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Sai
(saizai) - F
Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 02:53:54 MST Print View

Could someone explain to me what function they serve?

Assume I already have a ID eVENT Jacket and would rather have multifunctional gear (eg DWR convertible pants that look non-plastic?).

I'm tempted to cut out both and save the 11oz & cost.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 08:47:45 MST Print View

Ilya,
Wind shirts and rain pants are useful if they fit your system, the hike you are planning and expected weather conditions. And that will change from hike to hike and region to region.

For example. If I'm using a poncho/tarp, spring or fall, I don't necessarily need a waterproof-breathable (WB) rain jacket; anything will work under the poncho. But a light windshirt can extend the temperature range of my layers several degrees - especially in the wind. So a 3-4 oz. windshirt gets to go. The poncho and windshirt combination is my mild 3-season favorite for light weight.

If conditions are colder-wetter or if I'm not going solo and not using a poncho/tarp as shelter, I may use a WB jacket for both rain and wind protection and leave the windshirt at home. If I expect much rain, I will still take the poncho because I prefer it in continuous rain because *in the system* it also serves as the pack cover. The WB top goes under the poncho, then, to keep my arms dry, and it is nice in camp for forays outside the poncho/tarp.

I find rain pants marginally useful on long trails because I don't carry any other long pants. I use WB rain pants for bug protection, warmth, wind protection, and with the poncho in heavy, continuous, cold rain in spring/fall and in windy cold at altitude. Otherwise, I find it more compfortable to go bare legged. It has to be really cold and/or wet for me to wear pants except in camp because they are usually too hot for hiking.

In town, the rain pants keep me from getting arrested in the laundramat while everything else is in the washer - although sometimes they get washed, too, and the poncho is my only concession to modesty.

Having said all that, I usually don't carry rain pants in warmer weather because, as you imply, who makes lightweight, convertable DWR rain pants?

The closest thing to what you describe are my favorites -- simple wind pants I picked up at Target for $15 and used on the AT in '03, the wettest year on record. They made of Teflon encapsulated fabric and are surprisingly water repellant/breathable. Not convertable, alas. I may someday make them into chaps.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 09:24:43 MST Print View

Windshirts are lighter and more breathable than rain jackets... but windshirts aren't waterproof. You can spray DWR treatments to augment a windshirt's water resistance, but after some time (half an hour, maybe a bit more, or maybe a lot less) of hard rain, you will still get soaked. Also, DWR treatments become less effective with wash and will need to be reapplied from time to time. Not practical on long trips.

For a long and varied trip where you may encounter any kind of weather, I really think you should carry a set of lightweight waterproof/breathable raingear (top and bottom). If it's waterproof, it's going to be windproof as well -- but not the other way around.

Separately, since I've gotten my MontBell Peak Shell jacket, I haven't been following the latest in rain gear. Last I look, eVENT jackets on the market did not have any venting other than the front zipper (i.e. no pit zips or additional front vents). I would avoid that, as properly positioned vents will move far, far more persperation than even the best laminate. Now, if they have come out with eVENT jackets that incorporate vents, then I will be much more excited...

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 19:08:34 MST Print View

Wind shirts aren't raingear. They are insulation.

Wind shirts have the highest warmth-to-weight ratio of anything short of down clothing. And they dry out quickly and work when they are wet. Maybe I am a fanatic about it, but a wind shirt is the most likely thing to be in my pack for a trip of any length.

Rain pants are more problematic. For me, rain pants are a more specialized item, usually for backcountry ski trips or mountaineering. I find the weight and bulk is hard to justify for most backpacking, even in very wet weather. A lot of this is because it is hard to comfortably vent any rain pants in soggy conditions, so you really end up being soaked in your own juices. Rain pants with side zips help this somewhat.

Sai
(saizai) - F
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 19:25:43 MST Print View

Interesting answers.

I should point out that my intent is for one set of clothing for a long and varied set of conditions. I can understand swapping a WB jacket for a windshirt if you're not expecting major rain - that wouldn't work for me. I'm asking whether the windshirt is useful if you already *have* the WB one (i.e. layered).

David: How much more insulation is MW base + windshirt + fleece jacket (eg Patagonia R2) + WB jacket vs. the same minus the windshirt?

Benjamin: Why not go for water-resistant pants instead, and save that 9oz or so of special-use-only clothing? E.g. I have a pair of ExO Amphi convertibles - shouldn't they be "rainproof enough", and let me bring an extra pair of regular pants (which would actually look good in town, vs the shiny-plastic look of rainpants)?

