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A W
(lost_01)
Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/08/2013 14:19:40 MST Print View

Hey all,

In the infantile stages of gear planning for JMT.

My question is basically this:
I'm considering the Zpacks Cuben Groundsheet / Poncho as my sole piece of rain gear.(Will go with a Hexamid tent).

Will that be sufficient for an early July JMT?

Other Clothes:
Icebreaker Tech T
Patagonia Cap 4 (Hoody)
Patagonia Houdini
Montbell UL Down Parka
Exofficio Boxers
Possumdown Gloves
Darn Tough Wool Socks
Beanie - undecided
Pant/shorts - undecided
Leggings - undecided

Thanks!

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re on 02/08/2013 15:00:01 MST Print View

Looks good to me, no need for a dedicated rainshell.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Orange County Socal
Re: Re on 02/08/2013 17:04:09 MST Print View

I disagree. The list looks great but I would definitely bring some raingear. If anything at least a 1oz plastic poncho. But for the OP the cuben poncho/groundsheet shuld do just fine. On my JMT thru last summer we got rain 9 out of 22 days. Without any rain gear we would have been wet and miserable many times. One person we adopted into our group had no rain gear, except a 1oz poncho which tore the first time he used it. He ended up wrapping his tarp around himself on rainy days. Not fun, but doable.

The shelter you are chosing is fantastic. Truly 3 season bombproof. Heres a small clip of a hailstorm from our trip last summer with haistones up to quarter size.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUgaFCvF2KM



If you check out my full documentary of our hike on youtube you will see the kind of conditions we faced.
@ 6:45 min in part 5 check out one of the more intense hailstorms we encountered during the day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEDeGnpbv58


It's beuatiful country out there! Some peple risk it with no rain gear/ proper shelter, but you never really know what the weather will be like. My rule of thumb was if you saw clouds forming by 8am rain and thunder was likely.

Edited by surfingdwedge on 02/08/2013 17:16:02 MST.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/08/2013 19:45:42 MST Print View

I'm hoping to do the JMT late this summer and am planning to use a very similar set of clothing (including the Zpacks Groundsheet/poncho as my rain gear).

Seems the groundsheet/poncho has received good marks for durability, venting and keeping folks dry. It seems to work well in groundsheet mode too. 5 oz for both a ground sheet and rain gear is hard to ignore.

My thoughts is the groundsheet/poncho is sufficient for summer storms and light enough (and multi-purpose) so that there isn't a big weight penalty for carrying it. I use my windshirt (houdini) a lot more often and would loathe to leave it at home on a trip like this, but I couldn't justify carrying both a dedicated rain jacket and a separate wind jacket. For me it'd come down to either poncho/groundsheet + windshirt or rain jacket and dedicated groundsheet (polycyro). I prefer the versatility of the former.

I'll probably hike in shorts and throw in a thin pair of tights (cap 4 maybe?) for insulation and either wind pants or rain chaps for wind/rain protection.

I'll be curious to see what others who spend more time in the Sierra suggest.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/08/2013 20:13:51 MST Print View

Last year in July I saw a lot of micro-storms and went through a light snow flurry on a pass. I only had to pull my rain jacket once because of a freak sleet fall. The rest of the time I was happy just knowing I had it, especially as I watched pitch black clouds sweep over areas a few miles away (if that).

Although, I would of traded my Frogg-Toggs in a second for a breathable pair of gloves to keep the mosquitoes off my hands.

More or less, last year was very warm in July. If I could of changed out gear while on the trail, I would wanted like one pair of a much thinner running sock for the hotter days and a shirt and pair of pants treated with that bug repellent stuff.

A W
(lost_01)
input on 02/09/2013 13:04:31 MST Print View

thanks all for the insight.

Brandon - does that mean you would have liked something like the MLD eVent gloves, or zpacks cuben mitts? I was thinking that might be overkill for the JMT...

*I'm still not 100% sure on what to do for pants/shorts. I know the RR pants would be great for bugs, but I overall preger to hike in shorts.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/09/2013 13:29:17 MST Print View

Would it be safe to hike the JMT without a rain jacket? Just hike hard and let your body heat keep you warm even when wet, maybe throw on an extra layer. I tend to hike very warm.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: input on 02/09/2013 13:45:09 MST Print View

>>Brandon - does that mean you would have liked something like the MLD eVent gloves, or zpacks cuben mitts? I was thinking that might be overkill for the JMT...

Unless I find something better, this year I'm just taking some light jogging gloves or liners. I really just want something to fend off all but the most aggressive mosquitoes, not really too worried about cold hands.

Brandon =Þ
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/09/2013 14:28:02 MST Print View

>>Would it be safe to hike the JMT without a rain jacket? Just
>>hike hard and let your body heat keep you warm even when wet,
>>maybe throw on an extra layer. I tend to hike very warm.

I don't think I have the knowledge base to really give a great opinion, but my guess is that a person probably could watch weather reports and start during ideal conditions, time things to go over any problem passes before early afternoon, and probably have a high percentage chance of being fine without rain gear. I don't know if that equates to "safe" though.

