Best Rainware

Went to Alaska many years ago and was told the only rainwear that worked was Helley Hanson. They said Gortex works in light rain. I have used it ever since and it works. It is light weight. I got the Helley Hanson Impertech jacket and bibs. I like bibs. Didn’t have them to start with. Used draw string pants. One day I sat down with my back up against a tree and the water ran down my butt. It was bibs from then on. I also like that the hood is in the collar. I don’t like hoods I can’t see to the side. I use a Souwester Hat. That is the hat you see on chowder cans. The one the commercial fisherman use. The rain doesn’t get all over my glasses.Halley Hanson is hard to find. Sportsman Guide has them on sale for $25.00.

Remember its not bad weather just bad equipment.


God . . .
. . . invented Goretex.

Rain Wear for Extremes!

I taught Outdoor Living for 32 years and have river run, backpacked, canoed, and climbed all over the Northwestern States and British Columbia. While doing so I have used many of the major brands of rainwear on the market. Although Helly Hansen was for many years the top name in rainwear for Commercial Fisherman in the Northwest and Alaska many other companies now produce rainwear which is lighter and more breathable than their products.

If you are an active outdoorsman in heavy rains like those in Western Washington, B.C. and Alaska I would suggest you try one of these brands and models:

l. North Face - Guide or Venture Parkas (Gore-tex

& Hyvent waterproofing)

2. Arc’Teryx - Theta AR Jacket (Gore-tex)

3. REI - Switchback UL Jacket (Elements)

4. Mounhtain Hardware - Typhoon Parka (XCR)

5. Marmot - Solitude (Pre Cip Plus)

Beryllium Jacket (FTX)

All of these rainwear jackets and parkas will give you excellent protection and long life. They range in price from about $130 to $450. There are lighter weight models made by all of these companies in the $60 to $100. price range, but they will not hold up under extended use or hard conditions.

My wife has an REI Switchback Parka which is 12 years old and looks like new even though she has worn it backpacking and to sporting events all those years in pouring rainstorms. I have three different parka’s for different conditions. I wish I could recommend my extreme parka by “Solstice” but the small California Company sold out to one of the big manufacturers a few years back. I have taken that parka into areas like the Picket Range in the North Cascades and endured brushwacks in driving rainstorms for five to seven day straight without a break and never had a leaking seam or a failure in the fabric which is tough as nails.

There are several of the above parkas above whose hoods might surprise you. They are designed with a toggle system and cut which does not obstruct your vision to the sides so you can have a 180 degree view of your surroundings. Rainproof parka design has come a long ways in the last few years!

Stay dry!


holy cow batman
130 - 450 for rain jackets? I love my Carhartt rain gear. $60 and bullet proof.

rain wear
I absolutely love mountain hardware, I’ve taken it backpacking, kayaking, and all in between. It breathes well and repels rain like a bastard. I had alot of problems with rain gear over the years, I even bought a rain suit that was made for motorcycling touring! But the mountain hardware beats all. You can get last years models for a pretty good price.

"only rainwear that worked"
That’s funny. I presume that for raingear to “work”, it must not let the rain come through the fabric. I bought a Helly-Hansen rain suit (lightweight jacket and pants) many years ago, and it “worked” for many years. Eventually, it stopped “working”, and I replaced it with a rather heavy (compared to the extremely lightweight Helly-Hansen suit) outfit by Columbia, and because of the heavier, rubber-backed fabric, I expect it will keep “working” for a lot longer, but time will tell. I’ve had bad luck with Gore-Tex and other brands of breathable fabrics, probably because I don’t treat the stuff with kid gloves like the instructions say that you should, or revitalize the surface with one of those makes-the-water-bead-up coatings. Still, I do like the stuff for wind-shell material and as an all-weather covering (except for very heavy rain).

As to bibs being better than pants, it probably depends on your build - and the length of your jacket! With my build, I couldn’t create a gap between the top of my rain pants and the bottom of my rain jacket if I tried, but when you consider all the people who can’t keep their butt out of sight when wearing regular pants, it’s not hard to believe some people need bibs to stay dry.


– Last Updated: Oct-02-09 4:55 PM EST –

You forgot Patagonia...

I like the Mountain Hardware, Marmot, etc but I think Patagonia just looks a little better.