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The thread on the Kuiu Attack pants got me thinking about September elk hunting rain gear. Do you all wear rain gear everyday while hunting or only break out the rain gear when the rain comes. I have Sitka Thunderhead jacket and pants and planned to wear them daily for my September hunt. But I was also thinking of getting some Kuiu Attack pants and a shirt and jacket.
What do you all do? Daily rain gear or only when needed?
I have different sets of raingear some is used over normal clothing just when needed and others serve double duty and can be worn wet or dry
I keep a set of packable C4E raingear in my pack. I use the jacket sometimes when it's windy. Especially while sitting and glassing for awhile.
Which state? I have the Sitka dew point set. You don’t need pants, especially with gaiters where I hunt.
I know guys who hunt Idaho who rarely carry rain gear.
In Colorado, late summer-fall hailstorms are common and can kill you. You might leave camp at noon and it's 70 degrees and blue sky, then the temp drops to 30 and a massive hailstorm hits. And it happens on a regular basis. I always have a suit of Cabelas Space Rain gear and a survival kit in my pack whenever I'm in the N. CO mountains in summer and fall.
+2 Space Rain and only when I need it. Usually only throw on the top....rarely the bottoms. If it's coming down pretty hard, I crawl under a spruce to wait it out.
79 degrees at 4:17 in the afternoon - I left the truck clock on MI time!
79 degrees at 4:17 in the afternoon - I left the truck clock on MI time!
Same as Jaquomo - space rain always in the pack and emergency kit. I can not imagine hunting in rain gear when it is not raining - even the high dollar good stuff. Last year it was pushing 80 everyday in Southern Wy! I never wore more than my lightest weight camo base layers on top for the whole 2 weeks I was there!
Rain gear is hot. I would only wear it from camp if the the daytime high was going to be below 40. I've worn it all day on Kodiak and in the Brooks (Kuiu Yukon), but it was windy and never got above 50 and I still had to vent it or take it off when ascending.
I don't think I'd ever plan on wearing it during elk season from the get-go.
I check the forecast daily and often times don't bring it. If there's 10% chance of rain, the most you'll see is something that you can get under a tree and tough out - or I just keep moving and get a little wet.
But I generally have at least the rain jacket in my pack if I don't have a 6x8 foot tarp.
I carry a set of Kuiu Chugach Rain gear. Never was a Kuiu guy, but my wife got the set for me as a gift. I have never hunted with it in a steady all day rain, but it sure is nice when the pop up showers fire up. It is light weight and is easy to keep in my pack.
Don't need the pants. Save your money. Kuiu, sitka, first lite, pants... etc...they will all dry out fast if you get caught in a storm. Keep a rain jacket in your pack at all times. If the day looks really rainy and wet wear good gaiters and your rain coat and you'll be good to go. Some variables here, car camp, backpack, day hunt? Those may affect things but in general I think most people carry too much....myself included. Working on that. Its ok to be wet sometimes....you won't melt.
Thanks for the great feedback. It’s my first time to Idaho so my reference is Colorado where it seemed to rain daily around 3pm for 30-60 minutes. I ordered the Kuiu Attack pants, a long sleeve shirt, light jacket, and vest. I might also pick up some Sitka mountain pants and switch every other day or halfway through. It will be a good comparison between the two setups.
The older I get the more comfort and good gear is worth the money. With the kids grown up and out of the house I can afford it now. My wife may disagree...lol.
I survived 2013 archery elk without any Sitka or Kuiu rain gear.
And that year was a real test
We will be base camping from the truck if the elk allow. Heated Kodiak tent for base camp so nightly drying out is an option. We have bivy gear to stay out a few nights at a time, if needed.
Jaq X3....never go anywhere with out a survival kit and rain gear.
Jaq’s advice is solid.
Idyll is on the money too. Have lots of different rain gear and it’s all hot!
Hell, I have hunted coastal Alaska and left the rain gear in camp because it was easier to just get wet and let your clothes dry out than mess with the rain gear while hunting. Amazing how well many of the good hunting clothes will dry out after being soaked.
