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Rain shell opinions need
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Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Rain shell opinions need on 11/20/2009 23:38:21 MST Print View

So I'm looking at upgrading my waterproof/not very breathable rain shell (Marmot Precip - XL 13.4oz). It's been a good jacket mainly because of all the venting options (pit zips, mess core vent pockets, full front zip) but I'd like to take some weight out. I'm actually thinking of using a two pronged approach. 1 really light jacket for good weather as a just in case/camp shell and 1 for trips where consistant rain is in the forecast. These will be for 3 season use in the Colorado Rockies (read quickly changing weather even in summer). Here's what I'm considering. Opinions needed!

Just in case/camp jacket:

1) TNF Triumph Anorak (size XL=6.3oz)
Pros: Lightest, fairly durable jacket I could find, fit is good, hood coverage good.
Cons: Bairly breathable (Hyvent DT PU coating), no venting options besides half length front zipper, no hem cinch for cold or windy weather.

2) OR Zealot (size XL=8.5oz)
Pros: More breathable than Triumph (Gore-Tex Paclite), waterproof zips, hem draw cord.
Cons: Heavier, no venting options besides full length front zipper, so-so hood coverage.

3) Various Propore jackets (XL around 6-7oz)
Pros: Light, breathable, cheap.
Cons: Rip easily (I do like to bushwack), no venting besides front zip.

Inclement weather jacket:

1) Montane Atomic DT (XL=11.5oz)
Pros: Decently breathable (Entrant DT), good feature set, decent venting (mesh lined core vent pockets, large sleeve opening), nice wire brimmed hood
Cons: Less than 2oz lighter than my Precip, no pit zips

2) TNF Diad (XL=11.5oz)
Pros: Good feature set, good venting (mesh lined core vent pockets, large sleeve opening, mini pit zips)
Cons: Not very breathable (PU coating), mini pit zips (not full length), Less than 2oz lighter than my Precip

3) Montbell Versalite (based on listed weights for all the jackets my guess is 13.2oz for XL)
Pros: Good feature set, good venting (mesh lined core vent pockets, large sleeve opening, real pit zips), decently breathable.
Cons: Estimated to be the same weight as my Precip.

4) Montbell Outpace Parka, Integral Designs Thru Hiker (both around 13oz in XL)
Pros: Excellent Breathability
Cons: 2x the cost of other jackets, little ventilation, almost same weight as my Precip

I know, I know. I'm over analyzing this but I can't help that! I need any and all opinions on these options to break my decision paralysis. Initially, I'm leaning towards TNF Triumph and Montane Atomic or Triumph and just keeping the Precip (hey it's got me through some nasty weather and I haven't found an option more than 2oz lighter with similar features).

Thanks for the help!

EDIT: Wow that was long winded!

Edited by wilke7000 on 11/20/2009 23:40:14 MST.

Tim Testa
(MichaelRedbeard) - F
Advice on 11/20/2009 23:40:34 MST Print View

Marmot Essence is only 6oz with great venting. On sale now at REI.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Advice on 11/20/2009 23:54:23 MST Print View

I did check out the Essence (which is probably more like 8-9oz in XL) I wasn't convinced with the "automatic" vents as they couldn't be closed in cold/windy weather when stopped or at camp. Maybe not as much a problem as I'm envisioning but it can get cold and windy at altitude even in summer here.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Advice on 11/21/2009 00:13:34 MST Print View

Well now you got the mind spinning a little Tim. I have been thinking about adding a windshirt to the mix so maybe Essence+Windshirt is a pretty light/versatile combo.

Do you own an Essence? If so, what do you think about it?

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Rain shell opinions need on 11/21/2009 00:25:04 MST Print View

At this point, I doubt that extra information will break the decision paralysis! That's probably the problem!

Do you really need two jackets? You'd be saving three or so ounces and sacrificing usefulness at the cost of the cheaper jacket. Kind of expensive. I've gone this route and now am leaning back towards a lightweight inclement weather jacket and a heavy weight bombproof bad weather jacket.

My evolution with rain jackets has lead me away from PU coated jackets. I've owned many, mostly seduced by their weight and price. Haven't had one that functions decently after the DWR wears down a little bit. Plus their fairly short lived. I'm not familiar enough with the options you've chosen. But I lean towards the inclement weather jackets. I've been wanting something out of Paclite or similar with no pit zips, a good hood and wrist velcro.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Rain shell opinions need on 11/21/2009 13:46:00 MST Print View

Of course you're right. I'm on information overload in regards to rain jackets. The physics of how the fabrics work is pretty cool but oh the choices...

Brian Hall
golite spectre on 11/21/2009 17:21:00 MST Print View

I just got a golite spectre off of ebay. Supposed to be a good jacket from the reviews I have read. Alot of sites have them on sale for a little over $100. It is a goretex paclite jacket, pit zips, h20proof zippers. Weighs in around 13oz.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Rain shell opinions need on 11/21/2009 18:40:40 MST Print View

"I'm actually thinking of using a two pronged approach. 1 really light jacket for good weather as a just in case/camp shell and 1 for trips where consistant rain is in the forecast."

Dri Ducks or O2 Rainshield for just in case
ID Event Rain Jacket for constant rain

Patrick Caulder
(pcaulder) - MLife

Locale: SouthEast
Zealot on 11/22/2009 09:36:30 MST Print View

I bought an OR Zealot from a while back when they were on sale for 59.95. Overall I can say that I am pretty pleased with it. It has the gray membrane which is newer (I think). The hood adjustment is pretty simple requiring only one hand, but works pretty effectively in my opinion. I also like the little bit of droptail it has in the back. I also use a Cabelas Rainy River Mountain Parka while I'm at work which is a little more heavy duty paclite shell, and so far it has worked great too.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
My vote is for the Zealot on 11/22/2009 11:50:14 MST Print View

In terms of waterproofness, durability, and weight I have found the Zealot to be a great jacket.