Personally, I've seen too much surprise foul weather in summer and heard too many scary stories for me to want to go too deep and for very long into the Sierra Nevada range without some kind of rain gear.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
What about bottoms?? on 02/10/2013 10:43:04 MST Print View

I'm also figuring out my clothes situation for a late July/early August JMT (taking 20 ish days). I'm probably going to hike in my favorite pair of MH convertible pants (only because they are the most comfortable pants I've ever found). Should I bother with wind or rain pants?? I used them a lot in Patagonia, but only because the combo of strong winds against wet pants was just no fun.

They are kind of heavy but I love them for cold weather hiking. Not sure I actually need them for the JMT tho...
I wish the montbell wind pants actually came in a women's size, but alas, no.

Any thoughts??

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: What about bottoms?? on 02/10/2013 12:00:48 MST Print View

I've often gone into the Sierra in summer without dedicated rain pants (the solubility of human legs in water is very, very low - grin- ). It may impose some limits on your travel - there are passes I wouldn't do during a storm without rain pants over some insulating layer in 35F, 30 mph, and hail or wet snow falling - which can happen at elevation any month of the year in the Sierra. I'd hole up somewhere lower and take half a rest day, cook some food, veg out on the scenery while waiting for a clear window. If it was just your basic afternoon thunderstorm and I had the batteries along, I might do the pass that evening. But if it was a tropical storm moving through, I might be pinned down for 24-36 hours.

If you don't have the days and months and years in the mountains to distinguish a thunderstorm from a larger weather system, then I'd strongly recommend the extra few ounces for the rain pants. Because of the dead-air space under them and their keeping your base layer drier when you most need it, those few ounces are partially offset by needing less other clothing.

We went in one time during tropical storm "Irene" and got rain every dang day sometimes for most of the day. We came out 8 days later and commented to the ferry boat pilot, "Man, Irene sure went on a long time!". He said, "No, Irene was followed by Julia and Karen." So it can happen and for anyone with less than 50-100 nights of high-Sierra experience, I'd put rain pants in the safety category.

Jennifer, if yours are "kind of heavy" maybe a lighter pair should go on the birthday/anniversary wish list. Valentine's Day is coming up and guys LOVE to be told what to get you.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 02/10/2013 12:03:19 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What about bottoms?? on 02/10/2013 14:47:08 MST Print View

I've had to walk in cold and rain without rain pants, and it isn't fun. Also, rain pants can be that extra warmth-trapping layer. Maybe you don't need it much, but when you need it you need it.

I sewed up the Liberty Ridge Pants kit from Thru-Hiker. The material is half-waterproof and half-breathable, and that has worked out well for me. Mine weigh about 2.5 ounces, and that isn't much of a penalty. There are zippers on the lower leg parts, so I can step into them while wearing low cut boots.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 02/10/2013 17:47:36 MST Print View

The zPacks Poncho/Groundsheet is one of my favorite pieces of gear. But a couple thoughts...

... extended use as a groundsheet is probably going to cause holes and leaks over time. I only use mine as a groundsheet when it is going to rain (or a good chance).

... it is not very long compared to a traditional poncho, so your legs are going to get wet. As Bob G mentioned, not very enjoyable in cold, windy weather. So you might want to look at something for your legs... for me just covering my thighs to my knees is generally enough.

This might help - zPacks Poncho/Groundsheet

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Something seriously wrong on 02/11/2013 08:20:51 MST Print View

Dave, sounds like a great valentines day gift!! What guy doesn't want to give his lady a lightweight pair of rain pants to show his love??

I spent Saturday night having an argument with a friend of mine about schrader vs presta valves for a mountain bike. And I enjoyed it.

And I wonder why I'm still single.

A W
(lost_01)
Bottoms "?" on 02/12/2013 13:03:53 MST Print View

Thanks again for the input. One lingering "?" on bottoms: given that my rain gear will be the Groundsheet / Poncho, would you rather have:

Convertible Pants + capilene bottoms
vs.
shorts + wind pants + bottoms

*I know this is mostly preference, but I'm just not sure what to expect more of in mid-July - rain or mosquitos!

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Bottoms "?" on 02/12/2013 13:59:36 MST Print View

I know I am personally looking at getting the Zpacks Poncho Groundsheet myself and plan to take my GoLite Tumalo rain pants as well. Having hiked last year when I had my Golite Poncho, I didn't like arriving into camp with wet/soaked lower pants and socks.

Having rain pants is dual purpose because they provide a nice shell for windy cold conditions as well. So in your case I would say take nylon pants + rain pants. But I never where shorts hiking anyway. Very light pants like the Arcteryx Rampart pants are just as cool as shorts and provide sun/bushwhack protection.

Edited by randalmartin on 02/12/2013 14:02:10 MST.

