Hiking in the Rain

10:37 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
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I just received all my rain gear (jacket, gloves, rain pants and pack cover). Is it weird that I want to hike in a rain?

11:03 p.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
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No, not at all. Actually it is inevitable. :)

12:14 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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no yes it is weird

2:57 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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You don't want to hike in the rain, you want to try out your new gear.  Standing outside under a cold sprinkler with your new stuff will both clarify what your real motive is, and relieve this obsession.

Ed

9:07 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Ooooh rain!  I forgot about that stuff it only rains seven inches a year here.

9:32 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

You don't want to hike in the rain, you want to try out your new gear.  Standing outside under a cold sprinkler with your new stuff will both clarify what your real motive is, and relieve this obsession.

Ed

 Well now, Ed, he MIGHT like hiking in the rain for it's own sake :)

I don't think it's weird at all to want to get out and try out the new slicker in some real weather. 

I actually do like hiking in the rain, so long as I am near a warm retreat or am well prepared, that is. 

11:21 a.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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I love going solo in the rain. There is something about staying dry and warm when the weather says no.

12:32 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Ben,

After enough time on this site I think you'll find out that it's pretty hard to peg out the weird-o-meter around here.

I like to go no matter the weather personally (within reason- no hurricanes or anything). I like the way Mike Morrow puts it.

12:33 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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hiking in the rain brings basck memories of scouting and playing in the rain . When most kids stayed in I was out in rain gear playing. Still do, love to hike in it.

12:38 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Not weird at all.

Given the right equipment (rainsuit and waterproof boots), it can be a pleasurable experience.

 

I choose my gear for this exact purpose.

 

If I have a choice between hiking in the rain (day or night) or hunkering down under a tarp being bored out of my skull - a hike in the rain will always win out.

2:35 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Hiking in the snow is way better than hiking in the rain, especially if LOTS of snow is coming down and the wind is blowing it all around.
aspnsled.jpg

3:14 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Bill S said:

Hiking in the snow is way better than hiking in the rain, especially if LOTS of snow is coming down and the wind is blowing it all around.

 Agreed :)

6:00 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Yea, storms are lots of fun. the more the merrier.  I love it when it is hard to tell if my gear leaks or sweat has saturated my clothing.  Especially when it rains horizontally, just above freezing, with lightning zapping the trees all around you. I love the smell of ozone in the morning!  Best part is crossing a frigid, run off swollen, stream.  Traversing under cornices and freshly loaded snow pillows is a close second.  There is nothing like navigating in a whiteout, except maybe tooling 80 mph down Interstate 15, south of Salt Lake City in a dense February fog.  Given all this fun, don't you just hate it when you must settle for a Blue Bird sunny powder skiing day.  Rats...   (You guys are crazy!)

That's me (left side) enjoying the scenery and fine weather at camp on the Sierra Crest in January.  Just stick a carrot up my nose and call me Frosty! 

.stormwalls.jpg

Ed

7:47 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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I totally get it. doing something in weather that will make others change plans gives a little extra sense of accomplishment.  I dont want rain but will not cancel plans due to its presence.  I just did a 22 mile hike in the rain, nothing real severe but a constant drizzle and i kinda dug it.  I must admit i was happy when it was not raining in the morning just a dense fog that made it look like you could walk on cotton right off the side of the cliffs.

9:22 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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My worst hike ever was in the driving rain in the Smoky Mountains.  It was December, and the temperature was something like 32.9 degrees.  The ideal temperature so that the rain was the consistency of jello.  My terrible raincoat soaked through, my boots soaked through, and I realized that I was totally hypothermic.  I ended up jogging 8 miles with frozen boots and a muzzy head to keep from freezing.

I kinda miss that.

10:23 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Walking in the rain with good rain gear? Yeah, not bad. I like a poncho myself but to each his own. What's way better, IMO, is lying in a warm dry tent listening to the rain patter all around. 

8:11 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Regardless of whether you are walking in snow or rain, or laying snug in your shelter experiencing it, being dry and warm (relative) with no equipment failures is a nice cozy feeling. It reflects your experience level. I have had times when I was walking in drizzly weather where there was a hint of coming snow that I very comfortably considered how plesant it was, only to take a turn in the trail and meet someone soaked, cold and standing miserably around a smokey fire. After making sure they are not in imminant danger of hypothermia, I consider their lack of preparation. A true hiking junkie probably has gone thru these scenarios a thousand times at home in their minds, so the situation never or rarely happens to them.

True hikers are probably a lot like sailors, always looking for ways to be better prepared, since failure can have dire consequences.

