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#124056 - 11/19/09 01:53 PM Rain gear and rain strategy
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 366
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I was reminded yesterday what a challenge hiking in the rain can be here in the Pacific Northwest. What often sounds so good in theory doesn't work well in practice. For example, I have no less than 5 so called breathable-waterproof jackets. I'm not impressed. Also, simple chores like cooking, changing clothing, setting up a tent, even pitching a rain fly, turn out to be more complicated and less satisfactory than planned. I know our climate is a bit extreme in the Fall compared to most places in the US. Anyway, to start with a simple question:
Have you ever hiked for 4 hours with a pack (at least partly up hill) in pouring down rain? Did you stay dry (10,20,30....100%?)? What were you wearing? Do you think most of the water was from the outside (rain) or inside (sweat)?
From a strategy stand point you would:
A. Not go hiking if the forecast was 90% chance of rain.
B. Go hiking in spite of a bleak forecast because you are not .....a pantywaist.
C. Change plans to make the hike shorter.


Edited by Pliny (11/19/09 01:56 PM)
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Jim M

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#124063 - 11/19/09 02:40 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I use a poncho for thoses type of conditions. I stay mostly dry. Two things are needed to make a poncho work. One is a belt and the other are finger loops so that your arms are covered.

A hammock is a great shelter in thoses type of conditions. That also gives you a cooking fly.

My glasses get wet and foggy - I have no good solution for that. But you for sure need a brimmed hat. Bowel movements are an adventure -- the brimmed hat is no help. eek

I have trouble keeping my GORP bag dry.

But bad weather produces special scenery.

_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#124064 - 11/19/09 02:51 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: ringtail]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By food


My glasses get wet and foggy - I have no good solution for that.


Have you tried cat crap ?

I've gone dayhiking in the rain - poncho works okay for most purposes if it's not also windy as heck and the poncho is long enough to cover the backpack. Backpacking in the rain, same thing, and the tarp goes up first, then the hammock, and then I can unload and cook under the tarp.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#124065 - 11/19/09 02:56 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Pliny, I spent over 30 years hiking and climbing in western Washington. I never did develop a strategy for staying dry. I generally used a poncho and waterproof rainchaps; that was better than any of the other raingear available then including Goretex.

I generally would set out on a trip whether rain was forecast or not. I would also set out expecting to get at least my legs and shoulders wet. I just made a point of keeping my insulation clothing layers dry and keeping my down bag dry. Setting up and breaking camp in the rain is a pain; I used to just tell myself that it won't get any worse than this; lying to oneself helps a bit. smile
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May I walk in beauty.

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#124066 - 11/19/09 03:00 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: lori]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1259
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By lori
Have you tried cat crap ?

How does this stuff work with frost and ice? I went dog sledding a few years ago and had to keep scraping the ice buildup off my glasses.


For the OP, I accept sometimes getting cold and wet as part of hiking. Once one gets past the mental acceptance it's much easier.

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#124068 - 11/19/09 03:19 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Pliny
Goretex and packlite work for me. My paclite is so breathable that it offers no warmth as a layer except as a wind break. I also am a firm beliver in pit zips and santa claus.
Jim YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124069 - 11/19/09 03:34 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I hike in the East - probably not as extreme wet as you get, but we do have our moments. I have hiked, both uphill and downhill, for 6 - 8 hours in a steady, heavy rain splashing along the small creek running down the trail. I've done this while wearing a poncho, a GoreTex rainsuit, and a Patagonia proprietary w/b rainsuit (different hikes, not all at the same time!) I did not stay dry: my T-shirt was probably 50% wet, my shorts were 30% wet, and my socks and shoes were 100% wet. The type of garment did not seem to make any difference at all in how wet I got. The moisture came from both inside (hot day, with sweating) and outside (hot or cold day, leaking in around the hood, mostly, plus running down - or up? - my arms since I was using hiking poles.)