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 21:20:28 MST Print View

I think sierra designs is comming out with a waterproof breathable rain shell at 4-5oz or so. it will serve well as both wind and rain gear I suspect

they will probably work well with the 5oz golite reed rain pants.

that will be about 10oz total for an ultralight rain shell set more durable than drop stoppers

Edited by ryanf on 01/06/2006 21:22:04 MST.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 21:23:32 MST Print View

Ilya,
For the long haul, a windshirt has less utility if and only if your rain top is highly breathable so you can use it when you are hiking hard. Most waterproof/breathable gear is not suitable for aerobic work, but folks vary widely in how much water vapor they put out. At the very minimum, the jacket should have pit zips and chest ventillation. When the ventillation is fully deployed, you are not getting full benefit as a wind-shirt. However, lots of folks get by without a windshirt.

The temperature advantage of a windshirt varies with the wind speed and temperature. And there is a big difference between putting it over a fleece jacket that is not very wind resistant itself and putting it over a down or polyester insulated jacket that has its own reasonably wind resistant shell. With fleece you need a windshirt unless it is windblocker fleece.

Water resistant pants are more water resistant than jackets because rain hits them at a more acute angle. You may still get a little wet. Water resistant pants work OK if you don't wear a base layer under them because the base layer will eventually get wet. But the pants will keep your bare skin warmer and will dry quickly when given the chance.

Regular DWR is not good enough for the long haul, and if you are going to be on a long trail, you won't have much opportunity to renew the treatment - even on the AT. Teflon encapsulated fabric is the only thing I've found that works. All it needs is an occasional thorough cleaning. However, it does not breath as well as regular nylon treated with DWR. Unfortunately, your convertables may end up acting as clinging wicks against your freezing legs.

RE: the shiny plastic look when strolling around town. Cultivate *hiker attitude* and wear what works on the trail.

Sai
(saizai) - F
Re: Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/06/2006 23:34:23 MST Print View

Windshirt: Yeah, but that doesn't give an advantage of windshirt PLUS eVENT jacket vs. just the jacket. The jacket is already cutting wind; why would I need a windshirt also? (I'm contrasting here to the "4-layer" system of base, windshirt, insulation, waterproof.)

By all accounts the eVENT jacket is sufficiently breathable for nearly any purposes; I've yet to have opportunity to test this with mine, but I'm small and not a very heavy sweater anyway.

Pants: care to recommend a pair to complement the ExO Amphi convertibles [which according to ExO are Teflon-treated nylon]? I was figuring my other pair would be a non-convertible better-looking lightweight pant for more sunny weather & looking presentable for the border guards et al, since the Amphi bills itself as a water resistant "rain pant". http://www.exofficio.com/product_details.aspx?item_guid=14d5d953-c00e-4457-a3c5-4005b4a51015 / http://www.rei.com/outlet/product/47963524.htm?vcat=OUTLET_SSHP_MENS_CLOTHING_SA - on $25 closeout

"Hiker attitude": Would, if this were intended primarily for hiking trips. But it's intended for a one-set-fits-all (short of mountaineering) for some longterm world travel. So I'd rather have pants that I can wear in town, given that most of my time will be in or between towns (and much of it walking). (It also increases their utility since I can use them more easily on a day-to-day basis also.)

Edited by saizai on 01/06/2006 23:38:49 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 06:41:36 MST Print View

If you tend to run cool then using an eVENT jacket might work as well as a windshirt. A number of us run normal to hot and find even the lightest eVENT jackets too warm when we are active. Of course, it's possible to drop activity level and not have so much heat to dump, but I would rather not slow down if I have other choices. 3oz is a small price to pay.

I wouldn't call the exo amphi "rain pants". In a light rain they do fine for maybe an hour before they get soggy. They dry quickly. So if you aren't facing cold, seriously wet conditions, they would do fine by themselves. If if you are in a hard rain storm, they will be completely soaked in less than an hour. In warmer weather I unzip the legs and pull the shorts up as high as I can and just let my legs get wet... since my skin drys very quickly when I stop. In cooler weather I really like rainpants.

--Mark

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 11:46:37 MST Print View

This thread is an interesting excercise in how we percieve clothing items. This sort of itemizing has been the real learning curve for me in learning how to really get my pack weight down and stay cozy.

If you think "long sleeve shirt," rather than "jacket," then a windshirt occupies a different space in your clothing palette.

