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Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat?
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Nate Boyer
(NateB123) - MLife
Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/24/2012 10:54:16 MST Print View

Is this such a thing? Do people do this? Or do you need to carry two separate coats?

Right now I have a go lite windbreaker and a frog toggs rain coat.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/24/2012 11:00:36 MST Print View

If there is any chance of moisture I take my rain jacket. A windbreaker when skies are clear for the whole trip. I almost always pack a rain jacket, but hardly ever a windproof only layer.

Edit. I don't own a windshirt as I have found them of no use for my hiking locale/ style, whatnot. But it does rain 60-100" around here. Also wearing any type of jacket or midlayer while actually hiking means that it is below freezing. None of them breath well enough for this sweat factory. I go with the warm and damp crowd. I don't expect to stay dry.

I'm also too cheap to spend the money on Event, and will choose something more durable as it is my only rain jacket for work, home and away. This time around it is a Pat. Torrentshell jacket. Wetted through after I wore it the first day in heavy rain for 45 minutes, So it's crap. But the price was good. If I rip it at work I won't be broken hearted.

Dry Ducks- too fragile for any off trail travel, but remain a popular choice.

Edited by kthompson on 11/24/2012 16:57:24 MST.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Rain jacket on 11/24/2012 11:04:25 MST Print View

Almost all, if not all, rain jackets block the wind. The difference is breathabilty. A waterproof layer typically does not breath nearly as well as a wind proof layer. Wind shirts are not waterproof, so they do not stop extended rain.

Edited by mpd1690 on 11/24/2012 11:05:25 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Vice-versa on 11/24/2012 12:53:32 MST Print View

Ken, usually it's the other way around, using a WPB parka for wind protection.

A really breathable rain parka is needed, however. My GTX PacLite would barely qualify due to low breathability, but my REI Kimtah eVent parks does it very well here in the mountains of Nevada and the Sierra Nevada of California.

I definitely would not try to substitute a wind shirt for a rain parka, regardless of how good the DWR on the windshirt. Sooner or later it WILL soak through in long rain and that's dangerous.

Maybe SOMEDAY we'll actually be able to buy "Never Wet" spray. Then, yes, it may be possible to substitute a windshirt for a rain parka.

BTW, be sure your windshirt can fit over your vest or insulating jacket if you're not taking a rain parka.

Edited by Danepacker on 11/24/2012 12:55:26 MST.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
windshirt on 11/24/2012 13:43:29 MST Print View

I really don't think ANY WPB will work as a windshirt. You just can't hike in any WPB without sweating way too much. At 2-4 oz, the windshirt is well worth it to create a comfortable temperature range while hiking and keeping sweat down.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: windshirt on 11/24/2012 14:23:07 MST Print View

I agree with Ben on this, I will only put on my waterproof when it starts bucketing down rain or the wind is at a mental speed.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/24/2012 15:10:01 MST Print View

"Right now I have a go lite windbreaker and a frog toggs rain coat."

That is a pretty good combination for most 3 season backpacking situations. You've covered your bases. The only exception I can think of is off trail hiking, where the Frog Toggs would not hold up well.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/24/2012 15:13:36 MST Print View

As others said, not yet. Your windshirt/DriDucks combo is probably one of the lightest for the expense. The DriDucks jacket is a good CYA rain shell when you aren't using it much (or bushwhacking) but want the protection.

Windshirts work in an UL clothing set because they are so light and compact--- and they breathe. If you have a windshirt and fleecy mid-layer, you have a deconstructed jacket that can be worn as shell or lining or both together. You can wear the mid-layer with your rain shell too.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Marmot Super Mica on 11/24/2012 18:57:53 MST Print View

I've been impressed with the Marmot Super Mica, and I'm not alone; had it as an editor's choice at some point, I believe.

It's a raincoat, but it's so thin and the material is so... intriguing, I find it doesn't heat up like other raincoats I've used in the past. It breathes very well, but the nature of the material seems to cut the wind. My experience may be different from your own, but I have been very happy to have this item serve both roles.

