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Rain Gear Buying Guide

posted Feb 19, 2019, 8:06 PM by Mike Bailey   [ updated Feb 19, 2019, 8:06 PM ]
Proper Rain Gear is critical for a safe and enjoyable camping experience.  We rarely change our activity plans due to rain, unless the weather turns severe.  A Rain Poncho is NOT sufficient rain gear for a weekend campout or longer. A poncho can be useful to keep in a day pack for an unexpected, short shower or until you can get to your full rain suit. In Spring and Fall months, Rain Gear is especially critical for safety to avoid hypothermia.  Our writing this is not theoretical, it is based on personal, and recent, experience in camping with Scouts.

Rain gear has come a long way in recent years, being lighter weight, more comfortable, breathable and more cost effective so that you don't need to skimp on the investment, even for a growing Scout.

Waterproof vs. Breathable Waterproof

There are 2 important terms to keep mindful of when evaluating Rain Gear, Waterproof and Breathable Waterproof.  Both types will keep you dry from the rain.  Non-breathable Waterproof tends to be older technology with heavier materials, but are just as effective as the newer, lighter, breathable gear. If Scouts are wearing their advised layers of wicking, non-cotton, synthetic clothing below the rain gear, they can keep their skin dry and warm whether the outer shell is breathable or not.  Cotton layers between you and your rain shell can hold moisture and perspiration against your skin and cause a risk.

Frog Toggs Rain SuiteAll Scouts should have a 2-piece Rain Suit


Whether purchased together or separately, all Scouts should pack both parts of a 2-piece Rain Suit for every campout.  Obviously, for growing Scouts, the gear should be purchased a little large for them, but also so that they can comfortably wear warm, insulating clothing underneath, like a sweatshirt. If the rain pants are too long when purchased, they should have a draw string to keep them secure to the ankles and avoid dragging in the mug.  If the pants do not have a built in way to secure them at the lower leg, rubber bands can be used to accomplish the task.

There are a wide range of brands and prices for rain jacket/parka tops and rain pants.  We recommend staying away from anything that appears to be pre-2000 technology like you remember growing up.  These older, heavy suits can tear easily and crack or disintegrate if not stored properly.  The set pictured to the right from Frog Toggs can be found at Walmart for only $20.  The image is a link to their site if you want to investigate more. These sets do not have pockets, but are great and proven set to evaluate at a minimum for your Scout.

As Scouts grow, it is common for them to outgrow the jacket and pants at different rates.  Purchasing separate pieces when needed is just fine.  If you are trying to decide whether to upgrade the jacket or the pants, we recommend that an investment in a higher quality jacket would be worthwhile.  A lighter weight, higher quality jacket with pockets for gear will make it easier to function in the rain during our uninterrupted activities.
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