M MYOG: eVent Rain/Wind Jacket

by Jerry Adams with editorial assistance from Addie Bedford

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Article Summary:

Making your own jacket is more complicated than making your own tent. There are lots of little, curved pieces, pockets can be complicated, and sewing the sleeves and hood to the main body is downright difficult, especially when sewing is a hobby, as it is for me, rather than a profession. However, I've made several versions of this jacket and used it on many trips in various conditions over the last few years, tweaking the design each time. I recently bought 2.5 yards of 2.5-layer high performance, air permeable, waterproof-breathable laminate from Backpacking Light, so I decided to make a final, "perfect" version and write another MYOG article while doing so.

HOWEVER, I'm a hobbyist, so you'd want to practice on an inexpensive piece of fabric first, unless you really know your way around a sewing machine. I'd appreciate any feedback, especially if you try this out for yourself!

The first thing noticeable about this jacket is the length. All technical rain jackets I've seen in stores or in the field are only a little more than waist length. If you see people in suits in New York or even cowboys, they all wear long coats, which makes more sense to me and has been confirmed by my experience over the last several years. Length is a matter of preference, and when you make your own jacket, you can do whatever you like rather than go with what is commercially available. I have noticed that some people make "skirts," but I'd rather just have a longer jacket.

Over the last few years, I've made several similar jackets that have seen plenty of field use and rainy days, totally about 250 nights in the field. This variant is long enough that my pant pockets stay dry, and the waist belt keeps the jacket from blowing around too much in windy days. I keep making the hood brim bigger to better keep the rain off my glasses without blocking the view. The fabrics I've used in the past are either too heavy and/or not waterproof enough. I'm hoping this jacket will be an improvement, and so far, I've stayed pretty dry on several hikes.

eVent is supposed to be breathable, but it's not magic. Above freezing, I'll start sweating when hiking vigorously, which is why I cut the jacket is loosely around the body and sleeves. The roominess and a two-way zipper both help with ventilation.

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