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Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/01/2014 23:54:52 MST Print View

I was looking at the super mica per another thread and the author said he wanted high visibility:

You can look at the colors here...

but thinking about it. Why would you EVER want low visibility. Excluding hunting or military use for a moment ...

If you have your rain jacket on, the sun isn't out... so any color doesn't matter from the perspective of the sun. Black isn't going to give you a temperature boost - because there's no sun.

So the only other upside is high visibility. Either you're lost and a plane/helicopter. search and rescue, or members of your party can see you.

So it seems that it makes far more sense to always buy high visibility and no other color makes sense from a strategic perspective.


hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Double-duty around town on 03/02/2014 00:00:53 MST Print View

I generally try to buy hiking gear in high visibility colors so I can hike in hunting season with less risk of getting shot and so I can wear the jackets walking/jogging in traffic.

However, it is nice to have a jacket or two in non-neon colors for wearing to the grocery store. I just bought a closeout deal on a Houdini in a lower visibility color that I will use for day to day use, leaving the neon-green Trail Wind Hoody in the backpack for hiking.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 00:03:40 MST Print View

No arguments against your thoughts - my thoughts would be the same. Hi-vis is always safer except when someone is shooting at you.

But my feelings differ. On a hike, I can often look for miles and not notice any other person, tent or structure. That would be true less often if more people wore hi-vis outer wear.

I'm not saying anyone is wrong wearing day-glo, not at all. But I personally try to have a lower visual impact.

Admittedly, at least one piece of high-vis clothing is a safer option because you can then be found more easily.

I do wear blaze orange during hunting season. More so, I put some on the dog (a black dog can look an awful lot like a black bear through the trees).

And when road-bicycling, I'm ALWAYS in high-vis clothing.

Edited to add to HWC's thoughts: +1 on use around town. I just don't wear blaze orange, fluorescent yellow, or vomit green to the grocery store.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 03/02/2014 00:06:04 MST.

Owen McMurrey
(OwenM) - F

Locale: SE US
Why would you ever? on 03/02/2014 00:09:34 MST Print View

While I appreciate the pros of a high vis shell, and my next one is quite likely to be a muted orange or red vs my usual grays and earth tones, I hate bright colored clothing. Hard to buy something you don't even like to look at...

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 00:10:55 MST Print View

I have one black shell that I can also use in town and it might dry slightly faster if I can get it into the sun after a rain. For a remote winter trip and definitely for hunting season, I'd probably go with a high-vis color.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 00:20:04 MST Print View

I bought one jacket in hi-vis orange for many of the reasons you mentioned. One being that I fly fish a lot during hunting season and I wanted to stand out (fawn colored fly fishing vest = "really bad idea"). The problem I had is that the people I fish with don't appreciate my brightly colored jacket while on-stream because they think it scares the fish (not exactly stealth fishing).

I actually stopped wearing it backpacking because it looks really unnatural in photos... just way to bright, so I've gone back to more muted colors. So it seemed like a good idea but hasn't worked for me.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 00:32:50 MST Print View

I'd always heard (and I tend to agree) that it's bad trail etiquette to dress so brightly without cause (rescue, road traffic, etc). Kinda ruins the wilderness experience to have the dayglo neon signs follow in from the city.

However, there needs to be something "hi-vis", so rainwear is a good a choice as any. Since rainwear for most people isn't something you wear all day long, it's the logical choice for that brightly colored item, but unless dealing with traffic under low visibility conditions, I don't see it as a requisite.

Edited by Glenn64 on 03/02/2014 00:33:25 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 01:02:48 MST Print View

Bright colors can be annoying to look at.
I sometimes wear bright clothing when hiking off trail with my hiking buddy, because he can't hear very well, epsecially when the wind is blowing.
A reflective space blanket is more effective for signaling.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 05:37:03 MST Print View

I like subdued colors because they reduce my visual impact on the environment. That includes the perceived visual impact on myself. But, my current rain jacket for frequent wet cold is bright red because it was only available in that color.

Christine Thuermer
(GermanTourist) - F - M

Locale: in my tent
... that depends on the country you are hiking in on 03/02/2014 06:23:09 MST Print View

I am currently hiking a lot in Western Europe where free camping is generally more or less illegal. Although I have never encountered any problem when doing it and people are usually very tolerant as long as you are discreet and leave no trace I like to be inconspicuous, especially at the end of the day when I start looking for a camp site. High visibility clothes make me stick out like a sore thumb. I therefore like a rain jacket in a more subdued color. If I need the high visibility in rainy conditions because I have to road walk or I am hiking in a hunting area I wear a neon orange cap that can easily be removed if I want to "disappear".

