Best LIGHTWEIGHT rain gear/coat???


Well-Known Member
May 12, 2009
Sweet, Idaho
Just curious what others use. I am looking for the lightest bulletproof rain coat. I know generally what is on the market but maybe I overlooked something??
It needs to be the lightest that I can get and TOTALLY waterproof. I'm looking to put it in my daypack. Goretex and all the other "high tech" stuff is crap. And if someone tells me that goretex is waterproof---they ain't never been to alaska or central idaho in the last four days.................

Sita gear is good stuff. There is a wide range of quality with gortex. Not the gortex itself but the way the garment is made. I have a Simms goretex wader jacket and waders. They WILL keep you dry! Simms is a good way to go, but not available in camo. They only make fishing gear.
Gore-tex, and others like it, by definition is "waterproof". The water molecules are larger than the pores of the gore-tex membrane, thereby preventing the water from penetrating through the gore-tex barrier. However, cheap garment construction, often at the seams, is more likely to be the problem.

The other feature of technical clothing is to allow water vapor (perspiration) to pass through. Breathability is important during strenuous activity. Gore-tex and other technical fabrics breathe relatively well, but will still trap some moisture. This often leads to the misconception that the garment is leaking.

Personally, the Kuiu Chugach jacket what I've been wearing for the last couple of years.
The only thing that I have found go be COMPLETELY waterproof is PVC. The trouble with that stuff is that it is heavy. I have sitka and other "quality" gear and I have not found ONE of them that does not leak when exposed to serious rain. Does anyone know of really lightweight pvc gear? Or something equivalent?

Frogg Toggs...

They are very light to pack and are relatively tough. I hunt through alot of huckleberry brush and in three years of use, only one small snag in the pant leg.

On a high buck hunt in the Cascades in WA state, I got caught in a squall above timberline. I tightened up my Frogg toggs and sat on the ground hunched over for 45 minutes in a driving rain. When it was over, I took off the coat and found my polar fleece coat underneath DRY!:)

I have never had that happen with my gore-tex gear.
I have never had any Froggs Toggs, so can't comment personally. I have heard others say they work well.

As for PVC (plastic) rain gear....... I have had that, along with various types of plastic coated fabrics. Yes, the stuff is waterproof. It will keep water out, but also keeps moisture in. If you are doing any amount of activity it will not take you long to be soaking wet in PVC rain gear.

As for goretex not being waterproof..... I mentioned previously my Simms fishing gear. I have spent many, many hours standing chest deep in a steam with goretex waders of several brands. THEY DON'T LEAK! I have a pair of Simms waders that are 15 years old and have seen hard use, they still don't leak. You cannot get more wet (on the outside) than standing chest deep in the water.

Over the years I have used several brands of goretex hunting clothes, some performed better than others. The previously mentioned Simms, Sitka, and Browning have worked well for me, and yes I have hunted in some pretty serious downpours!

Not trying to be argumentative here, just hate to see goretex painted with too broad a brush. It's certainly not perfect but I certainly would not want to trade mine in for PVC stuff. If that is what you want though, try Helly Hanson. They make some top quality stuff.
May have to look at frogg toggs. I'm not trying to diss goretex but I have not had much luck with it including boots. It seems to work alot better when it is new than after its been used a few times. I was just curious as what others use. And as with most equipment that I buy, you never can be really sure until you are out there.
Which is why I have about a gazillion packs...................

Being the frugal old fart I am, I bought one of those Cabelas 'Hertner' waterproof mossy oak rain jackets on sale for 39 bucks. I had low expectations. What can you get for 39 bucks I thought. Not even a set of cheap Lee dies......:)

It's not a PVC sweat and stink rain jacket, I don't need a suana suit anyway.

I was surprised. Other than a lack of enough pockets and the fact that I had to have my wife alter the liner a bit... cause it stuck out past the cuffs....

It keeps me dry. I don't sweat. It makes a nice overlayer for a warm day and it actually works as advrtised. The zipper is borderline sucko, you have to be careful with it, but, it was worth 39 bucks.

Probably made in some Pacific Rim sweatshop, but most clothing is today.....

Finally, it fits in it's own pocket to stuff.lightbulb

I don't need that name brand high dollar crap anyway.......

Don't look to see where that high dollar Ebrelstock pack is made. You might cringe......
I'm not trying to diss goretex but I have not had much luck with it including boots. It seems to work alot better when it is new than after its been used a few times.


Hey Randy,
Not accusing you of dissing goretex. I have had both good and bad luck with goretex products as well.

A few years back at an elk camp I hunt at and guide at in New Mexico we had a couple of goretex guys who came and hunted with us a few times. One was one of their "scientists", and me being an engineer had to quiz him till he was sick of me I'm sure about how the stuff is made and how it works.

They told me their biggest problem was poor quality construction of the garments and boots. They tried to regulate that for a while and approve all products, but as other competing membranes came on to compete with them they relaxed that.

As a result, you can get some high end stuff that is really good, and some that is not. Same with low end, some is good, some not. It is not really the membrane (goretex) that is to blame, but the seams and stress points in the garment/boot.

I have several jackets that leak at the seams, some I got from those guys. They would show up at elk camp every year with a huge box of brand new returned jackets and pants and tell everyone to dig in. Supposedly they all were returned because of leaks. Some leaked some did not.......

I have worn Lowa goretex boots for many years and have been on many seriously wet weather hunts with them, from Alaska, to BC. They have never leaked on me and are 10+ years old with many miles. I have also had some cheap Rocky boots that leaked the first time I got them wet.

I'm not a shill for goretex, no relationship there. I just hated to see goretex beat up as as something that does not work. With the right garment construction it does work. How do you tell the difference before you buy? I don't know. Either buy the really good stuff, or buy the other from Cabela's or Bass Pro, get in the shower for 30 min and see if it leaks. If it does send it back.:D
The quality of the gear like stated is huge in goretex gear for really wet and hard use conditions. I spent years in the mountains high up climbing in all seasons, hunting the same areas, trapped beaver all winter in icy water, Goretex waders for the later years trapping, rowed whitewater rivers with snow still on the banks, have flipped and been tossed out and swam for a mile or more in class 4 water getting dunked under numerous times. I was wearing a goretex dry suit with rubber collars at the neck, ankles and wrists. I was dry underneath when undressing later. This occurred numerous times over the years.

Same with high mountain wet hunting, I have used goretex with no problems. But, I Usually use high quality mountaineering gear, not usually camo, But one does not always need camo in the worst of weather. I have had most every ones camo goretex, most leaked at seams over the years. I dont depend on any ones camo right now for absolute dry in wet really bad conditions. The problem is almost always the seam sealing and zippers. The best rain gear usually has few seams, few pockets and bombproof construction.

As for boots, most hunting boots are hype and sold to folks with advertising jargon. I use Scarpa mountaineering boots, similar to the Lowas mentioned. Mountaineering boots regularly take a beating like no hunting boots ever even see. Scarpa's dont leak, neither do Lowas, LaSportivas and many other similar European made top line boots. For really wet weather like we have seen here in north Idaho the last 2 months, Get the best you can afford for really going out in it. The best will not likely be camo.
Warning! This thread is more than 12 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Recent Posts