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10/11/2020 2:56 pm  #1


Rain Gear

I thought I'd ask for a bit of advice on Rain Gear.  This is probably an area that I've never invested in much.  Usually a cheap pair of rain gear from Canadian Tire or Sail.  My last trip a ten day solo trip in Algonquin it rained 6 of the 10 days.  I found my raingear not very breathable.  By the end of the day in camp I pretty much felt as wet underneath the gear as on the outside 5km in portages later.

Guess I thought before I fork out a bunch of money for next years season, what peoples experiences are with more expensive rain gear such as are they more breathable?
Thank you in advance, and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

10/11/2020 8:50 pm  #2


Re: Rain Gear

I've been using Arcteryx theta AR jackets for the better part of 15 years. At first it was just for the long back while canoe tripping but I probably use it most as a windbreaker/rain jacket for the shoulder seasons and as my top layer when xc skiing.

I can't remember the last time i used a "Crappy Tire special" jacket but I'll tell you this much -- I wouldn't want something that breathes less.

 

10/12/2020 7:20 am  #3


Re: Rain Gear

Look at Arcteryx Zeta line of jackets and pants. Add an OR Seattle Sombrero and don’t look back.


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

10/12/2020 8:51 am  #4


Re: Rain Gear

I have a OR Helium ii jacket (2.5 layer Pertex), a Mountain Hardwear jacket (2.5 layer Dry Q Evap), a Northface Proshell jacket (3 layer Goretex) and a Columbia Outdry Extreme ECO jacket. I am a big fan of Outdry Extreme.

Laminated jackets, even the really expensive Proshells, need to be be maintained. They have to be cleaned and DWR has to be refreshed in order to prevent the pores from getting clogged and the shell wetting out. 3 layer jackets tend to be heavier, breath better and be more water proof than 2.5 layer jackets.

My 2.5 layer Mountain Hardwear jacket is light but wets out in heavy rains. I just use it around town. I probably wouldn't buy this again.

My OR Helium jacket is the same. It wets out and fails in heavy prolonged rain. However it only weighs 5.5 ounces, so I use it backpacking. The lightweight makes it a great trade off.

My North Face Proshell is too heavy for the summers and too expensive for the abuse I put my gear through on canoe trips. I just use it in the winter for skiing. In hindsight, I probably wouldn't buy this again.

Outdry Extreme Jackets are different. They do not use a membrane that is sandwiched between protective layers. There is a soft inner layer that is meant to be comfortable against your skin. It is welded to a waterproof outer layer (no gaps, no seams). The outside layer is 100% waterproof and does not require the use of DWR coatings. Ever. They are more durable and they never wet out. In prolonged rains or compared against older or abraided Goretex, OutDry Extreme is dryer. I bring this on all my canoe trips and it has never failed.

The flipside is Outdry Extreme is not as breathable as 3 layer Goretex. As a result many of these jackets come with big pit zips and pocket vents.

Columbia Outdry Extreme Jackets are also much cheaper than Goretex 3 layer jackets. Over at the Last Hunt a Columbia Outdry Ex ECO jacket is $140. Goretex 3 layer jackets are $350-500.

 

10/12/2020 12:52 pm  #5


Re: Rain Gear

great topic for this time of year,,,
    i have a cabellas guide wear angler jacket  with gortex,, a little heavy,,, inside sleeves have a rubber insert about half way up the forearm,, blocks out everything,, little pricy!
    i also have a hydro foil jacket from good old mec. nice packable jacket,, i got a clearance deal in a funky blue color for $79 many years ago,, l.o.l.

 

10/12/2020 6:13 pm  #6


Re: Rain Gear

I had an Arcteryx Theta AR for 14 years.  It was expensive (about $700) but after 14 years the seam tape started coming off inside.  I emailed them asking how much it would cost me to repair.  To my surprise they offered a free replacement under warranty...14 years later!  I paid the difference and upgraded to an Alpha SV.  Incredible customer service (as it should be for the prices you pay). I also have used the Beta AR pants for well over 15 years and they have been fantastic.  I'm hooked on Arcteryx stuff and have 5 of their jackets (insulated, mid-layer, etc.).  It is pricey stuff but it's about the best on the market and will keep you dry!  Keep in mind if you buy a hardshell you can use it all year round.  I use mine in the summer by itself, in the fall and spring with a light mid-layer and in the winter with a heavier mid-layer underneath.  Very versatile piece of gear. 

