• 2014
  • Sep
  • 15

JMT - John Muir Trail 2014 - Gear Review - Rain Gear

Before the Hike

For our John Muir Trail hike this summer I spent a long time talking about foul weather gear. After plenty of discussion and reading lots of different reviews we ended up with this pile of raingear at home:

We also thought about putting a trash compactor bag inside our packs and used tyrek bags to store the Frogg Toggs.

Seeing it work out

We decided to take the Frogg Toggs Suits, as well as the backpack covers on the trail.

When we pitched our tent at Arrowhead Lake everything was great, the sun was shining, and it was perfectly warm, a perfect High Sierra day. At 1.30am a storm started, and it was raining cats and dogs on the tent, which gave us the great opportunity to test our gear under rain conditions.

Backpack Covers
The backpack covers worked just fine, they fit around the entire backpack and prevent not only the content of the pack but also the pack itself from getting wet. Cloth that were on the cloth line did not dry underneath the cover till evening - but that is not a surprise - it was raining all day and we were walking through clouds and hale showers. When pitching the tent at night on soggy ground in the woods the backpack cover provided a dry spot to put the backpack, and some other not entirely wet gear.

Our covers are black - but planning for the worst, a high visibility cover is probably a good way to carry something bright to get attention in an emergency.

Frogg Toggs
The Frogg Toggs Suits proved to be a life saver. Due to their size they went easily over our regular gear, and kept the rain away all day. The hood covered the head, plus the warm hat easily. The elastic cuffs kept rain out and the shirts underneath dry. The Frogg Toggs did hold up to the friction of the pack and did not leak. I am glad we did carry them.

Now - if you read about Frogg Toggs there is plenty of talk about their great breath-ability. I found that to be totally overrated. They keep the rain out, and they block the wind - but if you are going up a pass or hiking a decent speed you will get wet.

Think about the material as a waterproof outside layer directly bound to an textile-like inner layer, which will accept some sweat but it will quickly get very warm and humidity inside the suit will rise quickly. I found myself opening the hood, and the jacket constantly, and trying to vent the pants. Now this is the same I did see with much heavier raingear when hiking the Great Glen Way in Scotland some years ago. Maybe some pricier and heavier gear would be more breathable.

Conclusion

At less than a pound for the full suit I think this is an excellent piece of gear. Oh and did I mention that the pants are not only keeping the water away but also work great to keeps mosquitoes at bay which simply can’t bite through it?