Jacob Blumenfeld
(surfingdwedge) - F

Locale: Orange County Socal
Rain pants on 02/12/2013 22:59:07 MST Print View

As far as dedicated rain pants go, in my experience (in the sierras) they have not been necessary. Unless it was cold I usually just wore shorts and let my legs get wet. Never had any problem getting cold. I did use montane wind pants though. In heavy downpours or around camp in the rain i really appreciated them. @ ~4.5oz I would highly recommend them. They are DWR and do a great job repelling rain.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Something seriously wrong on 02/13/2013 09:06:38 MST Print View

Jennifer,I really like the Montane woman's Featherlite windpants,you can get them here

Edited by annapurna on 02/13/2013 11:56:12 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Something seriously wrong on 02/13/2013 09:17:43 MST Print View

"I spent Saturday night having an argument with a friend of mine about schrader vs presta valves for a mountain bike. And I enjoyed it."

I hope you were for presta.....

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Liberty Ridge Pants kit from Thru-Hiker on 02/13/2013 10:42:40 MST Print View

@Bob,

Did you use the Momentum 90 or the M 50 fabric with your MYOG Liberty Ridge Pants Kit?

The difference in weight is probably barely negligible but I am mostly concerned about durability. My ultimate goal would be to use these pants as dual use cold and wet weather layers. Most of the time I'm not out hiking below the middle to upper 30s and I use a pair of quilted thermals as sleeping pants.

Party On,

Newton

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
JMT rain gear on 02/13/2013 12:33:14 MST Print View

For commercially available gear the Zpacks poncho/groundsheet would be my first choice. Even a custom order with 0.5 oz/sqyd cuben would work for me, and save a few ozs.

I didn't bring rain pants on my JMT thru in 2011, or on the SHR in 2012. While wearing a poncho or parka the short afternoon downpours felt good and my legs were always dry by the time I stopped to sleep.

On the JMT I used a homemade cuben rain parka with pit zips that was long enough to cover my shorts. It weighed 2 oz and was made with 0.5 oz/sqyd cuben. At one point it rained every day for 4 days and it was enough to stay warm and dry while hiking or setting up my tarp. Although I brought silk long john bottoms for my legs I only hiked in them the last morning on the way up to Witney. Most days I was plenty warm in shorts, s/s shirt, wind shirt and glove liners as long as I kept moving.

Last summer I switched to a homemade poncho/groundsheet/pack cover that was long enough to cover my shorts in front and back and my pack. It weighs 2.8 ozs and was made with 0.5 oz/sqyd cuben. I run hot and most waterproof hoods are uncomfortable, so I made the head hole with an adjustable 4" collar. For my head I made a removable waterproof hat cover using 0.5 oz/sqyd cuben. After getting very cold arms and hands in a hail storm going over Old Army Pass last summer I added cuben arm chaps/sleeves (0.4 oz) and some Zpacks W/B mitts (0.8 oz). This 'system' worked well going over Muir Pass during an August monsoon a few weeks later.

I was reluctant to use this on the SHR due to possible limited mobility and the whole thing blowing around in the wind on the cross country passes. Adding two connections using elastic cord and small plastic hooks keeps it in place while still allowing room to hike or climb comfortably. In groundsheet mode the same connections can be used to make a waterproof cover for my quilt, although its important to leave some openings for venting.

Have fun on the JMT!

Edited by bluewater on 02/13/2013 12:49:31 MST.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
@ Andy on 02/13/2013 12:41:32 MST Print View

That sounds like quite a set-up. I'd be curious to see some photos of the various pieces in use.

-Nick

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
JMT rain gear on 02/13/2013 13:01:45 MST Print View

Hi Nick. I'm taking some pxts and will post after lunch. Good excuse to dig thru the gear closet:)

Andy.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
JMT rain gear on 02/13/2013 14:04:50 MST Print View

Some homemade rain gear:

1

2

Velcro hat cover attachment:

3

4

The arm chaps/sleeves are attached with adjustable elastic cord on either side of the neck. When not in use they tuck inside the poncho:

5

6

Groundsheet is 50" x 91":

8

In bivy mode. The shell material is Momentum 50, the 40 degree quilt is 56" x 80":

9

10

11

12

Not that any of us are keeping track. . . here's the breakdown;

Poncho/groundsheet/pack cover: 2.7 ozs
Zpacks w/b mitts: .8 oz
Arm chaps/sleeves: .6 oz
Hat cover: .2 oz
Stuff sack: .1 oz

4.4 ozs total.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Liberty Ridge Pants kit from Thru-Hiker on 02/13/2013 14:21:57 MST Print View

It seems like I made one pair out of the heavier material, and then I thought that it was overkill. I made one pair out of the lighter material, and that is what I've carried around during summer backpacking.

Depending on the leg length and how I walk, there could be a durability problem on the cuff, on the medial side next to my ankle bone. One boot sometimes kicks the other, and if the cuff gets in the way, it can shred. If you cut the length to be shorter, then you are kicking rain and mud up at your ankles.

From your talk about cold and wet, I think you would want to go with the heavier material.

