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2/23/2018 12:50 PM

Sorry if this has been discussed before-- I looked around and didn't find anything.

What are people's approaches to rain gear?  Based on the Equipage Taxonomy and Longhouse videos, it sounds like the favored setup by HPG is an insulated/3 layer softshell parka and waterproof gaiters under the pants.

Are there specific products that have held up well?  Any issues with an insulated jacket being too hot in the non-winter seasons?


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2/23/2018 3:02 PM
Oh my... we don't ever favor an insulated or 3 layer softshell parka for anything other than casual around town wear.

Here is what works for us in temperatures from somewhere below zero up until 50 or 60 f if you are moving:

Baselayer (thickness of it varies based on temp)
DWR Windshell (this is very specifically *not* what is usually thought of as a softshell. examples are OR ferrosi, arcteryx wraith, and HPG / FS Windcheater)

That's it. Then when you stop moving, throw insulation (preferably primaloft gold) on top of everything.

Rain gear is something that lives in the bottom of your pack and you rarely have a use for in the Rockies. The issue with rain gear is that you will wet out from the inside if you're moving in it. Polartec neoshell, eVent, and mountain hardwear dry-q elite breathe a little better and are our preference if we *have* to move in the rain. However, they will wet out from the outside over the course of a couple of hours in a good rain. The less breathable fabrics like goretex will wet out as well, they'll just do so long after you've completely wetted out from the inside if you're moving. So raingear ends up being something that you put on if its raining and you're not moving. That's why I simply get whatever light packable raingear I can find in a large cut and size to go on over other things as necessary. I go a year at a time without using raingear in the backcountry. Right now I'm experimenting with an OR wilderness cover as something more useful to me than the raincoat I never use but time will tell on that.

Guys who live in the rain and have to move in it all the time will have more specific preferences based on how much heat they personally put out. That will govern whether they prefer the more or less breathable fabrics in rain coats. Understand that you will be wet. It's just a question of whether you're going to wet out from the inside or the outside faster.

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2/24/2018 10:41 AM
Thanks, that clarifies things. I confused myself by thinking the WC was not included in the article because it was used for something else, but looking back I see the taxonomy stuff was written before the WC was available.

I would still be interested in hearing from guys who have to spend a lot of time moving in the rain, if anyone is inclined to write about it.

Also, thanks so much for all the practical and sane information on the site and in your videos. I just discovered HPG about a week ago and it's been a much needed counterpoint to the ultralight disposable culture that's so prevalent in backpacking media today.
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2/24/2018 11:37 AM
evanhill wrote:
"Right now I'm experimenting with an OR wilderness cover as something more useful to me than the raincoat I never use but time will tell on that...."

I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on this after you've used it for a while. Intriguing product, for sure. And while there have obviously been poncho-type products on the market for a long time that can accomplish what the Wilderness Cover does, most of them are cheap junk. Like everything else from OR that I've owned, this looks durable and good quality.
And I'd second the general thoughts on raingear. The only places I've really committed to hardcore raingear was when I was working in Alaska and Patagonia, some of the rainiest places on earth. Otherwise, keep it breathable and keep moving. 
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2/27/2018 9:49 AM

Living on the wet side of the Pacific Northwest rain is a constant factor. I detest doing anything in rain gear. That said, I wear synthectic clothing and hard core fully waterproof bibs and coat if I am going to be out in it for any length of time. I will wet out inside but still be warm and "comfortable" but not soaked as I would be if I was in the rain. It works for me. 

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2/28/2018 6:29 PM

A Marmot Precip has worked well for me in 40-50F temps with rain in the Southeast on hikes, mostly because it has pit zips. The abscense or presence of pit-zips matters more than whether or not it is Event, Gore, or whatever.  Any warmer than that and I want a silnylon poncho for rain gear.  Basically if it is warm enough to hike in shorts, a poncho is called for.

I also believe most people who complain of Gore tex "soaking-through", don't know how to wash/restore it.

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