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Reviews > Rain Gear > Jackets and Pants > ULA Rain Wrap Skirt > Test Report by Chuck Kime

Ultralight Adventure Equipment Rain Wrap
August, 2007

Photos courtesy www.ula-equipment.com
ULA Rain Wrap

Contents
Reviewer Information[return to top]
Name: Chuck Kime
Nickname: Fuzzy
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.72 m)
Weight: 243 lb (110 kg)
Email address: chuck_kime AT yahoo DOT com
City, State, Country: Upper Darby (Philadelphia suburb), PA, U.S.A.

Additional Information applicable to this test
Waist: 42” (107 cm)
Hips: 46” (117 cm)
Inseam: 30-32” (76-81 cm), depending on footwear

Backpacking Background[return to top]
My family started car/trailer camping when I was about 5. I now go on monthly Boy Scout camping/hiking weekends, with similar family trips occasionally, and plan to add one or two week-long trips per year. Advancing age, arthritic knees and injuries have led me to rethink my gear choices, switch to hammocking, make some of my own gear, and look closer at my ‘toys’ with an eye for multi-use and light weight. I now have a sub-20 lb (9 kg) 3-season load – before food, fuel and water – and should be able to reduce it further with a little effort.

Additional Information applicable to this test
I have a silnylon anorak already (conveniently, it’s also blue), and have found it quite good to have in rainy weather, but it just doesn’t cover enough of my shorts (I *very* rarely hike in pants). This wrap looks like the perfect thing to keep my shorts, and my pocket contents, dry during wet weather.

Product Information[return to top]
Manufacturer: Ultralight Adventure Equipment
Model: Rain Wrap
Year of Manufacture: 2007
URL: http://www.ula-equipment.com
Listed weight (size Medium): 2.9 oz (82 g)
Listed weight (size Large): 3.2 oz (91 g)
Listed dimensions (size Medium): ~54 in wide x 28 in long (137 cm x 71 cm)
Listed dimensions (size Large): ~54 in wide x 32 in long (137 cm x 81 cm)
Measured weight (size Medium): 2.9 oz (82 g), scale accurate to 0.1 oz
Measured dimensions (size Medium): 58 in around (when fastened) x 29 in long (147 cm x 74 cm)
Color: Blue
MSRP: $25.00 US

Features/claims (from web site)[return to top]
  • New for '07, the Rain Wrap is a simple solution for lightweight, ventilated weather protection. More specifically, it is a silicon impregnated nylon skirt that keeps the bulk of moisture off of the lower body, while providing ease of movement and great ventilation.
  • The Rain Wrap easily adjusts at the waist by tensioning the flat elastic band with a cordlock. A split center and velcro tabs allow for a range of adjustment.
  • Easily packs into an integrated stuff sack.
    (5.25" H X 4" W X 2.5 D)
  • Other uses? You bet! Corner loops allow the Rain Wrap to be staked as a groundsheet (~32" x ~54"), or as additional flooring in a tarp or tent vestibule to keep gear clean. Works well as a 'modesty' wrap when doing laundry at a re-supply as well.

Initial Report - March, 2007
Arrival [return to top] Rain Wrap, stuffed
The Rain Wrap arrived on March 13, 2007. The package was received undamaged. Inside the package I found the wrap stuffed into its attached stuffsack along with a letter-size sheet with use and general care instructions. There were no other contents, and all contents appeared undamaged.

Description [return to top]
Rain Wrap, flat The Rain Wrap is basically a single sheet of medium blue silicone-impregnated nylon (silnylon) sized to Velcro around the wearer’s waist and provide rain protection further down the body and legs than a rain jacket/parka alone. The simple, single-sheet design means that no seam sealing is required. Unless otherwise noted, all components (other than the silnylon) are black.


Waist detail Stretched out flat, the Rain Wrap measures 29 in (74 cm) long (waist-to-hem) x 63 in (160 cm) wide. There is a single row of stitching at the hem, while the waist is sewn with two rows to create a tube about 7/8 in (22 mm) wide through which a length of 3/8 in (9 mm) elastic is run for size adjustment (more on this later). The waist is closed with Velcro that runs along the waistband, measuring 5 x 1 in (7.5 x 2.5 cm). At the front edge of the waist is a large plastic D-ring held on by a short length of 3/4 in (18 mm) ribbon.


