Homer's Travels: A Question For The Hikers: Rain Gear

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Question For The Hikers: Rain Gear

I have a question for the hikers, however few there are, who read Homer's Travels.  When hiking a long trail with a backpack, what do you carry for rain protection?  I know you have an opinion GeekHiker since you like hiking in the rain.

I've thought about this a bit and I see about three options:
  1. Jacket for the hiker and pack cover for the backpack.  The advantage to this method would be, when I'm at my destination (an hostel or hotel as I'm not a camper), I can leave my pack in the room and go out in comfort with a jacket.  The disadvantage, as far as I can tell, there is nothing stopping the rain from going between the hiker and the pack which, I would think, would soak the pack.
  2. Backpack Poncho (also known as poncho with extensions).  This is a poncho that covers both the hiker and the backpack.  This would seem to provide more coverage.  When not wearing the pack the extra poncho material can be snapped to make a regular poncho.  The only problem is, would a poncho work when out and about the town?
  3. An umbrella.  This doesn't seem like a realistic option to me but apparently some people use them while hiking.  They attach the umbrella to their pack or, sometimes, one of their pack's strap so it can be used hands free.  I would think this would be a heavy option not suitable for long hikes.
So, what do you think?  Is there another option I didn't think of?  I think I'm leaning towards the poncho option but I'd like to hear some opinions before I pull the trigger.


  1. OMG you should totally get someone to be your umbrella handler. While you're at it, they can carry your backpack too, so you can be completely free to hiker anyway you please. :)

    Hey, it works for celebrities! ;)

  2. Depending on temperature, a raincoat: That way you would be able to cover the backpack and yourself? The poncho seems to be a bit of a hassle to me. Otherwise, jacket.

    Besides, there certainly are waterproof backpacks available.

  3. I guess it all depends on conditions. If you're going through a torrential downpour, and expect to be in it for quite some time, I would go with the poncho, army-style. If you're going to be in a place where the weather is constantly changing (i.e. raining one minute, then sunny and warm an hour later), or going indoors and outdoors a lot, I'd go with the jacket and maybe pack cover.

    Generally speaking, when hiking in the rain, I just use a jacket. My backpack is waterproof enough to last (maybe some leaks around the zippers, but that's about it), and very little water gets between the jacket and the pack. Usually a poncho is something that packs small enough you can throw one in should a Biblical flood happen to arise...

  4. Miss McC: Maybe I can hire you!

    Godefrey, GH: Your opinions seem to agree with most of the discussions I've found on the intertubes. In other words, the answer is: depends.

    I'll have to think about it some more.

    My backpack is supposed to be waterproof but, frankly, I don;t have the guts to gamble with it.