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  1. #1
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    Default Rain Jacket vs. Umbrella ( or both?)

    Iíve got both. Iíve used both. I like both. Iím well aware of the pluses & minuses of going with an Umbrella on the AT. Iíll be heading out to Central Virginia in mid April and Iím thinking of going strictly umbrella. My question & concern is whether to leave the jacket at home or take both. I donít need the extra weight, but do I need the rain jacket for warmth? For town? For hanging out at camp? Iíll be layering as usual, so I probably donít need the rain jacket & Iím just being extra cautious.

    What do all of you Umbrella users do? FYI, mine is an original GoLite w/ the GG attachments.

    Iím sure Iíll be fine without the jacket, but leaving the old comfort zone can be difficult.

    Thanks for the input.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Neither
    PONCHO. Use as tarp in an emergency.
    Wayne

  3. #3
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    I started using an umbrella about 5 years ago but still carry a jacket also. For me, the umbrella is great for those days with frequent straight down rain where donning a jacket would require stopping and removing your pack. I find it useless in any amount of wind or overgrown trails and that's where I still need a jacket in cooler weather. I don't summer hike much but that's the only time I might consider ditching the jacket.

  4. #4

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    FWIW - the rain jacket. Umbrellas can be nice for straight down light rain, however wind driven rain can be a problem. A rain jacket with hood helps shed water and helps retains body warmth, which is more important from a hypothermic stand point.

  5. #5
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I carry both - to handle a variety of conditions. Neither on its own is going to cut it IMO. I have yet to find a rain jacket that doesn't wet out PDQ, and the umbrella combined with a windshirt or rain jacket - depending on conditions - works super well for me. I find the brolly useful in the wind, too. The umbrella covers the area between back and pack, and leaves plenty of breathing room, no hat or hood needed. My standard kit is a frogg toggs jacket (c'mon, $20 at Walmart) and an umbrella. I had a Marmot precip, which seems to be a favorite, and thought it was useless.

  6. #6

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    First, umbrella comes out, and usually it is all you need. Then comes out jacket, then (rarely) come out rainpants. Umbrella is critical because it avoids the problem of condensation. If you've ever used a poncho you know what I'm talking about--what an unacceptable mess.

  7. #7
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    Watch a few YouTube vlogs by hikers with and without umbrellas, and see who tolerates the rain better!

  8. #8
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    I think I’ll take both. I’ve got a 9 ounce Jacket, so that will be my weight burden & I’ll have it if needed.
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  9. #9
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I don't want to hijack the thread, but watching the vlogs that youtubers post on bad weather days can be enlightening. Everything is great on cool, sunny days, but observing how they and their equipment handle cold, wet weather can be an eye-opener. I intentionally go hiking in the crap sometimes to be sure my stuff stays dry in an all day rain, and that my sleep setup will handle all night rain or snow and keep me dry and comfortable in the temps I expect it to.

    Nobody I know ever got to camp and complained about their stuff being dry again.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    I think Iíll take both. Iíve got a 9 ounce Jacket, so that will be my weight burden & Iíll have it if needed.
    Wise choice, IMO.
    An umbrella sounds good in some respects(same times we hate being stuck wearing rain gear), but in rain with windy conditions, overgrown trails, or ones with obstacles, it has zero chance of keeping you dry.
    If I was ever to try one again, it would likely be in the desert, attached to my pack, for sun protection.
    There's no desert in VA that I'm aware of, but the little bit of AT I've hiked in that state(near Damascus) was heavily used and well-maintained, so more conducive to using one than a lot of other places. But it's also gotten quite windy everywhere I've hiked there and nearby in NC and TN, so I personally can't see it as a viable solution in any of them. Not a full-time solution, anyway.
    It would be great to have one in camp sometimes, though!