Forgive me, but I have only been to Louisiana in the summertime, so I had no idea that you knew about cold and wet.

--B.G.--

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Liberty Ridge Pants kit from Thru-Hiker on 02/14/2013 04:46:39 MST Print View

Hi Bob,

"Forgive me, but I have only been to Louisiana in the summertime, so I had no idea that you knew about cold and wet."

Newton does cold and Newton does wet but Newton does not do cold and wet! ;-)

Lately I have been doing my longer hiking trips in Virginia. On my last outing we encountered cold but zeroed out on the one rain and snow day.

Thanks for the info about the Liberty Ridge Pants Kit.

Party On,

Newton

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 09:19:02 MDT Print View

I'm resurrecting (and hijacking) this post for the sake of my diminishing sanity...

Ok. I read. I study. I review SOTM reports. I shop. I read some more. And I am no closer to being comfortable with my clothing choices for the JMT than I was a month ago.

Sooo...sorry to be a noobie pest, but how does this look...particularly rain gear?? I mean, take frogg toggs. No it hails. Take a windshirt AND a shell. Take rain pains, take chaps, take wind pants.....I DON'T KNOW!!!! Argh!!!!

We are leaving July 29 from happy isles. I hate ponchos. I'm cold blooded (from Chicago). I have virtually NO mountain experience (8 days in the southern Winds last year; gorgeous weather the whole time). None. Nada. I am truly a noob.

Worn:
MH convertible pants vs nylon shorts/wind pants (leaning to the latter)
Merino 1 long sleeve
Patagonia active briefs
Bra TBD
Darn tough 1/4 cushion socks
Salomon XA ultra 3D blah blah (non GTX version)
White rock sun hat

Carried:
Montane featherlite pants (wind, NOT rain pants)
Rab demand pullover (10 oz, eVent)
Montbell alpine light parka
Houdini windshirt
Extra merino 1 long sleeve shirt (maybe merino 2 for variety?)
Extra 1/4 darned tough socks
Extra patagonia active briefs (sorry guys, we girls DO need a second pair)
Black rock gear hat
Ibex liner gloves
Arcteryx AR tights (for sleeping, insulation)

Here are my questions:
1) I can't imagine it's worth $250 to save 2 oz on a different rain jacket...
2) will the wind pants be adequate for lower limb protection from rain/etc?
3) from what I've read it IS beneficial to have both the rain and the wind jackets, right? If I DID get a lighter rain jacket (say a minimus or something)can that double as the windshirt?
4) I just feel like I have a lot of jackets.........could I swap out the MB down parka for a thermawrap vest to use with the demand (and both shirts if necessary?)

Anyway, just feels like a lot of clothes, but I have virtually NO mountain experience here so I don't really know what I really need...know what I mean??

Edited by Jenmitol on 04/06/2013 09:20:16 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 09:57:12 MDT Print View

Jennifer - the weight issue aside, it all depends on if you are a worst case or best case planner when putting together your clothing and gear list.

there seems to be an awful lot of Best Case planners on this web sight.

I've seen enough bad weather that I tend to plan for worst case.

What kind of planner are you ?

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 10:00:54 MDT Print View

Jennifer,

I, too, don't have a lot of experience in the Sierras. But, that's ok, they will still let you (and me) on the trail. : )
You have a good clothing system above, even if you take every piece listed. You have the ability to carry maybe 8-16 oz less with judicious choosing. However -- carrying that 8-16 oz won't ruin your trip, as long as you've given careful consideration to what works for YOUR JMT trip, i.e., are you going to speedhike it less than 10 days? Are you going to take 3 weeks or more? Are you going to take lots of side trips up peaks? Are you going to carry a heavy camera set-up that needs to be offset by less ounces somewhere else?

(1) I wouldn't spend $250 for 2 oz unless it is a jacket that you want to have for other hikes down the road, not just for the JMT. I would spend $15 on a DriDucks/FToggs jacket, however. If it rips, who cares? If it sits in the bottom of your pack the whole trip, who cares?

(2) If you choose the windshell pants, you do already have the Arc'Teryx tights as insulation. The shorts-tights-windpants would be a good system and should give you adequate rain protection. The difference between my favorite hiking shorts right now and my favorite hiking pants is about 3-4 ounces, so not anything to get to worried about. Just choose a system of layers that gives you a rotation of pieces that will protect you from sun and rain, allow you to swim if you want, and give you something to put on in camp if you have been caught in a storm (sleeping quilt draped over your bare legs will work here too!).

(3) I carry my windshirt and rain jacket on most trips and I would do so on the JMT without thinking about it. You do see some CA folks here on BPL using just one jacket for both windshell and rainshell, but I think that is often in places other than the high Sierra or on short trips. I think CA is just a place where that is possible.

(4) A lot of jackets: I wouldn't take just a insulated vest into the mountains on a 2-3 week hike. It doesn't seem enough and the weight differences just aren't that great to chance it. Your Alpine Light lists at 12.2 oz (MB's site). You could go with a UL Down Parka (8.3 oz) but you'd have to spend $175 to save a few ounces and have a nearly similar (in function!) jacket. You already said you run cold, so it doesn't seem worth it.