As far as strategy: The only good way to deal with rain is to get out of it. Barring that, I would probably scrap a trip now if the forecast were for rain most of the trip. I'd still go if it was only a 50% chance, or if it were only going to rain, say, 1 day of a 3 or 4 day trip. I might modify my plan to make the predicted rain day a short day, or to spend the night at a shelter, to make things a little less difficult. (I used to do the whole non-pantywaist, "I've been wet before" thing and go regardless of the forecast. At 59, I no longer feel compelled to prove that I can.)



Edited by Glenn (11/20/09 12:13 AM)

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#124072 - 11/19/09 04:18 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Glenn]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1259
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By Glenn
(I used to do the whole non-pantywaist, "I've been wet before" thing and go regardless of the forecast. At 59, I no longer feel compelled to prove that I can.)
I look at the forecast, I just accept that sometimes I will be cold and wet grin.

One strategy I've employed is to plan 3 weekend trips at least 200 miles apart. Then a day or two out pick the one with the best forecast.

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#124073 - 11/19/09 04:19 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Glenn]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 366
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Glenn,
I can tell you too are very experienced in these matters. And I agree with you on all points including at my (our) age I don't have anything to prove and only get out into the wilderness because I truly enjoy it...and I don't enjoy rain much. Here is a quote I enjoy...

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
John Muir

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#124075 - 11/19/09 04:35 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Q1--Yes
Q2--No

I pick B for the strategy.

I just plan to get wet.
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#124080 - 11/19/09 06:31 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Glenn]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
It is NOT about proving anything. You NEED the rain to get the rainbows. Bad weather gives you solitude and spectacular scenery.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#124082 - 11/19/09 07:35 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: ringtail]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I know it's not about proving anything - now. I didn't know it 25 years ago, and the guys I hiked with for a while were into playing the "look how tough we are" game. Fortunately, I realized fairly quickly that this was the wrong attitude to take into the outdoors, and we parted ways.

I can do wet if I need to; I'm just more selective nowadays about "need." When I go to Isle Royale or Grayson Highlands for a week, I assume that I'll be wet one or two of those days. They're worth it; the rainbows and views are extra pretty. The local state park that used to be a creek running through cornfields until they dammed it isn't.


Edited by Glenn (11/19/09 07:37 PM)

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#124085 - 11/19/09 07:59 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
This past September we hiked Gros Morne in Newfoundland for 10 days. It was wet and wetter. Several all day rains and several days of rain off and on.

I stayed dry the entire time (except in the Epic fabric tent).

My rain gear consisted of North Face Venture jacket and pants and O.R. Sombrero hat. I carried a 30 lb pack. There was lots of elevation change from 600' to 2500'.

I was most impressed because this was old rain gear has never preformed as well as it did on this trip. The one thing that I did on this trip that I have never done before was wear wool base layers. Everything from micro light (150 gm/m) to combinations including mid weight (250 gm/m) layers. I did not wear any synthetics under the rain gear. I can only surmise that the wool in combination with the HyVent breathed exceptionally well. In the past I've always worn plastic base layers with this rain gear and have always been more wet inside than outside the rain gear.

Quite clearly a very subjective observation and certainly not quantifiable, but none the less I have restored confidence in this Venture / HyVent gear in combination with wool base layers.

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#124087 - 11/19/09 08:24 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
A long time (25 years) ago and far far away, we backpacked up to Little Yosemite Valley in medium rain. I had my new TNF goretex mountain light jacket on, and TNF nonzip goretex pants. Under this I was wearing only long underwear of some breathable type - probably polypro as that was it back then. The pit zips were open and the front zipper was half way unzipped. When we arrived I was basically dry, even inside the pants.

I now wear packlite full zip pants from LLbean and I consider them the best there is. On one late season trip last year in rain and spitting snow, they kept my legs warm and dry.

Pit zips are critical and they put them on a lot of garments because they add an ounce of weight. I am convinced that the short cuts done to save weight also produces gear that doesn't work.

People swear at goretex or swear it works. If you are in the second group, fine, if you aren't then stay home when it rains sissy. wink just joking

Seriously - I love to camp in extremely bad weather and I wouldn't do it if I was either wet or cold. My good sleeping bags are one goretex and two dryloft.
Jim YMMV crazy


Edited by Jimshaw (11/19/09 08:25 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124089 - 11/19/09 08:50 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Rick]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Interesting. I just made the switch from synthetic to wool-blend. Seeing if it makes any difference might just make spending day hiking in the rain worth it.

