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Rain Gear I Used On My Appalachian Trail Thru Hike

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I went through a couple different options as far as rain gear goes on my Appalachian Trail thru hike. Some worked better than others. Some stayed with me the whole trail. Others not. I wanted to make this video to quickly go through the options I tested out and what I liked or disliked about each. I hope you find it at least somewhat helpful in helping you choose the rain gear for your thru hike attempt or just everyday hiking trips! Gear shown in this video: Outdoors Research Helium ii - http://amzn.to/2koNKt5 Frogg Toggs Poncho - http://amzn.to/2BUHH6S EMS Thunderhead Rain Jacket - www.ems.com Zpacks Pack Cover & Rain Kilt - www.zpacks.com Trash Bag liner - any trash bag…. I record these videos with: Panasonic G85 - http://amzn.to/2xVsR2b Panasonic 7-14 f4 - http://amzn.to/2hRSeHX Panasonic 20mm f1.7 - http://amzn.to/2iPJ27Y Rode Video Micro - http://amzn.to/2yybyni Joby Gorilla Pod - http://amzn.to/2Bi02LD Manfrotto BeFree Tripod and Fluid Head - http://amzn.to/2AufoPr Zoom H1 - http://amzn.to/2Aqe39W Full disclosure - Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you click on them and end up making a purchase a small portion will go to me, at no additional cost to you, and thus back into this channel Consider liking commenting and subscribing. https://goo.gl/PAzqRh Follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/chrisgoesoutdoors Check out some of my video playlists: Hiking Playlist: https://goo.gl/ya1RVp DIY Playlist: https://goo.gl/mX2Rxb Upgrading my Hiking Gear: https://goo.gl/wQuq5Y YouTube Channel Upgrades: https://goo.gl/BHNXZj
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Text Comments (62)
Andy Timinsky (17 days ago)
Wait you used a compactor bag and pack cover!? Pshhhhh. Only joking.. I used the same on my PCT thru. I’m contemplating on a pancho for the CDT.. 🤔 Andy aka Olive
ChrisGoesOutdoors (17 days ago)
I also had a variety of dry bags. Ultralight blasphemy for sure haha. I really liked having the extra protection especially with all the electronic gear. I probably would not take the Zpacks pack cover next time. I ordered a medium and it didnt actually fully fit the Arc Haul. I am more than likely going to order one of dutchwaregears pack covers. around 2oz and $26 shipped to my door. Buddy of mine picked one up and its perfect for a pack like the arc haul or the granite gear VC 60 ive been using lately. I loved the Poncho on the AT. My worry would be stuff above treeline but maybe carrying a wind jacket with may work out well for that on the CDT. I would also probably add some sort of shock cord waist band for heavy wind areas personally. Poncho life is legit!
Tracy Kooken (30 days ago)
And that just touchs some of the uses of a pack cover
Steve Davis (1 month ago)
Is the Appalachian trail similar to the " East-West/ West- East Canada Full on Hiking Trail ??
Keith Bryant (1 month ago)
This is the first vid of yours I’ve watched. Very well done, informative and most importantly you seem very transparent about your experience with gear. I got here by searching hikers’ experience with frogg toggs. I have a top and bottom, they are outsized to fit over layers but I’ve barely used them. At the price, I was convinced they couldn’t possibly be effective in prolonged exposure ie walking all day in continuous rain. I live in the Deep South, so most of my hiking is three season excluding summer. I especially like hiking in the coldest of winter, so overheating and sweating profusely is less of a concern. So, here’s the question. Since my rain jacket has essentially died, I’m considering replacing my system with the frogg toggs and an umbrella. Are they really that effective and will the umbrella be necessary?
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 month ago)
I think you will be perfectly fine with just a frogg toggs if you are going with the frogg toggs jacket. If you are going with just the poncho I think you will be mostly fine as long as you are not above tree line or in really windy exposed areasa often. That is the only time I had an issue with the poncho. The jacket is a solid performer for the money, but not the most durable. But in general I think the Frogg Toggs should suffice well. Thanks for watching Keith!