If you are hunting Idaho, you will want lightweight, cool clothes that dry fast and a lightweight, packable rain gear top. That vest will be nice if you do get a little cool.
Colorado high country (11,000+ feet) is a different animal...
I don't carry rain pants. But I carry a super light weight rain jacket and gaiters. I also carry enough layers and when coupled with rain jacket on top I can handle a big temp drop if have to hunker down. I also carry emergency kit (light weight tarp, survival blanket, etc)
What different would you carry for Sept hunts above treeline?
Amen X-ray porn star....aka Jaq.....if I carry anything in my day pack it is a set of quality rain gear.....and water. Been there froze my arse off when the weather turned, turned quick, and turned ugly.
I like wool for high altitude too. But a lightweight Primaloft puffy and/or vest combo (I have the Russell APX) also compresses well, weighs very little, and makes a great layering system with a lightweight rain jacket outer when the weather systems are unsettled.
No matter what, trying to hide behind a 4' tall krumholtz patch or rockpile above timberline during a freezing thunder-hail storm is a harrowing experience where you learn what you wish you had carried that day. Thats where a small siltarp can be golden.
Until you've been in one of those brutal situations, it's difficult to visualize. I live at 8500' and spend a lot of time over 10K from July on. Weather comes in fast. A slip on a wet log and a twisted knee during a bad one can be a good "teachable moment" in the importance of being prepared.
I got caught out in one of those storms at 11,800' overnight....I was OK until a thunderstorm hit at 2:30 am. The lightening was literally flying 10' over my head. When the sun came up and the fog cleared, I was able to get my bearings and make it back to camp. If I wasn`t prepared I would of croaked as I was solo.
My first elk hunt was in the Colorado high country back in September 2002. One morning, it dumped about a foot of snow in just a couple of hours. A good set of rain gear (highly recommended by my Bowsite brothers) kept me warm and dry.
Later that morning, a local bowhunter with considerable experience in the area, tracked me down in the snow. He was wearing a $0.99 rain poncho from Walmart, soaked to the bone and shivering uncontrollably. He was completely disoriented...I assumed suffering from onset hypothermia. Got some dry clothes and my rain gear on him and marched him to his truck ASAP. Not sure that guy would have survived on his own that day?
Depending on where I'm hunting, I may leave the rain gear in camp some days...but the Colorado high country is NOT one of those places. Spent three weeks in the high country last August sheep hunting. The hailstorms Jaq mentioned are the real deal! Hate to guess how many times I got pelted during that three week stretch. Blue sky one minute, bombarded the next. Wouldn't trade that experience for the world though!
How about Rivers West? A bud let me use his RW jacket for a whitetail stand last season. It was pouring and it kept me dry as a bone. Anyone use it?
How about Frog Toggs? Fishing Gear overcoats could be a cheap solution. https://www.froggtoggs.com/men-s-all-purpose-jacket-ap62104/ Not preffered camo though could provide the necessary shelter.
When I got serious about elk hunting a couple years ago, Jaq provided me with so much solid advice gear wise, and one of his suggestions was packable rain gear - tops and bottoms. It must be gear that is packable - bulletproof raingear that isn't packable does no good sitting in your tent - and that's where it will be come day 3 or 4 after attempting to pack it the first 2-3 days. I bought some Sylo packable stuff that stays in my pack the entire trip. I've also picked up some Cabelas space gear stuff super cheap at the local Bass Pro Catalogue Outlet. First year out in Colorado we had happen what others described. Went out for the evening hunt and it was 70 and sunny. Within a couple hours a storm front came crashing in - temp dropped by 30-40 degrees and it was blowing rain and freezing rain. We were a long ways from camp and could have been in a terrible situation if we hadn't had the packable rain gear - used tops and bottoms both.
In Idaho a couple years ago - wow, it never stopped the constant rain and drizzle. I couldn't imagine trying to hunt in rain gear every day though. Put it in your pack and take it out as necessary.
Very appreciative of the advice here on Bowsite, it saved me from having to learn a lot of things the hard way!