If you are looking for some great deals, check out https://www.thelasthunt.com/
It's typically the previous years models and colours but they carry ALL the big outdoor brands and often at 40%-605 off.

 

10/13/2020 12:29 pm  #7


Re: Rain Gear

Thanks very much for the responses! I took the plunge yesterday and tossed out my “Crappy Tire special” and now am looking for a “proper” rain attire for May 2021’s solo trip,  You’ve all given me some great ideas on attire that is far more breathable.

This past canoe trip in September/October was a reminder of the great class of people that are attracted to the backcountry.  Complete strangers offering kind words and great conversations,  and of course great advise on this board community.

Many thanks,
CC

     Thread Starter
 

10/13/2020 1:08 pm  #8


Re: Rain Gear

Hey CC

Reviews like this are a good place to start too.. gives you the basic things to look for.. I own # 1.#2 and #9 on this list.. Martin mentions #8 as well..sounds breathable..

 https://sectionhiker.com/sectionhiker-gear-guide/10-best-backpacking-rain-jackets/

As Martin stated ..I was sick of wetting out with some of these jackets. I went for a much more expensive Arcteryx Zeta LT which is a 3 layer Gortex jacket. still ok weight for canoe trips.

The much lighter OR Helium remains my backpacking jacket.

this review list and info is good too..

https://www.switchbacktravel.com/best-rain-jackets
 

Last edited by ShawnD (10/13/2020 1:14 pm)


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

10/14/2020 10:24 am  #9


Re: Rain Gear

Thanks ShawnD for these links.  Lots of great information there!

ShawnD wrote:

Hey CC

Reviews like this are a good place to start too.. gives you the basic things to look for.. I own # 1.#2 and #9 on this list.. Martin mentions #8 as well..sounds breathable..

 https://sectionhiker.com/sectionhiker-gear-guide/10-best-backpacking-rain-jackets/

As Martin stated ..I was sick of wetting out with some of these jackets. I went for a much more expensive Arcteryx Zeta LT which is a 3 layer Gortex jacket. still ok weight for canoe trips.

The much lighter OR Helium remains my backpacking jacket.

this review list and info is good too..

https://www.switchbacktravel.com/best-rain-jackets
 

 

     Thread Starter
 

10/15/2020 12:27 pm  #10


Re: Rain Gear

I would avoid some jackets recommended on backpacking sites: they are different animals. For instance large underarm vents are not much good for paddler's constantly moving arms. Same goes for lightweight models, e.g. helium, which won't give enough protection in anything above light rain when one's totally exposed on the water. I'd go for a beefy model, a jacket that can survive portages with heavy packs and pants that one can comfortably kneel in. Currently I use OR Foray, which is excellent paddling gear, though it weighs around 2 lbs. I wear jacket one size larger than my fit - it provides me with extra ventilation and freedom required for using a paddle - another thing that hikers do not require.


"Experience breeds competence only if you do things right." - Cliff Jacobson
 

10/15/2020 3:24 pm  #11


Re: Rain Gear

EddyTurn wrote:

I would avoid some jackets recommended on backpacking sites: they are different animals.

So Eddy makes a good point and something that I think should be kept in mind for almost any gear recommendation. 

What kind of a canoe tripper are you?.. Should be the first question.

I would describe myself as an "ultralight backcountry canoeist." Not that I don't travel heavier if there is minimal portaging in a trip but on a normal trip I stay very light.. I use an ultralight backpacking tent, backpackers quilt and pad etc.. I would never dream of using a 2 lb jacket.. just doesn't fit how I trip..  the 12 ozs for the Zeta LT is even more than I would like for a jacket.

There are all different kinds of trippers though.. none better or worse.. Some people love to cook out there .. bring backcountry ovens etc.. sounds awesome but again something I personally would never bring.

All that is to say CC.. if you travel heavier, don't mind double portaging, enjoy more creature comforts etc and want a jacket that will provide you more protection and warmth at the expensive of weight.. likely lots of better options than what I linked to. Yes. Probably at better prices.  
 


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

10/15/2020 4:28 pm  #12


Re: Rain Gear

Been watching this post last few days as I'm in the market for new rain pants. I have a TNF Gore tex Pro jacket that I purchased years ago and which have absolutely zero regrets having purchased. It's a tough 4 season technical shell that breathes well and is weather proof. Absolutely love it as it has protected me in all conditions. I also take good care of my gear and wash & DWR it periodically.

