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Given up on WP/B?

8:24 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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This summer I have a few hikes planned on the International Appalachian Trail and I'm considering giving up on waterproof/breathable garments.  I've used GoreTex, Hyvent, PreCip, eVent, ThunderHead and just about every other proprietary membrane and coating out there.  Some breathe better than others, but when I'm hiking hard in warm weather, none breathe well enough.  So - I'm considering the judicious use of a non-breathable poncho.  Does anyone have experience with these? I'd consider sil-nylon, or even a heavier coated fiber.

I remember Integral Designs used to make a few good ones. I'd love to hear about some others!

8:39 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth said:

This summer I have a few hikes planned on the International Appalachian Trail and I'm considering giving up on waterproof/breathable garments.  I've used GoreTex, Hyvent, PreCip, eVent, ThunderHead and just about every other proprietary membrane and coating out there.  Some breathe better than others, but when I'm hiking hard in warm weather, none breathe well enough.  So - I'm considering the judicious use of a non-breathable poncho.  Does anyone have experience with these? I'd consider sil-nylon, or even a heavier coated fiber.

I remember Integral Designs used to make a few good ones. I'd love to hear about some others!

 

I just get a ID silponcho tarp and one of the reason was the same as yours. I'm going to use it in a couple of week or so. I'm sure it will rain, so I will give some feedback about its breathability, but it seems to vent a lot. Actually tomorrow morning it will rain. I can make a test if it rains enough.

I was hesitating between the golite ponchotarp and the ID silponcho tarp.

What I can already tell you is that the ID fabric seems  stronger than the Golite poncho tarp. From what I know  the golite is a double coated 15D silnylon, with a PU coating in the inside (it's easier to repair for that reason cause you can use repair patch and glue). The ID on the contrary is a 30D silnylon but i don't know if it's single or double coated. If it's double coated it's definitely stronger that the golite. I should ask them actually.

The sewing is stronger for the golite, it's X sewing vs a Z sewing. But apparently this can easily be fix using gutterman tread if you know how to sew. Also the ID silponcho seems more functionnal.

8:44 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah ....

You're right; none breathe well-enough.   Despite  several / quite-a-few "testimonies" here to the contrary.

I've tried a couple ponchos.   Not good.   I sweated profusedly.

I'm in the umbrella-camp, at present.

I know ... I know ... wind is an 'issue'.   So what?   Just another challenge to overcome.   Wind does not blow constantly.   Heck of a sight better than sweating like a pig (btw- do pigs actually sweat?).

I now seldom plan any major hiking excursions during Summer.  

Remember last Summer?

Need I say more?

I'll stick to sailing on the Chesapeake, and surfing out at Montauk Point and Nags Head.

Autumn will be nigh ... and, greeted with joy.

                              ~ r2 ~

8:45 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I forgot to mention. The hood of the ID Silponcho tarp is ill designed. It's not really functionnal if you don't use a cap or a hat.

8:48 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:


I know ... I know ... wind is an 'issue'.   So what?   Just another challenge to overcome.   Wind does not blow constantly.   Heck of a sight better than sweating like a pig (btw- do pigs actually sweat?).


                              ~ r2 ~

 Try a windsmock, it's only 3 or 4 onces and breath much better than a WPB

9:02 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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An umbrella is fine for strolling along a groomed trail while sipping a fine Bordeaux from one's silver,monogramed flask and chatting with one's lovely partner. They are used quite extensively here on the various trails near Vancouver and work well in these conditions.

BUT, says the old geezer, an umbrella is useless in rough country and is also fragile, so,methinketh that ye sil-nylon ponchos or smocks are a better option, all in all.

I am a big fan of eVent and I almost always carry one of my shells made from it when hiking anywhere. In fact, later this year, I am going to invest in a Westcomb shell or two to supplement the two ID eVent shells I now have.

9:03 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I have found the best solution of all Seth. If its warm out then just wear your shirt. If its cooler then wear a breathable shell. It's very true all shells will still cause you to overheat eventually, especially in warm/hot weather.

I just hike in the rain in my l/s columbia hiking shirt if its raining out and its warm. I do however use a shell when the temps are say 50 or below.

My shell of choice is the Stoic vaporshell, it has the best breathability i have found to date and still has all of the other wanted properties of a hard shell.

The only time I wear my shell in warmer weather is if its really a torential downpour where the chance of getting chilled severely is a concern. Otherwise its hike on and eff the rain. It feels good on a warm/hot day anyways. Wring out the clothes at camp and put on the dry stuff once I have my tarp up.

9:05 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I have tried the poncho thing also, and while the theory is great, and sitting or standing around in them is great. However, i found hiking in them to be not so great as they catch on every single branch it seems like. And the modern poncho is inherently weak and rips easily.

If your going to go poncho I would strongly recommend getting a real US Army poncho, as they are tough as nails and made for the rough uses that a poncho can encounter in the backcountry.

