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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 08:41:10 MDT Print View

Always. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so the possibility of rain is high and the possibility of drying out is low. I carry a poncho for fair weather day hikes, so I have emergency shelter and rain gear in one. For that matter, I always have a spare layer like a fleece, light cap and gloves, spare socks, and space blanket bivy.

As I sit here at home in Seattle on June 23rd, it is 54F at 7:30AM, with a predicted high of 63F and 60% chance of precip (it is raining now). That is at or near sea level. Moving into the lower Cascade foothills, the forecast high is 55F with 80% chance of precip and 37F(!!!) overnight. That is classic hypothermia weather--- I don't want to get caught out for a night without rain gear and some sort of basic shelter.

We've been calling the recent cold wet weather "Junuary" :)

I agree that DriDucks are a good CYA light-n-cheap rain gear.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/23/2012 08:43:14 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 08:46:48 MDT Print View

I don't understand what it means when they say there's a 60% chance of precip and it's raining : )

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 08:59:14 MDT Print View

jerry pondered, "I don't understand what it means when they say there's a 60% chance of precip and it's raining : )"

Hehehe-- yeah. I figure anything over 40% means it *will* rain. Higher percentages just describe how *long* it will rain :)

I'm not trusting my comfort and life on a weatherman in the Pacific NW. Shift the jet stream a few degrees and you go from summer to winter in a day, or less.

Along with 260+ days of overcast and high, COLD humidity, what most people don't realize about PNW weather is that it rarely really pours: it DRIZZLES for hours, days, WEEKS, and everything around you is a dewy, soggy, mass of green (unless it is mud). Three days of rain might not come to 1/2", which might be a quick thunder shower in other parts of the world.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 09:00:29 MDT Print View

Jerry you are just getting the 60% up front. Like an advance. Non negotiable.

Living in SoCal I did not own a rain jacket.

Up here, you bet I take one.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: re: begrudgingly on 06/23/2012 11:09:47 MDT Print View

Erik- something along these lines http://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Poncho-Orange-Color-0-02mm-Size/dp/B005NRTZZ6

close to a disposable poncho, but in a pinch would work- I'm guessing about 1 ounce

MIke

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Do you always carry a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 11:33:45 MDT Print View

I always carry at least a windshirt on overnight or longer trips. I only bring a rain jacket when there's a reasonable chance of rain and/or an uncertain forecast.

For southern and central CA, that means I almost never bring a proper rain jacket.

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 12:34:08 MDT Print View

Along with 260+ days of overcast and high, COLD humidity, what most people don't realize about PNW weather is that it rarely really pours: it DRIZZLES for hours, days, WEEKS, and everything around you is a dewy, soggy, mass of green (unless it is mud). Three days of rain might not come to 1/2", which might be a quick thunder shower in other parts of the world.

Dale, how does a DWR windshirt (e.g. Houdini, Sirocco, etc.) hold up to that sort of low volume/long duration drizzle? I'd expect that for me, full rain gear wouldn't be sufficiently breathable in such conditions.

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Yep on 06/23/2012 12:49:17 MDT Print View

I bring a GI poncho (yep, it's heavy; but, it's also cheap and a multi-use item: poncho, pack cover, "front porch" groundsheet for my hammock, improv Grizz beak to close off one end of the hex tarp if the wind really starts to blow, my wind gear for Florida, and 1/2 of an emergency bivy in case I get forced down during a day hike--the other half being a space blanket) on every trip. The forecast for FL any time between April and October usually includes a 30% chance of rain in the afternoon, usually with lightning and thunder (translated: "It's gonna pour for an hour somewhere between 2 and 6 PM!").

So, it's worth covering my bases to have the poncho. While it's rare for me to feel cold above 50 F, if that rain is coming down hard enough and I'm tired enough, well...let's just say that I'm glad to have the poncho.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 13:01:31 MDT Print View

A windshirt won't cut it, and I like to use one too. IMHO, a windshirt provides a wind barrier to add to your base layer or fleece, yet remains breathable. Great for when you need that extra bit when exertion is low and the wind is cooling you too much. It can't be relied on for a rain shell. It will handle a light sprinkle, but not an all day drizzle and wet brush. I think anyone who relies on a windshirt for rain protection runs a very real risk of hypothermia. If you are hiking in the Pacific Northwest, you need rain gear, period.

Steven Thompson
(stevet) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 14:51:07 MDT Print View

Always rain protection, but not always a rain jacket. Depends on expected conditions. Hikes in the northwest, monsoon season in the Rockies, and when the forecast calls for rain lasting more than one day, then yes. If not I'll pare back. Summers in the Sierra, Grand Canyon in the winter I carry a poncho. Can fashion it as shelter at night if needed.