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#124092 - 11/19/09 10:42 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Glenn]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
There was a thread a while ago either here or at backpackinglight about Paramo and other similar garments. If I understood correctly, the basic concept is not to stop you from getting wet but to keep you warm and to have a garment that will quickly dry. Apparently there are two different ways to do this. One involves body heat forcing the water outward and the other involves designing the fabric to use the properties of water the make the water droplets move outward. It sounds like an interesting concept and if I were regularly hiking in cold, wet conditions I'd try it. Anybody use Paramo and have a report for us! Interested minds want to know grin
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If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#124093 - 11/19/09 11:27 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Rick]
Keith Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1667
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
"I can only surmise that the wool in combination with the HyVent breathed exceptionally well."

I think under-layers are a huge component of a successful water management strategy -- along with rain garment material and construction.
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Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

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#124094 - 11/19/09 11:35 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
It depends if it is wet-warm or wet-cold. In wet-warm (Lost Coast - 7 days) I finally accepted wet. I hiked in just my rain gear and then put on wool at night. Everything got damp but not wet. I stayed warm. Temperatures only varied from 66-70 degrees day and night. I got as much as 4 inchs of rain one night, 3 inches of rain one afternoon hiking, and no rain but 100+ humidity that made everything clamy.

Wet-cold is different. Again, I will sacrafice one layer of light wool under raingear. I do not get soaked, just damp. I agree that Gore-tex is worthless. I have gone back to simple coated nylon over-sized long poncho-style jacket. Hoods also do not work for me. A good cowboy hat is better. I have not yet done the umbrella - too much wind, but I think this would be great in less windy areas. I also only allow myself to get just so wet - then I will camp and crawl into my sleeping bag. I also drop to forests and build a big fire and dry out stuff when the rain eases.

I also will just sit out a very wet cold day.

I would not cancel a trip because of weather reports. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and we always drove to the trailhead and hiked into our base camp (for climbing). If we got a window - we would climb the peak, otherwise we just walked back out. These were weekend trips.

Working for NOLS in Wyoming, we would be out 35 days. WHen it rained we just trucked on. It really makes a difference being solo or with a larger group. A big group can do stuff a solo guy cannot. Like a group effort at building a warming fire. We would do classes on rainy days. Build a fire or sit under trees. This was in the early 1970's - before Gortex. Wool and coated nylon and cowboy hats is what we used.

As for strategy - make hay when the sun shines. Take advantage of windows of slightly better weather. I have at times set up my tent 4 times in a day while hiking!

In my old age, I moved to California. I love the Sierra weather. Great place for aging backpackers who have already paid their dues with rain.

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#124096 - 11/19/09 11:49 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I sweat heavily when hiking, particularly when going up hill. So keep this in mind when you read my comments. They won't apply to you if you are not a heavy sweater.

"Have you ever hiked for 4 hours with a pack (at least partly up hill) in pouring down rain?" Yes. This is the typical Pacific Northwest spring and fall hike for me. Gain a couple of thousand feet or more and camp in an area that is high, cool/cold and windy. The rain may have turned to snow by the time I reach camp.

"Did you stay dry (10,20,30....100%?)? Never (0%), even if it isn't raining.

"What were you wearing?" I keep moving and wear as little as I can to stay warm. Everything will be soaking wet by the time I get to camp and I will have to strip naked and redress. I gave up trying to keep dry decades ago and now only try to keep warm. I wear all synthetics because they retain less water and/or dry more quickly than cotton, down or wool. I've even experimented with closed cell foam clothing (e.g. a float coat) because they stay warm when wet.

"Do you think most of the water was from the outside (rain) or inside (sweat)? The sweat alone soaks me 100%, even without rain. Every single thing I am wearing will be wringing wet by the time I reach camp if I'm going up switchbacks with a pack. If it is raining then some of the sweat will be replaced by cold rain but the clothing can only hold so much. I can't really get any wetter.

