The overwhelming majority of climbing garments, together with rain jackets, utilized by hikers and backpackers aren’t truly made for climbing or by individuals conversant in hikers’ wants, however for skiers, climbers, runners, and suburban dads and mothers. So it’s no surprise that many of the rain jackets that hikers and backpackers buy in the present day don’t minimize the mustard in terms of hood design, maintenance-free use, and shoulder strap/hip belt compatibility.
True, there are a smattering of hiker-owned corporations like Enlightened Tools (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 totally 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 you realize 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 useful 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 maintain the rain off your face whilst you’re climbing with out the necessity to put on a billed hat.
- It is best to be capable of limit airflow by way of 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 vital to clean a rain jacket.
- The material of the jacket shouldn’t take in water.
- There needs to be a technique to ventilate the jacket to assist cut back warmth build-up and perspiration.
- There needs to be a technique 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 accessible.
How Does Your Rain Jacket Stack Up?
How properly 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 limit airflow by way of 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 resulting from abrasion. There’s solely a chest pocket that continues to be accessible when worn with a backpack. The waterproofing just 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 clean 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 evaluate.
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 limit airflow by way of 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 aren’t 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 gentle detergent. The jacket cloth doesn’t take in 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 evaluate. Word: an up to date evaluate of the silpoly model is forthcoming, however not a lot has modified.
Total: 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 limit airflow by way of 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 resulting from DWR abrasion. The entrance pockets are accessible when carrying a backpack hip belt. The DWR coating just isn’t everlasting and does require upkeep. It is best to use particular, non-detergent cleaning soap to clean 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 evaluate.
Total: Acceptable with sturdiness limitations
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