My take-away message: trust yourself, you've already got a great kit to pick-and-choose from. Maybe buy a Driducks jacket just to have in your arsenal of jackets.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 10:02:11 MDT Print View

"from what I've read it IS beneficial to have both the rain and the wind jackets, right? If I DID get a lighter rain jacket (say a minimus or something)can that double as the windshirt?"

Depends on breathability, how much you sweat, how fast you walk and temperature. As I understand it windshirts breath better, but I'm quite new to them and have always just used a Gore Pro Shell jacket for wind and rain protection and (almost) never had any problems. But I know people who can't stand wearing any membrane clothes and who only wear them if it's raining really hard, so for them this is not an option.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Something seriously wrong on 04/06/2013 14:01:55 MDT Print View

"I spent Saturday night having an argument with a friend of mine about schrader vs presta valves for a mountain bike. And I enjoyed it."

Presta is only required for skinny road-bike rims, where you don't want to weaken the rim with a 5/16 hole. Should always carry a presta-valve adaptor in your seat bag. Schrader valves FTW!

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/06/2013 17:09:57 MDT Print View

Jennifer: I carry a Rab Demand; it's bombproof. I don't carry my Houdini because to me it's redundant. I hike mostly in the Sierra and during the days I'm in a shirt. If I stop at a pass and it's windy, on goes the Rab which is much better at wind blocking than the Houdini. Come evening I put on layers and the Rab which is warmer than the Houdini. If it rains, you want the Rab. So that's my thinking. You save the $250.00 AND the extra oz.s that a new shell would gain simply by leaving the Houdini at home. And you have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a top notch rain shell.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/06/2013 20:57:48 MDT Print View

Good to know Jeffrey. I just feel like I have sooo many jackets on that list!!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 21:18:16 MDT Print View

Keep the RAB Demand, it's a great shell. Personally, if it's going to be chilly, I'd get a RAB Boreas and carry that instead of the Houdini. I used one in the Sierra last August and loved it - wore a fairly light baselayer shirt, put on the Boreas when it got windy/chilly/lightly drizzly and kept going (breathes great, blocks just enough wind to help in that department, but not as much a true wind shirt), and then threw on my rainshell when it got too cold or too rainy. That combo kept me quite comfortable the entire trip.

I'm not a fan of cold and wet hands when hiking, so other than the Boreas, the only other thing I'd add to your list is some light waterproof mitts. I've even got an extra set I could loan you for your trip so you don't have to spend money, just ship 'em back to me when you finish.

Might also look at light rain pants instead of light wind pants. My legs never get cold when I'm hiking unless it's a cold rain, so I never use wind pants, but I certainly use rain pants. FWIW.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Where the air is thin
Re Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 04/06/2013 22:17:45 MDT Print View

Do the Sierras have a monsoon season in the summer? Here in Colorado I only make a point of carrying my Rab Drillium eVent pants regardless of weather forecast during the ~ 6 weeks or so from late June to early August when heavy rains are a good possibility. And still I rarely have needed them. Most of the time I carry my Montane Featherlite pants and they are more than enough for a prolonged shower and they dry superfast. That being said, I always carry the Rab Demand jacket, year round. To me, wet legs are less crucial than a wet torso.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/06/2013 22:22:23 MDT Print View

I do have a pair of REI soft shell gloves that did unexpectedly well in Patagonia, and I may bring those instead of the wool ones. The weight is nearly identical, so it's just sort of which one I like better; maybe the water resistant ones would be better?

The wind pants are new for me. I've been using them on spring dog walks and they've been great...my first hiking trip with them is this coming weekend, so we'll see. This is most definitely one piece I'm not sure about.

I am feeling much better about the demand, so thanks for that. It's such a great jacket I really do like it...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) on 04/06/2013 22:45:14 MDT Print View

"Do the Sierras have a monsoon season in the summer?"

Not exactly. The winter is when the most precipitation falls. For most of California, the rains all stop by May, and then it stays completely dry until about October. The Sierra Nevada is a bit different, mostly due to the high elevations. The summer there is unpredictable. It used to be that the weather pattern was for a rain shower from 1 until 3 p.m. on most days. But then if you try to count on that, it will go completely dry for a week or two. If you try to count on it being dry, it will rain some for ten days straight.

So, if you go without any rain gear at all, you are begging for a deluge. If you take good rain gear and keep it handy, it will never get used.

Last August I was out for five days, and I got rained on for 2-4 hours each day. It was never of monsoon intensity.