Francis C (4 months ago)
Funny looking up frogs toggs reviews for this exact reason. Got a North Face venture and I sweat like a demon I don't even bother with it cause I get saturated underneath. It works great in the winter but from spring to fall it's beat. I'm getting one this week. You told me exactly what I needed to know.
wind walker (9 months ago)
great video. thanks!
ChrisGoesOutdoors (9 months ago)
Thanks for watching!
Tullochgorum (9 months ago)
There's a big industry built around the promise of breathable fabrics. But it's based on marketing hype - there is no waterproof fabric in the known world that will cope with your sweat when you're working hard in humid and temperate weather. Venting is the answer, together with the right kind of base layer.
Tullochgorum (9 months ago)
Here's the thing. The real answer is about having a clothing system and using it skillfully, together with realistic expectations about what's achievable and what you have to just suck up if you want to be out there. But you can't wrap that up in a simplistic marketing message, so you get the snake oil promising a brain-dead solution if you just stump up the big $$$. Here's the best thing I know on the web, by someone who really walks the walk. Clear thinking. check out his writing on the soft shell hype as well. https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/the_truth_about_breathable_waterproofs
ChrisGoesOutdoors (9 months ago)
Agreed it's all shenanigans. The venting is why I loved the poncho so much. The pitzips on that ems jacket were great too but the poncho was by far my more preferred option. Found in hotter weather it was just better to get wet but in colder weather i found wearing my micro grid fleece underneath usually helped mitigate sweat and keep me relatively dry.
NOBO Takoda (10 months ago)
The ems jacket was my first real jacket. Loved it! Didn't realize they still made it.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (10 months ago)
It's a solid jacket. Pretty sure it's on sale regularly for like $60!
NOBO Takoda (10 months ago)
Thanks for the perfect video. I'm only halfway in it atm but the poncho looks to be the route I'll go. I wonder if maybe the bear cord or something could help with the wind
ChrisGoesOutdoors (10 months ago)
If you check out this video or most of my other videos there are usually amazon links to things that I get a small portion of whatever you buy from that shopping session. So let's say you click on the frog toggs poncho link even if you don't buy the poncho but you end up getting whatever else I that session it would give me a percentage of the sale as I sent you to Amazon. So ya feel free to click away haha. My newest videos all have a direct to Amazon link in the description too. So it brings u right to the Amazon home page but under my affiliate link. Shop away. But only if you actually need stuff! Thanks for watching!
NOBO Takoda (10 months ago)
ChrisGoesOutdoors really digging on your videos. Any links you provide for needed gear I'll use to support your channel and your hiking bro! I'm attempting to thru hike the A.T in a few weeks. NOBO all the way!!!
ChrisGoesOutdoors (10 months ago)
I think cord around the waist definitely would have helped the cause for sure. I really dig the poncho vibe over the jacket for like 90% of cases. So airy yet still keeps you dry
Mentes Livres (11 months ago)
I'm definitely getting one of those skirts, I'm gonna thru hike the PCT this year and I'll be free balling all the way to Canada!!!!
ChrisGoesOutdoors (11 months ago)
Careful with that. The Zpacks one is very see through. Though, I suppose, if that is your intention then.....? Let em fly hahaha couple other companies make solid black ones out of silnylon though! No see through problems there!
Snow Leopard (1 year ago)
great vid. you mention sweating a couple of times and this is my biggest concern trying a section or thru hike. have you done a vid on how to deal with that?
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
I have not done a video on it unfortunately. There is honestly no way I found to really combat sweat besides being wet 😕. Even with great ventilation when you are still working hard on the trail you will still sweat. Having pit zips or the air flow of the poncho help make it a little more comfortable but unfortunately there is no way to really stop it. Thanks for watching!
