Thursday, October 1, 2009

Guide to Waterproof Jackets

With the cool fall weather, many people are finally able to go outside and take a hike. Some of you may be planning to take a trip or trek during autumn, and the one item that is essential during this time of the year is a reliable waterproof jacket. As a frugal backpacker and hiker, I can tell you from experience that a trash bag or poncho just does not work. They make you sweat like nothing else and provide little warmth in the winter- not to mention they puncture easily! Likewise, a Walmart jacket will not serve you any better, especially if you sweat a lot. Taking the time to find a good quality jacket will reap its rewards tenfold when you are out on the trail trekking through a fall storm but remain dry.

Webtogs (outdoor gear specialist) has recently launched a video guide to waterproof jackets. The host explains the most important aspects of a waterproof jacket that need to be considered when making a purchase. Since not all outdoor activities are the same, not all waterproof jackets can be treated alike either. This stress on what type of activity you will be engaging in while wearing the coat is essential, because it determines what you need. For example, a hiker will benefit from a long coat while a climber will need a small coat that is close to their body so that movement is not restricted.

Some other elements discussed in the video include:
  • Fabric- Why it makes a difference and what to look for. You don't want to be sweating like a pig! Look for membrane that lets water vapor through but stops the rain from coming in.
  • Features- What to look for in hoods, zippers and pockets. Since fall temperatures can fluctuate, a good pit zip should also be considered to allow airflow into the jacket while blocking most of the rain. I loved the idea of making sure you have a front chest pocket to store your map in!
Although buying quality gear can be more expensive, it's certainly worth it in the long run. When you're climbing the Appalachian Mountains and are caught in a downpour, you'll see what I mean. You can't put a price on dryness in the back-country! As I've said before- "Good gear is gear that you can count on even in the worst of times".

For more gear reviews, click here.

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