In September of 2009 I arrived in the little resort of Stehekin Washington. Having just hiked through three straight days of rain through Glacier peak wilderness on the PCT.
I had never been this wet in my life. All my gear, clothes, spare socks, everything was sopping wet.
I was embarassed and felt I had somehow "failed" even though I had used all the outdoor skills of 18 years of hiking as well as the past 5 months spent walking from Mexico.
It was hilarious when i met up with a large group of fellow PCT hikers and discovered that every single person, despite what they had for rain gear; ponchos, expensive WPB jackets, cheap dri ducks.. every one of us was completely soaked to the bone.
The more seasoned long distance hikers simply used a wind shirt and umbrella.
No, they don't stay dry either. The windshirt gets wet and the umbrella slows the replacement of that warm moisture (warmed by body heat) with the cold rain thats falling.
For sitting around camp the high techery works great.
For hiking all day, everyday, through the rain expect to get wet.
There is a saying among long distance hikers:
The only cure for three days of rain is a motel room.
I am not alone in coming to the conclusion that a simple 99 cent plastic poncho is as effective as any 300 dollar WPB jacket at keeping a person dry or rather less wet during multi day rain.