--B.G.--

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Where the air is thin
Monsoon on 04/07/2013 00:05:47 MDT Print View

Bob - Thank you for your succinct explanation. I learned more in your reply than anywhere else on the forum today. Our weather patterns sound similar, but it sounds as though summer precipitation is less 'reliable' but when it happens it's longer lasting in the Sierras than in the Colorado high country. Our deluges are pretty intense, but tend to be over and done with in less than an hour most of the time. Prolonged heavy rain is unusual, but not out of the question. And yes, most of our precipitation should be in winter also, but the last two years Mother Nature seems to have forgotten that. Still, my softshell pants get more use than my hardshells most years.

Jennifer - Definitely feel good about the Rab Demand. I find it just long enough, with a terrific hood that provides great coverage and is really adjustable. In three season use I've never missed having pit zips, although for winter trips I'm considering a heavier-duty eVent jacket with a few more bells and whistles. Make sure it's clean before you leave for the trip to maximize the DWR. As for the Featherlite pants, maybe you'll get an opportunity to test them out in a spring Chicago storm. I've found they work well at altitude in warm and wet conditions, but they won't be as comfortable if the rain is falling in ambient temps in the 30s. If you're facing conditions like Bob mentioned, they will wet out, but they should dry quickly once you reach camp assuming decent airflow and shelter.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Monsoon on 04/07/2013 00:12:09 MDT Print View

"Our deluges are pretty intense"

I do recall one trip on the Keyhole Route of Long's Peak. I thought I was going to drown.

--B.G.--

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/07/2013 13:46:20 MDT Print View

Jennifer: It's true that you can't predict the weather, even in the Sierra, from months out. However, your late June starting date puts you in the best possible window for good weather--outside of afternoon thunder storms, which are not a problem if you stay off the passes during lightning strikes.

Bob's comment about bringing rain gear so that you won't have to use it is true. But the odds are that you'll have terrific weather for your trip. And it will be warm, even if it rains. I grew up hiking in the Pacific Northwest and the Sierra are a lot easier to pack for!

Maybe check the 10 day forecast just before your hike and make last minute adjustments based on that. I always bring layers and a rain shell, but never rain pants unless I see rain in the forecast. Of course, you'll be out for longer than 10 days, so it depends on what you're comfortable with.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/07/2013 18:14:56 MDT Print View

"Maybe check the 10 day forecast just before your hike and make last minute adjustments based on that."

That is kind of funny for Sierra Nevada backpackers. The weather forecasts always include some variation on this phrase: Isolated afternoon thunderstorms.

That means, if it gets right over you, you get wet. In many cases, however, you can watch the rain storm go by ten miles away.

--B.G.--

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/07/2013 20:03:57 MDT Print View

Yeah but I interpret "isolated afternoon thunderstorms" to mean one to four hours of rain. You can wait these out high and dry under a big tree or just hike on through at lower elevations. It's the fronts coming in from the west, or that damned monsoonal moisture coming up from Mexico on the east side, that cause sustained rain problems. A good weather site will show these.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 11:15:32 MDT Print View

Jenifer- I am a california Kid also.

I usually carry frog tog rain pants no matter the season in the sierras. If you are as you say a "noob". I would suggest you carry them. Now I dont always use my rain gear even if i have it but carrying it is a no brainer for me.

Wind pants? I dont see a function for these while moving. but I could see you wanting to slip these on when night starts to fall and it gets a little colder(frog toggs could do the same). But during the day it will be either to hot to wear these or raining and these arent water proof.

1. If your jacket works and is 10oz stick with it.

2. No, not to me. Most wind pants will not stand up to anything more than a sprinkle. Driving rain will seep right through.

3. I dont see the point of bringing both a rain jacket and a wind shirt. but a LOT of people would disagree with me. Usually saying the wind shirt is to light to leave at home. I use my UL paty down sweater where most use there wind shirt.

4. Rain shell, down jacket these two I never leave home with out. with my Arctyrex alpha Sv, UL Patty down sweater and frog togg rain pants I feel safe. I could sleep leaned up against a tree if I had to and be fine. BTW that has happened to me with out that stuff and let me tell you sleeping leaned against a tree in a storm with out the above gear is not fun.

You dont have a lot of clothes. You pack very similar to me minus the wind stuff.

note: I noticed you dont have any tshirts, collared shirts, or neck buffs. It can get really hot in the summer. I would get rid of one of the long sleeve layers and add a t shirt and/or a collared shirt. The neck buffs are nice cause you can get them wet and wrap them around your head, wear as a beanie, protect your neck from the sun ect.

Edited by needsAbath on 04/08/2013 11:18:28 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)" on 04/08/2013 12:04:51 MDT Print View

You should have rain gear of some kind. To do otherwise is risky and at the least, miserable. "Walking through it" seems noble and adventurous, but not so much in reality and dieing from hypothermia would really suck!

I don't think much of using my poncho for a ground sheet, as it will get trashed by rocks, dirt, sticks and roots. To me, the whole idea of a groundsheet is to have a cheap replaceable sacraficial surface to take the abuse instead if my sleeping gear. My groundsheet gets UGLY! I use Tyvek or polycryo.

That said, a Golite poncho is just 7oz and costs far less than anything made in Cuben. It has the right features to be used with a backpack and give good coverage. A poncho makes a great CYA shelter and rain gear option for day hikes too.

