an umbrella on the AT.
    I would have to agree on both points, but I'd have to add that just because I haven't seen one doesn't mean that they aren't out there. In my opinion, the main benefit of an umbrella would be that you wouldn't have to wear a waterproof hat or hood, which can be incredibly uncomfortable on a humid day. Other than that and sun protection all I can imagine are the downsides (but still, it might be a good thing to bring just to keep your head cooler in a warm rain or under a hot sun). One more thing to carry - time to see how many different usages it can have.

    (Kinda like a sleeping bag liner - ).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    Forgot the link.

    http://www.euroschirm.com/

    I believe Golite's umbrellas come from this company.

  17. #17

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    Look at that perfectly good hood that he is carrying but not using - extra weight!
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    SOBO in Maine. Leaving Rangely. Rained 26 days in June. Loved the umbrella.
    I am not young enough to know everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    Look at that perfectly good hood that he is carrying but not using - extra weight!
    Sometimes I think it'd be great if there were a rain jacket that sealed the neck tight enough to keep out rain, and then I remember what happens when the neck is constricted.

    I find SouthMark's picture of using an umbrella with a hat to be funny. I frequently forget to take off my hat when I'm using an umbrella.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AuntieSarah View Post
    Hi folks--I just bought a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella at the strong recommendation of my trail mentor. For those of you who have used one, what do you wear underneath that?

    I have a 12oz Patagonia H2No jacket which I know will be hot to wear in the summer and an older 10oz Marmot Precip wind breaker that I've used year-round (and love)...I was thinking of bringing the H2No for the cold shoulder seasons and using the Precip for summer. I hear that it's redundant to carry both a rain jacket and a wind shell and it seems most people recommend that if you had to pick one, bring the rain jacket. To keep weight down, I've also been toying with the idea of getting FrogToggs instead of the H2No and replacing my Precip with a really lite windshell (4oz) to keep the weight down. But the less new gear I have to buy the better. Help please! Thanks!
    First a little background that may explain my choices some. I started hiking the AT in 2000. I try to make at least 100 miles of progress each year, in 2 - 3 section hikes annually. I have covered all of the trail from Amicalola Falls to Kent, CT. During the first two years, I tinkered with traditional raingear choices, mostly so called "breathable" rainsuits. I found them very lacking. The exertion of hiking caused me to be drenched with sweat. After reading Jardine's book, I tried an umbrella in 2002. I have never hiked on the AT since without one. An umbrella is not perfect on the AT, but it is 100% breathable and for me is far better than any traditional raingear. I have used three different umbrellas on the AT - one by Mountainsmith, a dome umbrella from GoLite, and now the Chrome Dome which you have.

    Here is my current full rain system . . .

    Chrome Dome umbrella - for use while hiking for all rain conditions (other than very high wind), and in light rain this is my only piece of raingear used
    BrawnyGear gaiters - Thru hiker Brawny made and sold some very lightweight gaiters (2 oz) constructed of ripstop silnylon. These are no longer being made but are easy enough to make DIY. They serve to keep socks dry (and keep debris out of shoes)
    DIY Rain Wrap - This was a DIY kit, but a few companies make and sell these. Etowah Outfitters, I know, made and sold this at least recently. It is little more than a piece of silnylon and an elastic waistband secured with velcro that wraps around the waist and covers from waist to knees. It serves to keep shorts dry. I only use this in heave or set in rains or when in camp.
    DriDucks rain jacket - So far I have never had to use this while hiking, but I do carry it for use while in camp (it is difficult to do camp chores while holding an umbrella). I also consider this a backup to the umbrella for hiking should I ever encounter extreme wind or if the umbrella were to break. It also serves as an extra layer for warmth and a windbreaker. I will repeat, however, that in over 1000 miles I have never yet had to wear this as rain protection while hiking, only for in-camp or for extra warmth.

    I very much advocate using an umbrella as a key piece of raingear on the AT. Your experience may differ, but I have found it a very nice fit with my system.

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