10:05 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Im not a big fan of ponchos, but when its too warm for a shell and too cold not to wear one they work. one way to make them a little cooler. If you clip a nalgene bottle just right on your sternum strap, it will stand straight out. This will give you much more air flow. I grew up in coastal north carolina, big heavy rainstorms are the winter normal. You will have to adjust it til you get it right but it will help. If you are gonna give up the normal gear maybe make one out of something like spectra or dyneema. Go high tech on a old school idea. Should be pretty easy to make, would be expensive for a poncho but not compared to upper end rain gear. Spectra is so tough, no briars or branches would stand a chance. Let us know how it works out.

10:11 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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if it's a summer hike and it's warm or even hot out, why bother with the waterproof layer? Make sure not to wear cotton so it dries quickly and keeps you warm, and let it pour! your skin is waterproof after all..

for longer hikes bring some dry clothes protected in your pack, change, and let the others dry along the way.

1:29 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with Dewey about not using a bumbershoot in rough country but if the IAT is like the AT you will in fact be on a well-enough groomed trail. I really like using an umbrella for coolness but also because I wear glasses and it keeps my “windshield” clear better than a hat or jacket hood.

1:58 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree with the Rambler: I just let the rain fall if it is above 50F, and wear the jacket if it's colder. Though if it is below 60F I know I will have to be ready to get dry and warm clothes on as soon as I stop or if the temp drops. 

I used to use a silnylon poncho, which worked fine for a simple and cheap solution, but it was just as hot and clingy as my GTX jacket, if not more so. I also and not a fan of all the fabric flapping around. In wind it won't keep you as dry and protected either. 

I haven't tried an umbrella, but I also think using one in anything other than open trails will likely result in having to carry out a broken mess of fabric and wire. 

2:29 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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I normally hike in Hawaiian shirts and running shorts.  Both dry real fast when wet.  As long as it is warm rain is a non issue.  Colder weather I'll don a hard shell top and bottoms.  Get just as wet as not wearing a shell, but as Pacific Northwest lumberjacks have advised me, at least you'll retain body heat.  If the wind is light and temps only slightly cool, I'll only put on rain pants and use an umbrella.  If the wind is blowing harder I'll also don a parka hard shell but still use the umbrella as it allows me to forego wearing the hood, and I can unzip the parka somewhat.  The only time I find the umbrella awkward is when it is pretty windy, or when the flora catches the parasol, or when off trail on rugged terrain.

Ed

5:17 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Sombrero ?

8:53 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Try a Gore-Tex Packa. The body id GTX, teh back that covers teh pack silnylon, I believe.

Packas vent like ponchos but stay put far better.

 

 

9:06 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Yep, wear a quick-drying fabric shirt and shorts and then a wide-brimmed hat, and enjoy the cool rain.  Keep a dry shamwow handy for breaks.

They make some hardy golf umbrellas.  Double as a decent trekking pole.  I could see using one of those on a hike in the right conditions, and it would be another handy rest stop item.  Pretty heavy, but I wouldn't give a f'.

1:23 a.m. on May 5, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

I normally hike in Hawaiian shirts and running shorts.  Both dry real fast when wet.  As long as it is warm rain is a non issue.  Colder weather I'll don a hard shell top and bottoms.  Get just as wet as not wearing a shell, but as Pacific Northwest lumberjacks have advised me, at least you'll retain body heat.  If the wind is light and temps only slightly cool, I'll only put on rain pants and use an umbrella.  If the wind is blowing harder I'll also don a parka hard shell but still use the umbrella as it allows me to forego wearing the hood, and I can unzip the parka somewhat.  The only time I find the umbrella awkward is when it is pretty windy, or when the flora catches the parasol, or when off trail on rugged terrain.

Ed

 That is correct to some extent, however, when wearing an oiled Peter Storm sweater while working on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, in old clearcuts, I still got soaked through and cold. This,was in March-April and is in an area about 150 miles north of the WCT. The shell helps, but, in more severe conditions, you still get cold if your inner layers are saturated, by rain,sweat or whatever.

Hiking in shorts and a Hawaian shirt sounds very comfortable, but, having tried shorts on the BC coastal trails, there are these abominable creatures called Mosquitoes..............

8:01 a.m. on May 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Mosquitos are just about everywhere, luckily almost all bug sprays etc work on them. Not to mention they don't come out in the rain, them and any other flying insect. the very last concern of mine in the rain is bugs.

11:16 a.m. on May 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Here in BC bugs and rain mix together constantly during the warmer months and only very heavy rainfall will keep the little monsters from feasting on one's exposed epidemis. Not to mention that rain is often intermittent and the pools it leaves on the ground are perfect breeding grounds for even greater numbers of flying stingers.

One can have intense rainfall due to thunderstorm cells, then an hour of bright sun and flying bugs and then rain and this continues for days here. So, it is wise to prepare for the ambient conditions where a given hike will take place because wearing shorts here during most of the year will result in being stung repeatedly by these little devils.

Bug sprays are largely useless when washed off your skin by sweat and rain and the most useful option I have found is wearing the bug clothes made by "The Original Bug Shirt" company.

These are used in the Canadian sub-Arctic in the short summer, where bugs are active in incredible numbers and they are ventilated, made of synthetic fabrics and are so effective that I never use anything else now.