Now onto the pants...my research started with rain pants but I'm now gravitating towards 4 season shell pants. I walk every morning rain or shine now that I'm WFH and spend winters camping and snowshoeing. I'm now leaning towards a 4 season all rounder and keep coming back the the Arc'Teryx Beta AR pants.
Ticks all the boxes but the price is...wow. Watching for sales every day but none available in my size from last year's models.

Need some feedback on similar style pants people have had experience with or maybe someone to push me over the edge on the ARs (looking at you Steve_E...ha)

 

 

10/15/2020 5:34 pm  #13


Re: Rain Gear

I think rain pants are crtically important when canoeing. I learned that lesson the hard way about 10 years ago paddling the Nip in September in an all day rain. I had a new waterproof breathable jacket that was doing a great job of keeping my torso dry but no rain pants.

Sitting in the canoe for hours, body from the hips down basically motionless. My groin and thighs were completely soaked through. It was the coldest I have ever been on a trip. When we got to camp I changed into dry clothes and crawled into a sleeping bag and it took hours for me to stop shivering and warm up.

On the other hand I have only NEEDED rain pants a handful of times. So, it's hard to drop a tonne of money on Proshell pants. And there is the weight for something you will likely not often use.

My compromise is cheaper lightweight rain pants that have vents on the outside of the thighs. I use Marmot Precip full zip pants and really like them. Lightweight, keep you dry especially your groin and inner thighs. But, the full zip lets you vent when necessary.

One caveat, at ice out and very late season, or when I plan for being in the water I wear dry pants or a full drysuit.

 

10/15/2020 7:18 pm  #14


Re: Rain Gear

RCSpartan wrote:

Been watching this post last few days as I'm in the market for new rain pants. I have a TNF Gore tex Pro jacket that I purchased years ago and which have absolutely zero regrets having purchased. It's a tough 4 season technical shell that breathes well and is weather proof. Absolutely love it as it has protected me in all conditions. I also take good care of my gear and wash & DWR it periodically.

Now onto the pants...my research started with rain pants but I'm now gravitating towards 4 season shell pants. I walk every morning rain or shine now that I'm WFH and spend winters camping and snowshoeing. I'm now leaning towards a 4 season all rounder and keep coming back the the Arc'Teryx Beta AR pants.
Ticks all the boxes but the price is...wow. Watching for sales every day but none available in my size from last year's models.

Need some feedback on similar style pants people have had experience with or maybe someone to push me over the edge on the ARs (looking at you Steve_E...ha)

 

They're on a wicked deal right now direct from the Arcteryx outlet https://outlet.arcteryx.com/ca/en/shop/mens/beta-ar-pant    Regular $550 on for $330!  I'd pull the trigger for sure.  I actually prefer the older style (last year that they are selling) because the newer versions don't have the full leg zip.  Get them man you won't regret it!  Better hurry though it's saying there's only 5 larges left (if that's your size)...

 

10/16/2020 7:44 am  #15


Re: Rain Gear

personally I've given up on gortex or any W/B coating as I find even the "best" start to fail and no longer breathe after several days of dirt, mud, and friction, and have gone back to the old, dependable, Viking raingear. sure it can "wet out" eventually, but it's never been a problem for me because it ventilates well and excess moisture is easily controlled by wearing a wicking layer underneath such as fleece or polypro to move that moisture away from my body. modern raingear is a far cry from the old days of rubber- coated canvas and ventilates far better with caped shoulders, two- way zips, and added ventilation under the pocket flaps.
W/B coatings are an abomination in the winter because they become stiff and the pores frost up easily essentially turning that expensive jacket into a beast no better than that cheapie CT special

Last edited by scoutergriz (10/16/2020 7:47 am)

 

10/16/2020 4:53 pm  #16


Re: Rain Gear

I feel that waterproof breathables can be a good part of a clothing system but mostly they are good for low output activities like hanging around camp or walking the dog. Often I'll choose clothes that can shed some water but primarily they will keep me warm and/or dry fast.

 

10/19/2020 11:53 am  #17


Re: Rain Gear

This looks to be closest current comparable to the coat I'm using year round: https://www.thelasthunt.com/products/the-north-face-powderflo-jacket-mens-llll-tnf-nf0a3m3v

Key design feature for year round use is the pit zips. I have found it quite worthwhile to go back to Goretex. I also value the durability of the heavier fabrics over the lightweight single layer dedicated rain gear. 

 

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