Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Wet rain jacket
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 10:43:21 MST Print View

On Saturday I hiked the PCT north of Stevens Pass for almost 6 hours in a moderate, steady rain wearing my Marmot Precip jacket (got it with my REI rebate in March). I was wearing an ultralight long-sleeved SmartWool top underneath. Temperature was in the upper 30’s, lower 40’s. Only about 1200’ elevation gain. After 3 hours I was soaked through. My rain pants (MontBell Goretex) kept my lower half completely dry. I’m not sure how much of the wetting through in the jacket was from an overwhelmed system because of my perspiration. Was the wool shirt the wrong thing to wear underneath because it doesn’t wick all that well? Is there a rain jacket that can keep me dry in a steady rain? What works for you? Don’t ask why I didn’t just stay home! I freely admit I’m clinically insane and brain-damaged. I’d like to find a rain jacket that actually keeps me dry, especially for the potential long bouts of rain on a multi-day trip here in the Pacific Northwest.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 11:13:02 MST Print View

I have to think Goretex or eVent or a newer, more advanced coated fabric would breath better than Precip. Seems others have noticed Precip not being the most breathable coating. Epic would also breath more than Precip.

All that said, someone here will answer with more authoritative knowledge. If you are feeling overly warm during the exertion, I wonder if too much insulation is a problem no matter what next to skin layer you are wearing? Perhaps the smartwool layer was too warming during your hike and contributed to sweating? So in that regard wicking may not be the issue but rather, too much insulation.

As a side note, I used another coated fabric a couple of years ago (Conduit) by Mountain Hardware. I was in the rainforest in Volcanoes National park...and it was wet...and the temp. changed a lot. I noticed that even when it was down in the 50's, I was more comfortable with only the jacket on and no shirt. It seemed to bypass the process of having vapor travel thru that extra layer before exiting the shell???

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 11:19:47 MST Print View

I'm wondering if the new Golite Virga will work, or the MontBell Peak jacket (the pants certainly worked like a charm), or something along those lines. My charge card is quivering in my hands! I'm also learning a lot from my recent experiments using a merino wool base layer. I tend to be a hot hiker, so I may need to wait until it's a lot cooler to wear the wool when I'm wearing a rain jacket.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 11:47:09 MST Print View

I have ordered the Montane Featherlite H20 and will be very interested to see how well it breathes. If it performs well in that regard, it should be pretty stellar at 4 ounces for a men's large.

Regarding your layers during "warmer" wet periods...try a nylon T instead of the insulation?

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 12:08:00 MST Print View

Is there any information on the Montane's durability? I also do a lot of off-trail scrambling and would hate to have the rainjacket snagged to shreds. I just looked at the MontBell website and noticed their Peak and Versalite jackets weigh the same (11 oz)with a $60 difference in cost. I wonder if the difference between 4 oz and 11 oz chalks up to durability difference.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 12:16:34 MST Print View

I cannot answer the Montbell question. I suppose regarding the Montane product you would not want to rely on something that light to be bomber. Outdoor Research has a hooded Goretex jacket that is probably around 7 ounces. That may be a bit more durable. Hold on to that quivering card though....$200!

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Wet Rain Jacket on 11/06/2006 12:18:15 MST Print View

Kathleen Whalen-Burns,

What kind of backpack were you using?

Your backpack may have been a big reason your jacket failed. If your pack was laying against your back how could the material on the back of your jacket breath or do what you paided your money for it to do?

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 12:25:22 MST Print View

For my day trips I use a very ancient, but well-loved, Arcteryx Bora 30. I took out the "stiffening sheet" when I first bought it, so it bows out from my back, and weighs about 2lb. I was wetted out in the front and on the arms, too, though, so the pack can't take the full blame.

james schardt
(jamie_s) - F
pit zips? on 11/06/2006 13:46:05 MST Print View

It sounds like you may have needed to use the pit zips. Was that an option on your hike?


Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: pit zips? on 11/06/2006 14:04:50 MST Print View

Alas - the pit zips were wide open. I don't think rain was dripping in through their openings. 6 hours of steady rain (not drizzle) just seemed to overwhelm the jacket. It held up well for the first few hours. I've been poking around on the web, and the ID eVent rain jacket and the MontBell Peak are catching my eye.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 14:22:25 MST Print View

Did you have the pit zips open on your jacket? Ventilation is the only way to really defeat getting soaked with sweat. It doesn't sound like you were over dressed with just a thin Smartwool shirt on. Smartwool stuff like Versaweight is designed for what you were doing. I prefer polyester base layers, but it is just that-- my preference.

Cold rainy days are tough! The humidity is high and it feels like there is just nowhere for the moisture to go-- everything is just saturated. The humidity at Darrington, WA last Saturday ran 77-100%. Checking Darrington and Concrete today, it is 95-100%. It's like hiking in a cold steam bath!

Try a poncho and see how you like it. They don't cost anywhere near what a good rain jacket does, so it won't break you to experiment. Your pack stays dry and they vent well. Wind is the problem with ponchos. Adding a belt of light line can help there.
The GoLite poncho is about $45 retail and it makes a nice emegency shelter for your day hiking gear. Campmor has one about the same price and then you get into models like Integral Designs and BMW that are more like $75-$100. You can get heavier PU coated ponchos for $25. If you really like the poncho, consider the Gatewood Cape Shelter.

