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So what is the deal with rain pants?
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
apple meet oranges on 06/07/2013 21:19:10 MDT Print View

No, that was to point out about bushwacking in Alaska. I know alot of people like going on those trails but the few I have known really never went with any rain pants and were fine. Not saying they shouldn't have. Instead I go on things like the Oregon Coastal trail or just free ranging and bumming. Never felt the need to summit a mountain or be 10k up.

but then again it is that whole thing or trying to be prepared for every situation and taking everything or being light and taking the minimum. Me, I just try not to put myself into situations.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
rain pants on 06/07/2013 22:15:37 MDT Print View

Well, when hiking through unfamiliar mountains, which I'll wager happens with a lot more than 3% of us, it's not always sure if what awaits is apples or oranges.

Sounds like we both spend a lot of time in familiar territory, so we both know enough about what to expect to be able to do without rain pants. But going into unfamiliar territory is exciting, and popular with many. The long stretches well above timberline on the Continental Divide in CO, for example, might well merit rainpants if they were in other regions where the rain gets long and merciless.
Not to mention the current changes in climate that are full of surprises.

And it sounds from this thread that even where rain pants are not critical, they can often make a trek much for comfortable. So while I don't use them, I might in different places, and so don't rule them out altogether.

steven franchuk
Re: DWR on 06/07/2013 22:58:06 MDT Print View

"Interested to know what DWR treatments people are applying to their wind gear to get good water resistance as described by a few."

First you need to understand hydrostatic had and what DWR does. DWR is nothing more than a microscopic coating of fiber that prevents water from sticking to the fiber. The DWR material does not bridge the gaps between the fibers.

Hydrostatic head is a measure of how much water pressure is needed to push water through the fabric. A hydrostatic head of 0mm means zero pressure. Most rain jackets have a hydrostatic head of 20,000mm or more. Wind shirt typically have a hydrostatic head of zero.

If you have a piece of dense nylon non dwr fabric it will block the wind well but have a hydrostatic head of zero. If you then apply DWR to it, its hydrostatic head is now,, zero. All The DWR coating did was to make it easy for the water to roll off the surface. The DWR doesn't fill in the gaps between the fibers so there is nothing to prevent pressure from forcing water through the empty space between fibers.

Now consider the raindrop. If it is very small (mist) it will land onto the fabric with almost zero force. It will just sit on the surface of the fabric and then eventually role off. However larger rain drops will hit the fabric at speed and that speed will apply pressure that can drive the water through the fabric of a wind shirt. However in waterproof fabric with high hydrostatic head the rain simply bounces off. Large rain drops traveling very fast simply cannot generate enough pressure to force water through a waterproof fabric.

siimply put a wind shirt (with a hydrostatic head of zero) in a good rain will never prevent water from getting through.

"For DWR, I wash the gear regularly to stop my sweat dissolving the DWR"

Sweat (a mixture of oil, water, and salt) doesn't desolve the DWR. Its just a contaminant. Rain will stick to oil and salt and dirt while water doesn't stick to the DWR. So if your rain jacket is dirty water will stick the dirt preventing the DWR from doing its job. Frequent cleaning minimizes contaminants and dirt allowing the DWR to work.

dirt also abrades the fibers to the jacket, removing the DWR and damaging the fibers making the fibers sticky. Even if all the DWR wears off you can still reapply it. However you cannot undo the damage to the fibers. And eventually that damage will prevent any reapplied DWR from working.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Wet on 06/08/2013 13:48:56 MDT Print View

> but after hours of it, even at 55 degrees, they felt differently.


I can say with personal experience, hiking all day in rain with temperatures around 50 to 55 degrees, I was completely fine with a long sleeve merino top, a windshirt, lightweight synthetic underwear and supplex nylon shorts.

To each their own, but that works for me in relatively cold temperatures. In colder temperatures, I've found that if you can find a way to keep your thighs and your upper body dry, having wet lower legs doesn't present a danger (i.e. a rain skirt works well).

This includes open/exposed areas to alpine winds/rain.

Edited by lindahlb on 06/08/2013 13:59:39 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
So what is the deal with rain pants? on 06/08/2013 15:31:19 MDT Print View

Hiking hard to stay warm works !

right up until the twist of an ankle, get sick, bonk, or otherwise can't produce enough heat to stay warm.

Derrick White
(miku) - MLife

Locale: Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Rain Paints are the only pants for me on 06/09/2013 20:02:47 MDT Print View

For 3 season trips, besides my base lawyer merinos, rain pants are the only pants I bring. I usually wear shorts while hiking and my rain pants are my camp\ night pants, worn with merino underneath.

If it is too cold for shorts while hiking, which is rare, I wear the rain pants.

My pants are Arcteryx Beta SL. Not the lighest but breathable, multifunctional and durable.