I like the Frogg Toggs pants idea. Other than that, one of the light 2.5 layer rain pants will work--- at greater weight and cost, but with better fit and durability.

I think the only way wind pants pay off is when they are combined with super light running style shorts. Otherwise, you might as well wear zip-off convertibles. If the weather is getting cold and windty enough for wind pants, then rain pants will do. Wind pants are fragile and are exposed to more abuse than windshirts. FYI, you can find unlined runner and warm-up style pants by Nike, Brooks and others in the 6-7oz range. They are a couple ounces heavier than ones by Patagonia, Montane, or Mont Bell, but are much more durable. You can buy them on the charp in most discounters like Ross and Marshall's and they are commonly found in thrift stores, so you won't mind so much when you shred them.

IMHO, windshirts are never a substitute for a poncho or rain shell, but I use one a lot and it is a core part of my layering system. They make a great combo with a poncho too. I have no problem packing both windshirt and rain gear. Packing both a windshirt and abutton down collared shirt doesn't add up for me. Conversely I don't think a rain shell is a good substitute for a windshirt, with breathability being the issue.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 13:53:34 MDT Print View

I am bringing the two long sleeves because I burn WAY too easily to carry a short sleeve. So not sure what other shirt I should consider...

So the vibe I'm getting is that the montane featherlite pants will NOT be adequate for the JMT but that I should bring some 2.5 layer rain pants instead.

I was thinking the shorts, arcteryx tights and the wind pants would be sufficient for pretty much anything on the JMT, then I use the dedicated rain shell and the windshirt as necessary. Montbell puffy for insulation....

Discuss.

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 14:57:20 MDT Print View

"I was thinking the shorts, arcteryx tights and the wind pants would be sufficient for pretty much anything on the JMT, then I use the dedicated rain shell and the windshirt as necessary. Montbell puffy for insulation...."

That's what I would pretty much take. You might get afternoon showers, or not, there's no guarantee of rain like there would be in CO or NM. If it does rain, it stays pretty warm and the rain doesn't last forever. You could hike thru in what you got or pitch a shelter and take a nap. I'm thinking about a high sierra trip in early Sept and I'll probably take a windshirt and driducks poncho. I really don't see the need for taking rain pants on the JMT during later summer.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 15:08:21 MDT Print View

Here's the clothes I bring for Sierra hiking...

All clothing carried (warm and rain) weighs 1 lb 7 oz and lives in a supermarket plastic bag, except for the down jacket, which gets stuffed around the bear can. There is no dedicated sleep gear. At night I always strip and clean my entire body then put my clothes back on. My clothes don't get too dirty since I usually jump in a lake with them on once a day.

worn
Clothing worn consists of: cotton dish towel to protect ears and neck, visor, white long sleeve synthetic shirt, synthetic stretch work-out pants, synthetic boxer briefs, synthetic under the ankle socks, Dirty Girl gaiters and running shoes. Also shown are Iniji toe socks, which I bring as backup socks in case I start to develop toe-to-toe blisters; for this trip, they stayed in my pack. If I get hot while hiking, I simply roll up the pants.

warm
Warm clothing carried consists of: fleece hat, Montbell UL Down Sweater and wool sleep socks. I used to bring fleece mittens but now simply pull my hands into my jacket.

rain
Rain gear carried consists of a 3M Porepro jacket and Tyvek pants.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 21:25:06 MDT Print View

Jeniffer, how much body heat do you produce while hiking? Are you a warm or cold hiker? If you are a very warm hiker, then you probably don't need rain pants. Tights will still keep you pretty warm while wet, as long as you are hiking and producing heat. I use my running tights for hiking up creeks in the winter. The wind pants will keep the wind off and slow down the rain, so I think you would be plenty warm with anything you could encounter in the summer Sierras. But this is coming from somebody who has very little experience in the Sierras.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Raingear on 04/08/2013 21:55:42 MDT Print View

Jennifer I have never done the Sierras but after a couple days of rain on the CT I changed my approach a bit. Hiking in cold rain gets old fast especially if you get wet and the sun doesn't come out quickly to dry you out. Here are my thoughts on your questions.

1. No its not worth $250 to save 2 oz on a rain jacket.

2. I like rain pants for mountain trips. Imagine this - its 50 degrees, raining and windy, would you like rain pants? I definitely would. I feel like I hike better when my leg muscles aren't cold. In my opinion wind pants are unnecessary if you have rain pants.

3. I like my windshirt. I can wear it when its cool but too warm for a raincoat. You could live without it but its pretty nice.

4. I've only hiked in my insulation layer a couple times. The windshirt is much less warm and much more breathable then a puffy.

If you want to compromise on rain pants you could try a rain skirt. Personally I'd just take one wool shirt. My garage sale wool shirt didn't smell that bad after 3 weeks on the trial (I was much worse).