I hike with a friend who keeps dry during everything I have described. Like I said at the beginning, my experience may not apply to you.

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#124097 - 11/20/09 12:16 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: PerryMK]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I used to follow the Family Circus motto: "There's no such thing as bad weather; just different kinds of good weather." Nowadays, I just don't feel compelled to go hiking in every form of good weather.

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#124113 - 11/20/09 11:29 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I forgot to add that I love hiking in the rain. I never cancel a trip because of it.

I love fiddling with gear and hiking in the rain poses the number one challenge to gear prep for me. How does one keep warm without packing an infinite pile of dry clothes, for example.

I also love the solitude. Most people don't go hiking in the rain, particularly at higher elevations where it might turn to snow by nightfall. And the ones who are hiking in the rain are mostly day hikers, not backpackers. Soooo, when nightfalls the woods are mine.

Returning from a rainy 3 day trip heightens my appreciation for all the comforts around me that I take for granted on a daily basis. It also causes me to reflect upon the experiences of those who have been in bad weather with much cruder gear than I have (e.g. Lewis and Clark).

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#124117 - 11/20/09 12:42 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: DJ2]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
I have the same experience as DJ2. I sweat quickly and fully. I wear as few clothes as possible to stay warm. I get to and set up camp quickly before I cool off too much. Crawl into the tent and change into dry clothes. It doesn't really matter if the clothes are dry the next morning. I just put them on wet and after about five minutes of hiking (ok, maybe ten minutes) I have already heated up the cold wet clothes and I'm sweating again. Probably the only "dry" thing I have then are my merino wool socks.

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#124128 - 11/20/09 08:05 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Ah, W_D, I'm so glad to find someone else who has the same approach to rain gear! I too have given up on "breathable" fabrics which, at least for me, are not breathable. The exception is Frogg Toggs, which IMHO are too easily damaged and are not wind resistant enough for really cold, windy conditions. I have a silnylon rain jacket and pants (made by Brawny Gear, now out of business) which is extremely light (7.6 oz. for jacket and pants together). Once I sealed the seams, there was no leakage after 45 minutes in the shower, nor have I noticed any leakage in the field since. Anti-Gravity Gear makes a similar silnylon rain jacket, with a full-length zipper and therefore more ventilation. I haven't seen any silnylon rain pants recently, though.

When I'm hiking in warm and wet conditions, I am soon in a lather when wearing a rain jacket, breathable or not. I therefore leave off the rain gear, wear just my supplex nylon hiking shirt and pants and get wet. If it's not quite so warm but still warm enough that I'll sweat in the rain jacket, I wear a lightweight wind shirt. I put on the rain jacket when I stop to avoid evaporative cooling, but the jacket comes off when I start hiking again. If the rain stops, my body heat dries my lightweight supplex clothing in 10 minutes or less while I'm moving.

In cold rain, especially when the wind is blowing, I've found no difference between breathable and non-breathable shells--when it's cold the breathability seems to make no difference either. I wear just my normal hiking shirt and pants under the rain gear. If it's a little too cold for that while I'm moving, I may wear a lightweight insulation layer (such as a lightweight fleece vest) under the rain jacket. If it's really cold I may add a headband for my ears and thin gloves under rain mitts. My main purpose is not to sweat while I'm moving, but of course I don't want to get chilled, either. As soon as I stop to rest, I put on my insulating jacket under the rain jacket; if it's cold I'll add my heavy fleece gloves and balaclava. In blustery winter conditions, I might be wearing my base layer under all, but it has to be extremely nasty for me to need to wear my base layer while hiking. Outside of bug season, I wear a very lightweight wicking base layer top instead of a supplex shirt.

