Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

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Satchel Buddah
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Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Thu May 31, 2018 1:42 pm

hi all!

Wondering what kind of rain gear you are all packing for longish trails, trying to figure out what to bring to the HST late September.

Are you packing pant shells at all? rain skirts? just a jacket? a book to wait the storms out ?

What is your rain jacket/poncho of choice and do you love it ?

I have a marmot precip that is light and packs decently small, but performs not so well (kind of very wet after an hour or so, wondering why I am packing it...), or a heavier 4 ply mountain hardware that is double the weight and the size, but that keeps me dry for hours under a pour. Wondering if there is something that actually works and is lighter/packable...

For legs I am pondering a mix of rain skirt/gaiters - gaiters might be good later if there is some snow coming down or some snow on the ground as well...

thank you for your wisdom!








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maverick
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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by maverick » Thu May 31, 2018 2:46 pm

Just be prepared!
Last year there was a storm 9/21 (Winter Advisory Issued), that dropped 3-6 inches at the 7000' level, almost a foot in some of the highest elevations. This is not a likely scenario, but as you can see, it can happen.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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longri
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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by longri » Thu May 31, 2018 3:06 pm

A jacket that wets out still keeps the rain from hitting you. I used a Marmot Precip for about ten years that never had a working DWR. It always got wet in the rain but it kept the rain and snow off of me through numerous storms. You can get a jacket with a better DWR but it doesn't make that much difference in prolonged wet conditions. The realities of high humidity still mean you'll end up with condensation inside your jacket in most cases.

I personally like rain pants because they also act as a wind barrier and an extra layer for warmth.

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bobby49
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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by bobby49 » Thu May 31, 2018 4:20 pm

This is a really tough call, because there are so many variables for each individual. Most of my summer backpacking gear is optimized for a dry summer with a chance of afternoon thundershowers and all that. When you move out to late September, there is much more chance of a cold storm. Some summer backpackers prefer a purely waterproof-breathable hooded jacket. I seem to prefer a waterproof-nonbreathable hooded jacket from AGG. Mine weighs 5.15 oz.

Again with my summer thinking, I carry one down inner jacket for in-camp warmth, plus one synthetic fleece shirt for durable warmth on-trail. For pants, I have DIY rain pants that weigh 2.4 oz. If I am going to camp up high or otherwise expect cold mornings, I carry some DIY synthetic pajamas, so I can use those as pajamas or over my normal hiking trousers and under the rain pants. Absolutely none of these items is bulky, so I can stuff them into little corners of my backpack.

So, if you get caught in a cold late September storm, are you going to try to out-run it, or are you going to hunker down and wait it out? That can be a very tough call.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:10 am

thank you all for the wisdom. Lots to think about!

Bobby, what did you make your shell pants with? looks fantastically light

Still pondering using trailrunners (hiked in snow with them last winter with gaiters for hours at a time and they performed flawlessly) or heavier traditional boots... I think the deciding factor is going to be final pack weight - if I end up around 35 at start that's probably too heavy for trail runners. Was hoping to keep it in the high 20's...

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by longri » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:47 pm

Trail runners will suck if you have to travel through snow. But they might be tolerable if you have some sort of waterproof sock (e.g. neoprene) or a barrier liner.

I'm guessing Bobby's rainpants are made of silnylon or a similarly lightweight coated nylon or polyester. My summer rainpants are made out of 0.5oz Cuben fabric and weigh 1.2oz. But that's for Sierra summer conditions. In other situations I prefer WPB rainpants since I may end up living in them and hiking in them if conditions are cold and wet. I've slept in my rainpants (and jacket) for extra warmth more than once. That wouldn't work so well with non-breathable fabrics.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:53 pm

Satchel Buddah wrote: Bobby, what did you make your shell pants with? looks fantastically light
Thru-Hiker sells kits for these kinds of things. The pants kit was one of the simplest things that I could start with, so that got me the pattern and directions plus a chunk of fabric. After fooling around with this a bit, I got some thinner/lighter fabric from Ripstop By The Yard. What I ended up with was lighter than Thru-Hiker intended, but that's OK. These rain pants are not intended to be tough enough for bushwhacking. You have to be careful when you turn an ultralightweight freak loose on a project like that.

By the way, you might need summer gloves too. I have some super thin cotton inspection gloves that are used in factories, and that gets me just a touch of insulation. Then I wear vinyl medical examination gloves over the cotton for rainproofness.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:57 pm

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.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by Satchel Buddah » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:31 am

Yupp, I love the Cuben fiber tent but not sure I would wear it for garnements, sounds suffocating :) - altho that goes back to sometimes, it might be more desirable to have a non breathing totally waterproof material.

Thinking out loud, this conversation makes me realize that gear choices are really dependent on a predefined weather strategy - thank you all for bringing me there. The ability to keep cruising through a prolonged storm without getting drenched/risking hypothermia has a large impact on pack weight/volume and/or bank account. Pack weight/volume has a cascading effect on other aspects of the hike... Also some parts of the trail might become too dangerous in serious weather, or plainly no fun. So my angle should probably be to allow for the capacity to hike through minor weather and wait out the worst in tent, adding a “weather day’’ in the food stash. I should also retain the capacity to hike through wet snow on the ground in acceptable comfort.

for gloves I plan to pack merino liners - light and compact. Never thought about it but I indeed have first aid gloves in my kit that could bring waterproofing if things get bad. Thanks for the tip!

Looking at Zpacks vertice shell pants. Pricy!! But oh so light. Their tall gaiters are also a quarter of the weight of my current gaiters... Not sure how these would do in snow.

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Re: Rain gear for late september High Sierra trail ?

Post by oldranger » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:13 am

I'm a poncho believer/user. Openness helps breathability, can keep arms and hands under cover and dry (with jacket rain will run down arms and get hands/gloves wet), covers your pack and can serve as emergency shelter. I have had great experience with Lowa Zepher boots with Gortex liners plus gaiters for walking in snow and wet conditions. Feet have always stayed dry with no leaks thru the 4 pairs i have owned (negative is that they are 1 season boots positive they are light and keep feet dry). My strategy if more than a day from a trailhead is to hole up at least until the precip stops. Then if hiking in snow the gaiters keep lower pant legs dry. Because of my strategy I don't carry rain pants but make sure that I keep long underwear and sleeping clothes dry. If not really cold I will hike in rain wearing shorts to ensure my pants stay dry while at the same time make sure that core remains warm without overheating when hiking. Markskor and I holed up an extra day last year because of the September storm that maverick mentioned above. We took 3 more days to hike out (2 day hike for younger hikers) involving lots of unmelted snow and wet trail conditions.
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