10:44 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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and then it turns to snow

4:33 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Brerarnold said:

Walking in the rain with good rain gear? Yeah, not bad. I like a poncho myself but to each his own. What's way better, IMO, is lying in a warm dry tent listening to the rain patter all around. 

Or sitting under a nice dry porch in sweats, reading the Sunday paper, with a cup of hot coffee.  A rainy afternoon stroll, ok.  Three days straight of dodging rain drops, hey we invented shelter for a reason.  My days of purposefully chasing out after bad weather are over.  One too many close calls, and achy bones from injuries and age, make me feel I have enjoyed all I can stand.

Ed

5:43 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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I like all conditions except the very hot. My preferred is in the snow, with the snow comin' down. But I certainly enjoy hiking in the rain as well.

6:56 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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XterroBrando said:

I like all conditions except the very hot. My preferred is in the snow, with the snow comin' down. But I certainly enjoy hiking in the rain as well.

 Gotta agree with that!

9:57 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Ya know your all a bunch of hiking junkies don't you?  That was retorical of cource.

10:34 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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I like it all, cold, wet, hot, humid, rainy, snowing, windstorms, etc... Let it fly. Just makes the trip all that more memorable.  :)

6:46 a.m. on December 23, 2011 (EST)
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apeman said:

Ya know your all a bunch of hiking junkies don't you?  That was retorical of cource.

 Yes we are and proud of it.LOL

1:21 p.m. on December 23, 2011 (EST)
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Brerarnold said:

Walking in the rain with good rain gear? Yeah, not bad. I like a poncho myself but to each his own. What's way better, IMO, is lying in a warm dry tent listening to the rain patter all around. 

 Ponchos - In some circumstances, ponchos are the best way to go (that is, properly made, good quality ponchos, not the flimsy plastic things that tear at the sight of a branch within 10 feet - they are far inferior to just using a plastic garbage bag). The big advantages of a poncho are 1) they allow plenty of ventilation and so are cooler in hot humid conditions like rain forests in the tropics as well as reducing your sweating and the condensation inside the rain suit, 2) well-designed ones act as pack covers as well as body covers, and 3) they can be strung as tarps for temporary shelter. The big disadvantages are 1) they flap in the wind, allowing rain to get in (properly made ponchos with snaps well down the sides don't do this), 2) they do not come all the way down the legs, so you still need rain chaps or rain pants, and 3) they do not substitute for the wind protection of a proper hard shell. I did not have a poncho with me on Kilimanjaro, but really wished I had in the sections in the rain forest. A well-designed poncho has a proper hood that fits well.

Full rain suits are better for keeping you dry in colder conditions. If the jacket has pit zips, you can deal with a wider range of temperature and humidity conditions than without the pit zips even if the jacket has ventral zip vents. Some rain pants can be opened along the sides for ventilation while still keeping the rain out.

3:39 p.m. on December 23, 2011 (EST)
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I agree with Bill S. here, I do have a shell for January - March, but I like a poncho in the other months. I backpack & hike in the Southeast US

I have my eye on this one to replace my current silnylon poncho this spring:

http://www.integraldesigns.com/product_detail.cfm?id=728

6:26 p.m. on December 24, 2011 (EST)
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Rain Rain Rain!  One of the most common topics here in the PNW!  I kinda like rain in the summer or late spring / early fall.  But I don't much care for rain in the low 30's, it just sucks.  Cold wet like that just zaps the strength and joy from me. :(  But most winters that's about all we have around here. 

The fist couple of weeks this month it was cold and dry, I loved it, really wanted to blow off work and go camping, but I am real busy this December.  Not that common in the construction business.  Oh well, I got to get it while it's good.   I am hoping to do a week long hike on the cost in late January or February some time.  Of course I will be hopping for a rain free trip, snow would be fun though! 

Wolfman

8:53 p.m. on December 24, 2011 (EST)
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Whomeworry---very cool fotog, or, very cold fotog.  Whiteout conditions always inspire in me the desire to hunker in a tent for the duration.

And like Hafford says, (True hikers are alot like sailors), I liken my in-bound tent time during wind-whipped rainstorms as similar to being in a large wooden ship as it rocks back and forth on unpredictable seas.  Having a cozy berth about says it all. And if I'm caught in an all-night rain inside a cozy tent, I have a name for it:  Being in the Raven's Yard.

Does anyone remember the old plastic-smelling Boy Scout green pvc ponchos?  They were pieces of true crap.  I used one in a NC mountain blizzard as a ground cloth under my sleeping bag during a very cold night at around 0F in '81 and folded it to pack and it broke into several "saltine cracker" pieces.  I think I told this story before.

