breathable hard shell and soft shell rain jackets

12:18 p.m. on July 28, 2007 (EDT)
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I perspire a lot and I need a jacket that can repell the rain yet provide me with really good ventilation and breathable qualities in order to cool me down. Any suggestions and your experience.
I will be doing the West Coast Trail in August. I hike in summer and late late fall. I rea;oze that one jacket may not cover all these seasons and would you kindly comment on this.

I thank you all in advance for you assistance.

Terry

1:32 p.m. on July 28, 2007 (EDT)
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Well, sorry, but there is no such thing at present. The closest is eVent for the material and a jacket with pit zips. Gore has just come out with yet another generation of their water-proof/breathable that they claim is superior to eVent (and testers say is close, but not quite as good).

I have used just about every generation of Goretex and eVent and found that even at -40F on Denali and in Antarctica, I still get wet inside the jackets when hiking and climbing with a load. So far, the best has been a Wild Things eVent jacket that has pit zips and ventral vents (the Alpinist). But even then, I had to keep the front zip open while hiking and climbing. You might find it hard to find Wild Things in stores, but you can order from their website http://www.wildthingsgear.com/

I hate to say this, but the hike you propose is one of the few places where a poncho actually works pretty well. It provides plenty of ventilation while keeping the rain off, and the kind with plenty of side snaps doesn't flap in the wind too much. You can get good ones that will also act as pack covers. But in a strong wind, the rain will still get blown inside. For the vast majority of hiking and climbing, though, I would advise against a poncho.

4:27 p.m. on July 28, 2007 (EDT)
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I agree with Bill, a good poncho is about the best rig for SUMMER west coast BC hiking and my choice is an Integral Designs sylnylon version, available from Mountain Magic in Surrey, BC and MEC as well as other outlets.

However, in late fall, this is NOT a wise choice as very severe storms hit the coast with 90-100 mph winds, snow, sleet and sub-freezing temps and this continues into March-April. Only a very experienced, properly equipped hiker should attempt those trails then as the weather can kill you.

I suggest the lightest logging rainwear available over Capilene, Merino wool or similar undergarments plus a sweater or fleece jacket. Having lived and worked around the entire coast in outdoor work, this is based on experience since 1969.

Generally, the "breathable" shells are a waste of effort here in the rainforest, coated materials perform as well or better at a fraction of the cost. MEC has some cheap gear in yellow that is ideal for this.

12:07 p.m. on July 29, 2007 (EDT)
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Thank you for taking the time and responding to my questions. It is really great to receive advice and direction from someone who has such a large pool of knowledge. I have a couple of questions about ponchos. I am curious about how one prevents the poncho from getting snaged or gaught on stuff. Is this really a problem? If it can be a problem, what techniques do you recommend to prevent this and also techniques have you discovered that help amble up, down, around. through and in between what lurks on the West Coast Trail wearing a poncho?

Once again many thanks for sharing your trekking wealth of knowledge.

Sincerely,

Terry

6:54 p.m. on July 29, 2007 (EDT)
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Any jacket, coat or raingear can get hooked on brush, you just need to be careful how you go and disentangle it whenever it catches a snag or Devil's Club...not fun.

Another option here and what I carry now year-round here on the coast for dayhikes is the Hilleberg Bivanorak, combined with H20 proof chaps from Cabela's, this is an extremely useful garment and will act as a bivy as well.

For the lightest emerg. camp, go with a Bivanorak, Exped Primaloft Wallcreeper in your size, ann Integral Designs Syltarp II and a Thermarest Prolite short with a long Z-rest under it. Total weight here is about 8 lbs. and this WILL keep you warm to about freezing. I carry a set of plain, cheap MEC synthetic longjohns, a spare pair of synthetic socks, a light balaclava and gloves, all synthetic.

With careful shopping, this rig is light, cheap, absolutely dependable and doubles as a sleeping system,raingear and emerg. camp and it works as I have tested mine here on the BC coast in the winter. You can add synthetic insulated long johns or ID-Pl. warmup top/pants and be good to roughly 15*F and that will do anything on Vancouver Island in all conditions.

The Bivanorak is much tougher than a poncho and vents quite well as it also can be secured at the waist or worn long with just knee gaiters and no chaps, as you prefer. go to www.Hilleberg.com, mine is red for rescue purposes. HTH.

2:58 p.m. on July 30, 2007 (EDT)
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Hello kutenay,
Once again I wish to thank you for your response and sharing your knowledge. I am finding it difficult to locate the Hilleberg Bivanorak in Canada. Any directions. Do you have any comments about the usefulness of the Integral designs Integral Designs SilShelter Tarp vs. Integral Designs Syltarp II? I could not find the H2O chaps at Cabela, is ther a specific type of chap or a specific name? It is great to have connected with you.
Terry

3:20 p.m. on July 30, 2007 (EDT)
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You can order one from www.Hilleberg.com in WA. state, gets here in a few days. I simply mentioned Cabela's as a source, my elderly chaps are from Sierra Designs, IIRC, but MEC has coated nylon pants that work as well or better and I also find those Outdoor Research soft gaiters REALLY handy, pack mine on every hike, year-round and seldom wear the several other pairs of gaiters I have.