And then I always carry an oversize trash bag that I can fashion as a poncho in a pinch.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 16:13:06 MDT Print View

http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/sportsmans/Frogg-Toggs-DriDucks-Emergency-Poncho/productDetail/Rain-Ponchos/prod999901361562/cat117605

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 17:09:52 MDT Print View

Walmart started selling Frogg Toggs.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket?@ Anna on 06/23/2012 17:12:47 MDT Print View

Anna,

Do you know how much it weighs?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/23/2012 17:26:22 MDT Print View

"how does a DWR windshirt (e.g. Houdini, Sirocco, etc.) hold up to that sort of low volume/long duration drizzle? I'd expect that for me, full rain gear wouldn't be sufficiently breathable in such conditions."

It won't, pure and simple. The reality is that, either with or without rain gear, you're going to get wet in a classic all day PNW rain/drizzle. The difference is that with full rain gear you will be wet and warm, but without it you will be cold, wet, and at serious risk of hypothermia. It happens all the time up here. A personal example from last weekend: I was out on a 12 miler that started out in a slight drizzle. I hiked without my rain gear for the first 2 hours, but as we gained elevation the drizzle turned into soaking, increasingly cold rain and I started to shiver. I donned my rain shell and very quickly warmed up. I was just as wet as I would have been without the shell, but comfortably warm. Venting kept the heat from building up to an uncomfortable level. I would not have wanted to try and finish that hike without my shell. This is a very typical situation up here.

Edited: Footnote-a windshirt would not have lasted 10 minutes in that rain, and I would have been in a very tenuous situation, with at least an hour and a half hike back to the car when I was getting cold. Hypothermia would have been a serious concern.

Edited by ouzel on 06/23/2012 17:28:19 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Geography! on 06/23/2012 17:33:30 MDT Print View

It's interesting that none of us here from the Pacific NW will leave home without rain gear, and none of us trust the weather forecasts, either!

I never did figure out this percentage business, either. We had a 50% chance of rain forecast for today, which may be correct because it rained fairly hard all morning but cleared up in early afternoon and is now sunny. However, more clouds are rolling in, so I don't think we're through for the day!

I never have found the perfect rain gear. I've tried several different Goretex configurations and couldn't determine any difference between those and non-breathable raingear. I haven't tried eVent but my budget won't run to that anyway. I tried Marmot Precip and it wetted out during an hour's walk (in cold rain, so I wasn't sweating) after I'd had it only a few months (and worn it only in town). It wasn't just damp; it was as wet inside as it was out! So it's once again back to non-breathable raingear. I currently have an anorak (cut really big for more ventilation) and rainpants of silnylon. One advantage is that I can use it as a vapor barrier suit in my sleeping bag in below-freezing weather. If it's warm and raining, I just get wet--my clothing will dry in 15-20 minutes on my body once the rain stops. If it's cold and raining, I wear only a base layer under the silnylon anorak and am quite comfortable (it does help that it's cut really loose!).

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Not always but ... on 06/23/2012 18:26:27 MDT Print View

Most o the time I do. Summer along the coast from Big Sur to Fort Bragg, I don't bother with any more than dry clothes, a wind shirt or the like. That said, when it's colder - or I am in other parts of the country - it's easy to bring a 7-9 oz. rain jacket or a 7 oz. poncho tarp. I like the poncho, as it's a pack cover and shelter too. My close-to-home trips are point Reyes and the sierras west of Tahoe. The first boast some wet foggy days and the latter, cold. The rain-proof layer is too little weight for the dry comfort when needed. Sunny, hot, dry, June weekends, though, odds of either for any prolonged period are slim.

Edited by bcutlerj on 06/23/2012 18:27:18 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Driducks Emergency poncho on 06/23/2012 19:55:23 MDT Print View

The Driducks emergency poncho will work, but it is small and won't cover a pack. You would need to tuck it under the shoulder straps and they will get damaged.

The weight was 2.8oz on the ones I experimented with. I tried making a pull-over style top out of one and extended the back of another. They aren't worth the bother to adapt. I think they would be okay as a backup for kids or a better-than-nothing option, maybe a little better than a plastic one. If they would make them full sized and long in the back I wouldn't mind taking one for a day hike option.

The "regular" Driducks poncho is still weak on the back length. It will cover much more than the emergency version and last longer.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Driducks Emergency poncho on 06/23/2012 20:09:23 MDT Print View

"The "regular" Driducks poncho is still weak on the back length. It will cover much more than the emergency version and last longer."

Thanks, Dale. I was thinking of it for Sierra trips, because I almost never have a need for my O2 Rainshield jacket, but it sounds like the shortcomings outweigh the benefit of a couple ounces saved. I think I'll stand pat.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Driducks Emergency poncho on 06/23/2012 22:07:28 MDT Print View

The poncho is a good size for me but I am 5' tall and 105lbs

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you always take a rain jacket? on 06/24/2012 14:46:28 MDT Print View

Thanks Tom, Dale! I haven't had the opportunity to test my windshirt in wet conditions yet, so wasn't sure at what point on the rain/drizzle scale it'd give out. My current hard shell appears to be only rated 3k/3k and what DWR there is needs refreshing, so a modern shell sits pretty high up on my shopping list.