I have several techniques for backpacking in the rain (as opposed to dayhiking in the rain---an in and out route makes getting soaked of little concern). 

**  First, I've come up with the Six Degrees of Rain:  Mist, Drizzle, Light, Moderate, Heavy and Deluge.

**  Backpacking in the first three are doable even in mid 30F's temps, though I gotta have a beefy rain jacket to take off the edge.  Hands become wooden blocks, etc.

**  For moderate, heavy and deluge, I have a couple choices:  either make camp ASAP and hunker in (first choice), keep hiking (last choice), or stopping---throwing off the covered pack, leaning it up against something to keep water from pouring down thru the shoulder harness, and squatting on the ground to wait for the worst of the storm to pass.  In the Southeast most terrible deluges last no more than about 20 to 30 minutes.

Last year I got caught in a nasty deluge a half mile from camp and continued hiking and got to a rock overhang and pulled off my pack and found a half cup of water in the bottom of the pack's sleeping bag compartment.  Not good.  So, if I'm caught in something terrible I'll dump the covered pack and sit it out.

Some people swear by pack liners but they never appealed to me, although of course my down bag is inside a roll top silnylon stuff sac.

I remember the first time I ever wore gore-tex.  I was on the AT somewhere in Virginia at a road crossing and decided to hitch into town during a downpour.  My friend had a new set of blue North Face gtx rain gear, pants and jacket, and she let me put them on as I stood by the road to hitch.  This was in '84 and those babies were very expensive even back then, around $200 per item.

On the same trip we got caught in a hellish downpour and I whipped out the tent fly and we huddled on the trail under cover.  This system works but it's messy and doesn't work well with a Hilleberg tent.

9:37 p.m. on December 25, 2011 (EST)
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I have to say I like goretex for inclement weather, rain or snow. I've used it in the military under field conditions in places where it has rained for days. I've used it during winter blizzards in colorado. I still have my military goretex (woodland camo) and I have the new non mil spec Paclite goretex. Neither has ever let me down during bad weather.

7:56 a.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Not weird at all.

I'm going to do the same. In Israel the rains started a week ago. Fortunately, There is still raining out there. I saw even small streams are now full of water. It is amazing experience to walk under rain (without getting wet).

It is easy for me, since I live in a small town on north :)

1:46 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I agree, prefer hiking in the snow...for a lot of reasons but, snow is only another form of rain so the precautions are similar. The last thing you want is to pull up at the end of the day with a pile of soaking wet gear which means, you really have to take steps to prevent that and not just stroll along enjoying the ambiance. I like hiking in adverse conditions for what some others have said...it really tests your ability to learn and adapt but more important, it keeps the crowds to a minimum on the trail and, can result in easier over night accommodations at huts and camp sites! ENJOY! Your not any more weird than the rest of us! 

2:26 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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If you don't have a pack rain cover, what is the best way to keep your gear dry? I've used a well cut heavy duty trash bag, and it seemed to work pretty well, in a light rain. 

And give me snow over rain anyday. At least I will know how to dress.

3:01 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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FWIW, all my stuff sacks are Event dry bags

8:27 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I think Tipi has earned a new name, based on his latest escapades:  Rain Man!  (I would have bugged out about hour 48.)

Ed

11:22 p.m. on January 19, 2012 (EST)
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I like the rain...my avatar was testing my Marmot Precip!

2:13 a.m. on January 24, 2012 (EST)
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Does anyone remember the old plastic-smelling Boy Scout green pvc ponchos?

LOL! yes,, thankfully technology has come a long ways.

7:27 a.m. on January 24, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

I think Tipi has earned a new name, based on his latest escapades:  Rain Man!  (I would have bugged out about hour 48.)

Ed

 I agree, unfortunately the name is already taken.

7:30 a.m. on January 24, 2012 (EST)
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humble_67 said:

Does anyone remember the old plastic-smelling Boy Scout green pvc ponchos?

LOL! yes,, thankfully technology has come a long ways.

 I do too, they smelled like the old plastic pool floats at Kmart.

I can remember plastic smell, and several others from my childhood.

One is Mentholatum.

8:17 a.m. on January 24, 2012 (EST)
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I think my old scout poncho came apart the first outing.  Never tried another one.

2:14 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Did you get wet ?

9:45 a.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Patman said:

FWIW, all my stuff sacks are Event dry bags

 Patman, what brand are you using and how do you like them?

thanks, Mike g.

12:52 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

... I have enjoyed all I can stand.

