Gear Guy

Can you help me pick out some raingear for a canoe trip?

My son and I need to purchase raingear for an eight-day canoe trek to Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area this July. Do I need to get a Gore-Tex parka like most people recommend, or are the newer, lighter styles like Marmot's PreCip enough for such a trip? David Wichita, Kansas


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My initial reaction is that just about any rainwear you get will mainly serve to poach you in warm, humid Boundary Waters come July.

Be that as it may, I tend to think that Marmot’s PreCip ($99 for a jacket; or something like it, such as Marmot’s Oracle ($150, it adds stretch panels that may be useful) or REI’s Ultra Light ($125, adds pit zips; will work just fine. They all use similar materials for their waterproofing. Gore-Tex is typically too expensive for just one trip, although L.L. Bean’s Stowaway is a fine Gore-Tex buy at $145 (

You might also opt for one of several non-breathable jackets out there. These are completely waterproof, but of course don’t breathe especially well. Or at all, for that matter—they’re completely polyurethane-coated and utterly impervious to moisture. For extended periods, sitting in the rain in a canoe, they might be preferable to any of the “waterproof-breathable” alternatives. Helly Hansen’s Impertech rainwear is a great buy, at $70 for a parka (

These all come with hoods, but generally a good rain hat is more comfortable. For years the best rain hat on the planet has been Outdoor Research’s estimable Seattle Sombrero. $56, and worth every penny (