Wednesday, December 1, 2010

UL Rain Kilt


Zpacks (http://www.zpacks.com/) was really one of the first cottage manufacturers to use cuben fiber. In fact, owner Joe Valesko uses it nearly exclusively and his own backpacking endeavors proved its long-term staying power in the lightweight backpacking industry. When I really want to test how light I can go, I bring along one of his Blast packs and Hexamid Duo tents. Both are so absurdly light that it's nearly comical.


As I've mentioned before, I usually bring a ULA-Equipment Rain Wrap with me for my lower body. To me, it's a multi-use item as it not only keeps my lower body relatively dry, but it is a nice extra piece of sylnylon which I've used as a ground cloth, quilt protector, pillow, and vanity cover when bathing or doing laundry on the trail. I've also rigged it to my Hexamid to serve as a door in severe weather.


Zpacks has decided to make this already great idea a little better by making it out of cuben. The TrailLite Designs Cloud Kilt for $55 is a mere 1.6 oz and is essentially the same product. I've asked Joe to see if he can tinker with the design a bit to make it a dual-use item specifically designed as doors for his Hexamid line.


Now before you start saying a kilt isn't for you, think about it long and hard. Aside from the multi-use aspects which a pair of rain pants just can't offer, a skirt/kilt is easier to put on, offers better ventilation, is lighter, and really keeps the vital stuff dry. As one poster mentioned when talking about gaiters, few seem to care whether their shins or ankles are dry.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone who'w not worried about keeping shins and ankles dry hasn't hiked in freezing rain.

Jolly Green Giant said...

Good point. Probably should have mentioned "3-season". I use eVENT pants in the winter along with gaiters.

stick13 said...

Thanks for posting this. I hadn't been to his website in a while so I wasn't aware of these. They look great. I will have to pick me up one of these in the long, just as soon as I get some money... :)

Anonymous said...

that looks ridiculous.

Jolly Green Giant said...

HA! No doubt, but it is functional. Backpacking need not be a fashion show, albeit it is nice to not look entirely void of common sense and taste.

JJ Mathes said...

I've been using a sil-nylon rain kilt/skirt/wrap since 2008 while hiking the AT, it's the most versatile piece of gear I own. I used it last weekend as a wind kilt.

Carver said...

I just received mine in the mail today. It is a fine crafted product. But, after receiving it and trying it on. I much prefer my ULA rain wrap.

Jolly Green Giant said...

@Carver - I think you're right overall. Most stuff I buy from Joe I ask him to modify because stuff straight off his line doesn't fit. Same with the skirt - a little longer, a pocket stuff sack like the ULA, and some attachment points to use as a door for his Hexamid Duo and that would make it a better option for me.

stick13 said...

The last 2 comments by Carver and the Giant don't sound so persuading now...I am considering getting one of these, but it sounds like the ULA may be a better choice...or is it because you guys are just super tall? I am 5'10" and considering the Lg from ZPacks simply to give me the most coverage. I also see on his site that you can use it in the triangular mode to adapt to a tarp for extra coverage. That is nice. And of course the Zpacks is half the weight of the ULA, so there ya go... Could you elaborate on your comment Carver?

Jolly Green Giant said...

@Stick - For me, it's because I'm tall and I also have a strong desire to tinker with stuff to make it useful for other applications too. I think Joe just saw a need for a rainwrap, but didn't take a look at the ULA design when he made his so his design could be improved. The ULA is a better design overall, but Joe's is very worthwhile and he'll modify it too which is something ULA won't do.

Carver said...

The ULA rain wrap has velcro strips connecting the two sides together. The rain kilt simply had one side overlap the other. The rain wrap that I originally bought before I went with the ULA one also had the two sides overlap each other. That design does not work for me. I liked the look of the cuben rain kilt, but knew the overlap design would not make me very happy. I had Joe had velcro to the seam like my ULA model. Plus he altered the cord pull to be on the same side as the seam. After getting it I was pretty excited to try it on. Well, I cannot walk in it because it is too tight around my legs. Which means that I can't wear it backpacking. It's great if I'm just standing around. The ULA wrap allows me full movement while wearing it. By the way I am 5'10" tall.

stick13 said...

Well, I went ahead and ordered the CloudKilt and a CF Pack Cover. It should be here today, so I will have a review of it on my blog in a few days. Also, my new ULA Circuit should be here tomorrow which the pack cover should go well with!