Ed

 

Good line to use when you split from a soon-to-be former G/F

[ * insert emoticon of grinning The Chershire Cat, from 'ALICE IN WONDERLAND' * ]

___________________________________________

Seriously -- The unpleasantness of hiking in the rain can be minimized.   Many good suggestions above

Boy Scout motto:  "Be Prepared"

                               ~ r2 ~

3:27 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Hiking in the rain is only miserable if you don't like getting wet. I met a guy once in the Grand Canyon whose rain clothes were the same as the Emperer's New Clothes in the nursery rhyme. He wore just his shoes and hat. I saw him from a distance and at first could not tell that he was naked with his pack on. As he got closer I realised it. We were deep in the western section of the canyon. He stopped and chatted with me and seemed not embarrassed at all that he was nude. He was well tanned too.

I generally wear a rain slicker but don't bother with rain pants as my nylon pants usually dry very quickly after it quits. While cycling across Alaska 1000 miles in 2006 it rained every other day. I soon stopped putting on rain gear everytime. The days it didn't rain were worse with thousands of bugs, the rain was much nicer.

3:47 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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GaryPalmer said:

 

Hiking in the rain is only miserable if you don't like getting wet. I met a guy once in the Grand Canyon whose rain clothes were the same as the Emperer's New Clothes in the nursery rhyme. He wore just his shoes and hat. I saw him from a distance and at first could not tell that he was naked with his pack on. As he got closer I realised it. We were deep in the western section of the canyon. He stopped and chatted with me and seemed not embarrassed at all that he was nude. He was well tanned too.

 Ahhh yes. The "Happy Hippie Hiking Suit."

3:50 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

GaryPalmer said:

 

Hiking in the rain is only miserable if you don't like getting wet. I met a guy once in the Grand Canyon whose rain clothes were the same as the Emperer's New Clothes in the nursery rhyme. He wore just his shoes and hat. I saw him from a distance and at first could not tell that he was naked with his pack on. As he got closer I realised it. We were deep in the western section of the canyon. He stopped and chatted with me and seemed not embarrassed at all that he was nude. He was well tanned too.

 Ahhh yes. The "Happy Hippie Hiking Suit."

 You may have met Colin Fletcher Gary!

4:02 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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No I would recognise him, I have read all his books.

7:45 p.m. on January 29, 2012 (EST)
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I think it matters what kind of mood you're in, how hard and long the rain is and what kind of ground you are on.  Long, hard rain on clay, couldn't be fun.  Light rain in the summer that cools you off, wonderful.

4:01 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Mike Just saw your quesiton...I'm using Sea to Summitt EVac bags:

http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/64

 

So far so good...they work as advertised.

8:33 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Patman said:

Mike Just saw your quesiton...I'm using Sea to Summitt EVac bags:

http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/64

 

So far so good...they work as advertised.

 Thanks!

11:13 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Living here in the pnw if you avoid rain you will not be outdoors much of the year.I too much prefer snow over rain but will not cancel a trip due to rain,as long as it is not that 2 inchs or more in a 24 hour period.ymmv

6:48 a.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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trouthunter said:

Patman said:

Mike Just saw your quesiton...I'm using Sea to Summitt EVac bags:

http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/64

 

So far so good...they work as advertised.

 Thanks!

 I have the S2S evac compression sack. I use it for my down quilts and spare clothes. I have been very happy with it thus far. I have had it for 2 or 3 years now.

2:41 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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Just got done hiking the last nine miles of my backpacking trip in the rain. A DryDucks poncho kept my core warm and dry, which I think is the key to enjoying a hike in the rain.

10:24 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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One of the main reasons many justify being in the backountry somewhere is Adventure. We all go out there with a sense of adventure and adventure has certain qualities. A true adventurer is not deterred by the unfavorable elements of the wilderness, they use their wits to find a solution and come out alive, smarter, and stronger. An adventurer takes pride in their ability to deal with whatever mother nature can throw at them. Any opportunity to add more adventure makes for a greater experience.

When the rain comes down hard or the wind picks up while the temperature drops, we live by our wits and strive in the adversity. It becomes adventure in the truest sense. It's like I always tell anyone I take into the backcountry: "I don't promise we will have a good time, so, i need you to be prepared, dedicated and not a @#*!* crybaby."

And thats why hiking in the rain makes you feel awesome, (if you stay dry). haha

5:22 a.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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Robert Rowe said:

whomeworry said:

... I have enjoyed all I can stand.

Ed

 

Good line to use when you split from a soon-to-be former G/F

Even better when prefaced with "As the cat said to the skunk, its been interesting but..."

