Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Rain Skirt

The trail running community is advising a long waterproof skirt for weather protection in the field. I'm not quite ready to devote three figures to a garment that, with luck, will spend the foreseeable future in my emergency evacuation kit. I'm also not quite ready to devote a day to fabrication.

The skirt is touted as a practical and convenient way to respond to changes in weather, being fast and easy to put on and take off. Aping a traditional Indonesian tube skirt, I cut open the bottom of a heavy plastic contractor's waste bag, pulled it up to my waist, and tied it in place with the tabs that are used to close it. As an afterthought, I cut two inch fringe around the hem to shed water. 

Rain pants are a related matter. I've tried on several pair and find that the world of outdoor fashion has yet to master a cut I can relate to. As is often the case, I found that considering the historic origins of a thing revealed a simple solution to a complex design consideration. Trousers are plural because they used to consist of two legs that were secured around the waist.

I contemplated fabricating leg tubes from another bag and realized that for my purposes, I can simply open produce bags and tape them below the knee should circumstances demand dry legs. If I need them, I won't care what I look like. The local climate, assuming it holds up, is best managed with a hooded poncho that falls below the knee and can be used as a ground cloth. Tribespeople used a stick to knock water off the brush they were whacking.

The poncho lives in the evacuation kit. I pull it out on the rare snowy day that demands extra warmth over the usual rain layer. As to a skirt, some of my best trail miles have been put in wearing a classic fine wool kilt.


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