Phil C (1 year ago)
Good call on carrying a pack cover my friend. On my thru I didn't have one and wish I had. My Arc Haul began leaking after three to four months. When back home I wanted to know why it didn't hold up. Sleuthing the internet I found Dyneema X Gridstop fabric (used on the Arc Haul) has a Polyurethane backside coating (pack inside) and DWR finish on top (pack outside). Like all PU coatings and DWR finishes they eventually wear out. I had a Cuben pack liner so luckily nothing important got wet, but it sure was annoying when the pack 'wet out' and felt a little heavier every time it rained. To be fair a full thru-hike is an awful lot of miles though, and at least the pack was still functional if not waterproof. Cuben packs are usually pretty worn after a thru-hike too. PS- I was able to restore the waterproofing (water-resistance) of my Arc Haul after the hike. It seems to be as good if not better than new again. If you're interested how I went about it, I can post it.
Phil C (1 year ago)
you can test your packs water-proofness by forming a bowl shaped depression on the outside and puddling some water on the fabric. After 10 minutes check the inside for moisture.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Nice! It doesn't seem over complicated either and nicely detailed instructions. I am sure people will find this useful. Not quite sure where my packs water resistance is currently at but maybe worth doing it to mine. Appreciate it the knowledge!
Phil C (1 year ago)
I didn't re-tape the seams as they were still in pretty good shape. Sorry for the lack of brevity, but here's how I went about restoring the water-proofing. Materials: * Revivex Pro Cleaner (wash) * Revivex TentSure Tent Sealant (pu) * Revivex Durable Water Repellent (dwr) 1. Preparation * Remove everything that can be removed from the pack; i.e. hip belt, support netting, bars and rods. Enclose shoulder straps in plastic and seal off ends with rubber bands. * Turn the pack inside out. * Soak pack 2 hours in a solution of rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and water. I used 12 oz alcohol, a couple squirts of Dawn dish soap, and about 5 gallons of water. The ratio is not critical per the Revivex video I watched. Luckily the pack's original seam tape was not adversely affected by soaking it in this solution. * Scrub the pack with a soft brush to remove any old PU and water rinse. * Soak pack 5 minutes in a solution of Revivex Pro Cleaner following the product instructions. Rinse and allow 24 hours to air dry. 2. PU inside * Apply thin coat of TentSure Tent Sealant (PU) to the inside of the pack. Using a 1" foam brush press PU into the fabric and overlap it onto the seam tape by 1/8"-1/4". * Allow 24 hours to air dry. * Apply a second thin coat of TentSure Tent Sealant. * Allow 24 hours to air dry. 3. DWR outside * Turn pack rightside out and spray it with Revivex Durable Water Repellent. * Allow 48 hours to air dry
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
the inside lining of my pack started to wear away too. I was unaware of the outter DWR but it makes sense. I was going to retape the parts that came undone but Zpacks actually repaired the pack for me extremely well. My arc haul review is finished. Should be out this weekend! Did you retape the seams inside and just respray with DWR on outside?
Sam Smith (1 year ago)
Even if I were rich I wouldn't pay $50 for a pack cover on general principle lol. Got one from Dutchware for $22 that still comes in at under 2 oz. Good info, thanks
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Haha I can't really argue that one. Dutch ware one probably would've been a better choice cost to weight ratio wise!
Lucky Hiker (1 year ago)
Good information as usual Chris! Keep the vids coming.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Thanks! Was able to record and edit a few more this weekend. Hoping to knock out a few more while I'm at it!
JP JPJP (1 year ago)
Thanks for the heads up on the EMS jacket. It's exactly what i was looking for.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
its a solid jacket. On sale right now too I believe like $50!
Ted Staples (1 year ago)
I just picked up some of those ponchos, I seem to sweet in everything else. They look pretty open, did you sweat with yours?
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
I sweat in general walking across a room haha. In rain gear im always sweating but the poncho offers some impressive ventilation. Kept me quite dry from rain and minimally sweaty!
Teddy1093 (1 year ago)
Nice job great info👍
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Thanks Teddy. Appreciate it!
brett hikez (1 year ago)
Hiking in the rain sucks..you get hot and smelling like a wet dog when the water goes through it..oh well such as walking in the woods in soaking rain..great video man..i use mine as a shell in the winter sometimes ..