The goretex isn't the most breathable but it works to a certain extent.

The hood seems to work fine for me. No problems after a year of use. Also the dropped rear provides good coverage and the hem cinch is nice.

I didn't like the elastic wrists as they didn't cover far down my wrists. Nor did I like the way they constrict if you need to pull them up. So I:
1. seam ripped them
2. took the elastic out and let down the sleeve hems
3. used a diluted slurry of silnet and mineral spirits to remake wider and longer cuffs than the original. (the nature of letting out the elastic provided for the extra width and length)
4. Sewed and sealed on tiny velcro closures to fit my wrist

After the mods, the jacket may have lost a tenth of an ounce but the function is great compared to the velcro! My med weighs just under 7.5 ounces and has proved to be a wonderful jacket in inclement conditions.

Good luck in your decision making!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Rain Shell Options - What about the OR Celestial? on 11/22/2009 13:01:26 MST Print View

Several years ago a friend and I were going to do some hiking on the Southern end of the AT during the spring.

We were looking for a really good rain jacket. I went with the OR Celestial because of its side zip's. and he got the OR Zealot with no side venting options.

I was very happy and would use it still on a hike if I expected a lot of rain. After he used his Zealot awhile he sold it and bought a Celestial. They are both good rain jackets but I want the option to vent and the zippers on the Celestial go from the bottom of the jacket - sides - toward the arm pit.

Patrick Caulder
(pcaulder) - MLife

Locale: SouthEast
Zealot on 11/22/2009 15:51:19 MST Print View


I'm not too fond of the wrist on mine either. I have also thought about adding some pit zips on. Mostly I only carry the zealotwith the golite reed pants in colder weather, and during the summer its either nothing or a windshirt. Of course I do live in the south though

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
You Zealots! What about the Triumph? on 11/22/2009 22:55:50 MST Print View

Looks like there is a decently positive response for the Zealot. It seems like a nice jacket but those 2oz I'd save with the Triumph... Any Triumph users out there that can chime in?

Doesn't look like any Celestials are still for sale. Sounds like a good jacket but probably not any lighter then my Precip in XL (13.4oz).

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Re: You Zealots! What about the Triumph? on 11/23/2009 09:04:22 MST Print View

Hi Christopher,

Mine is a size extra large and weighs 12.7 ounces on my gram scale.

To bad they no longer sell them.

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
Triumph on 11/23/2009 11:38:11 MST Print View

I just received my Triumph, and have only had the opportunity to use it once. My size small is really light. I am in SoCal, so it is that 'just in case' piece that will also get use around camp. When the sun and the temp dropped, I threw it over my 150 merino LS and my Montbell Down Inner jacket, and it kept the breezes at bay and the warmth in place. It has a permanent stretchy waist cinch deal. It may not breath as well as other jackets out there... but it did well by me. Again, I have limited time with it... but my initial impressions are that I like it... and it is reallllly light ;)

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: You Zealots! What about the Triumph? on 11/23/2009 13:54:48 MST Print View

I stand corrected (looks like my guestimate accuracy is +/-1oz so far). The full side zip looks interesting. Too bad indeed! Do you only use the Celestial or do you carry a lighter option?

Yeah, you can't argue with the weight for a just in case/camp shell. It's definitely down near the windshirt weight range but waterproof. From what I can tell, any major elevation gain in the rain will have you soaked in sweat (no vents/minimal breathability).

Any body have a Marmot Essence in XL that they've weighed?


Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
Re: Re: Re: You Zealots! What about the Triumph? on 11/23/2009 13:58:05 MST Print View

I ordered an essence the other day in XL. Should be here by Wednesday, I'll weigh it when I get it and post back.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Zealots / Triumph -> Mica on 11/23/2009 13:59:22 MST Print View

Add the Marmot Mica to the list. It's a smidge heavier than the Triumph, probably. It's compactability is the best of the bunch, if that is important to you.

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Maybe a Marmot slips into the mix on 11/23/2009 14:54:33 MST Print View

Nice! That would be greatly appreciated.

I did look at the Mica initially but ruled it out because of the pocket location (right where a hipbelt would go). I'm just starting to lighten up so I'm not sure I'll make it to no hipbelt land initially. One of the pieces of advice I've taken with me so far is to consider volume as much as weight. I may need to re-look at this jacket and the Essence (since it is a similar material). Do you have any experience with the Mica?

Aside: Your site has been a great resource for getting my head around the UL philosophy and specific gear choices. From the great articles (I really enjoyed learning more about the science behind waterproof/breathable fabics from your and Alan's articles) and the helpful community, I'm really impressed!


Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Maybe a Marmot slips into the mix on 11/23/2009 15:49:34 MST Print View

Hey Chris, thanks for the kind comments. I'm glad to you you moving forward in your quest.

I've used the Mica. It's more comfortable than I originally thought, I like the breathability of the fabric. It's not eVENT, but it's far better than the polyurethane coated 2-layer fabrics of yesteryear.

I don't use the pockets on it, so can't comment on their utility. I'm more of a pants pocket kind of guy for storing stuff, and I find myself using a jacket's handwarmer pockets only when I'm not hiking with a pack (there are exceptions of course, and when you do find yourself in need of having to keep your hands in your pockets while hiking, then perhaps one should reconsider and stop for shelter and soup instead!!)