Adjustment Just outboard of the Velcro at the waist is a brass grommet where the adjusting elastic comes out of the waist and through a clear red cordlock. There is a small plastic D-ring sewn to the end of the elastic, preventing it from being pulled through the cordlock and providing an easier grip. The elastic goes all the way around the waist and is under some tension at its loosest adjustment.


Corner loops The three corners of the wrap that don’t have the large plastic D-ring (mentioned above) have a 1 in (25 mm) loop of 3/8 in (9 mm) elastic. These loops allow the wrap to be used for other purposes, i.e. attached to a tarp for more coverage, staked down as a ground sheet, used as a gear hammock, etc.


Stuffsack, inverted (shown from inside) The attached stuffsack is actually a pocket sewn into one of the bottom corners of the wrap, about 6½ x 4¼ in (17 x 11 cm) when flat, with 1/2 in (12 mm) wide Velcro closures along the short end. This Velcro runs vertically up the front seam of the wrap, matching up with a piece on the other front seam, and, along with two similar pieces about midway up the front edge of the wrap, can be used to keep the front opening closed for as much (or as little) modesty as the wearer desires. Stuffing the wrap requires inverting this pocket, stuffing away, then closing the Velcro. Sewn to the outside of the stuffsack (when stuffed) is a short loop of 3/8 in (9 mm) elastic with a plastic clip that can be used to hang the wrap from... well, darn near anything. There are also a size tag and a manufacturer’s tag on the outside of the stuffsack.

First Impressions [return to top]
Length The Rain Wrap provides lower-body rain coverage in a lightweight, multi-purpose – not to mention well thought out – package. It is longer than I expected, but does not seem to bind or inhibit my stride. I used to like ponchos for their coverage, but disliked the excess material blowing around. The Rain Wrap gives me the same coverage in a much narrower profile. I like it.

Field Testing Plan [return to top]
Our Boy Scout troop camps monthly, generally in the wooded areas of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Pocono Mountains. Almost all of these outings include a minimum of 2 nights of camping, with temperatures expected to be from lows around 15 ºF (-9 ºC) to highs around 75 ºF (24 ºC) during the 4-month test period. Elevations will range from sea level to approximately 1,500’ (457 m). We have added monthly hikes to our schedule as well. My wife and I, who between us have 3 high-ranking boy scouts (ages 15, 16 and 17), are also looking into additional camping without the scouts, and there are possibilities of some AT section hikes (with overnights) in Pennsylvania with my son as he works towards the Hiking Merit Badge.

We have several trips definitely on our schedule so far for this year: in April we will be spending a weekend at Gettysburg Battlefield and attempting to hike remaining portions of the National Historic Trail there, in May our council will be hosting a Jamboree, a potential rafting trip in June, and summer camp – with *much* hiking – in July.

I will carry the wrap on all outings, as well as packing it to work for use in civilization, should the need arise. If I do not have significant enough rainfall to thoroughly test it by the time the Field Report is due, I will consider a shower test to look for leaks and/or weak spots in the design.

Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Does it fit me? I am not tall, and my height is mostly torso, so my inseam is shorter than the average for my size (that’s a nice way of saying I could stand to lose some weight). Do I need to worry about the hem catching my calves while walking? Does it move well with me?
  • Velcro. Does the Velcro hold, but release easily when desired?
  • Fabric. Is it durable? Does it stretch? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Rain. Does it keep me dry between the waist and (near) the hem?
  • Comfort. Does it stick to my skin if I am wet/sweaty? If so, does it bind or inhibit my movement?
  • Packability. How packable is the wrap? I plan to put it in a relatively small pocket on my pack, but my experience with silnylon tells me it will compress smaller than the relaxed dimensions given.
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Does it dry well? Does it hold much dirt in the first place?
  • Breathability. Am I better off without it in warm weather?
  • Other functions. Does it make a good ‘changing room’? I use a hammock, and would prefer to stand when changing clothes.
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. It’s plenty roomy around the waist and hips.
  • Comfort. It does not seem to affect my movement.
  • Packability. It stuffs tiny, and can be hung outside a pack to save room for other items.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Packs really small.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. None yet.

Field Report - May, 2007
Field Testing [return to top]
I have carried the Rain Wrap daily since my Initial Report – in a pocket of my pack during outings, and thrown in my bag to and from the office. I have not had any rain on any of my outings, but have had two or three occasions to break it out during a nor'easter that hit our area in early May. The wrap was quick to deploy, don and adjust, keeping me dry down to below my knees even in heavy wind and rain. It was a tad slick to sit on during my short bus ride, but I had no other complaints.

