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Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility?
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Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Should a rain jacket always be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 10:50:45 MST Print View

All good points and to elaborate on what Ken said:

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.

Thought about this for the "red rock" country of the US Southwest too. Not a problem during Spring but late Fall/early Winter is hunting season, ... about the time it becomes cool enough to backpack again.

The solution is of course to have a half closet dedicated to different shells - the number approaching that of Imelda Marco's shoe collection... along with all the other outdoor clothes ; )

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
color on 03/02/2014 11:30:15 MST Print View

When hiking with a partner it's nice when they wear something bright so I can keep an eye on them.

I wear earth tone clothing and try to use a bright wind/ rain jacket.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: Re: Should a rain jacket always be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 11:59:48 MST Print View

Muted colors are fine by me. I like primary colors too, but not neon ones. When you buy on clearance and second hand you sometimes don't get much of a choice for colors, though. So far I've avoided anything truly hideous.

I don't think one should rely on a bright rain jacket for high vis. If you truly want high vis, wear blaze orange.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility? on 03/02/2014 12:34:16 MST Print View

Whether its true or not, but it is often thought that bright colors attract bees (I guess they end up trying to pollinate you). High Visibility colors tend to look like flower colors. I also like blending in to my surroundings. When people walk by my camp, I shouldn't be visually polluting the view with colors that stand out. I normally buy things in greens, tans and the like (nothing camo though). Part of why I go out into the wilderness for solitude so I don't want the landscape full of things that don't look like they belong so I dress accordingly.

I often have hikers walk by me resting with out noticing me unless I call out. I prefer it that way. I've even had rangers in Yosemite walk within 10 feet of where I was resting next to the trail and go right on by like they didn't see me and stop another hiker 20ft down the trail and ask to see his permit and bear can status.

Another thing, seeing a popular camping area on the JMT looks like a Reggae Festival with all the bright colors covering the landscape. Not exactly what I want to look at as the sun goes down so I'm forced to find less used camping spots (better for bears anyway). Then there is the issue of camping somewhere where you don't want people to know you are there so bright colors on anything including your clothes as you move around is a no-no. Why would you want this? As an example, on a thru-hike when you come into town and find all the hotels booked and you need to wait for the PO to open the next day or its to late after resupplying to get back to the trail, hikers will normally walk outside of town into the woods and camp somewhere where you don't know if its private land or not so you don't want to be noticed until you leave early morning.

Now if you are doing a long road walk or hiking in hunting season, then yes, you want something high visibility. Which is why i have a pack cover that is bright orange. I don't use it very often.

Edited by Miner on 03/02/2014 12:41:59 MST.

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Pot Farms on 03/02/2014 13:31:13 MST Print View

Don't really like to be noticed when hiking where there might be illegal pot farms or range riders watching out for free range cattle.

Both tend to be threatening with firearms.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility?" on 03/02/2014 13:42:58 MST Print View

I fall in the "high vis" category (as you might notice from my avatar). I learned this lesson, oddly enough, snowmobiling. My snowmobiling gear is all black- helmet to boots. My old snowmobile was also all black. I got it stuck in the middle of a field well within visibility of my riding buddies but apparently out of earshot. Now, in Alaska in the winter, everything is black and white. The snow, of course, is white. All other things appear to black. So a black dot in the middle of a field, even one waving frantically, just did not catch anyone's eye probably because it looked like a boulder and a tree. Meanwhile, I've got a riding buddy that wears a dayglow orange jacket and you can see that fellow 2 miles away, I kid you not. It was an epiphany for me. I don't wear my rainshell all the time, but when I do, people are going to be able to see me. I think it's a good safety feature.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: "Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility?" on 03/02/2014 14:13:30 MST Print View

For winter my Windhsirt and Rain jacket are high visibility, but the rest of the year I prefer darker colours.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: "Shouldn't a rain jacket ALWAYS be high visibility?" on 03/02/2014 15:33:06 MST Print View

I'm curious to know the following data:
How many hikers get accidentally shot each year by hunters... and what proportion of those hikers were wearing bright colors and what proportion were wearing muted colors?

I don't know if this data exists, but if anyone knows it, please share. If it turns out that we are, for example, more likely to be struck by lightning while backpacking than being accidentally shot, then we should probably just chalk this one up as acceptable risk and move on. Obviously, precautionary measure should probably be taken for high hunting areas just like precautionary measure are taken with high lightning risk areas... but in general, we might be fear mongering here.

I tend to prefer muted colors, but I will admit that a rain jacket seems like the one item of clothing where I would most likely tolerate a very high visibility color (e.g. blaze orange). I suppose you could also hang your rain jacket on the back of your pack while hiking through known hunting areas in dry weather.

I use a GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella for most of my rain protection these day, so I guess I've already got an emergency safety signaling device on hand (terrible pun intended, my sincerest apologies) :)!

Edited by dmusashe on 03/02/2014 15:38:28 MST.

shane sibert
(grinder) - F

Locale: P.N.W
colors on 03/02/2014 15:37:53 MST Print View

Not a fan of bright neon/vibrant hiking clothing seems to be trendy right now, in the gym and on the trail. The color seems to annoy me for some reason. Grays/blacks/earth tones and a for a bit of variation a few primary colors for me. I dig low visual impact. I have never had a reason to have the need to be seen 1/4" mile away!

Of course, hunting season is an exception.

. .
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: (...)
... on 03/02/2014 16:03:36 MST Print View


Edited by RogerDodger on 07/01/2015 14:28:06 MDT.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
high vis colors on 03/03/2014 08:44:13 MST Print View

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

A previously unseen ghillie suit clothed backpacker camped 20 feet away is even more unsettling. :)

"I fall in the "high vis" category (as you might notice from my avatar)."
Dena, I hadn't noticed your avatar because it blended in with all of the other high-visibility ones. :)

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Or being seen by sex offending, poaching, moonshiners on 03/05/2014 12:35:20 MST Print View

"In fact, while driving through, the Officers were actually contacted and harassed by one of the suspects who, like many people living ‘off the grid’ in the area, are extremely wary of visitors they do not recognize (side note: to illustrate this point, a grouse hunter from Hoquiam died on Pontiac Ridge last September after allegedly being shot and killed by a sniper at a nearby cabin). "

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Nature and hi-viz on 03/05/2014 13:36:00 MST Print View

I like to blend into the scenery with natural colors so the only "hi-viz" apparel I carry is a lightweight blaze orange vest and cap for hunting seasons. I do hunt as well as backpack in those seasons.

My feeling is that natural colors are more pleasing to my eyes and others'. I'm outdoors to blend in, not make a fashion or safety statement unless necessary.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Nature and hi-viz on 03/05/2014 13:41:20 MST Print View

"I like to blend into the scenery with natural colors so the only "hi-viz" apparel I carry is a lightweight blaze orange vest and cap for hunting seasons."


Bright colors are good if you want to take a picture of yourself and stand out. Also, sometimes bright colors are available at an even steeper discount, as few people seem to want them.