The coming of spring means the coming of the rain for most of the country. To keep you dry and happy on the trails, Sierra Designs stepped back and took a totally new approach to rainwear. Coverage in just the right places combined with plenty of airflow means lightweight and non-sweaty protection from whatever the weather can throw at you. We had a chance to check out the new rainwear line up at Snowbird/Alta last summer and were impressed with how comfortable the system is for hiking and backpacking.
A traditional rain jacket sits underneath your backpack hipbelt and uses pit zips for venting when you get overheated. Rain usually funnels down your jacket, then gets soaked up by your pants, leaving you a soppy mess. When wearing a pack, it can be hard to access pockets and properly vent.
By comparison, the Elite Cagoule ($175) from Sierra Designs uses two large zippered vents running along the sides of the jacket that open to allow airflow from beneath and for your hipbelt to pass through. Instead of pit zips, the jacket uses underarm vents that are always open to keep the air flowing and relieve you from constantly having to zip and unzip. A high, wind-resistant collar flips up and secures with a hidden button for when the weather turns really bad. All your pockets are accessible while wearing a pack, and the hood is designed to closely fit your head and lay-flat or stow away when not needed.
The rain jacket is long enough that you need only wear the corresponding Elite Rain Chaps ($80) to keep your legs fully dry. Chaps are the lightest and simplest way to keep the rain out while allowing your nether regions and seat to breathe–you remain a comfortable non-sweaty mess in the rain, or walking through wet brush. The Chaps can attach to your pants in three different ways (waist, belt loop, pocket) and the legs open at the side for even more venting options.
The complete line of new rainwear from Sierra Designs is available now.