Selecting the right clothing will help you stay dry on the trail when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Having proper rain gear is absolutely essential when heading into the backcountry. It’s a piece of gear you should have in your backpack throughout the year, regardless of the forecast. A wet hiker in the mountains or deep in the backcountry can quickly turn into a hypothermic hiker.
How to Choose Hiking Rain Gear & Stay Dry When Hiking -- powered by ExpertVillage.com
If you’re in the market for new rain gear, let me offer a couple of suggestions.
If you wish to purchase a complete rainsuit, check out the Ibex Rainsuit from Columbia Sportswear. Columbia Sportswear guarantees that the Ibex Rainsuit will keep you dry in the most torrential of downpours. Constructed of 100% waterproof PVC with welded seams, the Ibex's authentic fit and 100% nylon backing will keep you as comfortable as can be while front and back mesh vents provide a bit of ventilation. This rainsuit isn't breathable, but it is extremely functional.
Ibex Rainsuits have an attached hood that comes with a visor and drawcord. They also have a snap-closed storm flap over the front zipper, and an open bottom with a drawcord. The Ibex Rainsuit is available in both men’s and women’s sizes, and are sold at very reasonable prices.
If you only need a jacket, I highly recommend the Columbia Sportswear Thunderstorm Jacket.
Several months ago I purchased the Columbia Sportswear Thunderstorm Jacket. So far, I’ve had only one chance to wear it. It did, however, receive a fairly good test on that one occasion. I was hiking in the Flattops Wilderness Area in Colorado this summer when we got caught by a surprise thunderstorm which forced us to hike four miles in steady to heavy rain. My upper body remained completely dry and I never felt chilled from the cool breeze. I was very pleased with the performance of the jacket and was happy that I made the upgrade from a competitor product.
The Thunderstorm Jacket is a waterproof, breathable jacket which also resists internal condensation, allowing you to stay dry in any conditions. The Omni-Tech technology provides premium waterproof/breathable protection by using microporous membranes which keeps water from penetrating the fabric, yet allows perspiration to escape. Columbia also seals all seams on the jacket.
Equinox Nylon Poncho
If you decide you ultimately want to go the poncho route, check out the Equinox Nylon Poncho. This might be a good option if you need to throw something over yourself and your backpack if caught in a surprise storm. Keep in mind though, if the storm includes wind, it can be difficult keeping the poncho from blowing around. Furthermore, the poncho won’t keep you warm should temperatures drop.
Made from extremely water repellent 1.9 ounce urethane coated rip-stop nylon, the Equinox Nylon Poncho includes an additional 14 inches of coverage in the back of the poncho to allow for backpack protection. Integrated snaps allow the extension to be folded neatly in place and out of your way when you aren't wearing a backpack. The full cut of the Nylon Poncho is longer than regular ponchos designed to provide full protection. A comfortably-sized hood draws snug to further protect against wind and precipitation. Reinforced, rust-resistant snaps form openings at the wrist and secure the sides of the Nylon Poncho.
For more in-depth information on any of the products discussed in this article, or to see the full selection of all our rain and hiking gear, please visit the Smoky Mountain Day Hikers Store.
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