Space Rain Jacket always in my pack. I can't do the pants...I use gaiters instead.
Kuiu Chugach set is always my one and only go to rain gear until someone makes better? Just when needed not an all day outer layer.
Funny Jaq.....I also have and prefer the Russel APX (not sure it is available anymore) because it is quiet vs. my bombproof Sitka raingear. I also carry a 8X10 siltarp. Shelter, a place to keep meat clean when breaking down an animal, all around super useful and weighs nothing. The lightening is what tightens my sphincter into a diamond producer.....I'll flat throw a high dollar bow rig as far as I can in a lightening storm. Hail sux too without some shelter. Funniest wake up was in the flattops after a storm and the hail was so heavy it collapsed our tent onto my buddy melting into his bag and leaving a 4"+ lake on the floor of the tent.....and he slept through it. Waking up was not so fun except for the rest of us who got a hell of a laugh.....then we got to clear the tent of water......good times in the rockies in Sept.
Many times Ive put my bow down and walked a good distance away during a lighting storm
Glad my bows are wood and non-conductive, Brad ;-)
Above treeline, I really like my KOM wool. Usually a layer of merino long johns underneath and wool on top.
The synthetics can work as well but cotton will kill you. I do like the fast drying properties of some of the top end stuff.
Rain gear is a necessity.
Have had a number of incidents with guys hunting mule deer or sheep up high with clothes that were totally inadequate.
I remember a sheep hunt where I was sheep hunting with Dave Perrion from SD and we got caught in a storm up at 13K. Hunkered down next to some rocks to get out of the wind and block some of the sleet and snow. I was OK in just my wool and didn’t even pull out my rain gear.
After about an hour, he started shivering badly so I pulled off my wool shirt and gave him it and my cabelas packable rain top to warm him up. I sat it out with my KOM vest and merino long sleeve shirt and didn’t get too cold.
There was probably 6” of snow and sleet at that elevation after it blew through. That storm lasted till after dark and pretty sure he would have been in trouble without the extra clothes.
That was in mid August.
+1 Treeline! The Kuiu Chugach NX rain jacket weighs 1 pound. It's in my pack every time I leave camp and I generally wear my gaiters every day regardless. I figure that one pound could save my life some time, it's worth it!
I saw 99.3 Bigfoot on your radio screen. Neat little station isn't it?
Have that Chugach rain gear as well. It’s what stays in my pack these days.
It is definitely tougher than the Cabela’s Packable stuff. The Cabela’s rain gear is still great stuff and is a good backup or if someone doesn’t have anything. I have torn up several sets of the pants in brush and on horseback.
PS - 99.3 Bigfoot is on my presets!
I get a kick out of recommendations on some other forums and manufacturers websites about elk hunting clothes needed for "early season". I've been snowed on in every month of the year, and that July-September hail is worse than any early season snowstorm.
Once one of those terrific hailstorms came in out of nowhere and my companion didnt have rain gear (didn't need it, it was hot and sunny when we left). I did the Treeline thing to save him, which ended up with both of us soaked and shivering uncontrollably. (I wasn't wearing wool because, you know, it was too warm..) When it finally stopped, a fire was not an option since everything was saturated and our fingers didn't work right. Ice water was pouring through the thick spruce branches we hunkered under.
We were on the other side of a small river, before the hail, and couldn't go upstream on our side due to sheer granite cliffs. We had to cross the now-raging, freezing river. We decided we had to do it or possibly die, so we made a couple stout wading staffs, locked arms, and forged across. Both of us lost footing once but we made it. He never goes anywhere without rain gear now, no matter how sunny.
Just one of many from 60 years of living in CO and adventuring in the mountains.
I'll definitely take the advice and always have rain gear with me...even in Idaho. I don't want to be the guy that only learns lessons the hard way.
Great feedback and advice. Keep'em coming. I love hearing the weather stories. In KS you can see the weather roll in for miles. Not so much when a mountain is blocking the view.
Back when the boy was still little glassing a treeline basin for bucks...