When I camp for the night, my tent (carried in an outside pocket of my pack) goes up first. I then take my pack (kept mostly dry with a very lightweight pack cover) inside. Of course my wet rain gear and wet pack cover come off in the vestibule as I go inside. I undress, get into my dry and warm base layer and re-dress (leaving off my hiking shirt and pants if they're wet) before the circulation I've worked up from hiking slows down too much. If it's cold, I wear most or all of my insulating clothing. I then unpack my backpack, get out my sleeping bag and blow up my insulated air pad. Anything I'm going to need outside is placed right next to the door. I grab water containers, gravity filter and the Ursack containing my food, put my rain gear back on and go outside. I tie the Ursack to a tree and head for the water source. Upon returning, I boil water and start my dinner rehydrating, feed the dog while I sip hot tea, take him for his post-prandial "stroll" and bury his leavings. The dog chores take up just the right amount of time for my dinner to rehydrate in its cozy, so the next step is eating.

If it's still raining, I brush my teeth, do any other chores, secure my Ursack for the night and head for the tent with the dog. I dry him off as best I can in the vestibule and put on his lightweight fleece jacket to protect my sleeping bag from his wet fur. If the rain has stopped, the dog and I usually go for a sunset walk before bedtime. If it's really cold, I've learned that a brisk walk or vigorous calisthenics for 15-20 minutes at bedtime get my circulation/body heat revved up before I get into the sleeping bag and make it easier to warm the bag.

If my hiking clothing is wet, I seal it (and my wet socks) in a plastic bag and put it inside my sleeping bag. That way the clothes are at least warm in the morning. I usually stay in my base layer (with insulation if neccessary and rain gear on top) while I eat breakfast and feed the dog. I then change into my hiking clothes (left in the sleeping bag so they're still fairly warm) and pack everything up while I'm inside the tent. My tent is the last item to be packed whether or not it's raining in the morning. If it's raining, my pack contents stay dry; if it's not raining my tent has the maximum time to dry out. The tent goes into one of the outside side pockets of my pack, where it doesn't transfer moisture to my pack contents and is available without opening the pack if it's raining when I make camp that evening.

Unless the visibility is too low for safe hiking, I'd far rather keep hiking than spend a whole day cooped up in my tent. So would my dog! With careful attention to keeping all my insulating clothing and sleeping bag dry, appropriate layering to avoid sweating when moving or getting chilled when stopped, and using fabrics that don't absorb water, I am a lot more comfortable hiking in nasty weather than sitting around.

If there are what our Pacific NW forecasters call "sunbreaks" during the day, I stop and get out my tent, sleeping bag and wet socks to dry as much as they can.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#124131 - 11/20/09 08:36 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Great post! Although the details and techniques are much different, your description reminds me a lot of the descriptions in The Complete Walker of a typical hiking day and a day in the rain.

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#124135 - 11/20/09 09:47 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: DJ2]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
DJ2
"I hike with a friend who keeps dry during everything I have described. Like I said at the beginning, my experience may not apply to you."
_____________________________________________________________________
I guess I'm just lucky I don't sweat much. I have had a cloud of steam coming out of the half unzpped jacket that was so thick I couldn't wear my glasses, yet when I arrived at my truck my montbell longunderwear was essentially dry. Guess I neve realised my body type or whatever is why goretex has always performed very well for me. For me, my body heat drives out the steam, but I don't sweat enough to get wet.
Jim crazy
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124141 - 11/21/09 10:51 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jimshaw]
DJ2 Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 1348
Loc: Seattle, WA
I envy you.

I could carry fewer clothes and therefore less weight if I didn't sweat so much. For example, if my non-sweating friend and I stop on a windy ridge top for a lunch break he usually stays with the (dry) clothes he is wearing. I am soaking wet and the evaporative cooling from the wind and, say, 50 degree temps will chill me to the bone in a few minutes if I don't take action. So I either change clothes, add more clothes and/or crawl into a plastic emergency shelter during the stop....depending on how long we will be sitting there.


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#124149 - 11/21/09 05:56 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: DJ2]
Rich_M Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 165
Loc: Southern Oregon
I went to the Marmot Precip after my TNF Mountain Light started leaking. I got about 7 or 8 years out of the Mt. Light so I figured I got my moneys worth out of it. After about five years my Precip jacket started flaking off near the neck area. The Mountain Light did not breath any better than the Precip. I found an Arc Teryx Theta AR on sale and now use it but do not have enough use with it yet the know how it will work for me. I like the Precip and may get another one but wished there was something out there that really did breathe. This is an interesting thread. Thanks all.

