The overwhelming majority of climbing garments, together with rain jackets, utilized by hikers and backpackers aren’t really made for climbing or by folks accustomed to hikers’ wants, however for skiers, climbers, runners, and suburban dads and mothers. So it’s no surprise that a lot of the rain jackets that hikers and backpackers buy at this time don’t lower the mustard with regards to hood design, maintenance-free use, and shoulder strap/hip belt compatibility.
True, there are a smattering of hiker-owned firms like Enlightened Gear (Visp Rain Jacket), Zpacks.com (Vertice Rain Jacket), and Lightheart Gear (Silpoly Rain Jacket) that make rain gear that’s extra aligned with hikers’ wants. However most hikers nonetheless purchase rain jackets that adhere to the failed and completely discredited waterproof/breathable paradigm and its ridiculous waterproof and breathability rankings. These rankings, together with hydrostatic head and moisture water vapor transmission (MVTR) charges, have little correlation with real-world use in humid, wet climate when half your jacket is roofed with a backpack and worn all day, or for a number of consecutive days, throughout vigorous train. (Sure, it’s ironic that science-hating Individuals gobble up these waterproof/breathability rankings as gospel reality.)
Mountaineering Rain Gear Necessities Redefined
Overlook what about rain jackets for a second and ask your self what distinctive traits you’d need in a rain jacket designed for climbing and backpacking. Ignoring breathability, which I take into account a pipedream, what are the practical capabilities that you really want a climbing and backpacking rain jacket to offer? Assume out of the field.
Right here’s my necessities listing. What would you like that’s completely different than the established order?
- The hood ought to preserve the rain off your face when you’re climbing with out the necessity to put on a billed hat.
- It is best to have the ability to prohibit airflow via the jacket hood, up the arms, and across the waist in cool climate so that you keep hotter.
- Backpack shoulder straps and hip belts shouldn’t have an effect on the waterproofness of the rain jacket.
- Pockets needs to be accessible when carrying a backpack hip belt.
- The waterproofing needs to be everlasting and never require any “upkeep.”
- There shouldn’t be any particular detergents mandatory to scrub a rain jacket.
- The material of the jacket shouldn’t take up water.
- There needs to be a solution to ventilate the jacket to assist cut back warmth build-up and perspiration.
- There needs to be a solution to shut the jacket if the zipper fails (assuming it has a zipper).
- The jacket weight needs to be beneath 12 ounces.
- Males’s and girls’s fashions needs to be obtainable.
How Does Your Rain Jacket Stack Up?
How effectively do the preferred rain jackets utilized by hikers and backpackers stack up towards this redefined listing of necessities? Listed here are some fast assessments to think about.
Out of doors Analysis Helium Rain Jacket
The Out of doors Analysis Helium Jacket hood has a entrance brim to maintain the rain off your face when climbing. You possibly can prohibit airflow via the hood, wrists, and drawcord hem to remain hotter in cool climate. The jacket has a DWR coating, so backpack shoulder straps and hip belts will cut back the waterproofness of the jacket attributable to abrasion. There’s solely a chest pocket that continues to be accessible when worn with a backpack. The waterproofing isn’t everlasting and requires upkeep. Really, it’s terrible on this jacket which wets out in a short time. You possibly can want particular cleaning soap (non-detergent) to scrub the jacket. The jacket cloth absorbs water when the jacket wets out. The jacket lacks air flow options like pit zips. The jacket is light-weight and males’s and girls’s fashions can be found. See the detailed SectionHiker overview.
Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket
The Lightheart Gear Rain Jacket hood has a entrance brim to maintain the rain off your face when climbing. You possibly can prohibit airflow via the hood and wrists, however the jacket lacks a drawcord hem. Backpack shoulder straps and hip belts shouldn’t have an effect on the waterproofness of the rain jacket. The entrance handwarmer pockets should not accessible when carrying a backpack hip belt, however the two inside drop pockets are. The waterproofing is everlasting and doesn’t require any upkeep. You possibly can wash the jacket with a light detergent. The jacket cloth doesn’t take up water. The jacket has very lengthy pit zips to assist cut back warmth build-up and cut back perspiration and condensation. There are velcro tabs alongside the zipper to maintain the jacket closed if the zipper fails. It’s light-weight (6.6 oz in a males’s XL) and males’s and girls’s fashions can be found. See the detailed SectionHiker overview. Observe: an up to date overview of the silpoly model is forthcoming, however not a lot has modified.
General: Fairly Good
Montbell Versalite Jacket
The Montbell Versalite Jacket hood has a entrance brim to maintain the rain off your face when climbing. You possibly can prohibit airflow via the hood (improbable sizing controls) and wrists (wrist cuffs) and waist (drawstring hem). Backpack shoulder straps and hip belts do cut back the waterproofness of the rain jacket attributable to DWR abrasion. The entrance pockets are accessible when carrying a backpack hip belt. The DWR coating isn’t everlasting and does require upkeep. It is best to use particular, non-detergent cleaning soap to scrub the jacket. The jacket cloth absorbs water when the DWR wears off. The jacket has very lengthy pit zips to assist cut back warmth build-up and cut back perspiration and condensation. If the zipper fails, you’re SOL. It’s light-weight (7.0 oz in a males’s XL) and males’s and girls’s fashions can be found. See the detailed SectionHiker overview.
General: Acceptable with sturdiness limitations
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