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At/Above Treeline Rain gear choices.
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Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
At/Above Treeline Rain gear choices. on 04/27/2011 08:32:54 MDT Print View

I am heading back to Colorado this summer to do a loop in the Holy Cross Wilderness with my wife in Early September. I am thinking about changing up my raingear.

My choices are:
Marmot precip top and bottom
Patagonia Houdini
Golite Poncho Tarp.

I really want to try out the the Houdini with the poncho tarp. The benefits will be a weight reduction over the Precip set up (I would bring the Houdini either way) and the fact that I could use the poncho tarp for a quick shelter for lunch if it is raining or for shade. The drawbacks I can see are: Poncho not being very usefull in high winds, and no leg protection. I have not used the Poncho Tarp yet, so maybe I am wrong on it's perfomance in wind. Could I add a simple web belt around the poncho tarp to keep it from blowing around?

In the past, it has been nice to have the protection of a full rain jacket and pants for daily showers, but it might just be as easy to put on the Poncho tarp and call it good. I am sort of worried that if it rains all day, I will be regretting not having a Jacket and pants, but I could be totally wrong on this.

Any thought?


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: At/Above Treeline Rain gear choices. on 04/27/2011 09:52:14 MDT Print View

Take all of it and experiment.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
thar she blows!!! on 04/27/2011 10:06:33 MDT Print View

poncho tarps are poor performers in high winds IMO ... especially when combined with rain ... you basically become a sail

it all depends on how windy you expect it to be when its raining

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Poncho's are not as good for above treeline on 04/27/2011 10:53:07 MDT Print View

I have spent quite a bit of time above treeline in Colorado. To be honest, I don't care what rain gear you have, being above treeline in a storm is a VERY bad idea due to the exposure to lightning. I would plan your hike so that you are near or below treeline in the afternoon. If you stick with that plan then you should be able to use the Poncho.

Edited by randalmartin on 04/27/2011 10:58:50 MDT.

Marcus Strohm

Locale: SE Texas
poncho belt on 04/27/2011 10:58:57 MDT Print View

I recently got a golite poncho tarp and was planning on making a shock cord belt to use with it to help keep it in check but I suspect it still won't do very well in much more than a breeze

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
this forum software sucks on 04/27/2011 13:38:14 MDT Print View

You don't want to be up on a ridge in a storm, but at/above treeline is fine. An alpine basin (presumably heading towards treeline) is plenty safe in a thunderstorm, as is an alpine ridge/pass in rain before ~noon, or after ~5pm. In these situations, coupled with high winds, a poncho won't work well.

If you don't mind being wet, you can just not wear a poncho until you're below treeline. This works well as long as temperatures are expected to be moderate and you're not going in and out of treeline. If you get stuck up high with really cold rain, even an hour or so can be miserable. So you either need to use your poncho in the alpine wind (which sucks), or use a rain jacket.

I tend to not bring any rain gear on shorter trips when the temperatures will stay moderate and limited rain is forecast, relying on my shelter when I stop. When temperatures get colder, heavy rain is forecasted, or on longer trips, I bring a rain jacket. I used to bring rain pants, but after I started hiking in softshell pants last year, I only used them once (near-freezing rain). I'm going to try a rain skirt this year, which is less weight, less fiddle-factor, and, when layed flat, has many other uses.

Edited by lindahlb on 04/27/2011 14:19:28 MDT.