I have a Sylshelter, don't like it as it is too cramped for me, I have a Sylwing and Syltarp III as well, to combine with different bivies for different purposes. I will buy a STII next year, I think.

Check with www.bearriveroutfitters.org for Hilleberg gear and Mountain Magic in Surrey, BC for ID and other stuff, call 604-535-5182. I deal with both of these small firms and highly recommend them as honest, knowledgable and very good on prices.

You need to think about keeping dry and coated nylon works just fine and costs FAR less than eVent, Gore-Tex or whatever. Once you have been at this awhile, you will be able to pick what you like best, but, I have used cagoules like the Black's and Bivanorak since 1969 for hiking and have never found them lacking. I DO prefer GT and now eVent for snow camping, however.

Charlie at Bearriver has these Rab eVent jackets which he keeps bugging me to buy one of and I just might, but, they are bloody expensive for simple West Coast hiking as the MEC nylon-synthetic top/bottoms base layer system works so well in rain.

2:21 p.m. on July 31, 2007 (EDT)
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Hi kutenay,

Once again thank you for this wisdom only learned by years of experience. Would you be willing to offer any other bits and bites that you have to share which would make a difference in my hiking, camping, winter camping etc., I would be glad to hear a page or more of rambling on about what's what over your years without any clear themes per paragraph. I can sort it out myself.

Sincerely,
Terry

6:05 p.m. on July 31, 2007 (EDT)
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You can also order Integral Designs gear directly from them - www.integraldesigns.com or call. You will often get Evan, the head guy. I have a couple of their jackets, bivy, Siltarp (don't remember which one right now), a bunch of their stuff sacks (much better than the Granite Gear imitations of the ID compression sacks), etc.

9:56 p.m. on July 31, 2007 (EDT)
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Hi kutenay,
I was wondering why you would get a sil tarp 3 when you are only one person?
What tarp would you reccomend for one person or 2 people and if you please include you experience reasoning.
Many thanks,

Terry

5:41 a.m. on August 1, 2007 (EDT)
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I would pay close attention to anything posted by BillS as he has far more climbing and international experience than I do. I find it much more effective to respond to specific queries as much of my wilderness experience has had to do with work and may not always be directly applicable to recreational backpacking. So, a ramble would probably bore most here and waste bandwidth.

I use the STIII for hunting camps where two of us use this plus ID Unishelters to camp in on short trips. The extra weight of 8oz. is worth it in terms of the greater coverage during autumn rain storms, with two guys.

I have and use an ID Sylwing for my solo trips with Unishelter or Mega Sola, the first for fishing trips as in a week or two, if the the forest fires in the Kootenays do not result in a "recreational closure" of the bush and the second is my favourite hunting shelter, simply an awesome rig in foul weather and easy to erect, etc.

For ONE tarp, I would definitely go with the STIII as the extra coverage is really worth having. ALWAYS pitch your tarp low and with one side firmly anchored to the ground, I carry extra pegs, cordage and use my trekking poles as uprights for a leanto to cook under during rain. Sometimes, a couple of carefully chosen extra lbs. in gear make life much more comfortable out there and learning what you might need is something only experience can teach you.

DO check with the outlets I recommend for ID stuff, you will see "why"if you do so. I have bought direct and from these dealers and they are often quicker than Evan is...try them and see.

1:31 p.m. on August 1, 2007 (EDT)
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I should add that ID has gotten a lot of custom, special order contracts in the past couple of years (lots of Canadian military and emergency response), so as kutenay said, sometimes their response to direct orders is slower than going to your local outlet.

I agree with kutenay on getting the larger Siltarp for a lot of uses. I use my small one as a supplement to my ID bivy just to provide a cover over the head end for cooking and packing up, especially when bivying on a ledge or other tight quarters. The III is not a lot heavier and certainly more convenient if you are going to spend more than a night in a single location or can spread out a bit more than a single bivy's worth. My tiny one stuffs smaller than fist sized and is all of 4 ounces, while the biggest is only maybe double that, but provides a lot more space for you to sit under, or to get your whole bivy under it. I pitch even the small one the same as kutenay describes.

12:50 a.m. on August 3, 2007 (EDT)
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Hi Bill S,
I am very appreciative to have you joining in and sharing your 'wisdom', if I can put it that way. I beleive in learning from teachers who are much more highly endowed with knowledge which might take me years and years to accumulate.
Thank you for your input. I thank you inadvance for providing me with further teaching.

Sincerely,
Terry

August 31, 2014
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