Michael C
(chinookhead) - F - M
low viz shell reason on 03/02/2014 07:32:22 MST Print View

My backpacking trips are often combined with fishing where I want to be stealthy, so having a low vis color jacket that I can wear on the frequently rainy afternoons when I fish after arriving at camp is what I want. The other issue is double use for "every day usage" or fishing trips. However, now that I'm spoiled I now have a dedicated bright shell for dedicated climbing trips and an old muted gore-tex xcr shell that I use on fishing trips where I can count on getting "slimed". I don't want to go into the backcountry or sleep with a shell that smells like fish guts and fish eggs :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Should a rain jacket always be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 08:11:56 MST Print View

No. Isn't it wonderful to have choices for peoples varying tastes and preferences? I never want high visibility in clothing. Just don't.

Bright colors don't make you safer or necessarily any easier to see. Orange or red shell in New England in the fall won't be high vis.

You'll still be a tiny dot on the ground for that guy looking for you from a chopper.

Black is beautiful.

Edited by kthompson on 03/02/2014 09:03:35 MST.

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 08:29:23 MST Print View

+1 for Black is Beautiful

I only buy things in earth tones and black when possible. Only hi-vis gear I own are my bright red Altra Lone Peaks and my yellowish mid tarp. If I want to be spotted by S&R I'll use a signaling mirror and a PLB.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 08:54:15 MST Print View

I try to avoid people when I'm backpacking and high visibility clothing helps me see them so I can do so.

Last thing I want is to find a previously unseen camo clothed backpacker camped 50 feet from me after I set up camp.

I also like others to see where I am so they can avoid me if they choose. It reduces the chance that they or their unleashed dog will be surprised by my sudden appearance. I don't want to get bit or shot.

Richard Fischel
"You'll still be a tiny dot on the ground for that guy looking for you from a chopper." really? on 03/02/2014 09:16:10 MST Print View

that's not what the sar guys i've asked have said. they've all said bright reds and oranges make you much more likely to be spotted from the air and that bright white works well also. sure, terrain and vegetation can inhibit your visibility, but if you want to lower your odds of being seen from the air bring nothing but muted colors.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Rainjacket on 03/02/2014 09:31:14 MST Print View

If theres one think to have in bright orange, the rain jacket would probably be the one

Since you likely arent wearing it all the time

And if you are, then everyone will be so cold wet an miserable that they wont care about what you wear

Wear whatever color you want, its not like yr walking around naked or throwing garbage into the woods

For some activities it can also be a safety issue, especially if you dont have the opportunity to pull out that brightly covered tarp due to incapacitation ... Think a fall on down a gully/wall, or a partial avalanche burial


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: "You'll still be a tiny dot on the ground for that guy looking for you from a chopper." really? on 03/02/2014 09:34:03 MST Print View

"You'll still be a tiny dot on the ground for that guy looking for you from a chopper."

As you can see for yourself that sentence mentions nothing about color. I was talking about size. Sure it might help a bit depending on where you are and current weather conditions. But it is not enough of a reason for me to choose a bright color. "Oh I better buy this color in case I ever need to be rescued.", yeah.

I know from my own experience that a large American flag being waved around in a backcountry meadow was missed the first two times over by SAR chopper crews. Clear and sunny.

And we are talking about color choices for rain jackets, are we not.

Edited by kthompson on 03/02/2014 09:36:26 MST.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Fire engine red on 03/02/2014 09:49:42 MST Print View

Where I live if there are trees there are deer and hunters. My rain jacket is bright red. I don't care if it ruins someone's view as long as I don't get a bullet or arrow through me. It also helps me on really dark and/or rainy days from being hit by cars.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: "You'll still be a tiny dot on the ground for that guy looking for you from a chopper." really? on 03/02/2014 09:58:10 MST Print View

I bought orange safety vest for $5, 2.5 ounces, intended for construction, Sanderson Safety Supply

During hunting season I'll put that outside of whatever - very breathable mesh so it doesn't overheat too much. Rest of time I prefer earth colors.

With high vis raincoat, if it's not raining or cold, I don't wnat to wear it because I'll overheat, so it doesn't work so good as a system for protection from hunters.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 10:38:54 MST Print View

Shouldn't a hat always be bright orange so you won't get shot?