Hope you have fun.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT) - redux for a mountain noob on 04/08/2013 22:12:34 MDT Print View

Yeah the collared shirt would be long sleeve and made of some sort of breathable UPF fabric which should shield you from the sun better than a normal long sleeve shirt. At least that is was I was thinking. "I" use my normal long sleeve shirts as insulating layers and would get way to hot hiking in that in july.

If you think that the wind pants and the layers you mentioned are sufficient, then they are. You will live no matter what the weather on the JMT that time of year. I was suggesting the rain pants because I would bring them. I've hiked in the rain with no shirt in the summer and been fine in the sierras. but I've also been there and it started snowing/raining in the middle of summer.

Also the frog toggs are 10 oz for the suit so the pants are probably 4-5 oz and they are cheap. The 2.5 layer pants are likely heavier and more expensive.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: JMT rain gear thoughts on 04/08/2013 22:13:00 MDT Print View

Just to add another possibility, which has worked for me for 40 some years, but is not real popular given the dominance of "breathable" water proof fabrics.

Back in the day, I started with a nylon poncho and chaps. Today I use an MLD set of cuben poncho and chaps - much lighter! I've used them (poncho and chaps in whatever fabric) in the Cascades, the Rockies and the Sierras, and they've never let me down. Yes, the poncho can blow around, but a waist belt of cord or light bungie readily solves that problem. The poncho can act as an emergency shelter, or a tent/tarp extension. Or even a ground cloth. It also acts as a pack cover, preventing any rain from getting into or onto the pack. It does not build up wet sweat in my clothes, since there is so much air circulating under the poncho. If wearing shorts, I don't bother with the chaps.

They are not "ideal" above tree line, due to blowing, but with a waist cord, I haven't really had any problem.

The MLD cuben set is incredibly light weight.

YMMV.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: re: JMT rain gear thoughts on 04/09/2013 21:29:06 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone...so much to think about!

I do have rain pants, I really like my rain pants, but they are something like 9 oz and I was hoping the wind pants would do enough to keep me comfy while hiking. I am a hot hiker (especially if there is climbing involved) and generally have a difficult time hiking in my heftier rain pants even when it's chilly.

I used the rain pants in a nasty hours-long steady rain in Patagonia...but I didn't put them on until my pants were already soaked through. I found that all I needed to do was block the wind and I was a seriously happy camper; my pants were wet inside the rain pants but I was just fine. I've got time so ill keep trying the wind pants in some chilly spring Chicago rains and see how well that works with the tights. I can always pick up a lighter pair of rain pants if I have to. Since I intend to relocate in the rainy PNW after my pct next year, I guess they'll get a fair amount of use.

Thanks again everyone...I'm getting the impression that all in all it doesn't really matter. Right?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: re: JMT rain gear thoughts on 04/09/2013 21:41:21 MDT Print View

I use a good compromise for rain pants. The fabric is about half waterproof and half breathable, and I sewed them from a Thru-Hiker Liberty Ridge pattern--2.45 ounces

--B.G.--

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Re: re: JMT rain gear thoughts on 04/10/2013 17:13:59 MDT Print View

Jenn,

I would definitely recommend reliable rain gear, top and bottom, for the JMT. I did it in August last year and we had rain, hail and snow most of the time, especially in the afternoon and of course on the passes. You may find that you definitely need to plan to go "up-n-over" long before noon.

For the JMT last year and the CT in 2011, I have used the Montbell stretch wind pants. They are super water resistant, even waterproof actually, I have never had them soak through even in prolonged downpours. They are also very breathable. For the CT, I took both capilene bottoms and my montbell's, but since I never wore them both at the same time, for the JMT I carried only the Montbell's and they worked out fine. On cold nights, I slept with them on and had no condensation. Best part, women's small weighs just over 3 oz.

have fun!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: re: JMT rain gear thoughts on 04/10/2013 18:13:51 MDT Print View

Jennifer wrote, "I do have rain pants, I really like my rain pants, but they are something like 9 oz and I was hoping the wind pants would do enough to keep me comfy while hiking. I am a hot hiker (especially if there is climbing involved) and generally have a difficult time hiking in my heftier rain pants even when it's chilly."

Try wearing rain pants with silkweight long johns. The smooth fabric allows the rain pants to move easily and the long johns breathe and keep the cold rain shell farbic off your skin. Rain pants with full side zippers can be opened to vent like pit zips if it isn't pouring. Some pants have pockets and ankle zips that can be used for ventilation too. If I know I'm going to be out in the rain all day, I don't even start with regular hiking pants, and wear the shells and long johns from the trailhead parking lot.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Re: Re: What about bottoms?? on 05/12/2013 17:00:54 MDT Print View

I like wind pants only for summer sierras - or convertibles for a minor weight penalty. Typically I hike in shirts and use wind pants (old, simple GoLite Trunk model) for bugs, briars, and rain. Over my sleep/base layers (typically a cap 2 or 3, down in winter) they give me plenty of warmth and protection. I would look at the Montbell pants (dynamo or something?).