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Truth. When it got to the point in the summer where you didn't really need to worry about cold I typically just walked in the rain coatless. I probably should've mentioned that at some point in the video. It's a great option and kind of like a free shower!
YERMO Adan (1 year ago)
Great Video. I think ULA makes the Rain Skirt also. Yes, just checked, << it's a silicone impregnated nylon skirt>> 3 oz
Michael Barber (11 months ago)
I have the larger ULA and it's 2.7 oz. with integral stuff pouch. Great design and excellent piece of gear.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Can also get them from Enlightened Equipment, Yama Mountain Gear, Anti Gravity Gear, & Mountain Laurel Designs to name a few more!
Mary Hadaway (1 year ago)
Great review. Happy Holidays to you
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Thanks Mary. Same to you as well!
Brad Herder (1 year ago)
SO HELPFUL!  Thank you!
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
My pleasure Brad!
Bob McElroy (1 year ago)
Great vids! One thing, imho, is the pack cover. I, too have had comments about mine. My response, during hunting seasons, how much orange (pack cover) are you showing, and, it has too many other uses. During breaks, especially in tick country and rainy (I live in Florida) ground it is a great mat for the pack, and sometimes me. I always hang my pack at night, and it's a great see cover. Too many times and other uses, I would never leave without it.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
I feel you! I used mine also when hanging my pack up in say a shelter or something I would put the cover over to keep any potential critters out, or at least make it a little more difficult for them. Its definitely good for other uses than keeping rain out. At 1.5oz its essentially a no brainer for me!
azcolby40 (1 year ago)
Thanks again Chris, another well done and informative video, great ideas for rain protection
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Thanks for tuning in!
M W (1 year ago)
What size Toggs poncho did you use? Or is it one size fits all? Also do gators help keep your socks dry? Seems to be a lot of hikers don’t wear them. Awesome vid, very informational, keep up the good work. Merry Christmas!
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
The poncho came in one size from what I remember. It was enough to cover myself and backpack so they are quiet sizable. I used a pair of cloth Altra Gaiters on the trail. They definitely did not help keep your socks dry. I wore them to keep rocks out of my shoes. Its my experience that if its raining your feet are going to get wet. Embrace it! Merry Xmas to you too! Thanks for tuning in!
Dreaden (1 year ago)
I brought a Helium2 on my thru of the AT this year as well and used it the whole way. I was never dry in it but it did keep me warm while wet. Thinking of just switching to wind jacket and an umbrella.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Had a similar experience with my Helium 2. I was thinking same system actually. I picked up an umbrella from Gossamer Gear, I have a Patagonia Houdini I may try it out with or just try the Helium again but completely unzipped. Will see what happens!
M W (1 year ago)
Thanks Chris very informational. Just curious what size poncho did you choose in the Toggs? Or is it one size fits all? Love the vids keep up the great work! Merry Christmas!!
Man u put out some great vids... thank you
ChrisGoesOutdoors thanks brother for your support
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Thanks sir! Appreciate it! Good luck on the trail this year too. Adventure of a lifetime awaits. Will hopefully check out your videos!
Hey Chris, may seem like a silly question but was your trash compactor bag scented or unscented. I can only find the scented ones and am worried about critters.
ChrisGoesOutdoors (1 year ago)
Mine was not scented. The one I got was Husky brand. There is a little bit of a plastic smell to it (for obvious reasons) but I never had critter issues on the trail for what its worth. As Huy said you can also look into the plastic liners Gossamer Gear sells. I tried to pick up a set recently but they were sold out at the time.
Huy Cao (1 year ago)
Yep, I can confirm the smell goes away. However, I just bought clear liners from Gossamer Gear and the dimensions seems to fit my pack better. Two for $5. I think MLD sells some too.
Dreaden (1 year ago)
I had to use a scented one after my original compactor bag got a hole in it. The smell goes away after a bit and I didn't have any problems with animals.

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