Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rain Gear

I'll be using my Golite Chrome Dome umbrella, which is sturdy and weighs just 8 oz, for rain protection. I can't recommend it highly enough. If the rain is heavy and I want to keep hiking in spite of it, I will use a "rain wrap," or rain skirt, which protects the legs from the waist down to one's shins. I have not yet decided whether I'll use my actual homemade rain skirt (just 2 oz) or just wrap my groundcloth around me and tuck it in at the waist. I'm leaning towards the latter. 

I'll be taking no fancy jackets or rainproof pants, as I've found the above combination to work spectacularly in prolongued Andean rains. You are adequately protected from the rain and get enough ventilation at the same time. Any rain that happens to reach your torso, arms, or ankles, tends to dry up really quickly, as the vast majority falls on the umbrella and rain skirt. 

If there is a serious need for it, I'll throw on my MLD cuben poncho tarp, though I prefer hiking under just an umbrella. 

For the Sierra Nevada and possibly the mountains of Southern California, I expect to take along my MLD rain mitts, but more to keep dry while touching snow with my hands than for rain protection.

Note that all three elements of my rain gear (umbrella, poncho, and rain wrap) are dual-purpose items. If one were on a tight gear budget as well as a food and lodging budget, one could have this same awesome combo for $70-80 by substituting the Golite poncho tarp for my custom-made MLD tarp. 

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