Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Lightweight Alternative Rainwear: State of the Market Report - Part 2: Overview of Individual Products


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lightweight Alternative Rainwear: State of the Market Report - Part 2: Overview of Individual Products on 11/29/2011 14:38:08 MST Print View

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Lightweight Alternative Rainwear: State of the Market Report - Part 2: Overview of Individual Products

Eddie Hinnant
(CedarTree) - F
The Packa on 11/29/2011 16:25:44 MST Print View

The Packa also comes in an eVent(17 oz.) and cuben fiber(6 oz.).
Thanks for including the Packa in your article.

Cedar Tree

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Great Article on 11/29/2011 17:49:14 MST Print View

Great article David. I'd never heard of some of this raingear. That Microburst sounds mighty tempting. I like the packa idea because in Colorado I was continually taking my rain gear on and off as storms would come and go. Being able to take it on and off so quickly would compensate for it being a bit less breathable for me at least. Did you feel like the pit vents in the packa made a measurable differnec? I keep thinking about a hoodless non-breathable raincoat to really save weight. Based on your experience how well do you think a hoodless jacket with pit zips would do?

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Packa on 11/29/2011 18:40:39 MST Print View

And thank you Eddie, and all the manufacturers, for making good gear and letting us test it. Without that these things wouldn't exist. The cuben packa (of which I was unaware until now) should prove popular.

As I mentioned, the pit zips on the Packa are huge, and good as such things can be. I personally have never found any pit zips all that effective. Do they make a difference? Of course. Whether they make enough difference for your purposes is rather unanswerable. Hopefully some other Packa users will comment.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
torsion flo on 11/29/2011 23:11:39 MST Print View

good article ...

have you tried the OR torsion flo? ... its basically fully separating sides

WV Hiker
(vdeal)

Locale: West Virginia
Packa on 11/30/2011 06:38:35 MST Print View

David,

As Cedar Tree has mentioned, the Packa is available in eVent and now Cuben. This addresses the weight issue and the eVent should address the breathability issue. You did fail to note one of the great points of the Packa. The design allows you to deploy it as only a pack cover if the weather is threatening and then if it starts raining you can easily pull it on as a rain coat without removing your pack.

Ismail Faruqi
(ismailfaruqi) - F
Yama Poncho Tarp on 11/30/2011 07:41:26 MST Print View

I found this pic on the product page :D

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
The Packa on 11/30/2011 08:17:02 MST Print View

I have both a Sil-Nylon and an eVent Packa and it looks like I'll be putting another one on my list (the Cuben model) soon to drop 11+ ounces off my weight. I love the design and functionality of it and it keeps me dry.

A couple of things to keep in mind with the Packa:

- As mentioned above you can use it as a pack cover without having to wear it and, with a little practice, you can change from "pack cover" mode to wearing it while hiking.

- Because the pack cover is integrated I think you'd be very frustrated if you keep your water bottle in a pack side pocket. It would be hard to get to without removing the Packa entirely (at least by yourself). On the other hand, if you use a hydration tube you're in great shape - I just run the mouthpiece out of the zipper on the front of the Packa.

- The pack cover is there even if you don't need it...This basically makes the jacket suitable only for being in the woods with a pack on. It would look strange if you were to try to wear it around town as a regular rain jacket (like I do with my Marmot Precip). You could tuck the pack cover portion in but then you'd run the risk of water puddling inside it. I love my Packas but save them for backpacking.

- As you can see from the photo in the article, the Packa has very good coverage over your rear. This makes it particularly effective with chaps - I use the MLD rain chaps in cuben and stay nice and dry.

- The pit zips are indeed huge...I'm a big fan of pit zips and these really are the biggest I've ever seen. If you like pit zips (and I know there are plenty of people who don't) then you'll love this jacket.

My only gripe about The Packa is probably the hood...I know I have a bigger head than most people and because of that the brim of the hood is a little short on me. It hasn't been a big deal because if it's really raining while I'm hiking I tend to pull the hood down and wear a hat instead.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Yama Poncho Tarp on 11/30/2011 08:24:38 MST Print View

Gen from Yama(formerly Alpinlite)has been making great gear for years,I own several of his pieces.
http://www.hikinginfinland.com/2010/01/interview-gen-shimizu-from-alpinlite.html

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: The Packa on 11/30/2011 08:37:06 MST Print View

"- Because the pack cover is integrated I think you'd be very frustrated if you keep your water bottle in a pack side pocket. It would be hard to get to without removing the Packa entirely (at least by yourself)."

Unless you use the pitzips. Because the pitzips are so large, you can easily reach the side pockets of your pack through the pitzips (if you can easily reach your side pockets at all, that is), FWIW.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
ID Silcape on 11/30/2011 10:30:19 MST Print View

I have recently became a fan of the combination of an ID Silcape combined with a polycryo groundcloth worn as a skirt.

