Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

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Satchel Buddah
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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:22 am

Thank you Mike! Very informative. I used to use a poncho, doing jacket these days but I am still not settled on what work best for me... Poncho is still king for flexible uses, just not so useful as a "warming" layer.

Did you guys wish you had microspikes or traction devices when you hiked out ? (or maybe you had them?) Was all the slush frozen in the mornings?

For shoes I have two poneys to pick from - winterish trail runners or heavy european style boots. Both work at length in cold snow with gaiters, not sure about hiking in slush for 2 days!








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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by dave54 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:09 pm

I never liked a poncho. Personal preference.

I use a pant/jacket shell. No particular boots or gaiters. Just my normal boots and change socks when the rain stops.
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longri
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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by longri » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:48 pm

bobby49 wrote:I agree with Longri that cuben fiber might be the lightest material around, but you have to get the right thickness of it to be really right. The problems, of course, are that cuben fiber doesn't breathe worth a damn, and it is hideously expensive. It also takes a little practice to be able to sew it properly. Don't ask me how I know that.
I used leftover fabric from a tent I made but the amount I used would have cost about $35 to buy. That's including the double sided tape I used.

I used the tape to join the pieces together and only stitched the waist/elastic and leg ends in order to save weight (thread weighs less than tape). I don't know why you've had issues sewing Cuben / Dyneema Composite Fabric. I found it quite easy, a lot easier than sewing silnylon. But with the double sided tape most of the time sewing isn't even required. My tent was about 98% taped or glued.

Cuben / DCF is susceptible to damage, but so are lightweight coated nylons. You just have to be careful.

As for breathability, there is air transfer out the bottom of the legs. I made mine blousy enough so they would be semi-breathable in this manner. I wore them for 4-5 hours one time, hiking up over a pass and then quite a ways down the other side. The Cuben/DCF fabric is so light and silky that I've found these pants a joy to wear.

But the lack of true breathability would be a huge issue in some circumstances. That's why I have WPB rainpants. You can go pretty light in that category as well. My OR rainpants are WPB and weigh 5.3 oz. Zpacks sells WPB rainpants that are 3.6 oz.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by oldranger » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:06 am

Satchel Buddah wrote:Thank you Mike! Very informative. I used to use a poncho, doing jacket these days but I am still not settled on what work best for me... Poncho is still king for flexible uses, just not so useful as a "warming" layer.

Did you guys wish you had microspikes or traction devices when you hiked out ? (or maybe you had them?) Was all the slush frozen in the mornings?

For shoes I have two poneys to pick from - winterish trail runners or heavy european style boots. Both work at length in cold snow with gaiters, not sure about hiking in slush for 2 days!
No microspikes, just hiking poles. The fresh snow did not provide significant traction problems and our exit route was entirely on trail.
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:25 am

I would either go for a very light weight rain jacket, and then not expect it to necessarily keep you dry if you hike an entire day in the rain/snow OR go for a real rain jacket usually weighing about a pound, and also use it as part of your insulating layers. I have a Montbelle jacket specifically designed for NOLS that I bought at the NOLS store for about $100. I have been in some horrible conditions in it and stayed dry. I also use it daily in the morning and at night as it really cuts the wind and adds warmth. In my opinion those "in-between" jackets are the worst of both worlds.

Regardless of jacket, the shoulder area of any rain jacket will wear out if you wear it a lot while backpacking. If you backpack a lot in rainy areas, you will be replacing the jacket about every 2-3 years.

As for rain pants, I use REI kids (not for larger folks). They are light and no-frills. I also have Go-lite rain pants, unfortunately no longer sold. Try to get rain pants that you can get on over hiking shoes. For shoulder season (snow possible) I am a big fan of knee high gaiters. I use the MSR Rocky Mountain HIgh gaiters. They are really helpful if you have to wade through a foot of fresh snow.

I am now experimenting with an umbrella. I really like it because it works both as a shade umbrella and I can sit out in the rain and cook. I have yet to be brave enough to leave the rain jacket home and depend only on the umbrella. But that would ONLY be mid-summer conditions.

Take the UL thru-hiker gear lists with a grain of salt. They are usually going through the Sierra early season to summer, not likely to get a major winter storm. They also rarely are out more than 5 days or so before getting back to town to dry out. Remember that when you do the HST, you have to go over Trail Crest to get out. A late sept storm can dump a lot of snow at that altitude. You also have to decide if you are the type that actually will hike all day in the rain/snow, or rather sit out the storm. If willing to wait a few days, late Sept storms rarely last long.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:15 pm

Ty Daisy!
I have the umbrella too, been using it for shade in the desert. Have yet to try that one for rain while hiking - have not had the chance yet. probably dicy if the wind starts blowing a bit serious. Had not thought of packing it for the hst but shade might be welcome... We'll see what final pack weight looks like :)

I am starting to think rain skirt/tall gaiters for legs, should give me enough to hike in moderate weather and work for possible snow on the ground. If it gets ugly I might just camp it out. Then choose between my pretend jacket (precip) or my MHW jacket that is 1.3 pounds and bulky but great... Not sure if blowing money on something light/better than precip is worth it (montbell? zpacks?) Will do some pack simulations in a couple weeks (waiting on new pack...) and figure out how heavy I am.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:37 pm

Let me know how the rain skirt works, if that is what you do. I have also been seriously considering that!

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:57 am

will do! never found the rain to test it out but the laws of physics should hopefully apply. Since it's going under knee I am thinking it would work well with tall gaiters - crossing fingers. If it does work well it will likely become my default go-to for legs - it's fantastically light and tiny compared to shell pants, and you probably could make your own with $10 of supplies.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by longri » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:28 pm

Satchel Buddah wrote:...it's fantastically light and tiny compared to shell pants, and you probably could make your own with $10 of supplies.
A skirt isn't really that big of a weight/bulk savings over shell pants. Maybe a few ounces. And the gaiter/skirt combo could actually be a little heavier. In any case it isn't really about weight.

A skirt is the lower body analog to the poncho -- good ventilation but poor performance in the wind.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:50 pm

I think some dude walked the PCT a few years back in a kilt! Trail skirts with tights seem at one time to be popular with the PCT younger crowd. I have never had a pair or rain pants that I could hike in without getting soaked from sweat inside the pants. I am a huge fan of knee high gaiters any time of year, particularly for off-trail and bushwhacking. Since I always wear the gaiters- they never get thrown in the pack, the weight is not even a factor for me. In fact, I feel naked without my gaiters! Only down side is that they get hot in mid-summer and they also are quite expensive- an investment not worth it if not committed to wearing them a lot. Sept on the HST should not be that hot.

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