 

5:54 p.m. on May 6, 2012 (EDT)
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eVent and gore tex work OK for me if it's cool enough.  between unzipping the front and opening armpit zips (i don't usually get a waterproof/breathable jacket without pit zips).

if it's too warm, i'll wear a wicking shirt that can dry quickly and a hat - some kind of lightweight ball cap, or if it's really raining hard, a gore tex hat with a wide brim (re: outdoor research seattle sombrero - which is warm, but not so much if it's raining and you're in a t-shirt).  

for me, ponchos are too warm an annoyingly flappy in the wind, no matter what kind of material they are made from.  the few times i have worn them, i went for cheap coated nylon.  heavy, but it doesn't rip very easily if it snags, and none of them breathe anyway.  

7:52 p.m. on May 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Seth,

Yeah, I've used a sil-nylon poncho quite a bit over the years, and really found it a great piece of gear. Catches on branches and stuff more than a shell would, sure, but I find they work well so long as it's not very windy. I've since switched to a WPB shell, but I'm still searching for something better...

I think I may have found another versatile option for 3-season conditions in the form of my Houdini windshirt and an additional "rain skirt". I got the Houdini maybe a year ago, and it's lived in my pack ever since. WAY more breathable than any WPB I've worn, with a good DWR that fends off rain quite well. So long as I don't expect days-long rain, I don't bring a rain shell anymore. Sure, it'll wet out at times, but I find that even then the garments underneath don't get very wet, no more wet than they might have been after being soaked in sweat from a couple hours under a hard shell. And the Houdini dries in a fraction of the time a WPB shell would, and it weighs 12 ounces less than my WPB, and it takes up a forth of the space, so...

I've combined the Houdini with a plastic trash bag rain skirt to good effect a few times. I've always HATED rain pants. God-awful invention; they're just never breathable enough, in my opinion. I end up with soaked underwear/legs anyways, so I just stopped wearing them. The next time I ended up having to hike in an extended downpour I re-purposed my extra pack liner as a rain skirt, and it worked really well, so I've gone to that as my crazy-rain solution. If it's that cool, I'll usually wear softshell/ stretch-woven nylon pants anyways while hiking, which repel rain well enough.

So, my suggestion is to wear a windshirt (with a hood) on top, and bring an extra plastic trash bag for your legs. Joe over at Zpacks.com makes a nice cuben rain skirt if you want something more durable and "finished". I'd also make (or have Joe make you) a serape out of cuben for those "just in case" moments when you know the windshirt is gonna wet out badly. These three pieces will be offer you more versatility, weigh less, and take up less space than a sil-nylon poncho.

8:18 a.m. on May 8, 2012 (EDT)
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+1 on the houdini, though it wets out pretty quickly in a hard downpour.  

10:41 a.m. on May 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Pillow,

 

How do you cinch your rain skirt? Tape? I too find the rain pants to be one of the least useful items I've purchased.

11:29 a.m. on May 8, 2012 (EDT)
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I'll either punch a few holes in the plastic trash bag and re-thread my web-belt through that, or just cuff it over the top of my waistband and cinch it between my trousers and underwear. Then again, as you allude to Patman, a couple pieces of doubled-over duct tape fashioned into "hang loops," attached to the skirt/kilt itself, would probably be a more comfortable/durable belt attachment method than just punching holes in it...

8:17 p.m. on May 8, 2012 (EDT)
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This thread has me wondering about those capes that arc teryx made for the homeless last year. I thought they sounded like a good idea at the time. I wonder how their working out?, and if the thrifts in that region of canada might have acquired a few? Any one in the B.C. region get into some second hand stores might get a good score. Or pick some up for resale.

1:43 p.m. on May 9, 2012 (EDT)
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This thread has actually made me pick the ol bean a bit...

How about Hillerberg's Bivanorak? http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/bivanorak/bivanorak.php

It can serve multi-purpose tasks and one can wear it over a pack...

Granted, it may not necessarily be breathable to any large extent but maybe function could outweigh that con?

3:43 p.m. on May 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I have one and would buy another in a heartbeat, it is an excellent emergency shelter and decent raincoat.

 You WILL sweat in it if you exert yourself to any degree, however, with my Exped Wallcreeper Pl. and extra foot coverings plus a light chunk of foam, i.e. a Z-Rest short and my pack to lean against, this will keep me warm, dry, comfy and safe to sub-zero temps and it all weighs less than any other rig I have used.

I have a "Cagoule" from Black's of Greenock, Scotland, the second I bought in the late '60s and I have spent quite a few nights huddled in it, with just my dry spare clothes and this was in January as well as warmer months. You would be surprised just how comfortable this is and how well you sleep.

I am going to buy another, a green one from Vigilguy later this year and may get one for my wife as the old Black's is showing it's age after some 40 years of use. These, IMO, are the best emergency rigs available and really worth buying. HTH.

6:12 p.m. on May 9, 2012 (EDT)
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The Bivanorak, I can see its viability as an emergency shelter to carry for day hikes and what not. But for actual normal use it seems....gimicky.

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