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  1. #1

    Default Umbrella or Rain Gear? NOBO starting May 1st.

    Umbrella or rain gear for NOBO starting May 1st?

    I'm doing one or another, not both.

    Reasons for or against?

  2. #2

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    The last two AT section hikes I've done in Georgia and North Carolina have been in May and I went the umbrella route and had no regrets. I don't use trekking poles so having my hands free to hold an umbrella is not an issue. In significant rains (particularly wind driven rains) any rain jacket or pants I have tried have wetted out fairly quickly and don't provide much more warmth than a light wind shirt. If wind gusts are really bad I don't use the umbrella -- I tend to take shelter in conditions like those.
    Last edited by map man; 04-21-2017 at 08:14.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  3. #3
    Registered User Huli's Avatar
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    I am doing SoBo this year, umbrella and wind shirt. The wind shirt is water resistant patagonia Houdini. Just be sure your bottom half has at least fast dry.

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    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Rain gear is a windproof layer that will keep you alive in a pinch. You will hit cold weather eventually.

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I have tried the umbrella, didn't work so well for me.

    1. Can't carry an umbrella and use two hiking sticks. I could never get the umbrella to stay put when attached to my shoulder strap.
    2. Much of the rain on the trail is violent thunderstorms with high winds, and umbrellas don't do so great in those conditions.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6

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    Rain gear is a much better compromise for me. Protection from rain and wind, warmer when cold, can wear when doing laundry.

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    Registered User ggreaves's Avatar
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    Umbrella and your wind jacket will work fine. For the bottom, try a rain kilt. very lightweight and keeps everything ventilated down there.

  8. #8

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    There are areas on the trail where you simply couldn't pass through with an umbrella - low hanging branches are gonna snag/tear it. I cannot imagine trying to hike with one & keep my balance, either. Town use, maybe.

  9. #9

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    If you can work out a reliable attachment to your pack, the umbrella is awesome. I was able to put the base of the umbrella in the built in strap pocket, and secured it a few inches higher with a bit of stretchy cord and cordlock. Have a backup bit of cord/and cordlock as you'll almost certainly lose one.

    Went through the snow in the Smokies with an umbrella and rain shirt. My right arm got soaked, but I was overall warm.

    I have glasses, so my option in even a light mist is a wide brimmed hat, or an umbrella. The hat is fine, but can be really hot, the umbrella is really quite comfortable on warmer days, and even just for the sun. I boil in rain jackets.

  10. #10
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    Easy to go through tight places with an umbrella. There is a button on them that will collapse the umbrella. Then it's only as wide as your pack and just a hair higher than you are. .. I attach mine with shock cord. I walk hands free all day. .. Making a set up for the seat on my kayak so I can attach one on it too.... A light weight rain jacket is nice to have to supplement the system. As others have mentioned, a jacket is just part of a system......

  11. #11
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    For a May 1 start I'd take the umbrella. For a March-April start I'd take rain gear.

    Umbrellas are really handy to have. You don't really-really need rain gear by mid-June since you're basically getting a free shower and an umbrella is plenty.

  12. #12

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    You people just can't make up your minds.

  13. #13
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chasebrooklyn View Post
    You people just can't make up your minds.
    And that's why we say HYOH. There's no "right" or "best" way. There's only the way you choose.

    I didn't comment earlier because I haven't had a lot of experience with my umbrella. We took umbrellas when we went through the Whites last July, mainly for shade above treeline. They were very helpful on a couple of days when the wind was light enough to use them. So it really depends on where, and when. If, for example, I were hiking through the Smokies on the AT in summer, I'd DEFINITELY use the umbrella. In that case, not so much for shade as for protection from rain when a rainjacket would be unbearably hot.

  14. #14
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I use a Packa for rain protection. It eliminates buying a Rain Jacket and Pack Cover. YMMV.
    Blackheart

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    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    I spent a week on the AT in GA/NC first week in April during those monsoons. Had Frogg Toggs, still got soaked (I guess from sweat?). Talked to a few people with that expensive OR Helium jacket, they wetted out too. Saw one guy with an umbrella, asked him about his experience, and he highly recommended it.

    I'm going with a windbreaker and umbrella next time I section. I can also use my windbreaker during light rain or cold breezy conditions. I can actually hike in it and not overheat.

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    Try the Packa. It was great on my thru hike this year

  17. #17

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    Umbrellas and rain gear serve one common goal but two different functions. The umbrella shields ones head and shoulders from rain (more when conditions are perfect) gust driven rain will be problematic. Rain gear shields one from rain body wide (presuming rain pants or kilt are used) and keep the body warm even when the body is wet from weather or sweat.

    While umbrellas are handy with showers and "nuisance rain" at 3,000 feet hypothermia is a very real concern with a blowing sheet rain, temperatures sliding through the 50's, and all you have is an umbrella that has to face into wind with significant and sudden directional changes. I will sometimes use both an umbrella and pack rain gear with the weight penalty being rather low however, if faces the the either/or choice I will always go with rain gear. Hypothermia can be a problem at 60 degrees when you are wet and shelter is scarce, umbrellas won't do a lot for you in that circumstance.

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    Click's Avatar
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    For two weeks I've been reading the "Flossie & Gray Squirrel" journal. They have umbrellas fastened to their pack - my guess is that 75% of the time the umbrellas worked fine for mist and non-windy rain. They also had rain gear on top with shorts/skirt on the bottom for the other 25% of the time. They have been happy with the set up.
    "To walk, to see and to see what you see." - ​Benton MacKaye

    WhiteBlaze.net HammockForums.net Click''s Trail Journal

  19. #19
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I always carry an umbrella, but it's not a replacement for rain gear, so the answer you didn't want to get is the right answer: both.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    I always carry an umbrella, but it's not a replacement for rain gear, so the answer you didn't want to get is the right answer: both.
    I would also add that an umbrella can be combined with a rain skirt and wind shirt for a pretty robust rain system. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

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