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rain kilt = winner!
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Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
rain kilt = winner! on 05/05/2013 13:46:13 MDT Print View

I had read about rain kilts and I like the design of the multi-use Cloud Kilt by ZPacks, but I wanted to try the concept before buying one. So I cut the bottom off of a 30 gallon drawstringed trashbag and tried it out yesterday on some moderate terrain in western North Carolina. The weather was 45 degF, windy, and steady light rain. I wore spandex shorts, a Patagonia Cap 2 zip T-neck, a 100-weight fleece beanie, a visored cap and a Marmot hard shell top. I can't remember the model of that shell but it weighs 8 ounces in an XL. Definitely thinner and lighter than the PreCip.

The kilt worked perfectly. My hips and upper legs stayed quite dry. Of course the ventilation was great. Interestingly though, the kilt retained just enough heat to make the crummy weather quite comfortable without further insulation. I experimented by hiking up the kilt and immediately felt the windy chill. Of course this is to be expected but I did not expect that wide open 'skirt' to block as much wind and retain the heat that it did.

I have the build and metabolism that does well in the cold; where a lot of people get chilled I do OK. So I suppose that helps the kilt work for me.

I ordered the Cloud Kilt last night. With the tieout tabs that are sewn on it, I expect it could be jury-rigged pretty well as a tarp door. Plus it can be used as a ground sheet extension.

Rocco Speranza

Locale: Western NC Mtns
nice! on 05/05/2013 14:04:15 MDT Print View

That's nice to know. I ordered one as well last week, but haven't received shipping confirmation yet. I'm also in Western NC and we sure do get a lot of rain here. Raining all weekend. :/

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
"rain kilt = winner!" on 05/05/2013 16:36:06 MDT Print View

I believe that the garbage bag kilt was first mentioned by Colin Fletcher about 1975. He caller it "Colin's kilt" when he described it in one of the editions of his book "The Complete Walker". It is a good idea; cheap, light and easy to use.

Edited by Rincon on 05/05/2013 16:37:33 MDT.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
"rain kilt = winner! on 05/05/2013 17:10:15 MDT Print View

I really like my cloud kilt. I was out the other day in a steady, light drizzle and walking through waist high thick vegetation that was wet. I was wearing a hard shell jacket, but didn't want to put on hard shell leggings as the rain wasn't that hard. However, I soon found that the wet vegetation was getting me wet and I was starting to feel chilled. I stopped for a few seconds and put on my cloud kilt and problem solved.

A long hard shell jacket that stops just above the knee, partnered with long gaiters and shorts, is the classic New Zealand tramping outfit for wet weather. However longer jackets are getting harder to find, but a rain kilt convents any short jacket to along one.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
update on 06/01/2013 08:20:22 MDT Print View

I received the ZPacks CloudKilt soon after starting this thread. I got to use it on another rainy hiking day soon thereafter. It was a big step up from the garbage bag.

The shock cord in the waist was too thin and didn't grip well in the tiny cordlock. Plus I felt I could use another tieoff tab when using the kilt as a tarp door. I emailed Joe about these things and he said "send it in!".

A week later the kilt was back, this time with a beefier shock cord and that extra tab. Excellent service yet again from ZPacks!

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667) - M

Locale: SoCal
Love mine on 06/01/2013 08:24:41 MDT Print View

I used my cloud kilt during a storm last year, and hiked 10miles in the rain with no problems and it worked great.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Not always perfect on 06/01/2013 13:34:16 MDT Print View

I wore a ULA rain skirt on my 2011 TGO Challenge crossing of Scotland, generally with great success (and it was superb as a multi-use item) until one fierce day when high winds and driving rain forced everyone down from the hills. The skirt very quickly became a hat as the winds whipped it around so much that I was soon soaked beneath it.

This year I took a pair of waterproof trousers, something I've never liked, which proved to be more manageable in high winds but were otherwise fairly vile. Hot, uncomfortable, all of the things that led me to the rain skirt in the first place. Rain skirts are wonderfully simple things, but it's clear that a few tweaks are needed to mine if it's to cope with real storms rather than simply heavy falling rain. That's down to the fit of that particular model on me, rather than a flaw in the concept; the ZPacks version was used with success by others. On the Challenge this year I really missed my rain skirt and shan't be bothering with the waterproof trousers again for general hiking.

Hamish McHamish
(El_Canyon) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Not always perfect on 06/01/2013 15:00:26 MDT Print View

Jon wrote:

"The skirt very quickly became a hat as the winds whipped it around so much that I was soon soaked beneath it."

Great point. I had an idea while reading and visualizing your post. This is hard to verbalize but easy to visualize.

Imagine the bottom edge of the kilt at the point that is in line with your midline, i.e. the bottom leading edge. Imagine the bottom edge of the kilt 180 degrees from that, i.e. where the zipper closes. In high winds, what if you had a thin piece of shock cord connecting those two points, with enough slack so as not to impede your stride? But just enough of a connection to keep the kilt from blowing around all over the place.

Dunno, this may not work but it would be easy to rig up & try.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: rain kilt = winner! on 06/01/2013 15:32:27 MDT Print View

I ran into the maker of a rain shirt at the NW Folklife Festival. She is so close to a great hiking rain kilt. As it is, the design and quality is very good, but for women only.

Edited by dwambaugh on 06/01/2013 15:33:12 MDT.