I get into what I call clothing "brackets," where the gear (read "investment") I have is on either side of a particular layering option. I have a Marmot DriClime windshirt that isn't at all ultralight (16.4oz/465g). It can protect like one of the ultra-light windshirts, but also has an insulation layer and some DWR too, so it becomes long sleeve base layer and wind/light rain protection at the same time. Typically, when it gets wet in my climate, it gets cold and windy, so I would want a little more than just the single layer wind shirt anyway. It can be added over a silkweight tee or worn by itself and it vents well enough to become a layer under a raincoat.

I would see the windshirt alternative as using a short sleeve tee, a long sleeve half-zip base layer, and the windshirt to work with-- really the same as the Marmot shirt, but with a "removable" insulation layer.

In my climate (Pacific NW coast), I see a true ultralight windshirt as more of a dry climate option. I could see it being more useful in areas like the Sierra or Rockies, when it might get colder or windier, but not wet. Sun protection is an issue in the drier areas too, where you could be getting a sunburn at the same time the cold wind is sucking the life out of you. Again, im my climate, if it is 45F, it is also raining or just did, or is just about to, and the brush is wet with rain or dew. Cold and humid is the issue here, where hypothermia can come at a higher temperature from being soaked inside and out. My point is that when you would reach for a wind shirt here, you would be reaching for something more waterproof anyway, so the windshirt isn't as useful.

On the bottoms, I layer shorts and raingear (Marmot Precip top and bottom, BTW) for summer, replacing the shorts with zip-off's for spring/fall and adding polyester long johns for winter. I'm working DriClime pants into my winter gear and the plan there is to wear them alone or layer them with long johns in colder weather. I could wear the rain pants over both or with one or the other-- the DriClime pants and/or the poly long johns. The long johns make for good sleeping gear too.

It's quite a chess game-- figuring out effecient layering vs. weight vs. perception.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 13:14:38 MST Print View

> David: How much more insulation is MW base windshirt + fleece jacket (eg Patagonia R2) + WB jacket vs. the same minus the windshirt?

I'd say that in still air a windshirt has roughly the insulation value of a midweight base layer, and in windy conditions adds as much warmth as a fleece top. I'd put this another way...

If you used silkweight top plus a windshirt plus an insulated top like the Coccoon or Micro Puff You'd save yourself half a pound or more in carry weight and have a combination of clothing that would keep you comfortable in a wider range of temperatures, both warmer and colder and lots windier.

Plus the silkweight base layer and windshirt would dry out much faster than a midweight layer.

Sai
(saizai) - F
Re: Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 18:02:58 MST Print View

Your reply still sounds like it's comparing having the windshirt XOR the rain jacket. I am taking the rainjacket, just debating whether the windshirt / rain pants are worthwhile to take on top of it.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 19:12:16 MST Print View

Select a lightweight, waterproof breathable rain jacket and forget the windshirt. The former can peform the latter rather well -- but not vice versa, given your twin criteria of (1) lightweight and (2) long trip where any kind of weather is possible.

As for pants, ditto as above, get a pair of lightweight, waterproof, breathable pants (breathability can be less for pants than jackets). For urban wear where you can always dodge into a shop when rain comes, a pair of nylon "rain resistant" pants is fine, but if you are out in the wilds and miles away from any shelter, rain resistant pants is not going to help you.

Sai
(saizai) - F
Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 19:14:15 MST Print View

Any suggestion for the pants?

The reviews I've seen all seem to complain about their (lack of) durability...

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Re: Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 19:25:38 MST Print View

I usually take both a windshirt and a rain jacket on most trips.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wind shirt & rain pants - necessary? on 01/07/2006 19:32:21 MST Print View

I would use golite Reed pants for rain pants

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Pants Recommendation on 01/07/2006 20:09:16 MST Print View

Golite Reed is a very good choice, and its light weight is hard to beat.

Now, this is going to boil down to your personal preference, but I would also recommend that you look at MontBell's Versalite pants. It's 2 ounces heavier, but for those 2 ounces, I believe you get a much more "wearable" pair of pants: 2 ankle zips to help you put on / take off your pants without having to remove your muddy boots, and zip fly for obvious conveninece. The Versalite is also more breathable than the Reed, although for pants, maximum breathablity is less important.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Pants Recommendation on 01/07/2006 21:49:19 MST Print View

I also hike in the northwest where rain pants are de rigueur, though occasionally I'll use a coated nylon chap. Marmot precip seems to work awfully well in the upper lefthand corner of the country.