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Owl62

Rain Gear

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Keeping dry and warm in the out of doors not only makes outings more comfortable and enjoyable, but can be critical from a health standpoint.

 

Seems like rain gear is always an issue on Scout outings. We always advise everyone to bring some type of rain gear. Most do, a few forget (one of the reasons we always bring a few extral oversized plastic trash bags). And those that do, including adults, well, you never know what they might bring.

 

Some bring some type of rain poncho - although most I see are inexpensive PVC ponchos. A few bring higher quality waterproof nylon ponchos.

 

Others bring rain suits - again, some of PVC others of waterproof nylon or even some Gortex.

 

Ponchos can serve multiple purposes: poncho, temporary shelter, ground cloth, tarp for covering gear or firewood). But they are not, at least in my opinion very good rain protection for long periods.

 

Rain suits are more limited as they are basically clothing. In addition to providing protection from wet weather, the jacket can serve as a jacket and or wind breaker and the pants also are wind resistant. Both can add an extra layer in cold weather. I buy my rain jackets extra large so I can wear them over layered clothing and or heavier jackets or coats.

 

Because has rained nearly everytime I camp, I always go at least double prepared for rain. I usually bring a waterproof nylon poncho (seldom used) and a waterproof nylon rain suit. Oh and I carry one of those inexpensive plastic "emergency" ponchos in my pocket or day pack. This seems to work for me and since again it rains nearly every time I camp, I guess whatever works is good.

 

And I almost always have a couple of extra plastice "emergency" ponchos just in case some Scout (and sometimes Scouter) needs one.

 

Does your unit have any preferences, recommendations, or requirements for rain gear for Scouts/Scouters?

 

Scouters, what rain gear do you use for Scouting?

 

 

 

 

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You're busy this morning, OWL! Thanks for the scout-related threads...what a concept!

 

I like my GI issue poncho. It's heavy enough to withstand camping, and is not "single use" like those cellophane things you buy at the Dollar Store (which most of my scouts seem to bring, if anything). It's like carrying around a little tent with you...I can sit in my chair and drape it around me. It's baggy enough I can wear whatever I need to under it to stay warm, and it fits over my backpack. It's also good in the summer since the air freely circulates under it. On the downside, it's too bulky for backpacking, but with my 50 year old knees, I don't do much of that anymore.

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I feel this is an individual choice. I don't like ponchos but I carry one all the time as a back-up. I have a rain coat that I wear.

 

All it takes is to get caught one time without your rain gear & most don't forget the next time. I always tell the Troop no matter when we are camping bring rain gear.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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We look at it more from a cost aspect. We recommend ponchos because of their low price, at least until the scouts finish the rapid growth that usually happens between 11 and 14 or 15. The exception is for canoeing activities when ponchos are not allowed due to the safety hazard they create.

 

Scouts of course can buy rain suits if they choose, but they seem to grow out of them so quickly that it becomes a costly investment for equipment that doesn't always get a lot of use.

 

With ponchos we also recommend that the boys get gators since the poncho tends to direct all the water it sheds onto the shins and shoes.

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I smiled when I read this remembering the tale of the Man Of Steele and his rain suit.

I bought a rain suit in 1974 from Scout Shops in the UK. It is bright orange and made of nylon and does make you sweat. I found a rain suit on sale in a store and took it to the last Jamboree.

On the Sunday when it poured down rain I walked with the Roman Catholic Scouts from Troop 429 to mass. All the way saying a prayer that it would be a quick mass. When I seen the Swiss Guards I knew that I was out of luck. Worse still the rain suit was useless I was soaked.

I have gone and invested in a gortex rain suit but so far have not had the chance to wear it.

Eamonn

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Ah, the mass at Jambo 2001. That was something. The worst problem wasn't getting wet, it was the fact that all that rain pounding on all those ponchos, rain jackets, and umbrellas made it impossible to hear.

 

Swiss guards? I thought those were 4th degree Knights of Columbus.

 

On a side note the priest that gave the homily was out at Philmont that summer for a week while I was there. He was a very interesting guy.

 

OK. Back to the thread. I originally purchased a military surplus poncho for Scouting use. I have since stopped using it. It doesn't offer enough protection during wind, and my feet always got wet, no matter what. Also, I think the water proofing has degraded.

 

Before Philmont I purchased a Red Ledge rain suit made of light weight nylon. It is relatively well vented. I only wear the pants for heavy rain. For Philmont that was my outer layer for both wind and rain.

 

I have also discovered that umbrellas are great for summer camp. You can easily carry one at all times. You certainly don't have to worry about ventilation. The umbrella was certainly my first choice at last summer's camp, which was in Florida. I did however break out the rain suit on one particularly wet day.

