Rain Gear

9:33 a.m. on October 2, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

1.Heading into winter and am in need of rain gear for me to wear for backbacking in the great Pacific Northwest. Any suggestions? Something better than a black plastic garbage bag (with head and arm holes) but something less than $1,000 goretex ultra-tech titanium zootsuit with built-in GPS.

2.I have heard of two ways of keeping the backpack dry while on the trail. One is that everything in the backpack should be individually wrapped in plastic, or some such material. The second is putting a bag of some sort (black plastic trash bag with arm holes) over the entire pack. I hike on well groomed trails with Boy Scouts so I'm not as concerned with snagging the bag on branches, etc. Maybe a good compromise would be to at least use extra protection for the sleeping bag and spare clothes in the backpack and then use a overall cover. Any thoughts.

11:07 a.m. on October 2, 2002 (EDT)
28 reviewer rep
1,261 forum posts
I purchased rain gear from Campmor

that I really like. Goretex lined and all seams sealed. I believe it was called "log cabin design" or something like that. Jacket was $99.00 pants $59.99.

I protect everything I don't want wet by putting it into zip lock freezer bags. Sleeping bag goes into a garbage bag and then a compression bag. I also sealed every seam on the pack and purchased a rain fly for the pack from campmor - about $15.00

2:20 p.m. on October 2, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Keeing Pack Dry

As for keeping your pack dry, you can purchase a waterproof (urethane coated nylon) packcover. These packcovers are light and cheap (generic brands perhaps $15 - $25). An additional advantage of the pack cover is that you don't end up inside the garbage bag along with your pack. If you purchase any kind of breathable garment, you will defeat it's purpose if you put a garbage bag over the pack and yourself. Over the pack alone is fine, but I think you will find the garbage bag a hindrance, especially when you need to get something out of your pack.

Another alternative is to simply pack everything inside a large garbage bag inside your pack. This should be easier than wrapping all the items separately. One guy I hiked with swore by trash compactor bags. They might weigh an ounce more (if that), but are much more durable. If you can find a clear one, that would be even better.

Both of these alternatives will do the job. If you use the large trash compactor bag, remember that your backpack itself will not stay dry. In below freezing temperatures though, this is not really a problem as snow will not really penetrate your pack fabric.

8:01 p.m. on October 3, 2002 (EDT)
REVIEW CORPS
4,534 reviewer rep
6,031 forum posts
Bagging it

Quote:

1.Heading into winter and am in need of rain gear for me to wear for backbacking in the great Pacific Northwest.

Rain gear for winter in the PNW? Hah! Try snow gear or scuba gear! Ok, enough of OGBO's sarcasm. The best thing is a waterproof/breathable jacket and pants - separates, not single piece. The pants should be full side zip, so you can (1) get them on and off over your boots, snowshoes, skis and (2) open the sides to get some venting in warmer, humid weather (not that "warmer" is all that warm in the PNW winter). You can get fairly lightweight gear at a lesser price, as Ed has indicated, Campmor being a good source. Sierra Trading Post often has items on sale as well. Goretex is the best-known brand, almost a generic name. But there are other good wp/b as well, including some made by Gore - Paclite, Triple Ceramic, etc. I like my PreCip jacket for being very light and more breathable than full-on Goretex, although sometimes the full-on 3-layer Gtx is what is needed.

You can also go with a polyurethane-coated nylon. But these are not breathable (so you need a lot of venting capability, like pit zips, ventral zips, side zips, etc), and the PU tends to peel off after 3 or 4 years. So it may cost as much or more in the long run.

A poncho works for some people (PU-coated nylon, not the plastic sheets). It does provide more ventilation, but you still need the pants in a heavy rain, and ponchos tend to blow around, letting water in during heavy winds.

Quote:

2.I have heard of two ways of keeping the backpack dry while on the trail. One is that everything in the backpack should be individually wrapped in plastic,

Excellent idea. This does two things much better than the big bag over everything - (1) when digging in the pack, each item is still protected in its ziplock bag (resealable bags are a necessity for this, preferably "freezer bag" strength). You will often find you have to remove a couple layers while searching for some particular item. Opening the top of the pack or big overall bag leaves the inside to gather water, wetting everything not in individual bags. (2) When (not if, but when) you have something wet, muddy, dirty, to put back into the pack (when you changed clothes, for example), the rest of your gear is protected and stays dry. And there is a third benefit - using clear bags, you can find things a lot easier than just tossing everything into the pack.

