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  1. #1
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    Hiking in the rain - tarp over the pack/back?

    This is a bit of a hybrid idea. In another post over in the general section I posted about my trek to the Smokies. We hit a lot of rain the second half of the trip. I had a rain coat with me but I reasoned that either way I was going to get wet and I didn't exactly want to swim in my own sweat.

    My buddy took his coat out and threw the hood on and I took the rest of the coat and threw it up over his pack cover. This gave me an idea...

    Has anyone come up with a tarp/rain cover that you can wear over your pack that will give some protection in a hard down pour along the trail? In the past I've thought of some kind of umbrella for that purpose but it wouldn't be very trail friendly. I am envisioning some form of cape/poncho that will act as a rain shield.

    How about some light weight gaitors to prevent water from running down your legs and in to your boots? I was thinking about this a lot and even had the idea before we left but I didn't take the time to come up with something. I was thinking just some plastic bags with a rubber band to seal the top. The only issue there is not to make it too tight, but enough to keep it sealed.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Catavarie's Avatar
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    Poncho is a popular choice. Also there is the Packa. Or if you're a Hennessy fan there is the Cat Cape Poncho Rainfly.

    As for umbrellas, some do use them with success, but it's just not my thing at this point. Of course that could change one day, so I won't totally rule it out.
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  3. #3

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    +1 Catavarie. Rain pants do tend to keep water out of higher boots. I'm reminded of a diagram I saw once about how loggers dressed. Every layer was designed to shed rain over the next layer down so it ran off instead of in.

  4. #4
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    Fighting the rain to stay dry is an interesting battle....depending on how long one is hiking in the rain and the temps that you are in, as well as water crossings.

    I have been using a contractor garbage bag in my pack to keep my sleep clothes, quilt and uq, hammock dry.... and letting me, shoes and clothes I am wearing get wet. Walking through NY NJ this last week was a soak-fest. The only time I was dry was in my hammock at night.

  5. #5
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    Chop,

    The only issue with water I've had inside my pack is from soaked clothes that haven't dried out as well as my tarp and gear bag getting packed without drying out. I shook the tarp and my gear bag (big trash bag) to get some water to run off them, but they were still wet. I don't think I've ever had water running in to my pack with my cover on.

    As to trying to stay dry and the temperature - I think we were hiking in the low to mid 70's. After about 3-4 hours stomping through the rain the second day I was pretty chilled. Stopping for a snack was pretty hard as I was wet and once I stopped moving for a bit the water would cut right through the heat I was cranking out. Even our last day we were in a couple hours of rain on our way out, theres a video I posted in my other thread here, I got chilled. The lighter rain was OK and did feel pretty good, but when it was coming down in buckets running off my pack, all down my back, though my shorts, and down my legs it was pretty tough going.

  6. #6
    AaronAlso's Avatar
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    Personally, I don't like being wet. Unfortunately, some hiking in the rain is enevitable. I try to stay as dry as possible, especially my head & feet. Hypothermia can occur in temps as high as ~60F*, with a strong wind and chilling rainstorm. For the most part, IMHO, this is the most dangerous time to be hiking. Despite all the obvious dangers, lightening & falling trees/limbs, the possibility of hypothermia is very real. Which is misleading cause most people associate it with a freezing cold climate, but your core body temp only has to drop a few degrees to become lethal.

    I generally do my best to keep my feet and head warm while hiking in the rain. When my feet start to slosh in my boots that
    when I start to look for shelter; if only to get dry before heading out again.
    Last edited by AaronAlso; 09-11-2011 at 13:13. Reason: typo
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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  8. #8
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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  9. #9
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    I check zpacks.com every other day for the cuben Packa. Having been without rain gear since I sold my Packa, on my last trip I brought $0.88 clear ponchos from Walmart (one for each day - so three) but ended up putting my socks and shoes under my pack cover and wearing my vibrams, switched to my long sleeve synthetic, and went without rain gear. It was really refreshing, and after the rain I switched to my shoes and socks and synthetic tank and felt great. This wont work every time, but it was nice for that trip.

    I always wondered why there isn't a cuben hammock tarp/poncho hybrid that was big enough to cover your pack too.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Les Rust's Avatar
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    Steve, having grown up in the Smokies I've had more wet hikes than I can remember. I've used a variety of rain gear. I currently have a waterproof/breathable jacket and line my pack with a compacter bag. I also sweat profusely so I'm going to be wet one way or another. The bigger question for me is temperature control. Wool does a great job for sheep and for me too! One April day last year I walked about 10 miles in 55 degree weather, but when my feet got wet the wool actually felt warmer than before it was raining. The Packa is a good piece of gear, any kind of combination that can double as a weather protector is also good. My focus is usually on maintaining the micro-climate next to my inevitably wet skin. I'll get dry when I'm out of the woods or done for the day.

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