  11. #11
    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    I often carry both. One other use I have found is for fire building (I am a backpacker, canoeist, camper, etc...) The umbrella creates a nice dry spot under which a fire can be built. As the fire gets going, the umbrella is lifted higher... For those who only do ld backapcking, this might never be of use. But as I mentioned, I do all types of adventuring.

  12. #12
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GolfHiker View Post
    I think I’ll take both. I’ve got a 9 ounce Jacket, so that will be my weight burden & I’ll have it if needed.
    That's what I would do "CYA" !!

  13. #13
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    While this topic seems to be solved already, I still would like to give my input:
    In the early years of my hiking life, I carried an umbrella, but finally lost it somehow and never replaced it. It was of no help against heavier rain, and was too sensitive against wind.
    The umbella helped only if the hiking was more like walking in the vicinity of civilisation.

    Nowadays I will carry one of two rainjackets I own (the heavier one for serious winter conditions, the lighter one the other 3 seasons), and if there is serious rain in the forecast I'd carry a poncho plus chaps in addition to the jacket.
    Main reason being, that the jacket alone would leave the backpack unprotected, while the poncho goes over the pack thus protecting it perfectly.

  14. #14
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    While this topic seems to be solved already, I still would like to give my input:
    In the early years of my hiking life, I carried an umbrella, but finally lost it somehow and never replaced it. It was of no help against heavier rain, and was too sensitive against wind.
    The umbella helped only if the hiking was more like walking in the vicinity of civilisation.

    Nowadays I will carry one of two rainjackets I own (the heavier one for serious winter conditions, the lighter one the other 3 seasons), and if there is serious rain in the forecast I'd carry a poncho plus chaps in addition to the jacket.
    Main reason being, that the jacket alone would leave the backpack unprotected, while the poncho goes over the pack thus protecting it perfectly.
    Like "cheekless " chaps? I bet that's a sight to see walking down the trail lol, just joking bro. Some of us here wear kilts but I've never heard of hiking chaps. To be honest I didn't know they existed.

  15. #15
    Registered User GolfHiker's Avatar
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    So we’ve gone from Umbrella? to “ cheekless chaps”. Gotta love the AT community!
    "How can something this hard be so much fun".

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Like "cheekless " chaps? I bet that's a sight to see walking down the trail lol, just joking bro. Some of us here wear kilts but I've never heard of hiking chaps. To be honest I didn't know they existed.
    The Cheekless Chaps are meant to be used together with a poncho, so any cheeks would be hidden well.
    They would not work with a rain jacket.

    Chaps are cheaper, lighter and less a hassle to put on than pants.

  17. #17
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    The Cheekless Chaps are meant to be used together with a poncho, so any cheeks would be hidden well.
    They would not work with a rain jacket.

    Chaps are cheaper, lighter and less a hassle to put on than pants.
    I bet it makes poop breaks alot easier. But what about bug bites on the butt?

  18. #18
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Mont-bell has the rain chaps for $35 . And I found on eBay by Equinox Full Moon chaps for $46 .
    Interesting for those interested maybe even me?
    Maybe even without the poncho

  19. #19

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    One of my favorite hiking experiences was the time I got TOTALLY DRENCHED on day one of a 3 day BMT hike in a heavy rain squall while using an umbrella.I did have a Frogg Togg with me at the time but once the rain went sideways it was a moot point to put it on and the weather was plenty warm.I carry a lightweight rain jacket with a kilt and knee high water proof gaiters now which I couple with a Snugpack Enhanced Patrol Poncho if the weather is cold enough which for me means anytime but the middle of the summer.

    I like the concept of the umbrella and know people who have used them with great success but it looks like I won't ever be a member of that club.

  20. #20
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I carry both...
    The rain jacket is very versatile, wind breaker, a little extra warmth when you rest, a way to get warm and still let your clothes dry underneath at camp (assuming breathable). Umbrella is great (when you can use it) to keep your core relatively dry while providing maximum ventilation while hiking (I can only hike in a rain jacket if it's cold enough to keep you from sweating while hiking with it).

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