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Testing My Rain Gear in a Full Downpour

Bruce with all his rain gear, ready for the test
Bruce with all his rain gear, ready for the test

My hike of the West Highland Way in Scotland is coming up soon, I can’t wait. This September, I will be hiking with my sister from Glasgow, 96 miles north to Fort Williams. Today I had a great opportunity to test my new gear in a pretty good rainstorm. I did a previous test in mild rain, but today I walked in a full-on downpour for about an hour. My gear worked pretty well. I recently upgraded to a new rain jacket from REI, Flash-Stretch Rain Jacket. I like how it fits and I like the arm vents. It fits pretty well around my hat. I used my same REI rain pants. It is hard to tell though how much getting wet is condescension or leaking water. I think the jacket is pretty good.

What was disappointing was my backpack cover. I have a 22L Osprey daypack and I used the Osprey rain cover. It is almost as wet on the inside of the cover as on the outside. I guess they aren’t really waterproof. I did some Googling and found that you can spray it with Scotchgard, I might try that. My pack did fine, it just got wet. I will need to look at including plastic bags and envelopes for my gear when I go on the hike in September. The West Highland Way can be very wet.

What I am pleased about is that I upgraded my hiking boots. I had a pair of Keen Targhee II, and wasn’t very happy with them. Something was just wrong with them. I have worn Keen’s for a long time, and they have been great. But not this pair. I changed to the Keen Targhee IV and they are excellent. This is the first time I have walked in a full rain with my boots. They did great. These are waterproof and my feet stayed dry. I ended up sometimes walking in the streams coming down the hill and they did a great job. Also, no slips on the rocks.

The West Highland Way is known for its rainy days and ever-changing weather. So I will get wet. But overall, I think I am prepared.


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