You can get resealable bags in sizes from very tiny (1 inch square) to very large (2 to 3 feet square) from your neighborhood plastics store (Tap Plastics is a chain on the West Coast that has a wide selection) or in a smaller selection from WalMart, Target, and similar stores. See if you have an industrial packaging supply store in your area.

Quote:

... The second is putting a bag of some sort (black plastic trash bag with arm holes) over the entire pack.

This works, but is really a backup to the individual bags inside. Also, remember that you have to carry the pack, so the shoulder loops and waist belt have to be available. This leaves the back of the pack vulnerable to soak-through (even for an originally waterproof pack). Garbage bags will tear sooner or later (often within a day). Compactor bags are stronger. But a good use for garbage or compactor bags is as a cover for your bag when you leave it outside the tent overnight. Instead, as the other posters suggested, get a "pack rainfly" or "pack parka". You can get custom-made ones for your particular make and model of pack (at an exhorbitantly high price), or you can get a generic one for $15-20 from places like Campmor or even your local camping store (they are in the Boy Scout catalog as well). These leave the shoulder and waist straps completely usable, although the back of the pack remains vulnerable. Use this *in addition to* the individual bags inside, not instead of.

Quote:

...I hike on well groomed trails with Boy Scouts...

As a Scout leader, I would strongly suggest that you *require* the Scouts to use the individual plastic bags. They get wet enough as it is (guaranteed to get wet!), and the individual bags give a slight assurance that they will have some more or less dry clothing available by the time they get 3 or 4 hours into the trip (no gurantee more than 8 hours, though!).

7:51 p.m. on October 4, 2002 (EDT)
67 reviewer rep
757 forum posts

Quote:

1.but something less than $1,000 goretex ultra-tech titanium zootsuit with built-in GPS.

Get the zoot suit. If you are going into really nasty weather, be SURE to wear bibs instead of pants so when you bend over or something that lifts the bottom of the jacket you will not get wet/snowy. Get full zips so you can do your business without having to take them off. The best place to find this level of gear is a place like Marrmot. Heavy exercise in a place like the Pacific North West in Winter is gonna drown you in your own juices unless you have the best gear - not a campmoor jacket thanks.


Quote:

2.I have heard of two ways of keeping the backpack dry while on the trail. One is that everything in the backpack should be individually wrapped in plastic, or some such material. The second is putting a bag of some sort (black plastic trash bag with arm holes) over the entire pack

I use a pack cover made for it - be sure to put the drain hole at the bottom. It does have a drain hole for a reason so if your sleeping bag (feather sponge) is at the bottom its gonna be cold brother...

I like a big one compartment backpack with a big stuff sack that fills the whole pack. The down bag is in a stuff bag lined with a garbage bag. I can crawl into a vestibule and slip off my rain coat and pull my pack into the vestibule behind me as I go for the tent, then in the tent I can pull the liner bag out of the pack and into the tent.
Jim S

5:41 p.m. on October 24, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Rain Gear --Check out the PACKA

check out thepacka.com

Quote:

1.Heading into winter and am in need of rain gear for me to wear for backbacking in the great Pacific Northwest. Any suggestions? Something better than a black plastic garbage bag (with head and arm holes) but something less than $1,000 goretex ultra-tech titanium zootsuit with built-in GPS.

2.I have heard of two ways of keeping the backpack dry while on the trail. One is that everything in the backpack should be individually wrapped in plastic, or some such material. The second is putting a bag of some sort (black plastic trash bag with arm holes) over the entire pack. I hike on well groomed trails with Boy Scouts so I'm not as concerned with snagging the bag on branches, etc. Maybe a good compromise would be to at least use extra protection for the sleeping bag and spare clothes in the backpack and then use a overall cover. Any thoughts.

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