When I joined my friends on a raft through the Grand Canyon the forecast called for temps above 100° F. It was strongly suggested I bring full rain gear, to which I replied, “You’re nuts!” Seems that Arizona has a monsoon season full of cold rain, which I thought strange for the desert, but I brought a lightweight, waterproof jacket just in case, and I’m sure glad I did.
Descending 5,000′ over a four hour, 10 mile hike from the South Rim Village to reach the Colorado River at Phantom Ranch I was drenched in sweat. I bought a cold lemonade to sip and geared up to jump on a raft. That’s when the rain started and boy was it cold. I’ve never experienced such a big temperature change in so little time. That jacket I never thought I’d use? Well, I’ve never been so happy to see it.
Over the next two weeks the rain began to let up some but I still brought the Outdoor Research Realm Jacket out of the dry bag it was stored in for those cold morning runs through the rapids. It’s a lightweight jacket meaning I could stuff it easily out of the way and pull it out quickly when the cold set in. It’s completely waterproof but breathes well, especially when an unexpected soaking sends water down the top of the jacket. That never happened with rain, only in a rapid when the waves came crashing over my head. We all had good hiking boots and thus that was one less thing to worry about when we were freezing in the cold.
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