"My first elk hunt was in the Colorado high country back in September 2002. One morning, it dumped about a foot of snow in just a couple of hours. A good set of rain gear (highly recommended by my Bowsite brothers) kept me warm and dry."
Lots of stories like this... I have some myself from that time period in the high Sierras in every month between May and November and have seen it in the elk mountains too. The thing is though, that this really should be a thing of the past. We now have hand-held devices that let us know that this sort of thing is coming - maybe not 3 days in advance, but the day's forecast is now accurate enough even in the mountains to have a good idea of what you might be up against when you're getting dressed and packing for a day of hunting. There are devices that will give you the weather forecast even for the mountains and even without cell reception.
The hunts I mentioned earlier in the Brooks and Kodiak - I knew every morning what the forecast was for the day and it was really accurate. If my forecast was accurate in the middle of the Brooks range, 50 miles from the nearest road, and accurate in 3 different mountain ranges in Wyoming, near the continental divide, etc, and accurate in January in the Arizona wilderness, I can, with confidence, say that you know what you're up against for the day just about anywhere.
The old way was to just be prepared for anything. The new way is to be prepared for what is actually coming or flat out just know that today is a good day to stay at camp.
One thing to remember about elk hunting, is that 95% of it is done in a location that you can honestly hike out of in 1-2 hours. Even 5 miles in, if you have a reasonable trail, you can hike that in under 2 hours. If you have to cross a bunch of blow-down, that can slow you down, but if it really gets crappy, you can just hoof it downhill and be back to civilization in short order.
I'm not advocating for not having rain gear; but knowing what you're up against is as good a tool as carrying the kitchen sink on your back and a heck of a lot lighter.
Good advice, Ike, except I've yet to find a device that will predict when and where a benign afternoon shower that you can weather under a spruce becomes life threatening hail. If you know of one, I'd love to know about it because thats the biggest danger variable where I hunt elk (besides lightning).
I'll once again echo Jaq's comments. My Space Rain jacket and pants each fold into themselves, and are the size of a Coke can. Together, they weigh 20oz. I have two mesh pockets on the back of my pack, one goes in each. I don't even know they're there, although there's usually a few times each year I'm damn glad they are!
As Treeline points out, they aren't the most durable, however, they don't break the bank and I only use them when waiting out a storm. I've had mine for 7-8yrs and they're still in perfect condition.
Lou, a thin waterproof layer doesn't protect against life threatening hail. The only answer to that is to get out of Dodge. In 2013 while packing out my bull, I had a storm that was dropping nickle-sized hail (hurt, but won't kill you) and had a lightning bolt touch down about 20 yards to my right. The only thing I could do was get under a tree as the hail started falling as quarter size balls. If you're hunting at 11K feet, this is a problem. If you're hunting at 9K feet or less, there are trees to take cover under.
Honestly, I think the bigger risk is sustained heavy rain/sleet for hours that causes hypothermia. Those hail and electrical storms... there's nothing you can do other than take cover. I've been caught in a bunch of those hail storms. They usually end as fast as they start.
An adjunct to my thin waterproof layer...works in most of the worst situations!
+1 Jeff. That Slip System elk butt has bailed me out a number of times during unexpected storms, as has the muley doe and open country slip.. ;-)
People listen to this advice! In the high country your "survival gear" is the most important gear you have! I've lived & seen many of these "situations" as well & I cannot stress enough to BE PREPARED! You can die up there pretty easily actually. Where you are can help determine that need but ALWAYS be prepared for the worst!
+2 Jeff. Mine comes with me on all of my hunts. Slip System and rain gear and I can nap during a rain storm.
I always carry a rain jacket. It's part of my survival gear. If it's a day hunt, I don't necessarily carry rain pants. If weight is an issue, I've used very light Red Ledge rain gear. Light but not breathable at all. Most of the time I carry the Kuiu, Chugach, rain gear. The Chugach is absolutely the best. The Kuiu Attack pants are fairly water resistant and work really well when walking through wet brush. If I'm only going out for the day, I'll wear Attack pants and have the Chugach rain jacket in my day pack. If I'm packed in, I'll have the Chugach pants and jacket.