Rain Jacket for NZ conditions
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Hi everyone, I'm in the market for a new rain jacket since my old one from Kathmandu is starting to fall apart after many years of use. I'm moving to Wellington in January (currently in Sydney), and will be joining the Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club. Based on that I think my staple trip will be Tararuas, but I also want to do trips to Tongariro and Taranaki, and more alpine stuff on the south island once I gain the necessary experience. With all that in mind, I've been looking at the rain jackets available from Macpac, and am really unsure what to get! Below is a breakdown of the jackets I've been looking at. Macpac Lightweight Prophet Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 480g, marketed as an alpine hardshell. Gets great reviews on the Australian website, sounds like a great jacket but quite expensive. Macpac Traverse Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 340g, marketed as an allround rain jacket. Macpac Copland Long Rain Jacket: Weighs 650g, covers down past the waist, marketed as a jacket for staying warm and dry while hiking. Seems heavy to me, but may be worth it if it replaces waterproof pants. Macpac Resolution Pertex Rain Jacket: Weighs 620g, covers down past the waist, marketed as a jacket for stormy weather. Again seems heavy, but might be worth it. I am conscious of the weight of the longer jackets, so I would only seriously consider them if they replaced waterproof trousers in conjunction with knee-length gaiters. I've got the following questions for you guys: How much of the time (generally) do you wear your rain jackets in NZ conditions? If you wear them most of the time then the heavier weight of the long jackets might not matter. How much of the time do you wear gaiters? I assume most of the time in the Tararuas, not sure about Tongariro and Taranaki or other alpine environments. Is there a significant difference between a 'rain jacket' and a 'hard shell'? I know some of the differences in theory but not sure how they translate in practice. I do want to do alpine stuff so not sure how much of a difference that makes. I'm quite happy to fork out for a good jacket if I know it will last a while and be the right jacket for my use. I thought it might help to get input from some of you experienced in NZ conditions. Cheers!
I've had both Copeland and Resolution jackets - prefer the Resolution but both are good. Imo, you need to ditch (pun intended) the idea of staying dry; in NZ or Aus. A good jacket will keep you dry in a short shower but in a decent downpour you'll be wet - as much from perspiration as rain. The jacket's function is as a wind shield; to keep you warm. The additional weight is worth it - the lightweight jackets don't last long if you are wearing a pack. The length works for me - and I also carry overpants. I used to walk in shorts but UV awareness has me in longs these days. As to gaiters, I wear them (long) but more a preference think, I think. In Aus it's crucial but no snakes in NZ. Good decision, btw, to pick up experience through a club - a pity more aren't as sensible (imo, of course).
the more you tramp the more you'll need your rain jacket depends how fussy you are about the weather you're willing to tramp in,and where you tramp regarding altitude, but you cant depend completely on a weather forecast. I prefer to get something with pit zips under the arms and or vented pockets to help let sweat out Outdoor research at bivouac have those, some Rab jackets do, some north face and marmot also, hardshells are generally more heavy duty than rain jackets, the material resists abrasion better, usually desinged for alpine conditons, and generally a three layer more durable design but heavier than rain jackets. hardshells more expensive, sometimes called stormshells. hardhsells you pay a premium for more expensive breathable membrane but the main advantage is a good warranty rather than any real benefit from more breathability, its marketing hype as when its raining, no membrane lets moisture out. length helps in warmer weather when you're wearing shorts to a certain extent. but theres the extra weight to cart around.
gaiters I never used to wear them until I joined HVTC but wear them most of the time now. If walking rivers the reduction in stones in the boots is worth it. All the old timers will tell you to pay extra for canvas ones as they breathe better but Ive only ever had coated nylon and its only been when very hot that they have got unbearably sweaty. As for parka. The revues are your only friend. I havnt a clue how pertex stacks up against gortex etc but even within each type of membrane there are different sub types. Search both the jacket type and the fabric type for the best guess of how it will work
I wear gaiters all the time. - Good at stopping leaves/snow/gravel getting in boots - with goretex lined boots once gravel gets between goretex & leather you'll never get it out:new boots time or blisters for ever. - protect shins from vegetation, ice (when breaking through crusty snow) and for me stops skin grass-allergies on legs - reduces amount of water that gets into boots. - very rarely need thermal or waterproof leggings. With thigh length coat keeping shorts dry(ish) and leggings protecting legs you're pretty well covered. I sweat really badly in gaiters made of anything but canvas and have increased issues with problems arising from damp feet with them too. But most people I see are in goretex and other plastic-derived outdoor brands and seem to cope with them better than me. Sturdy cheap canvas gaiters are sold at farm supply shops. I've used Wilkins Saddlery ones for years, currently available from PGG though only in large. === Coats: I go for thigh length any time. So much more protection on exposed tops and dry shorts as a bonus. Can't comment on any macpac products. I've used earth-sea-sky hydrophobia for a few years now and found them great. But know others who've found them to let water straight through from day 1 so there may be / have been some quality control issues.
Take a look at some of the hunting shops like hunting and fishing. good choice and lots of different styles. Some gear is better suited to the great outdoors than the fashion gear that the likes of some of the macpac stuff. Looking for a jacket myself and so far like the look of Stoney creek stowit. good reviews and comes in youth,ladies sizes as well. $135 makes me like it more.Problem with jackets you get wet from sweat inside, mate has a flash goretex kathmandu on special coat and he said he his no dryer than when he used wherehouse super thing (some cheepo no name rain coat) which we use to take the mickey out of but he had it a long time and used it a lot and gave him good service.
Yes, indeed, gaiters *must* be breathable - hard-wearing canvas is best but heavy, compared to ngx-type from Crapmandu, which works for me.
"no dryer than when he used wherehouse super thing (some cheepo no name rain coat) which we use to take the mickey out of but he had it a long time and used it a lot and gave him good service." I know the jacket and may well go back to one when the current jacket fails. The blue nylon on pvc jacket. Dont worry about breathability. There is none but it aint going to leak if hit by a fire hose either. Its a little heavy but packs small and its washing instructions include the use of a scrubbing brush. The one I used to use has been in the back of the 4wd for 10 years now and I had to straighten the zip toggle after it got wedged under my recovery box
The hunting gear can be a little heavier weight than tramping gear, but is also designed to be practical. My current Hunters Element has huge armpit zips, good pockets & hood. Hood doesn't have an out-of-sight non-use compartment, but the coat functions exactly how I want it when I need it. May take you a few goes to find your own favourite, depending on what you value ?. Can be an eye opener to take a look thru your local Gun City or Hunting & Fishing store and see what else is available outside of the usual tramping range.
On rain jacket use: I use it simply as wind shield a lot. So when it's too hot for the down jacket, but need something over my base layer, the rain jacket often works nicely. I have an Outdoor Research Helium 2, the wife has a Marmot Essence, both very similar.
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