The Silcape can be cinched up with the built in bungee so that it doesn't flap in the wind the way other capes can.
The short length means it doesn't restrict movement and get in the way in brush and scrambles the way other capes or ponchos do.

I get good coverage when combined with the groundcloth skirt, but the skirt does come off for scrambles.

You can't beat the ventilation, light weight and multi-use of this combination.

I have gone through quite a few different rain-wear combinations and find this works the best for me in the North East US.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ponchos and capes on 11/30/2011 12:09:09 MST Print View

I have to disagree with the evaluation of the DriDucks poncho as far as durability. I think the fabric is actually more appropriate in a poncho than a rain jacket as it doesn't have the seams at the arms and sides that are stressed under a pack. I think any of the ultralight silnylon ponchos would have difficulty surviving a sharp branch at walking speed. If the DriDucks poncho has a fault, I think it is that it isn't a true backpacking design-- it should have an extension on the rear to give full coverage when wearing a pack.

I think evaluating the Hennessy Cape as a ground shelter isn't a fair use of the product. It is designed as a minimal cover for an asymmetrical hammock and can make use of the tapered ends, where it leaves the user too exposed for ground use. The standard cape is made to the same dimensions as the standard Hennessy Asym rain fly and comes in at the same weight as the stock polyester fly, which I thought was a pretty good trick. I use the XL Cape with my Expedition hammock, giving quite a bit more coverage for a couple ounces more. The XL version is 69" x 110" (137" ridge line) vs 63" x 99" (132" ridge line) for the standard size. MY XL cape doesn't have the line pockets, but I wouldn't trust them for use on the trail and would expect the lines to fall out and create a tripping hazard. I think the Hennessy Cape is good for an occasional shower rather than spending all day in the rain with it. I bought it with summer trips as a CYA option where rain isn't expected. I use a 9.5'x12' tarp for shoulder season coverage with a hammock.

If you want to use a poncho with a hammock, I think a poncho makes a better under cover than a rain fly. I had a silnylon poncho made that has shock cord in channels on all four sides, and a slit head opening with a 3" tall collar--- it is a hoodless design. It goes on the bottom of my Hennessy Expedition in the same way that the Hennessy SuperShelter is used. I can use the under cover/poncho with the open cell foam insulator from the SuperShelter (it is available separately) or a conventional under quilt, or Garlington Insulators.

My poncho under cover looks much like the hoodless poncho design by BPL in use:



My poncho as an undercover on a Hennessy Expedition hammock
Hoodless poncho as an undercover on a Hennessy Expedition hammock

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/30/2011 12:23:16 MST.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
_ on 11/30/2011 12:55:03 MST Print View

"It made me realize just how breathable even the least breathable of WPB jackets actually are..."

This statement is a hidden jewel in this series. We all like to b*tch and moan about how the latest WPB doesn't keep us dry as we hike up a steep mountain in driving rain at 90 degF. But spend some time wearing nonbreathable gear and you'll come to realize how good today's WPB stuff is.

IMO the compromises needed to use nonbreathable gear, and to make your raingear double as shelter, outweigh the benefits. The poncho tarps exemplify the overused saying about tarps in general: "they're great shelters when you don't need one".

Lose 1/2 a pound from your gut instead and stick with good gear.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: appropriate use of gear on 11/30/2011 13:19:46 MST Print View

Part of selecting gear is appropriate use for the conditions. I think it is is easier to grasp with something like insulation, where you will dial it in for the temperature, but rain gear seems to be an all-inclusive category. If I am taking off for a day hike in August, I want low weight and low volume--- I don't expect to use it, but don't want to go entirely without. If I am headed out for a multi-day in variable weather or a certain all-day drizzle, I would want something that I can wear all day, has good breathability and ventilation, and can stand up to the wear and tear.

The shelter option needs to be selected in the same way: appropriate to the conditions. I think a poncho shelter is a good day hike CYA for the possibility of an unexpected night out, or more universal use with the addition a bivy bag. I think the fully enclosed poncho/cape shelters are another category and reflect that in expense and complexity.

Kyle Meyer
(kylemeyer) - M

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: _ on 12/06/2011 13:43:13 MST Print View


IMO the compromises needed to use nonbreathable gear, and to make your raingear double as shelter, outweigh the benefits. The poncho tarps exemplify the overused saying about tarps in general: "they're great shelters when you don't need one".

Lose 1/2 a pound from your gut instead and stick with good gear.


This. Living in the PNW, there's no way I could get away with just a poncho tarp even during the middle of summer.

Eddie Hinnant
(CedarTree) - F
10 D Packa on 05/30/2012 05:43:10 MDT Print View

I just received a new sample Packa made from 10D fabric. I switched out most of the shockcord and toggles for lighter stuff. It weighs 7.8 oz. It is the same fabric Big Agnes uses for their Platinum Series tents. Not in stock yet, but likely to be in the future.
Cedar Tree