One piece of gear that gave me some mental grief was rain gear. I simply couldn’t figure out what I wanted to carry which was lightweight and kept me dry. For a long time I wore Gore-Tex Paclite, which worked fine until I started sweating because it didn't breathe very well. Getting soaked from the inside is just about as bad as being soaked from the outside (although it was warmer...which is actually more important than anything else). Ultimately I didn't like carrying it because I rarely used it and continually thought it wasn’t worth the weight. I then switched to eVENT, which was wonderful, but again I didn’t like carrying the extra weight because it was an item I rarely used. DWR treated garments worked to some extent and were lighter, but often felt clammy or cool and eventually the DWR wore off. Finally I wised up and settled for a DriDuck/Frogg Togg outfit which worked fine as I had no intent on using it for bushwacking and it was both lightweight and highly breathable…not to mention inexpensive.
My choices in rain gear then pushed me in a direction I never thought I’d go – to wearing a skirt. I figured the lightest pair of rain pants was good enough, but the reality was that all rain pants are generally a pain to put on because it required that I take off my shoes. With the exception of those made with extremely breathable fabrics, most were usually hot, didn’t ventilate very well, and cost more than I’d like.
In the end, I settled on the Rain Wrap from ULA-Equipment (http://www.ula-equipment.com/). Now I fully appreciate the fact that a man wearing a skirt comes with it a certain lack of machismo, but the reality is that I choose my backpacking gear by electing for function over fashion. The function of a rain skirt works well, but little did I know the skirt would be one of those multi-use pieces of gear which I simply can’t imagine not carrying at this point. The ULA-Equipment Rain Wrap has many imitators, but I like this version for several reasons. Aside from keeping my legs dry and offering good ventilation, the Rain Wrap can also be unfolded flat to be used as a ground cloth, sleeping system cover for drippy shelters, a modesty wrap when doing laundry and not having a spare piece of clothing, and even a sling. I could envision it as a temporary water container too and other things, but you get my point. It even has a key chain and a small pocket for it to pack into itself into a very small package.
A medium is 2.9oz and $25, a large is 3.2oz and $25, and an XL is 3.7oz and $28… less expensive and more functional than any rain pant that I’ve found.