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#124158 - 11/21/09 10:29 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Rich_M]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Rich
I bought the original TNF mountain light when they came out - maybe 28 years ago? It gets washed and the water proofing replaced with the wash in stuff about every 5 years. It is still in use as my wife's main rain shell. The zippers and snaps are all original and still work fine as does the goretex shell. I believe I have gotten my moneys worth from it.

The only rain gear I have ever had trouble with was Sierra Design non breathable coated UL (for the time) gear. But then it is advertised as unbreathable - why should it?

Nope - I have never felt the need to return any of my "guaranteed to keep you dry in any conditions" goretex gear. What I have had is delamination problems, both jackets were expensive marmot jackets. They replaced one, but the other is irreplaceable at any price and I live with some small "measles" on the surface, since its a deep winter coat anyway, and it weighs 39 ounces with a full hood. The only even similar coat produced now by marmot would be a 8,000 meter parka.


Edited by Jimshaw (11/21/09 10:30 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124217 - 11/22/09 11:39 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jimshaw]
Rich_M Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 165
Loc: Southern Oregon
Jim
Thanks for the info on your wife's TNF Mountain Light jacket. Mine has been cleaned and the DWR from Nikwax has been applied on a regular basis (once a year) but it does not seem to work that well anymore. I went out today and got the Nikwax cleaner and DWR and have tried it one more time. I really hope it works because I like the jacket. Time will tell. Thanks again, Rich

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#124220 - 11/23/09 12:39 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By Pliny

Have you ever hiked for 4 hours with a pack (at least partly up hill) in pouring down rain?


I think it's safe to say I've hiked for 4 days in the pouring rain. You can put a raincover on your pack, put a garbage bag inside the pack, enclose all small items in ziplocks... eventually your crackers and toilet paper will get mushy anyway. My solution? Just deal with it.

I guess my answer makes me a "B", but I'm not trying to prove my manhood or anything. I just think it's silly when people complain about the weather. Since I've lived down here in WA, I've never seen a road get too washed out to cross, I've never had to dig my car out of the snow, and I've never had to stay indoors because the wind was gusting around 120 mph. The weather here is paradise! (I'm originally from Alaska; lower 48ers don't get my sympathy. :P )

But on a serious note. I don't really have a schedule open enough to only go hiking on the good days. It doesn't help that my job as a hospital worker will put me on call about a week out of every month. I'll hike when I can: If it's sunny, great. If it's cloudy, the sunsets are more colorful. If it rains, there aren't any mosquitoes to worry about. So long as my clothes keep me warm and I avoid trenchfoot, the weather's fine.


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#124223 - 11/23/09 01:07 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Pliny

Have you ever hiked for 4 hours with a pack (at least partly up hill) in pouring down rain?

Yes, quite a number of times..
Quote:

Did you stay dry (10,20,30....100%?)? What were you wearing? Do you think most of the water was from the outside (rain) or inside (sweat)?

When young and dumb - sweat. I'm now old and dumb, so usually a mix. I sweat a lot when exerting, but stay a fair bit drier with proper ventilation - poncho and windshirt - no goretex.

Quote:

From a strategy stand point you would:
A. Not go hiking if the forecast was 90% chance of rain.
B. Go hiking in spite of a bleak forecast because you are not .....a pantywaist.
C. Change plans to make the hike shorter.


I tend to B, because I don't have the luxury of rescheduling most of the time, and I'm confortable with my wet weather gear. Having said that I've certainly done A and C at various times.

Note that A is sometimes prudent. I bail on hikes walking down exposed mountain ridges if the forcast is that I will be doing it in thunderstorms.
_________________________
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#124228 - 11/23/09 08:20 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Wolfeye]
Boomer Offline
member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Minnesota,USA
amen
_________________________
Modern civilized man, sated with artificialities and luxury, were wont, when he returns to the primeval mountains, to find among their caves his prehistoric brother, alive and unchanged. -Guido Rey

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#124230 - 11/23/09 09:40 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: OregonMouse]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Originally Posted By OregonMouse

Unless the visibility is too low for safe hiking, I'd far rather keep hiking than spend a whole day cooped up in my tent. So would my dog! With careful attention to keeping all my insulating clothing and sleeping bag dry, appropriate layering to avoid sweating when moving or getting chilled when stopped, and using fabrics that don't absorb water, I am a lot more comfortable hiking in nasty weather than sitting around.


