Thursday, July 12, 2012

the rain skirt

instructional illustration, click on art for a HI-rez view

_________________________________________

Audio instructions for making your own rain skirt. 
About 10 minutes long.
_________________________________________

RAIN SKIRT: 
This is an ridiculously easy thing to make yourself. Gravity goes straight down, so my legs get protected (mostly) from the falling rain by this very fashionable item. And plenty of breathability. This is a very easy make-it-yourself item, and the results are functional and stylish. I’ve made a series of these (and learned a lot from my nerdy R&D) and none weigh more than 2 oz!  The easiest way to create a lightweight pair of rain pants involves using Dri-Ducks, Frogg Toggs or TYVEC pants. These are all easy to find on-line and they're SUPER cheap!

Step 1:
Using scissors, cut the legs off at around knee height.

Step 2:
Cut the the entire inseam so that they are no longer pants - it's a skirt! The seams wont fray, so there is no need to sew anything. But (sometimes) I'll just use tiny little tabs of masking tape (yes, just that thin tan stuff) on the ends of each seam to keep the panels from separating.

The whole trimming and taping process should take less than 2 minutes. The weight should be UNDER 2 OUNCES! The rain skirt is dorky and laughably ugly, but it really works to keep your legs dry when hiking in the rain. The skirt is wonderfully breathable because it's open at the bottom. If I need to sit on soggy ground, I whip out my trust rain skirt for a little more comfort.

TYVEC pants:
These are as ugly as they are cheap (linked HERE). Somewhere around three bucks a pair. The shipping is more than the product so I will buy a handful, and I've been giving them out (as rain skirts). It's easier for me to hand someone something than to listen to them whine about how they can't get it together to do it themselves.

DRU-DUCKS and FROGG-TOGGS both make pretty much the exact same rain suit. So much so, that I think they ARE the same suit. Usually priced between $14 to $24 on-line.

The Jackets:
The rain jackets are the best think I've ever used. The weight should be right around, or slightly under, 7 ounces! These babies are amazingly breathable and fully waterproof. But they are ridiculously ugly and not very durable. I've patched my torn rain with plain ol' masking tape, and those repairs have lasted (just fine!) for over 6 years! I get an XXL size to fit over everything, I'm 6' 1" and I need the arm length.

My advice: Do not take this jacket to the jungles of Borneo and hike thru thorns! But, hike on trail and enjoy. Hike off-trail and be careful.

The Pants:
The ankles will shred if you walk off-trail for three steps. Better to turn these into a rain skirt.
________________________________________

BONUS! The rain skirt will leave you with the leftover leg part you cut off. These can be made into really tidy water proof stuff sacks! This involves tape and scissors, no sewing required.

Swanky super-model with a full ensemble of Dri-Ducks jacket and Rain-Skirt on a runway in Yellowstone, freshly adorned with hail!
__________________________________________



5 comments:

jw said...

Two posts in a week, plus a COLOR illustration: there must be something good in the water in Idaho!

Seriously: thanks for this. I've been on the fence about the rain skirt for a while, and now that I read about how it's easier to hand someone a skirt than to listen to them gripe about making their own… I am sufficiently shamed. There's a rain-skirt with my name on it in the near future.

Question: why not just use an extra trash-compactor bag and some string to cinch it around my waist? The non-breathability of the plastic seems like it would be a non-issue considering that it's completely open at the bottom. Or am I misunderstanding the thermodynamics of the skirt? But if it does work, I've got a box of 'em in my gear, having used only one for my pack liner. Wouldn't it be swell just to use what I've already got (and that costs less than a buck? Hmmm: might be a bit too narrow for a full stride, though. Maybe I'll have to think this one through more fully.

Mike Clelland! said...

The plastic bag option is an excellent solution.

I have considered it. The white trash COMPACTOR bag is too narrow, but it is worth pursuing.

Have at it!

Robert Paul Malchow said...

Hi, Mike,

Great book - just awesome.

I've just cut my Dri-Duck pants into shorts. They seem very baggy and are easy to get on and off.

Why not leave them as "rain shorts" instead?

Paul

bubbyman said...

Just made mine! Guess I'm a cross-dresser now. Kinda' like it....

Anonymous said...

Picked up the Frogg Toggs set at Wally World last year. The first set was more duct tape than tyvek after a thorny offtrail detour to pick up some birch bark for the evenings fire. Very delicate stuff. Second set has only a couple pieces of tape, from vibration rub in my bike panniers.

That being said, I still love wearing them! I stay dry and don't get all clammy on the inside. The first time tromping down a muddy trail, and the legs got chopped off. It was just a natural progression... Path of least resistance and all that. Not quite shorts, and nothing like a skirt, more like baggy Capri's!

Hooded top with drawstring and stylish matching Capri's all for only 9.5 ozs... Even with patches of duct tape!