Rain Gear

The next item in our look at the Ten Essentials is rain gear. It is item 4 on the Boy Scout list, falls under item 4 (extra clothing) on the classic Mountaineers list, and, on the updated mountaineers list could count under item 3 (insulation a.k.a. extra clothing) or, as we’ll touch upon, item 10 (emergency shelter). We will take a look at the two most popular options.

Defined at Dictionary.com as “a waterproof or water-repellent coat worn as protection against rain,” raincoat is an Americanism from between 1820 and 1830 combining “rain” and coat.” Many backpackers will add a matching pair of rain pants to keep their lower body dry during extended periods of hiking in the rain.

Defined at Dictionary.com as “a blanketlike cloak with a hole in the center to admit the head,originating in South America, now often worn as a raincoat” poncho comes from American Spanish or Araucanian between 1710 and 1720.

In a pinch, a standard poncho can be used as an emergency shelter. Several companies have started offering large ponchos which are intended to be used full-time as a lightweight shelter. There are certainly pros and cons to this approach, but it is a function-stacking option.

In the FamilyTrivium household, we tend to prefer relatively lightweight rain jackets composed of a woven synthetic fabric backed by a waterproof breathable membrane. These are offered with a variety of features from a variety of manufacturers at  variety of costs from a variety of merchants. Yes, there is quite a bit of variety.

Right now, Mr. FamilyTrivium is sporting a Paradox brand jacket that he picked up from Costco for very little money. It isn’t the lightest weight, but it’s the lightest one he’s ever owned and has the features he requires – most importantly: the characteristic of keeping him dry.

The youngest member of the household is using a Campmor brand kids jacket that was purchased from that merchant for, probably, a little more money than what Mr. FamilyTrivium’s jacket cost, but it still represents good quality and a great overall value. Part of keeping kids happy in the outdoors is keeping them comfortable and rain gear is one component in accomplishing this mission.

If you would like to share your preference on rain gear, please feel free to sound off in the comments.


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