It is easier to stay dry vertical than horizontal. You hike slower and the trail is slick, it takes a long time to pitch camp and break camp, but hiking is so much better than hanging around camp in the rain.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#124252 - 11/23/09 05:39 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Wolfeye]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I agree - it's silly to complain about it. I've never minded the rain walks particularly - it's just that I don't seek them out anymore. Since most of my trips are solo, and there are other things I enjoy equally, I'm blessed with the option of choosing - and at this stage in my life, it's no big deal to swap a rain-filled weekend for a sunny one.

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#124291 - 11/23/09 11:08 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Glenn]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have to admit that while I have no problems coping with rain, snow, hail, whatever during a trip, it takes a little more courage than I have to actually start a trip when such weather is going on. However, I missed a couple of good trips this past summer by believing the weather forecasts. Next time, I'm going! I might postpone the trip a day if there's an all-day rain going on when I get to the trailhead, but I'm not going to stay home any more just because the NWS claims it's going to rain!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#124300 - 11/24/09 06:56 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I definitely wouldn't rely on a long-range forecast, or cancel a week-long trip because of one - more than once, I've shoveled 6 or 8 inches of "no accumulation" off the driveway.

I've never cancelled a trip of more than a weekend because of rain - probably should have said that in one of my earlier posts. It's the short trips - and more reliable forecasts - that get moved around.

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#124313 - 11/24/09 10:35 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
MrPhotographer06 Offline
member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Small Town, SC
After a rainy trip, what do you do with your gear when you get home? Do you set your gear up and let it air out so it dosent get stored soaked and molded

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#124317 - 11/24/09 10:49 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: MrPhotographer06]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I like to do that after nearly every trip. There is always insensible moisture about, especially if I packed up early in the morning.

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#124318 - 11/24/09 11:28 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
marla Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 4
Loc: Germany

I wish I could be as adventurous and flexible as most of the users here! But rain is really something I can't stand. I have had to hike in it before, but I do not have positive memories of the experience. It compeltely changes my mood and I am grumpy for the rest of the trip. I don't feel that any amount of rain gear is really enough to protect me or make me forget about the rain

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#124325 - 11/24/09 12:48 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: oldranger]
MrPhotographer06 Offline
member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Small Town, SC
yeah true, i guess i'll get into the habit

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#124341 - 11/24/09 03:09 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: MrPhotographer06]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Likewise, I set mine up after every trip. If you're lucky enough to have a basement or unused portion of a garage, you can set it up and forget about it for 3 or 4 days, so it's good and dry. If you don't, you need to figure out what room to do this in, and how long the parent/spouse/roommate will allow it to clutter up the area.

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#124369 - 11/24/09 09:27 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: oldranger]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
OR
I hate that insensible moisture, its just so insensitive... crazy

There was an article years ago in backpacker about how to buy all of your gear for $300 or less at Wally's place. grin It started out that some guys were at a TH heading in when it looked like a storm and met a guy hoofing it out to avoid the storm. The premise of the article was - if you only camp in nice weather, why carry expensive gear?

A corollary is - if you have good gear, why not go ahead on into bad weather? confused

The most memorable trips are done in memorable weather. When I lived in San Francisco we would wait for mountain storm warnings and head up just ahead of them. I love camping and cooking (if ya can) in blizzards. Just about anybody can do it in nice weather, what puts yer metal to the test is having to do it under very real dire circumstances. Course I'm a rock climber too and the two concepts are kinda similar.

I want to say that a very long time ago while hearing about people being rescued in the Sierras after big storms, I came to the conclusion that my primary strategy would be to carry and use equipment that would allow me to travel and function in the worst storm that the Sierras could throw at me. I think I have succeeded in that. It also means that when there's no storm, camping is a breeze.

