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Thoughts on Rain Gear (JMT)
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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


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: Northern California
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.

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.

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.

Stu Pendious
(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.

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) - M

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.

Stu Pendious
(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.

Stu Pendious
(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.


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.

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
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: Northern California
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: PNW
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


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,