Ed

 

7:55 a.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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I enjoy hiking in the rain, which is handy since every time i set foot into backcountry it starts to come down.  doesn't matter what the forecast says, it'll happen.  the best sleep i get comes from laying in my tent with a steady rain hitting the rain fly.

7:47 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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No one's really talked about umbrellas.  I've run into people using them, and they swear by them.

I have toyed with getting one that attaches to the back of a lawn chair for use on my ext. frame back.  Since I live near Seattle, I am thinking it would work both as a parasol and rain shield.  

Getting my legs wet isn't as big a deal to me if I can keep my head and torso reasonably dry thus much warmer. So, I just need to consider weight to effectiveness ratio...

12:40 a.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Chris Utz said:

I enjoy hiking in the rain, which is handy since every time i set foot into backcountry it starts to come down.  doesn't matter what the forecast says, it'll happen.  the best sleep i get comes from laying in my tent with a steady rain hitting the rain fly.

 I agree with the sentiment.  I call sleeping in a tent during an all-night rain being in the Raven's Yard, named for many years stealth camping in a tent behind a church with big evergreen trees populated with squawking crows, ergo ravens.

3:08 a.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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Rain and even more so with a light snow...puts me right to sleep...

2:45 p.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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i like being out in the rain.  thins the crowds, cools things off, makes a familiar trail more interesting sometimes.  obviously, it's more enjoyable with the right footwear, layers, and rain protection. 

pack covers only work to a point.  in a hard rain, a steady rain, the shoulder straps, hip belt and back padding still get soaked.  even with a cover, i still keep key things in dry bags.  most of my dry bags are straight coated nylon; i have one expensive one with an eVent bottom that is great, though not great enough to justify buying more of them until the other dry bags get ruined. 

the only time i don't like seeing rain is when it is accompanied by thunderclouds and i'm high up somewhere.  rain is nice; lightning is not.   

i like snow, generally.  windblown horizontal ice needles, my face isn't a big fan of that.

3:07 p.m. on February 2, 2012 (EST)
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leadbelly2550 said:

...windblown horizontal ice needles, my face isn't a big fan of that.

 But it's exfoliating!  (Does this pack make me look fat?)

;)

8:20 a.m. on February 5, 2012 (EST)
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second gear said:

..I have toyed with getting one that attaches to the back of a lawn chair for use on my ext. frame back...  

I have actually experimented quite a bit with the lawn chair umbrella clamp concept.   Unfortunately I found it a nuisance in forests where the flora cramps the trail and snags the parasol.  It also gets in the way mounting and dismounting your pack.  If the trail meanders you also find yourself distracted with continuiouly readjusting its position according to the current direction of the wind, sun or rain.  Ultimately a hand carried parasol is less hassle.  I like an umbrella, as it allows me to take my head out from under a rain hood, providing more ventilation, and an escape from that cut-off-from-my-surrounding feeling a hood gives me. 

Golite has some good trekking umbrellas with reflective coatings that make them well suited to hot sunny venues like theGrand Canyon, as well as rainy ones like the PNW.  Lastly, many tent rain flies are designed such that the tent interior is exposed to rain when entering and exiting; a shortcoming greatly reduced when this transition is performed under an umbrella.

Ed     

11:18 p.m. on February 11, 2012 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

I have actually experimented quite a bit with the lawn chair umbrella clamp concept.  

Speaking of lawn chairs... http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x6706073

9:23 a.m. on February 26, 2012 (EST)
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I take groups of newbies into the Alberta Rockies a lot, and it doesn't rain a lot on that side of the Divide. However, I usually carry a couple of cheap dollar store ponchos in my kit. If it starts raining, at least the ponchos will protect most of their bodies and stop them from getting hypothermic.

The biggest problem I've found with rain suits is that they don't breath very well, so while you might be okay sitting around at a campsite, when you start hiking you get wetter from your own sweat than you would from the rain!

And then, if it gets cold, you're in trouble.

Last year we did an overnight hike on an 11 km trail. it started raining an hour from the TH and didn't stop until the next day. I was wearing an old Sorel shell with a fleece under it, and a pair of waterproof rain pants. In the evening, I discovered that even though the fleece was damp (the shell is about 5 years old and not very waterproof) I was still cozy inside.

Consider the Buffalo shirts that are the British military standard. They can keep you dry in up to 1/2" of rain per hour, but they do it not with an impermeable shell, but by using a hydrophobic fleece that uses the heat generated by your body to push the moisture away from your skin. The result is a warm, dry layer next to your skin, and a completely breathable shell that gets rid of sweat as well.

August 20, 2014
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