I received an email from a reader asking for advice on how to stay dry on her upcoming trip. When shopping for rain gear, the options and price ranges can be overwhelming. I’ll publish my reply in hopes that it can help others in their rain gear search.
Thanks for reaching out! I’d be happy to help. I have plenty of experience getting soaked by torrential downpours. There are two primary types of rain jackets, coatings and laminates. The type you choose will depend on a couple factors. First, how much rain are you expecting? If you are expecting quick showers that don’t last more than an hour, coated jackets are much cheaper, lighter, and are usually more breathable. If you are expecting lots of rain for indefinite periods of time, coatings can become saturated and lose their ability to repel water. For these situations you will want a laminate (think Gore-Tex) rain jacket.
My go-to jacket for backpacking is a Helly Hansen DWR-coated jacket similar to the one in the first link below. It’s very durable and (usually) keeps me very dry. On a recent backpacking trip, when we experienced unending rain for hours, it completely soaked through (you can read more about that here: Wet Backpacking Trip). The next step up from that is a Gore-Tex lined North Face jacket highlighted in the second link below. It’s heavier, more expensive, and less breathable, but it can survive the hours of rain. I hope this has been helpful!
(They sell female versions of both the below jackets)
(I am not affiliated with either of these brands)
Questions? Comments? Do you have recommendations for great rain gear? Leave them in the comments below! Remember, you can also submit questions or article ideas directly to me at Alex@AtlasAlex.com
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by calling this the “Idiot’s Guide” or anything of the sort, but I will try to keep this series specific and easy to understand. The first task for your adventure will be to decide what your goal is. There are many different ways to enjoy the outdoors. These posts will primarily deal with hiking and backpacking.
A few different ways to enjoy the outdoors on foot are listed below:
- Day Hiking – Traditionally, day hikes involve driving to a parking lot, hiking a few trails, hopping in your car and driving home. This can be an excellent way to get started. Some day-hikers still carry small packs filled with drinks, snacks, or other supplies for the day of hiking.
- Backpacking – Backpacking usually involves carrying everything that you will need for an overnight or extended stay on your back during a hike. This can allow backpackers to cover much longer trails or just take their time on the trail by spending the night.
- Peak Bagging – This is more specialized term and can be either backpacking or day hiking. It is typically used to refer to climbing a summit. This can be done in one or more days, with or without a backpack.
- Slack Packing – Slack Packing is a mix of Day Hiking and Backpacking. Slack-packers typically try to tackle longer, backpacking trails, but without carrying a backpack or staying on the trail overnight. Slack -packers will typically carry a small day pack, hike as much of the trail as they can in one day, then leave the trail and go home or to a hotel. The next day, they will return to the same point in the trail and resume their hike.
You don’t have to limit yourself to only a single type of hiking, but choosing your goal or how you would like to get started can help you narrow down the specialized gear you will need.
Stay tuned for additional articles about getting started in backpacking!
If you’d like some additional reading on gear definitions check out this article on the “Big Three” from a fellow outdoor blogger.
Gear can be overwhelming!
Where do I Start?
A friend of mine and follower of this blog recently reached out to me to ask if I had advice for getting started in hiking/backpacking. He wanted to know if I had considered publishing some articles as a “Getting Started Guide.” I hadn’t really considered it, but thought it was a great idea.
Knowing what to bring on your first wilderness trek can be extremely overwhelming. I’ve been doing this for twenty years and have had the privilege of a very outdoorsy father to help me learn the art of the outdoors. So keep an eye out for the next series on getting started in the outdoors to be published in the coming weeks.
If you have other ideas, questions, or articles you would like to see, email me at Alex@AtlasAlex.com