November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket
Display Avatars Sort By:
Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket on 04/25/2013 19:00:42 MDT Print View

I will be hiking the PCT this year. Normally I do all of my running in a wind shirt, and never wear a rain coat. With regards to hiking the PCT, I feel like it is HIGHLY advisable that I use a rain jacket for the sierra and Washington. I will be using the outdoor research helium, but its very much like a traditional rain jacket thats not the least breathable.


My question is would it be better to bring both, or just the raincoat? Or just the windshell. I could also bring a raincoat for certain portions of the PCT but would like to avoid this if possible

Thanks in advance

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket on 04/25/2013 19:16:09 MDT Print View

I always bring a Windproof and waterproof with me but others may differ.

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Umbrella on 04/25/2013 20:38:15 MDT Print View

What about getting an umbrella and using your windshirt with that?

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Both on 04/26/2013 10:24:09 MDT Print View

Between the Helium II and a stoic wraith windshirt, I bring both. Together I'm right at the 8oz mark which is less than my winter hardshell and MUCH more versatility and comfort.

If you have a stiff long sleeve shirt for solar protection (like an old dress shirt) you could probably use that as a windshirt with more breathability than a traditional windshirt. But i'd still bring both.

Edited by upalachango on 04/26/2013 10:26:26 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
eVent on 04/26/2013 13:08:51 MDT Print View

I'd take only an eVent rain parka, mainly for safety.

I have an XL REI Kimtah to fit over my down sweater. Light enuf & good price W/ 20% off sale.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Both on 04/26/2013 15:16:29 MDT Print View

I would carry both

I think of a rain jacket as mandatory gear for multi-day trips, whereas a wind jacket is a bit of a luxury. It's purpose is primarily for comfort. My rain jacket is a form of safety gear.

K Magz
(lapedestrienne) - F

Locale: somewhere without screens
+1 eVent... on 04/26/2013 19:43:24 MDT Print View

...if you have it. I agree with Eric that having a comfortable, breathable shell eliminates the need for a windshirt in most environments, and you'll be more comfortable when it does rain all day. But if you are happy and comfortable with what you've got, then why not take both--your weight will still be lower than the average rain shell.

Your system will work great. I might worry about the durability of the 2.5-layer Pertex Shield on a thru, but OR has a lifetime guarantee, so in a pinch they should be willing to give you a new jacket.

What are you using for your legs?

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
update on windshell vs. rainjacket on 04/26/2013 20:11:55 MDT Print View

I think I'll bring both. The reality is, that for 9 oz I'll have a lot of flexibility for wind/rain if I bring both.

@Eric, Thanks for the advice about event. Unfortunately my budget, and weight consciousness negates that as a choice. the jacket you suggested weighs 15 oz, and i'm at 9 for both jackets.

I'll be carrying windpants for my legs.

My other question is just short sleeve, long sleeve, or both?

for clothing:

Running shorts
short sleeve
long sleeve
montbell ex light
montbell tachyon
OR Helium
goilte windpants

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Bring the long sleeve on 04/26/2013 20:28:29 MDT Print View

I am a big proponent of a long sleeve shirt for high altitude and desert/dry hiking. Sun protection, bug protectiion and the long sleeves help create your own microclimate in the hot, dry climate.

I personally find short sleeves are good for day activities, but I do not like sunscreen for multiday activities hence the long sleeves.

Jeff Jeff
(TwoFortyJeff) - F
Re: Bring the long sleeve on 04/26/2013 20:47:21 MDT Print View

In the past I would have said just take the lightest eVent rain jacket you can find. It's close enough. However, if you really hike in it all the time, your sweat will affect the breathability.

I recently switched to a helium and a houdini. I find it's rare that I need a rain jacket in the summer in Washington, but I sure would not go out without one. You carry a couple more ounces, but you get the best of both worlds.

Martin Clark
(Marty_Mcfly) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Longsleeve question on 04/27/2013 07:31:08 MDT Print View


big ups on the advice. I hate sunscreen, and would much rather wear long-sleeves. I've only recently come around on the idea of headwear, so will be bringing a visor and bandana. i appreciate everyones input.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Longsleeve question on 04/27/2013 09:48:41 MDT Print View

All personal preference here and the opposite approach (for me) is to bring a sole rain jacket, which also happens to be the OR Helium II, along with a short sleeve synthetic shirt and my Stoic Hadron down sweater (mostly for camp). Sunscreen doesn’t bother me. I can welcome a tan :D

The only conundrum I have is that when I’m hiking through rain in warmer weather, the rain jacket becomes of course, too warm… which doesn’t really happen all that often.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Bring the long sleeve on 04/27/2013 11:04:18 MDT Print View

"I recently switched to a helium and a houdini. I find it's rare that I need a rain jacket in the summer in Washington, but I sure would not go out without one. You carry a couple more ounces, but you get the best of both worlds."

