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Customer Project: An Actual Rain Kilt

by Mike

  • I am a plant population geneticist, and spend a lot of time out in the field standing, working, and walking in rain for hours. The main issue I run into with rain pants is getting sweaty, and the weight. Carrying samples and gear makes you want to shed as many ounces as possible. I have looked at rain skirts made for backpackers, however the idea of squatting or climbing in a tube just did not sound appealing to me. 

    Enter the actual rain kilt. 

    Why this???
    1. Kilts have a full range of motion, and were designed by people living in a relatively rainy climate.
    2. 4.16 ounces – could be 3.16 if you removed the milspec-webbing I used as a “belt” (rain skirts are usually 2 – 3.5 oz for someone my size, so 1-2 extra ounces was worth it to me). 
    3. They breath pretty well, and in serious conditions could be combined with gaiters or short rain chaps to make a system about as waterproof as rain pants. 
    4. I bought materials to make two for a little under $45, where a single rain skirt from a backpacking brand is around the same price. 

    Design choices (if you have made kilts before):
    1. Silpoly – two layers across the front of your legs between both aprons means it is hard to wet out there area where your legs will rub the most. Silpoly is UV resistant and I do not really need the farbric stretch Silnylon provides when an actual kilt is designed open/stretch via pleating. 
    2. Pleat sewing – I sewed the pleats down lower than normal to limit the amount wind can blow it up. I have been out in chanook winds wearing a kilt without much problem. 
    3. I have it cut to “jean” level on my body so I can wear it with a normal kilt (sometimes I backpack in one, or go to highland games) without messing with the buckles. Don’t worry, the rain jacket still has 6-8 inches of overlap (kilts are wore at the belly button). 
    4. Flat buckles further back / larger than normal apron (22’’ vs 18-20’’ for someone my size) – this was to prevent a backpack hipbelt from pushing the buckles into my hipbones, or pushing the apron open 
    5. Blue – Matches the tartan on my mum’s side (I know I have a Stewart on in the pictures).