Let's Talk Rain, Ice, And All Things Wet/Cold

swbugas Member Posts: 44

First things first, the above is neither a wet or cold situation. In fact, it's a perfectly happy monkey sitting in some mid 80s weather near a beach. Absolute paradise for the monkey, no doubt, but unfortunately for me, a bit of a sour memory. It was here that I was robbed by, for a lack of better words, a pirate on the Caribbean coast...

Now this, on the other hand, is where I think about while I write about wet and cold. The snow has freshly fallen, tracks sink calf deep, and the day is sure to be satisfying. When the next storm arrives, though, staying warm and dry one way or another is essential. Now, remember the last picture of the monkey that probably watched me get robbed? Good! Amongst the many items I had taken (camera gear, GPS, 1920s film camera from my great great grandpa...) was my hard shell jacket. A fairly insignificant item in a bag that I decided to carry most of my possessions in, but increasingly important when thinking about places like the one seen in the second picture.

This all brings me to my real question here...What is your favorite rain shell? I had hoped to buy the Hyperlite rain shell that was only sale recently for 24 seconds before selling out, but alas. Prior to my unfortunate mugging, I was using an Arcteryx shell I'd come to love. Change, though, is healthy, and I'm open to any ideas/experiences that make you truly love your rain shells. Sure, this is kind of a boring subject - just another layer amongst many others - but it's the one that has often made me feel invincible when others are bowing out due to the elements. So let me hear it!!!


    MARK SIREK Administrator Posts: 264

    @swbugas These PHOTOS! Sorry about your gear and that rascal not protecting it.

  • bergstromra
    bergstromra Member Posts: 20

    Following for recs! I’ve been loving my Arc’teryx Norvan SL shell these last few years but have found that I really miss pockets, especially one for the inside chest to keep my phone close, warm and dry. Might pull the trigger on the Norvan LT and see how far one hip pocket can take me.

  • Patch96
    Patch96 Member Posts: 25

    For winter I use a bright yellow Patagonia Pluma Jacket. That jacket is awesome but is much heavier than what I need for 3 season conditions. I have been using an Antigravity Gear Ultralight rain jacket. It has done the trick but isn’t quite what I want. I also slightly missed the mark for getting one of the HMG shells so I am on the hunt for a new 3 season shell. I am considering trying out the Montbell versalite.

  • MHerb
    MHerb Member Posts: 13

    I am definitely a fan of Arcteryx products for their quality and durability... not so much the price tag that comes along with those attributes though. Regardless, I return to Arcteryx almost every time.

    I have had a Beta SL for 5 years, which typically lives in the bottom of my back during the summer months into fall as an emergency storm shell (rain jacket). It packs down small (size of my fist), was the lightest weight Goretex shell available, and has survived 5 years of good use in the mountains. I don't think it is available anymore, but the Arcteryx Zeta SL is very similar. As already mentioned the Norvan SL or LT would also be a decent option (lighter, but less durable over the years and with limited pockets).

    Enjoy the jacket search!

  • swbugas
    swbugas Member Posts: 44

    I had the Beta SL for almost four years before it was stolen in Costa Rica. Best jacket I’ve used, and I’d love to have the same one. The zeta looks great, but there are a couple of changes that I’ve been worried about. Arcteryx has focused a lot on generating some more mass appeal (not in their prices of course), and that has led to some simplification of features that I don’t necessarily prefer. Having missed the HMG shell, I’ll probably end up with arcteryx again, but I’m still listening to as much advice as possible haha

  • swbugas
    swbugas Member Posts: 44

    You’re too kind, Mark! Unfortunately at around 5-10 pounds, this guy wasn’t likely to be my savior on this occasion. I’ll hold out hope you guys do another run of the shell at some point, and maybe I’ll be better equipped to nab one right away!

  • Josh Stein
    Josh Stein Member Posts: 6

    Unfortunately I have a closet full of rain shells, mainly because I have limited self-control when buying new gear.

    The Montbell Versalite was my go-to for a few years. Lately I've been hearing talk about longevity issues online from some folks, but I bought mine second hand and have a few thousand miles on my original. By the end of the AT, the DWR was lacking and I was starting to get some wear in one of the cuffs. I ended up washing mine with the Nikwax .TX wash to refresh the DWR, which seems to have helped a good bit. That being said, I've since bought a few other rain jackets, so it's been backburnered. All in all, definitely recommend the Versalite without question if you're looking for an ultralight, fully featured (pit zips of a useable length), 3-season rain jacket.

    This past year I swapped over to a Yamatomichi All-Weather Hoody. Comes in at 4.5oz for an XL and breathes like nothing else. I used that on the a section of the AT this past spring and on the CT from July-August. Never saw rain on the section of the AT, but the CT was pretty wet last year. Never had any noticeable issues with wetting out, and the jacket breathed so well that it dried pretty quickly. I practically lived in it most days aside from 8am-1pm when the sun was really ripping. I'm pretty hooked on it for 3 season use and will likely buy another one when they drop again this spring if only to have a backup for when I inevitably wear through this one.

    For winter stuff I've been rocking a Rab Muztag Goretex shell that's held up pretty well to precipitation in the constant cycle of snow followed by rain that is this year's winter in New England. This is my first true 3L Goretex shell and I've been pretty happy with it. Took it up to the Presidentials this past weekend and threw it on when the clouds rolled in during our Eisenhower ascent and it breathed so well that sweat was freezing on the outside of the jacket. Only have a few months of sparse use on this one though.

  • bergstromra
    bergstromra Member Posts: 20

    You know, I was going to pull the trigger on an EE Visp after I missed the boat on the HMG shell, but they no longer list it on their website! Just found a few sizes over on the overstock warehouse tab. Anyone with intel on this?

  • randyaward
    randyaward Member Posts: 2

    I was after visp pants for this season. I emailed EE and they responded that they havent been able to get the fabric they use for the visp line. They had no estimate for when that might happen. I've watched the visp custom disappear, then the various sizes of premade versions of pants and jacket become unavailable, and now, as you mentioned, there're only a few odds and ends...

    I went with montbell versalite jacket and zpaks vertice pants for now

  • sashaswashut
    sashaswashut Member Posts: 41

    I have really been loving my gear from Stio. I bought a rain coat for last season and absolutely love it. It’s called Women’s Ender Paclite Hooded Jacket. Not sure if they have any in stock, but assuming they would probably restock since spring/rain season is approaching!

  • CharleyLynn
    CharleyLynn Member Posts: 3

    I’ve been wanting to put some north face future light fabric through its paces since the moment I saw it passing air through standing water! No idea how durable it is but the price tag associated with most garments made with it is shockingly expensive.

  • ninacnm
    ninacnm Member Posts: 3

    Due to orthopedic issues, my back packing days have ended. But I do bicycle travel and bikepacking so there is cross over when it comes to gear. Showers Pass makes jackets at various price points and weights though maybe not ultralight. Aero Tech Designs makes a jacket that's affordable and gets good reviews for durability, pockets including that super important chest pocket and breathability. Users posted that they packed theirs for bike travel so I took the plunge. Just an FYI for women, if you have curvy hips the rain jacket will fit a bit snug. This may be more of an issue for those of us who are short since there's no petite option.