When I need a wind shirt, I need it for several hours... otherwise I would just grin and bear it for a while. Sometimes you have to forget the fixation on multiple-use and the lightest weight. Function rules. So I bring a wind shirt and rain protection as two separate items.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket on 04/28/2013 13:37:13 MDT Print View

I've thought about this too, in the context of summer hiking in the Southern Appalachians. A rain shell keeps me warm, but I get soaked inside from sweat. Bring the shell, or just rely on my wind shirt for protection in the rain? It's been raining heavily here all day, with steady temps at 60F. So I did my daily walk wearing my UL windshirt over a short sleeve wool base layer, nylon shorts, hemp Tilley hat, mesh trail runners, and Darn Tough light crew wool socks.

My head was dry and happy. My feet were wet but happy. My shorts did a reasonable job of not wetting through, but I can see that after a couple hours of rain they would be soaked - so I will continue carrying my rain skirt.

The wind shirt failed. It wetted through within a few minutes, and after that my arms, hands, shoulders and (soon) my torso were wet and very cold. Now, it's an old single layer LL Bean wind shirt, and has no DWR left at all, so it's no real surprise. However, any DWR will eventually wet through, and I'd be just as miserable even though it might take a little longer.

So the rain shell will continue to make it inside my pack, along with the homemade rain skirt. The Tilley Hat makes a nice addition, since I can see and hear much better with the hat than a hood. Also, too, I will get good sun protection -- which is useful even in the summer, as I'll be in the open enough to warrant some protection. The wind shirt will make the cut based on the expected temps and weather conditions -- in cold weather it's a no-brainer, but maybe not in the summer.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Hmm on 04/29/2013 08:42:43 MDT Print View

I bring both - definitely! The comfort in a windshirt is SOOOOO much higher, no waterproof membrane can even begin to match a good windshirt.

Set the sweat free!!

If there's a chance for rain, bring a rain jacket.

If it's a very light, (cheap perhaps?) rainjacket, you could even bring a nice light umbrella too. (Golite makes one)

all 3 items can be lighter than one normal 3 layer shell jacket.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: windshirt/rain shell on 04/29/2013 10:30:38 MDT Print View

Windshirts should be thought of as a shirt with some jacket-like qualities. They should breathe well, and that negates most rain protection other than some basic DWR that can handle some light precip or dewy brush. If you are hiking for hours or days in rain, you need some real protection. DriDucks are light and cheap and breathable, but suffer on durability. You could keep a spare in your drop box and some duct tape in the pocket. From there, I would go to light 2.5 layer jackets and rain pants, or better yet, a GoLite poncho.

The poncho is just 6oz and will keep your pack and shorts dry and costs less than any 2.5 layer jacket. Add some long gaiters and you will only have a 6" area of your legs exposed. A belt of light line or shock cord will help keep it under control in exposed and windy conditions. A windshirt and poncho make a perfect combination worn together. The poncho can also be used for emergency shelter, a vestibule, rest stop rain cover and cook shelter.

Loren B

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Both on 04/29/2013 12:23:12 MDT Print View

I would certainly take the helium for safety and I would suggest that you take both for comfort. A little extra weight sure, but the comfort that weight will afford you is well worth it. If you bring both, the windshirt will almost certainly spend 90% of the time on your back all the while making your trip a little bit more comfortable and hopefully making your trip that little bit more enjoyable.

Also remember that it would be part of your layering system so you may be able to lighten up elsewhere depending on the weather and your current gear.

-If you were going to bring a midlayer which is windproof, heavier windproof hat and heavier scarf, you could instead bring a lighter non windproof fleece, thin scarf and lighter non windproof hat to couple with the windshirt's zip neck and hood.

-You could take short sleeved baselayers instead of long sleeved ones since the windshirt would offer some level of UV protection and maybe wicking ability for your lower arms.

-In the rain: To get double use from your wind shirt (if it has a full length zipper), leave it unzipped and tie it round your waist. You can then do up the zip at the front and make quite an effective rain skirt. I find this works really well and could even mean you can leave rain pants at home or make your wind pants work much better in the rain.

Good luck and have a fun trip!

Edited by ljamesb on 04/29/2013 12:31:29 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket on 04/30/2013 16:02:42 MDT Print View

I carry a winshirt and a very light small silnylon cape. I usually get by with the windshirt and wear the cape only if I am getting too wet in the windshirt. I have also been known to wear my polycryo groundcloth as a rain skirt in heavy or cold rain.

The cape is very light and multi-use. A rain jacket is not.

I would say an umbrella could be a replacement for a rain shell, but there are times when you need both hands, like setting up camp.

Regarding long sleeves, I agree with Mags and others. I even wear long pants for the same reason.
You get a lot of sun on the PCT and many trails. If you wear a highly ventilated long sleeve shirt and pants with the mesh panels you can stay cool and not have to keep applying sunscreen. The weight of sunscreen can add up over time.

Long sleeve shirt and pants also helps protect against bugs.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: WIndshirt Vs. Rain jacket on 04/30/2013 16:10:05 MDT Print View

Both. You will encounter many sunny, warm, but windy days where a rain jacket will be too sweaty and hot but a windshirt will be just right.