Author Topic: Packable/lightweight rain jacket, down jacket and sleeping pad recommendations  (Read 6392 times)

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Offline OutSpokyn1

I am looking for recommendations for packable/lightweight rain jacket, down jacket and sleeping pad.

I am looking at the WOMEN'S DOUBLE CENTURY RTX CYCLING JACKET from Showers Pass. Is this a good choice, even though it is not Gore-Tex?

As far as a sleeping pad goes, I want best comfort at leeast weight (who doesn't), but definitely want a comfy nights sleep.

Down jacket, I haven't really looked at, but it will most likely be my pillow at night and used for cool days/evenings.


Offline Pat Lamb

I don't really know about the DWR stuff.  It's probably fine for 80% of what it's used for -- wind jacket, cool weather top layer, light rain, warm rain.  The last 20% is what I wonder about: cold rain.  When it's raining and 50 degrees so you're not sweating much, or when a thunderstorm on the high plains of Wyoming drops temperatures 30 degrees with 30 mph wind gusts, how much water will soak through and potentially cause hypothermia?

I'm not a fan of down for biking, and I don't remember meeting many, if any, cyclists wearing down.  I sweat too much to wear it on the bike, and I don't recommend carrying that pound and a half for camp-only wear.  Try to take multiple-use items, like a long polypropylene shirt, instead.  Wear it on the bike during cool days, cover it up with your rain jacket in camp, and it's easy to wash.

BTW, how goes the search for a bike?

Offline OutSpokyn1

Hi Pat! Okay, so I was thinking very lightweight down jacket for pillow and camp and or in the sleeping bag if super cold, but not for on-bike use. Maybe not necessary on a summer tour.
Thanks for the feedback!

Any suggestions for a packable rain jacket?

I have been very busy with work, so bike decision is still in the works. Someone loaned me a bike I can use for a trial run (an aluminum gravel bike with rear rack), so that's why I'm getting other gear collected for a long weekend, just to see how it all goes!

Then after I buy MY bike, I will do something in early spring either locally or travel south to test out the actual setup.

Offline Calum

Re sleeping pad, I'm a side sleeper and used a NEMO Cosmo Air sleeping pad for my recent TransAm and was very comfy.

Offline Nyimbo

I might be an outlier but on my TransAmerica trip going W-E I was cold much more than anything. Especially at night when it often got into 30's and almost always down to the 40's at night - and a few times in the daytime.  I survived by layering but I hated to layer up in the night and mornings with my riding clothes. I could stay warm by adding to my off bike clothes my long sleeve jersey and regular  jersey and REI showers pass clone jacket as needed, but it wasn't all that comfortable for me.  When I got to Dillion MT I discovered a Patagonia outlet and they were having a great sale on everything.   Bought a puff jacket with hood, filled with primaloft (because as Pat said down is not recommended in case it gets wet).  The rest of my trip I wore it on cold evenings, slept in it on the coldest nights and wore it every morning until I got to eastern Colorado and the weather changed dramatically.

It would work fine folded up in the pocket for a small pillow.  I had that covered with a small foam travel pillow, my best luxury - I won't travel in the mountains without the jacket from now on.  BTW Pat mentioned he didn't see people wearing them - perhaps because I bought one in route I was noticing - but I saw several people over the several weeks with similar (thin-down-like) jackets.  Saw three people in one Yellowstone campground that had these type jackets on a cold evening. Well two plus me, but we were all warm.

Offline BrianW

I've tried many rain jacket materials over the years, and keep coming back to genuine Gore-Tex. It's not perfect, but I find it is still the best thing going (they have made constant improvements over the years). The DWR coatings work ok for a while, but must be renewed occasionally and tend not to stand up to all-day rain. I w tried Marmot's PreCip jacket, Patagonia's version, etc. All are pretty good for the price, but not as waterproof as I'd like.

Biking-specific raincoats often leave off the hood, as yin don't need it when wearing a helmet (side note: waterproof helmet covers are useful). But for off-bike use in the rain you'll want a hood. They are harder to find nowadays, but a good Gore-Tex jacket with a zip-off or rollable hood works well.

For the past year or so I've had good luck with the Marmot Minimalist GTX jacket, which is unlined, fairly lightweight, packable, and looks pretty decent. REI just had them on sale for $139, and I think normally they are around $170 or so. LL Bean also makes a decent GTX jacket called the "Traveler," which I have also, but it's a bit heavier and is a lined jacket. Also check out Cabela's lower-priced GTX jackets, which I think are very good values.

Offline staehpj1

I am kind of a minimalist packing as little as 12 pounds of gear for a camping and cooking trip.  So keep that in mind when reading my suggestions.

For a rain/wind jacket I usually go with a light DWR wind shirt and don't use a real rain coat.  I tend to be soaked either way, whether it is from the rain or sweat, so I just need to keep the wind chill off.  I have used a Stoic Wraith windshirt and more recently a Northface one.  They are in the 3-4 ounce range.  I didn't find either for sale just now when I did a google search though.  If I am somewhere that I expect a lot of rain I have carried a Dri Ducks emergency poncho (2.8 oz.) for in camp.

I have carried a 12 oz. down vest as a pillow, but I have grown attached to my Exped UL pillow (2 oz.) so I have not taken it the last few trips.  I do take a puffy down sweater sometimes but do not usually wear it while riding.  It is a Outdoor Research Filament Down Pullover and weighs 7.3 oz.

I really like my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad.  It is super comfy, packs tiny and weighs only 12 oz.

Offline Ehead

My best suggestion would be the Test Facts website, I think you'll have everything you need there from your Travel stuff, footwear to Jackets. Good luck!

Offline bikemig

You really can't go wrong with most of showers pass stuff; the company makes fine rain gear.

For a down jacket, a lot of companies make pretty minimalist lightweight down jackets. I'm a big fan of outdoor research products and I really like their transcendent down jacket. Frankly you might get more use out of a down vest than a jacket. I find vests add a lot of warmth and are very good for layering with as well.

For a sleeping pad, I find that the volume of air really matters. I really like the rei flash air pad. If weight/packability doesn't matter, get something with even more volume. The REI 3.5 inch camp bed is hands down the most comfortable sleeping pad I've ever used. That thing is massive. I use it for camping and supported touring.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 12:59:24 am by bikemig »

Offline janetanorth

IMO, Showers Pass makes excellent products.
Suggestions: For serious rain protection take a look at any of the less than 10 ounce Patagonia H2No shells such as the Stretch Torrntshell or Rainbow. For light rain and wind protection I like the Houdini pullover and pants, which i lived in for damp cool weather of 45-60 degrees in SE Asia. Sometimes i take both when i am not sure of weather conditions, mail home what doesn't get used regularly.
I never travel without my Patagonia Down Shirt. The Ultralight Down Jacket is also excellent- depends on whether you want a hood.
The patagonia products are easily found discounted on the Patagonia website sale page, REI, Backcountry or Moosejaw.
A lightweight, small pack size mattress is the Thermarest Neo Air X-Lite womens version. I have no trouble with it being too noisy to sleep on (common review complaint). Its warmth has allowed me to use a minimalist sleeping quilt, rather than a full on sleeping bag, to save weight and space.