This category contains items directly related to “trying” to stay dry in any capacity; be it clothing garments or accessories. Depending on where and when you are hiking, you may or may not opt to carry any rain gear. I like to use my rain gear as an extra layer for warmth even when it’s not raining; so I tend to always have a rain shell jacket and pants if I’m expecting much cooler temperatures.
When it comes to shielding yourself from rain or sunshine, the Swing Trek Umbrella is a thru hiker Favorite. I carried the Swing Trek for my entire PCT thru hike and got unlimited use out of it. I enjoyed carrying an umbrella so much, I’ll never hike without one again. Weighing a mere 8.2 ounces, the swing trek is worth its weight in gold to me. Having an umbrella can be that thin line between misery and a pleasant experience. This one is made from light plastic, so there are no metal parts that may attract lightning.
Weight: 8.2 ounces
I have not personally used this umbrella, but not many companies are making them specifically for ultralight backpacking right now. Whatever comes out is certainly worth a look-see, and Sea To Summit makes some great gear.
Weight: 8.2 ounces
This is one of the more popular ultralight Rain Jackets among thru hikers and very highly rated on many outdoor gear review boards. It’s extremely light and comfortable, as well as ultra packable (Not to mention they look extremely sharp as well). I wore one for 500 miles of the PCT, and I have no complaints. My favorite feature was the cinch hood and chest pocket.
Weight: 6.4 ounces
These are the only rain/wind pants I’ll ever use. They don’t breathe, therefore they can get extremely hot. When it rains, I don’t care about getting wet unless it’s a freezing wet in a possibly driving wind. If it’s going to be freezing, then I want to be warm; these pants achieve that for me. Not only do I use them as freezing rain pants, but I sleep in them on those exceptionally cold nights.
Weight: 3.1 – 4.1 ounces
Just like their pants, the Anti Gravity Gear rain shell jacket is made from waterproof sil-nylon and does not breathe. It does come with pit zips for venting, but for the most part this is a very warm and very light rain shell jacket. I use it mainly as an extra layer of warmth during the unbearably cold nights. This jacket also weighs only several ounces depending on what size you get.
Weight: 4.8 – 5.2 ounces
Of all my rain gear, this is my favorite piece. My hands tend to get very cold, very easily, and these help to protect me from that. When it’s freezing rain, snow, or wind; I put these on over my possum down gloves and life becomes carefree. Be sure to cinch them down underneath the sleeves of whatever jacket you may be wearing in an effort to keep any water from dripping down your arm and into the openings.
Weight: 1 – 1.2 ounces
These are the massed produced version of the Rain Shell mittens mentioned above. These ones from Outdoor Research weigh a bit more, but have a couple more features.
Weight: 3.5 oounces
These are probably one of the simplest and cheapest options you can choose. Most everyone knows what Frog Toggs are, and many thru hikers use them very successfully. They’re affordable and they work; what more could you ask for? They aren’t the lightest option out there, but they certainly aren’t the heaviest either.