I will be continuing to carry the wrap on a daily basis, hopefully getting some field use out of it and not just city use, though my city use is very similar to my field use.

Things I am/will be looking for: [return to top]
  • Fit. Does it fit me? I am not tall, and my height is mostly torso, so my inseam is shorter than the average for my size (that’s a nice way of saying I could stand to lose some weight). Do I need to worry about the hem catching my calves while walking? Does it move well with me?
  • Velcro. Does the Velcro hold, but release easily when desired?
  • Fabric. Is it durable? Does it stretch? Does it fade? Is it windproof? Waterproof? Does it pill, pull, or snag readily?
  • Rain. Does it keep me dry between the waist and (near) the hem?
  • Comfort. Does it stick to my skin if I am wet/sweaty? If so, does it bind or inhibit my movement?
  • Packability. How packable is the wrap? I plan to put it in a relatively small pocket on my pack, but my experience with silnylon tells me it will compress smaller than the relaxed dimensions given.
  • Washability. Are there special instructions? Are they easy to follow? Does it dry well? Does it hold much dirt in the first place?
  • Breathability. Am I better off without it in warm weather?
  • Other functions. Does it make a good ‘changing room’? I use a hammock, and would prefer to stand when changing clothes.
My findings so far: [return to top]
  • Fit. It’s plenty roomy around the waist and hips. It doesn’t catch my calves while walking. It just seems to disappear, except that I’m still dry.
  • Velcro. The Velcro holds well, doesn’t seem to snag, and opens when I want it to – all good things.
  • Fabric. No snags as of yet. Definitely waterproof.
  • Rain. Keeps me dry to below my knees.
  • Comfort. It does not seem to affect my movement.
  • Packability. It stuffs tiny, and can be hung outside a pack to save room for other items.
  • Washability. I haven’t washed it, but it dries well.
  • Breathability. Nice and cool.
  • Other functions. I will cover this in my Long Term Report.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Packs really small.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. None yet.

Long Term Report - July, 2007
Field Testing [return to top]
I have continued to carry the Rain Wrap daily since my Field Report. I have, however, been cursed with beautiful weather on all of my outdoor trips, so my experiences wearing it are all city walking – albeit with a backpack on – where I walk about 1½ miles (2 km) as part of my commuting. My findings continue to be positive, and my comments regarding its primary function are unchanged. It works, and it works well.

Although the weather has been nice while I was out, there had been rain prior to some of my outings. I have used the wrap as a ground sheet for my pack during breaks in wet/muddy areas, and rigged it as a pack cover using a length of shock cord through the attached loops.

As far as using it as a privacy wrap, it works for me. Silnylon can be somewhat translucent, especially lighter colors. I am usually about 20-30 ft (10-15 m) from others where I hang my hammock, however, so it provides sufficient privacy for my needs. Users with privacy concerns should try the wrap on in front of a mirror to determine their own comfort level.

Things I was looking for: [return to top]
  • Comfort. Does it stick to my skin if I am wet/sweaty? If so, does it bind or inhibit my movement?
  • Breathability. Am I better off without it in warm weather?
  • Other functions. Does it make a good ‘changing room’? I use a hammock, and would prefer to stand when changing clothes?
My findings: [return to top]
  • Comfort. It does not seem to affect my movement. I can take my longest stride without binding.
  • Breathability. Nice and cool.
  • Other functions. I can get dressed standing up. This is good.
Things I like [return to top]
  1. Light.
  2. Packs really small.
  3. I can clip it on the outside of my pack if it doesn’t fit inside.
  4. I now have a changing room for when I need privacy.
Things I don't like [return to top]
  1. None. Really. ULA has done a great job.
Summary [return to top]
The Rain Wrap has earned a permanent place in my gear. It does what it was made to do, and then some. Innovation at its best.
Thank you for your time.

Chuck Kime
a.k.a. Fuzzy

Update - August, 2007
Field Testing [return to top] Taken while laying on Rain Wrap
I just completed a week of Boy Scout Summer Camp in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where we had three days (out of seven) with *severe* thunderstorms. The wrap performed admirably, meeting all of my expectations. My son and I even used it to lie on as a ground sheet over a bed of moss when we were stuck out on the trail one night due to really poor trail marking. In the morning, after about 6-8 hours of use, it brushed right off and was packed away – none the worse for wear. I remain impressed.


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