Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Travel Gear: Rain Jacket

The rain was torrential.

"You look funny" commented some miserable-looking middle-aged woman as she stumbled towards us on the Wainwright Coast-to-Coast hike across England.

I gurgled something to show I was glad I had added to her happiness on that grey day. I suspected this was her first and last long distance walk.

We certainly looked unusual. This was probably her first encounter with rain jackets with humps to accommodate backpacks. Fewer than 200 are sold each year.

I have spent countless hours researching rain capes, cagoules, ponchos, rain jackets, and any other name variant I could dream up. Nothing seemed satisfactory until I came across the Packa.

We've field-tested our jackets on several long-distance walks over four years, including rain driven by a 65-mile-an-hour gale while crossing the English Pennines.

Unequivocally the Packa gets four thumbs up from the two of us.

The jacket is designed and sold by Eddie "Cedar Tree" Hinnant, a keen hiker who lives in Virginia. It covers the head, backpack, and most of the body. The venting is excellent.

When the rain stops, you can slip your arms out of the sleeves, and let the jacket hang off the backpack. A draw-string ensures a good fit around the backpack.

It's beautifully made. After many hikes, our jackets are still intact, the seams and stitching show no signs of wear.

As I pack for hiking in Ireland, I'm glad we have these jackets.

The pocket serves as a stuff sack
Note. The photograph at the front of this post was taken on the last few miles before we would reach St. Bees, the traditional start of the Coast-to-Coast.


  1. Replies
    1. You're welcome. I still heartily recommend that cape: it makes a miserable hike bearable.

  2. Indeed, you look somehow funny, but I have to admit that the rain jacket seems to be very resourceful in the field. Can I get this travel gear on Amazon? I also did find some remarkable rain jacket suggestions here: http://hikingmastery.com/top-pick/best-rain-jacket.html

    1. Thanks, Alice, for the recommendation. You can only buy the Packa rain jacket from the guy who makes them at http://www.thepacka.com/ He's great to work with. I've now had mine almost 8 years, and it is going strong.