I have this pet theory about packs trapping moisture in rain jackets. Go for a walk in your jacket without a pack and then with a lightly loaded one. The pack traps air with both the shoulder and waist straps and against your back. A sternum strap adds to the problem. Some manufacturers use ventilating pockets (Sierra Designs does this) rather than pit zips. I have a Columbia shell with vented pockets too. I find that a jacket that works perfectly well without a pack will turn into a sweat lodge with the pack on. All the bellows effect is lost and you can't move any air in or out. With a poncho, only the top of your shoulders and chest make continued contact with the cloth; most of your arms and your abdomen can breath.

Try an umbrella if it isn't blowing hard.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 14:38:28 MST Print View

I appreciate all the comments. Trying the jacket with and without a pack is an excellent suggestion. A poncho is an interesting idea, but I've never tried it because of the "flap factor." Now may be the time. I've been in that heavy a downpour before for hours on end, but I had an umbrella, which, of course, was the ultimate in ventilation. However, I was using trekking poles on Saturday because of the 6-12" of snow I was in. So back to looking for a rainproof rain jacket....


Locale: South West US
Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 15:04:10 MST Print View

you could try the OR celestial jacket. the side zippers are supposed to allow you to put the front part of the jacket over your hip belt so the bottom is left hanging open for venting. That's the theory anyways.

Edited by oiboyroi on 11/07/2006 13:59:17 MST.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 15:08:26 MST Print View

eVent is the most "breathable" of the waterproof breathable membranes, but not only can price be a concern, but as far as I know, there are no eVnet jackets available with pit zips.

The montbell membrane used is the Peak shell is supposed to be the next best thing to eVent and it has pit zips.

Although I am not a big fan of TNF, I have heard good things about their breathability of their Diad jacket.

I own a GoLite Phantom (Gore Tex Packlite III) and have been happy with it. It is a full featured jacket although you can still get wet with sweat if you are working hard and the temperature isn't that low.

It normally retails for $220, but I got mine for $99 because it was a discontinued color. (The jacket is Twighlight? (Navy) and they still have a "navy jacket although by a different name!) My point is that you can often find good deals when the new models/colors arrive.

Graeme Finley
(gfinley001) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 15:15:26 MST Print View

The closest I've come to this experience was 8 hours spent in wind blown rain in the Scottish highlands last year. I was wearing an O2 Rainshield jacket and a lightweight smartwool top. I stayed pretty dry the entire time without any venting other than a few instances where the rain was coming from behind and I opened the front zip up for a while. Temperatures were in the low 40s with moderate-to-extremely strong winds. I think this was pretty good performance from a $40 jacket, especially given that I usually sweat lot from exertion.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Re: Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 17:29:33 MST Print View

A bunch of miles north of the pass and halfway up Lake Chelan it rained hard all day with the temp in the low 40's. After wetting through one jacket right off this morning I pulled on my Gill event cycling jacket with a lt. wool top.
This is the first time I've had a chance to compare different materials because I was at work. The event worked flawlessly all the rest of the day. At times I was packing soaking wet conduit on my shoulders and it never came close to wetting out. [I will never wear softshell pants in the rain again, ever,ever,ever...]

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
I agree with Dale about the poncho on 11/06/2006 18:53:22 MST Print View

Dale hit it on the head with the poncho idea. I have never found a comfortable jacket with a pack on. Then I have to worry about how to keep the pack dry too. I haven't seen a jacket that vents like a poncho and I sweat at anything above freezing.

I think the combination of pack and jacket is part of the problem. The pack and straps enclose the hiker in the jacket and it doesn't have a chance to breathe.

Admittedly, the poncho doesn't do well above the treeline in gale force winds but I do most of my hiking in the eastern forests and stay off the peaks in the inclement weather. That said, I love to hike in the rain.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Wet rain jacket on 11/06/2006 18:56:40 MST Print View

You might want to check out the Integral Designs Event jacket. It's sturdy enough for most uses outside of bellying over talus or up raggedy chimneys and weighs ~ 9 oz in size medium. It's my go to jacket up here in the Cascades. Like Dale, I prefer either polypro or Capilene for a base and like Dale it's just that, personal
pref. It does dry out quicker than wool, though. Don't know about a cape/poncho if you do a lot of off trail stuff in the Cascades.
Good luck.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: I agree with Dale about the poncho on 11/06/2006 18:57:06 MST Print View

For whatever it is worth I switched to a poncho this summer and really liked how it performed. Also covering most of my pack was pretty nice too. I combine that with Gossamer Gear Sil chaps and the whole combo of mine weighs in at 7 oz. And I stay dry.

Dane Burke
(Dane) - F

Locale: Western Washington
Re: I agree with Dale about the poncho on 11/06/2006 19:08:26 MST Print View

"Admittedly, the poncho doesn't do well above the treeline in gale force winds"

It's worked for me. Just secure all the loose fabric. This is much harder to do with a cheap featureless poncho, but if you use a good one like the Integral Designs poncho keeping the loose fabric under control is no problem.