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Other than Gortex Ponchos, which I have seen advertised, but which are very expensive, I think that a "waterproof" coated nylon poncho is good for rain gear. Poncho are versatile. They can be used not only for personal rain gear including wearing them over the person and any packs or other gear, but for other purposed as well.

 

Ponchos can be used a a ground tarp, tarp for covering gear, firewoood, etc. And can be used as an emergency shelter such as a tent or rain/dining/sun fly. They can be effective wind breaks as well.

 

The main problem with a poncho is that unless they are very long, and even then do little to protect the lower part of the body.

 

Military ponchos are probably the most readily available but the newer ones are camouflage and we all know about that in the BSA. I am fortunate to have 2 of the older OD Green military surplus ponchos that are in good shape. I take one on all outings.

 

Rain suits are very good. For light, intermittent rain they are good.

Gortex rainsuits are expensive. Waterproof coating nylon is good too and probably more cost effective for most people. PVC Rainsuits, while probably more waterproof, are uncomfortable, and can cause the wearer to perspire which in cold weather can cause hypothermia.

 

The rain jacket is easy to carry and don. It can serve not only a rain jacket, but a wind jacket and just as a light jacket. It can also be used as a "sit-upon" as the Girl Scouts call them - something dry to sit on.

 

The rain pants are another story. Most are almost impossible to get on with your shoes or boots on. You usually have to remove your foot gear to don the rain pants. But rain pants do protect from the rain, walking through long wet grass, etc. Folded they can be used a a "sit-upon". They provide good wind protection and can be used as an outer layer for extreme cold weather.

 

Personally, I carry both, a waterproof rain suit and a waterproof poncho, both of nylon. In camp, say at a camporee, I usually just carry a nlylon rain jacket in a day pack.

 

I also have a rainsuit made of 3M Propore which is a microporus fabric. It is very light weight and of bright yellow. I use it when weight is an issue. It is similar to the "Frog-Toggs but much less expensive.

 

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When I orient new scouts, I tell them there are 3 things not to scrimp on: Sleeping bag, flashlight, and rain gear. I have a Columbia Rainsuit which has been excellent so far. Ponchos can be impractical when doing physical things like canoeing for example.

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In a few short days, I'll be making my own rain gear. I've got a good piece of canvas that will be boiled in a walnut dye. And afterwards, cut and sewn into a hooded capote. Several coatings of boiled linseed oil, plus beeswax for the seams will waterproof the garment. Plans are to make it a size larger than my blanket capote so that it can serve as an overcoat for added protection....

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I like to wear a poncho and the pants from my rain suit. At the first weekend of wood badge it rained everytime we had an outdoor activity and the above combonation seemed to work best.

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I am not a fan of ponchos either, but the gaiters are a great way to correct one of the shortfalls. My rain suit is a middle of road set with plenty of venting. But its still not vented enough. Sometimes Im just as wet on the inside as I am on the outside. One day when I hit the lottery, Ill but a good set of GoreTex rain gear. Until then Ill deal with it!

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fotoscout....

 

Before going the Gore Tex route take a look at Lowe's Triple Point Ceramic rain gear...the material seems to work better than Gore Tex

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LV, let us know how it works out for you. One question tho, does the water proofing need redone every so often?

 

I am with the poncho and rain suit pants. At 6'6" most rain suits are too short in the arms, torso length, pants are usually ok. The poncho by itself is also too short. The combination of military poncho and just about any sort of rain pants allows me to stay mostly dry and has enough circulation to prevent overheating. Waterproof boonie hat helps keep the rain off the face and helps stop those pesky poncho side leaks.

 

yis

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Hey Red Feather,

 

Per your question, the answer is no, once the linseed oil has dried, it's permanent. Just waiting for better weather before starting since a newly oiled garment has to dry outdoors for a good week or so...

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I have found the best option for me is a gore tex vented parka shell from REI. I use it as a rain jacket in warm weather, and can layer up underneath it in cold weather. I don't normally use the hood, but rely on a boonie hat of some kind. The best broad brimmed rain hat I have found is the "Seattle Sombrero" by Outdoor Research. This hat can get uncomfortable in hot weather, but is great for most conditions in most seasons here in the San Francisco bay area. These items are relatively expensive. Great for adults, but awfully expensive for growing boys. I also carry an old military pancho in my car for emergencies.

 

The point about panchos and safety in canoes merits repeating. Do not allow your scouts to use panchos as rain gear on float trips. I would rather deal with a scout in hypothermia because he got soaked in the rain than a scout floundering in the water in a pancho.

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