Oh yeah, dry everything out - a drier is nice but hang the tent over a door and turn often, sleeping bags inside out over couch.

Jim YMMV - oh can you say "pit zips"? I do not even take anything without pit zips except my marmot technical tee.


Edited by Jimshaw (11/24/09 10:45 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#124372 - 11/24/09 10:30 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
MrPhotographer06 Offline
member

Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Small Town, SC
My grandparents would let me use my room at their house. so i'll start doing that.

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#124379 - 11/25/09 12:13 AM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: OregonMouse]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
I will hike in the rain just because it is good practice. I feel it takes me to a different level of skill. I lived in the Queen Charlotte Islands for two years where it rained pretty much every day. After a while a guy didn’t even notice it. We even played tennis in the rain. In July of ‘75 the sun came out once. The communications boys sent a message to Ottawa: “UFO sighted. Big yellow ball in the sky”. They answered “Oh yes. That is the sun. We hear you don’t see much of that”. Back then I didn’t do much hiking. I road motorcycles. Looking back, I would much rather hike in the rain than ride a motorcycle.

Howie

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#124399 - 11/25/09 12:09 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: MrPhotographer06]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I have been able to go into the deepest thoughts walking in the rain, and I have walked in the pouring rain too !!! I can go to some far away places when I am walking in the rain... It all just seems so peaceful, walking in the rain I mean. The rain has never bothered me but I can tell you that I have had to "hunker" down under a real quick make-shift shelter for a couple of minutes until the worst of a very bad storm had the chance to blow over, but other than that. I usually do not wear "rain pants" any way, usually just a rain top. I guess I really don't care if my legs get wet unless it is very cold and then I will put on the bottoms...sabrer1004 goodjob
_________________________
The first step that you take will be one of those that get you there 1!!!!!

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#124617 - 12/02/09 11:17 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: sabre11004]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I don't find it difficult to have a day or two of rain on a trip; the tough times are when it rains day after day after day, or at least if the cloud cover remains such that the vegetation stays wet and it's overall wet and cold. Then you start thinking about using body heat in various ways to get things dry (or at least "less wet") and some careful thinking is in order for the backpacker that carries relatively little in the way of gear and spare clothing. It can indeed be a challenge, but hopefully one that's just a challenge in terms of comfort and happiness, and not so much of a safety issue.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#125027 - 12/11/09 12:51 PM Re: Rain gear and rain strategy [Re: Jim M]
Berserker Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 493
Loc: Lynchburg, VA
Originally Posted By Pliny
Anyway, to start with a simple question:
Have you ever hiked for 4 hours with a pack (at least partly up hill) in pouring down rain?

Yes, I've hiked for multiple days in heavy rain.

Originally Posted By Pliny
Did you stay dry (10,20,30....100%?)??

No, I eventually got wet.

Originally Posted By Pliny
What were you wearing??

I've done a Gore Tex Jacket, Marmot Precip Jacket and a sil-nylon poncho. I prefer the poncho in warm weather (generally >50 F) and the precip in colder weather.

Originally Posted By Pliny
Do you think most of the water was from the outside (rain) or inside (sweat)??

The water was coming both from inside and out (sweat and leakage from openings).

Originally Posted By Pliny
From a strategy stand point you would:
A. Not go hiking if the forecast was 90% chance of rain.
B. Go hiking in spite of a bleak forecast because you are not .....a pantywaist.
C. Change plans to make the hike shorter.

I would only consider cancelling a trip if it were going to be longer than 3 days and it was definitely going to rain the entire time.

My main advice would be to make sure you keep everything in your pack dry (i.e. use a pack liner like a trash compactor bag, and a pack cover), keep yourself warm, and carry an "auxiliary" shelter. Whether this be an extra tarp or a tarp/poncho that you wear, it is worth the extra weight to have something to hangout under. This gives you an area to do things like cook in, and you are not relegated to your tent.

The other thing is to just get over the psychological part of being wet. The way I got over it was by doing my training hikes in the rain. I purposely going out when it sucks. After having done this several times, I finally got over it. This also gives me an opportunity to test my rain gear.



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