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Old 05-14-2008, 06:31 PM   #1
AlSara
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Rain Gear vs. Poncho

Sara and I are going to through-hike the trail August 8 to August 20.

As we replace some gear and consider new purchases. How important is rain gear in August? I feel like a decent poncho would be better in the heat. The thought of sweaty legs sticking to nylon doesn't appeal to me.

We only do extended backpacking in the summer months and both have normal weight gortex jackets and gortex gators. We already know the jackets are way too warm.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:38 PM   #2
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have you thought about frogg toggs? they have some very lightweight, very breathable, semi disposable, semi reusable rain gear. the material is sort of like tyvek. jackets, pants, and ponchos.
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:04 PM   #3
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have you thought about frogg toggs? they have some very lightweight, very breathable, semi disposable, semi reusable rain gear. the material is sort of like tyvek. jackets, pants, and ponchos.
I didn't think about them...but have seen the stuff in action with a fishing buddy of mine. DOWNPOUR in float tubes on a remote pond, he came out bone-dry (I have fancy gortex stuff so I was fine...and better have been...).

That's a good idea...thanks!
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:33 PM   #4
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Speaking from experience, I would seriously consider taking golf umbrellas.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:09 PM   #5
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Speaking from experience, I would seriously consider taking golf umbrellas.
I have a friend who is a lifelong hiker, and he swears by umbrellas. I have not tried it myself but to hear him he makes a very strong case.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:12 PM   #6
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Umbrellas make sense but seeing as how I hate using them in the city environment, I'd grow tired of them in the forest. But for photography, they are great. Attach one to a tripod (preferably a heavy tripod), and shoot away.

I'd also think they work better in places with fewer trees, fewer underbrush..the adirondacks don't fit that. I know Ray Jardine was a huge fan of umbrellas.

I did however buy a golf umbrella for sitting at the baseball game. It's obnoxious but punishment for others ridiculously obtuse umbrellas.

I've been using a campmor Log House Designs (not sure if it's still made or even exist as a company) goretex jacket since 1997. It's 3ply (the lightwer stuff, not the 2 ply with the attached mesh). Works great and if it's too warm for it, I simply allow myself to get wet, and then add dry clothes at camp or when I start cooling down.

For pants I have matching goretex bottoms but I never use them. I prefer some Marmot Precip type bottoms. Again, unless I'm at camp, I prefer to just get wet then fight off the water and end up sweating to death.

Never a fan of the ultralight stuff. Most of it last a few trips, I was hiking with some people with Sil-Nylon pack covers that were ripped on the first day. What a waste.

The only place I find ponchos useful is paddling and I haven't used one hicking since scouts.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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Speaking from experience, I would seriously consider taking golf umbrellas.
I think this is a great idea. I hiked with a ranger who carried a collapsible umbrella in his pack most of the summer. We would all be dripping wet, and he was fine. his legs and boots were wet, but upper body was dry. I've got one, but I sweat so bad in the summer, I welcome the rain to cool me off.

I'm more concerned to keep my pack/gear dry, so when I get where I'm going, I can put a tarp up, unpack, and change into dry clothes, then I might throw a jacket on around camp.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:39 AM   #8
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Hmmm....hiking under my um-ber-rella-ella-ella-ella. Is the NPT clear enough in most places?

Getting wet makes sense in August. I do that day hiking most of the summer, and while fly-fishing. My concern was keeping the sleeping bag and dry clothes dry for the extended trip. We haven't figured out where we will have our re-supplies yet.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:12 AM   #9
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Hmmm....hiking under my um-ber-rella-ella-ella-ella. Is the NPT clear enough in most places?
I think the umbrella idea has merit for the NPT. I noticed that nobody has followed up on your poncho idea. Personally I think a poncho would be great, right over the pack, etc. I used to have one (back in the old days) but back then the waterproofing wasn't very sturdy. It basically rotted off the nylon. I've often wondered if newer materials could help the poncho/rainchaps combo come back.

I do sometimes use an oversized rain jacket when on summer hikes. It's big enough to put on over my daypack, much like a poncho. Keeps me and the pack dry.

I definitely would have something for the legs ... rain chaps if you can find them. Actually it's more for the boots than the legs. Gotta get the water running down the legs to shed OVER the boots. Bare legs (or just gaitors) will drain the water right into the boots.

You might also consider bringing rubber overboots that slip over your hikers. I use Tingleys farm boots from Agway. Combined with the rain chaps the feet will just get a bit warm and sweaty. A little sweat is WAY drier than a day's worth of rain or walking through puddles. Just my opinion.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:36 AM   #10
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For wet weather:

Gaitors, rain pants with side zips, umbrella
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:08 AM   #11
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Years ago, I used a poncho, as has been mentioned, to cover both me and my backpack. I found, however, that the poncho got in the way as I hiked - going over/under logs, up/down/around rocks etc. Now adays I put a sil-nylon bag inside my backpack. This keeps everything I put in it dry and I don't worry about using a pack cover. I carry a light-weight EMS rain jacket with pit zips and rainpants which I seldom wear because they are so hot, particularly in the summer. When we hiked in the Grand Canyon we brought with us the light-weight, flimsy rain jacket/pants mentioned earlier. Never needed to use them but I don't think they would be appropriate for the Adirondacks - too many chances to rip etc. Interesting solutions to water dripping through the top of gaitors into boots. How do you carry the umbrella or do you attach it to your backpack in some way? I need two hands to use my hiking poles.
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:34 AM   #12
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And for those of you who have dogs on the trail:
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:55 AM   #13
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COOL!!!!!!
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:32 AM   #14
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I was having the same dilemma myself (jacket vs. poncho), and I ended up going with a light rain jacket.

Nobody has yet mentioned how a rain jacket can function both as a windbreaker and a winter coat when combined with a fleece for when the weather gets colder than expected. Don't have to worry about this in summer too much, but in spring and fall it is vital to prepare for such conditions. Even in July the record low is below freezing for the 'dacks.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:28 PM   #15
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I carry a rain cover for my pack, but in august I don't worry about the rain. I find I'm soaked from either rain or sweat at the end of the day either way.


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Old 05-15-2008, 08:42 PM   #16
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I use a gore tex rain coat and pants. the only two of my "Hi-Tech" clothing investments. I don't like to sweat so I wear breathable.

Used a poncho in yars past. SDidn't like it. Too hot and interfered with my hiking. I have an OR pack Cover that I have had for years. That keeps my pack dry under any circumstances. if it's warm I'll often just let the rain refesh me a little. A little wet in the right places under the right circumstances is not a bad thing.

If the underbrush is wet, I'll wear gaiters.

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Old 05-18-2008, 10:51 AM   #17
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Hmmm....hiking under my um-ber-rella-ella-ella-ella. Is the NPT clear enough in most places?
There are definitely places where it is not. On the whole I would say yeah, probably... and on some of the pavement and old log road walks I think it would be preferable.

But getting stuck with just an umbrella in some of the tighter parts of the trail wouldn't be fun. I'd personally still opt for a light weight jacket/pants combo or a poncho of some sort.
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