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Rain Apron
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Vladimir Kucherov
Rain Apron on 10/13/2013 19:30:30 MDT Print View

I'm still fairly new to posting, although I've been lurking on, and learning from BPL for a while now!

I love hiking with an umbrella - something about not having to wear a hooded tightly enclosed jacket is worth the weight/hassle of having an umbrella above my heavy.

So I was thinking that as supplementary gear to hiking with an umbrella, what about a rain apron? Just like your kitchen apron, although maybe with a larger surface area for the chest.

When hiking, your back is already covered by a backpack. An apron would be a light-weight shield for both rain and wind hitting your torso and upper legs, but would still be vented enough that it could be made out of something like silnylon and be ok.

Has anyone used anything like this?

just Justin Whitson
Re: Rain Apron on 10/14/2013 21:17:49 MDT Print View

No, but sounds like a good idea. Are you thinking of it going over your back pack too? Sort of like a quarter or half poncho of sorts?

Otherwise, for at least your top half at least, a windshirt with a good DWR combined with an umbrella should provide plenty of protection.

Just curious regarding umbrellas in general, what do you do with it when it gets really windy?

Vladimir Kucherov
umbrella on 10/15/2013 08:40:59 MDT Print View

Hmm, I was actually not thinking of having a back to it at all aside from a strap to tie it together. The reason is, I've hiked with a poncho before and both under the pack or over the pack they are uncomfortable compared to a jacket. I like the idea of the Packa but am unsure what happens to all that extra material when the backpack is off of me - and with a packa you don't have protection for your legs which the umbrella misses.

This might just call for a prototype and seeing how it fares.

As far as the umbrella - I've only had the GoLite and unlike a normal umbrella it doesn't really lock at the top - it sort of stays there due to canopy tension (kinda like a compound bow I guess?) - so if you point it in really strong wind it just closes a bit, but if you're holding it with two hands you can keep it open.

All the pieces are flexible plastic and the few times I've been head on with really strong wind it sort of just molded around me - not ideal but in wind like that hardly anything feels ideal.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rain Apron on 10/15/2013 10:39:55 MDT Print View

There are all kinds of plastic lab aprons available to experiment with if you don't want to sew one. It sounds odd, but that is what thinking outside the box is all about.

Another design might look like something the surcoat that crusader knights wore. It is basically a tailored poncho that would fit under your pach rather than over. Alter the length to suit.

Knight's surcoat

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/15/2013 10:40:26 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
VBL on 10/15/2013 10:54:56 MDT Print View

Another design might look like something the surcoat that crusader knights wore. It is basically a tailored poncho that would fit under your pach rather than over. Alter the length to suit.

Wear the top half under clothes to make a vest VBL to keep your outer insulation dry from sweat against the pack?

Luv the photo. Perhaps some new style points to be gained if picked up by the hipsters.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Re: Rain Apron on 10/15/2013 11:21:00 MDT Print View

Interesting idea.

I always take an umbrella, but I also take a rain jacket since most of my hiking is at higher elevations in dry climates. It doesn't take much to get hypothermia in those conditions.

I love my Golite umbrella but it is almost useless in high winds so I always want another option to try to stay dry. It gets more use for sun protection than rain protection.

I walked 5 miles last night in the rain testing some new rain gear. It was high 50's, mildly windy with a steady rain. Even with the umbrella I was really glad to have my arms covered as they still got quite wet. My hands were bare and they got quite cold.

Vlad, what kind of climate do you usually hike in? I'm thinking your idea would be best suited to tropical climates.

Edited by dallas on 10/16/2013 11:56:24 MDT.

Vladimir Kucherov
umbrella on 10/16/2013 11:44:12 MDT Print View

Very good idea about lab aprons. Cheap way to see if it'll work at all!

I think some sort of rain/wind shell is still needed to be carried, but to me an umbrella is just that luxury comfort item.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: VBL on 10/16/2013 13:17:55 MDT Print View

If you are sweating, you don't need the insulation! VBL's are sleep things, IMHO.

The rain surcoat needs a "BPL" coat of arms with some quip in Latin to be a fashion statement, or perhaps a map of the "shire." :)

The photo came from some middle ages reenactment supply.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: umbrella on 10/16/2013 13:32:40 MDT Print View

I have a hiking umbrella, but have never been able to reconcile with with trekking poles, with the poles winning out every time. It would be interesting to have one that incorporates a fixed length trekking pole, or has some sort of sleeve/shaft that could cap a pole(sans basket).

I could see a flat river valley hike using and umbrella and that is usually at lower elevation with lots of cold humid air, which is just where you need the breathability. If there is a light drizzle, you have the choice of sweat-wet or rain-wet. That goes for your head as well as your torso. Umbrellas can make for some shelter for the cook in camp, strolls to the latrine, help plug the weather end of a tarp, or give your head end a little relief when camping a bivi sack. The "chrome" version adds sun protection.

I can't see escaping the need for some backup rain shell or poncho. Something like a DriDucks and umbrella might make a good pairing. I would be wearing rain pants regardless.

Mark Hurd
(markhurd) - M

Locale: South Texas
Rain Skirt on 10/16/2013 15:40:28 MDT Print View

The idea of a rain apron is interesting, but it sounds like a rain skirt (or call it a kilt if you're male and insecure :^) would do the job if you are using an umbrella for the upper part of your body. You could pull the skirt up higher if your trying to protect your abdomen. Z-Packs makes a cuben one that would be about right. See pic below-

Rain Skirt

Edited by markhurd on 10/16/2013 15:47:10 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Rain Skirt on 10/16/2013 16:05:18 MDT Print View

Just make your coat a little longer.

When it gets down to your knees or so, it starts getting in the way of walking.

Jeffrey Wong
(kayak4water) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Rain skirt and legs--No problem with coated fabrics. on 10/17/2013 23:55:52 MDT Print View

I dunno if you're on the right track, but it's parallel to mine. I made a urethane coated nylon skirt & legs. The legs performed as well as a gore tex gaiter--the photo shows me with gaiter on my right leg & rain leg on my left. Me on a log bridge No problems with clamminess on a 55 degree windless, drizzly day walking out of Olympic National Park. My hiking buddy had to remove his clammy heavy, side-zip rain pants.

My Go-Lite umbrella directed water away from me, onto my Rayway 3000 cube pack with rain cover and then off the pack away from me--no water on my back. It works best with a low profile pack such as mine, so it won't bump into the top of the pack. Hiking buddy: no brolly & no pack cover=a heavy water drenched Bergans pack & clammy Goretex rain jacket.

I also used the brolly
1. as a wind break for hiking on a cold dry day at altitude.
2. for shade for hiking on sunny days. makes the sunscreen much more effective when used as only reflected UV from rocks reach your face.
3. as a cooling fan

Jeffrey Wong
(kayak4water) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
Ditto John on 10/18/2013 00:05:19 MDT Print View

Ditto John Myers: "high 50's, mildly windy with a steady rain. Even with the umbrella I was really glad to have my arms covered as they still got quite wet. My hands were bare and they got quite cold." cold hands are unhappy hands.

My next project includes rain sleeves with a yoke to keep them from slipping off and provide some wetness protection for my shoulders also. A full-on rain jacket might make me clammy. Speaking of which, it's time to begin processing my razor clams.