I will say, however, you get about 30 minutes in the rain before it wets out. I use raincoats to fix my tent, not hike in. if it downpours, I count on Merino Wool to keep me warm when wet or I get out of the rain and underneath a tree.

My rain system is also not yet perfect, though...

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/24/2012 20:36:49 MST Print View


I would just like to offer the suggestion of the "ZPacks waterproof breathable cuben fiber rain jacket as a viable rain and wind jacket.

I have two articles on this jacket (initial review and follow up thoughts) and I should probably write another one here soon.

Here are a couple of the more interesting parts I wrote:

Over 90% of hikers do not hike a 500 miles a year. Of the remaining 10% less than half of them do over 2000 miles a year. Those rare few in the 1-5% of hikers that do more, the vast majority of them that I have talked to have had very few items that have gotten used for 2000+ miles have durability issues, and typically it is socks and shoes, nothing more, and they are the two things we expect to not last that far. As most triple crowner can testify too, the use of rain gear on the big-three trails is typically less than 2% of the 8000+ miles. You really going to be wearing your *rain jacket* for 2600 miles? Stop and think about that.

and within my follow-up article:

So with this in mind we need to ask ourselves, is the weight of a 10+ ounces rain jacket really worth carrying? I say no. If I can hike any of the long distance trails in the USA and typically encounter less than 20 days of rain, why would I carry twice the amount of dead weight when I need too. For me, being able to save 5 ounces off a largely dead-weight item such as a rain jacket, that is an amazingly exciting aspect.

and here I guess really summarizes things:

As I see it this jacket has the ability to perform four duties:

First, it has the ability to be the finest rain jacket I have ever put on.

Second, it has the ability to be an additional layer of clothing for when it gets cold at night, put it on and it can help trap a bit of heat – I do not yet know how much of a difference it will make, it is breathable after all.

Third, it can be used as a quasi-beak on your tarp if you find that rain starts coming in at an angle – it is waterproof after all, and is wide enough to cover just about any solo tarp end that is in winter mode.

Fourth, because of the fact that it breaths so well I will no longer be taking my most beloved MontBell Tachyon Anorak wind jacket which goes with me on every hike – so that right there saves me 65 grams (2.29 ounces) which in the end means I will be saving 12 grams (0.42 ounces) off my total pack weight (65 for Tachyon + 82 for previous rain jacket = 147, than minus 135 for this jacket, results in a savings of 12 grams)

Anyway, just another potential piece of gear to consider in your quest.


Alpo Kuusisto
(akuusist) - F
re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/25/2012 10:14:32 MST Print View

Paramo combination: Summit Hoodie fleece + Fuera Ascent wind breaker would combine to make practically waterproof, or let's say rainproof combination.
BPL article of Paramo:

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: re: Wind Breaker that doubles as a Rain Coat? on 11/25/2012 18:15:47 MST Print View

I've used a Propore jacket/pants as a wind shirt and it worked fine. The biggest problem was that I used the Propore as a bug suit. For regular hiking, I usually hike in a T-Shirt, so I don't need anything. For hanging out around on top a mountain (which is where I usually get the most wind) the Propore works fine (since I'm not doing much). But around camp, when the bugs are biting, the Propore kept them off, but I was much more sweaty than if I had brought the wind clothes. Wind clothes are a luxury, but a very nice (and relatively light) one.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
a compromise on 11/26/2012 12:01:09 MST Print View

Last year I used my OR Helium jacket in this dual role, and it worked okay. Certainly not as nice as a dedicated windshirt in conditions when a windshirt is better, and of course not the best rain jacket in the world for all conditions, but it was a weight-saving compromise, and worked fine for me for about 5 months of continuous hiking (CDT) in all sorts of conditions.

I think part of making such a compromise is being content with your gear choice when you're sweating a little too much for the gear or are getting a little more wet through your jacket than is ideal (but perhaps already wet inside anyway). I.e., it's much about expectations, not just about what the gear delivers per se. It always boils down to whether the weight (and perhaps bulk and fiddle factor) saving is worth the gear compromise. For that trip, I felt that it was for me.