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Best LIGHTWEIGHT Rain Gear for Costa Rica's Green Season?

Best LIGHTWEIGHT Rain Gear for Costa Rica's Green Season?

May 7th, 2012, 06:25 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2009
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Best LIGHTWEIGHT Rain Gear for Costa Rica's Green Season?

Hello,
I will be visiting Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica with my daughter in June. Could anyone please recommend good LIGHTWEIGHT yet breathable rain gear?
Thanks in advance!
-Steph
sstone151 is offline  
May 7th, 2012, 08:27 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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I'd go to www.rei.com and search for 'waterproof breathable' and look through the offerings - those will be good, reliable brands that will actually do what they say they will unlike cheap knock-offs that might either leak or feel like you're wearing a garbage bag. I'm fond of Mountain Hardwear and The North Face as well as REI brand products.

If you have an REI nearby, try some on - some are lighter weight than others, longer, tighter, crinklier, etc. - that way you'll be able to see what works best for you. Their stuff is spendy but they have good sales. You can also look at these online outlets for the same brands:
www.rei-outlet.com
www.campmor.com
www.sierratradingpost.com
hopefulist is offline  
May 7th, 2012, 11:35 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Frogg Toggs.I use those and a poncho I had custom made at Stephensons Warmlite.
REI pawns crap for armchair survivalists(Gore-tex etc). Toggs are cheap(basspro) and effective for the jungle. If you're toting a pack get Warmlite to make you a poncho to custom fit-Not cheap.
Arenalbotanical is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 02:46 AM
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People I know with Frogg Toggs have said they didn't hold up well - can be a bummer when your rain gear has broken zippers or rips out when you need it. I like stuff that lasts through years and years of hard use so will stick to my post, above, even though I'm not an armchair survivalist.
hopefulist is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 03:53 AM
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I would also look into the selection at LL Bean. I've had my "Costa Rica rain jacket" from there(as that's the only place I use it) for about 7 years now and still love it. Light yet keeps you dry in a soaking. Best part is that it folds into itself and zips up to about the size of a small football. Also has 2 zip-up pockets inside the jacket, big enough to cram my camera in there in case caught out in the rain.
tully is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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We've used our Frogg Toggs for years. They're not really tough, but they do the job. However, depending on how much time you expect to spend in heavy downpours, there is nothing quite as breathable as an umbrella. This device, combined with shorts and water sandals can get you from point A to point B with almost all of you dry or easily dryable. The hotels we have stayed at in Manuel Antonio provided large umbrellas for free (unless you fail to return them).
Kinkazote is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 05:32 AM
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You've received some wonderful advice. Pay careful attention to footwear. Soggy shoes that never dry can be quite miserable. What you pack is somewhat dependent on how much time you'll be spending outdoors. We spend tons of time tromping through the woods, so we pack carefully. Whatever you do, don't pack jeans! They don't breathe, and never dry. The clothing hope recommends will serve you well. And it's true; if you're not hiking, an umbrella can very handy.

Tully, I'm going to look up that rain jacket. It sounds perfect!
Cattail is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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I always just carry a pocket poncho. Not much in breathing material, glorified trash bag really, but it works like a charm and fits comfortably in one little pocket. Only costs a couple of dollars too.
incabod is offline  
May 8th, 2012, 05:52 PM
  #9  
 
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We're the same; we have our rain ponchos that we got at Target for pretty cheap. I love that they zip up into a little pouch and don't take up much room.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 05:17 AM
  #10  
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Many, many thanks to all of you for your thoughtful advice. As I will only be a mere tourist in Costa Rica for around 9 days, I'm going to pass on the idea of a custom-made poncho, although that does sound cool!
Thanks especially to cattail re no jeans. I was wondering about that...have been to Costa Rica before during dry/high season, and even then it seemed like I was always damp!
Another question...I am wondering if it is worth it to bring binoculars. This trip is going to be very wildlife-focused, so I thought I might want a pair, but I'm not sure that I want to spare the weight in my luggage as I'm trying to keep my packing as super-light as possible. Will I be missing out on a ton in Manuel Antonio if I go without binoculars? Do they offer those as rentals at the hotels?
Once again, thanks in advance!
-Steph
sstone151 is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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We always bring our own binoculars and use them a lot. I'd recommend bringing your own. If you do tours, the guide will usually have a pair and a scope, but you'll have to share with others and pass them around, so it's nice to have your own. Definitely worth their weight. We forgot ours one trip and really missed them.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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You're quite welcome, Steph! I agree 100% with vg; binos are well worth it. We even recently purchased a second pair, so we each now have our own. The second pair is super-small and light-weight, but not inexpensive. It's possible that hotels rent them. I've never inquired. Anyone know? It might be worth an e-mail or phone call if you don't think you'd use binos much in the future.
Cattail is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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We were able to borrow a pair from our hotel, but I don't know if most hotels would have them available.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 11:06 AM
  #14  
 
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I have lived here for ten years and in terms of raingear, mine has been in the closet for most of that time. If you are buying gear just for this trip get the cheapo pull overs that you can toss or pack away in a drawer when you get home. It is so hot that the extra weight when wet just makes it more uncomfortable. But you will want to cover up from the bugs! Carry an umbrella and bring a flashlight or head gear if you have it. My LL Bean anorak is much less comfy than my North Face lightweight rain cover.
amagkid is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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I think I bought my jacket 6 or 8 years ago and it's still perfect for me. I don't use it much at home (we just get 10-12" of precipitation/year where I live) but it packs down to the size of a novel. Here's a great buy on a similar one - an updated version with new colors (mine is black). I like that it's a little longer than most so keeps my behind dry and I can pull it down to see on wet things.
http://www.rei.com/product/831331/wh...ns-special-buy

I always take my binoculars to CA - really fabulous Celestron Noble 8x32, no longer made (unfortunately). I've given Barska 8x32s for gifts several times over the years and they're amazing for the price. Here's a link to what appears to be the latest version (though I haven't tried this specific one):
http://www.binoculars.com/binoculars...pblackhawk.cfm

I think they're an incredible deal for what you get: Roof BAK-4 prism, long eye relief, fully coated optics, waterproof, and rubber armored. They are a medium-sized binocular. In my experience the really small binoculars (something x 25), even expensive ones, are not very useful in low-light situations which is what I use mine for 90% of the time (forest/jungle settings, often at dawn or dusk). The difference between these and the standard small binoculars you can pick up for under $30 is phenomenal - after you've looked through good ones you wouldn't waste money on ones that don't allow much light in. Also, many of us find anything more than 8 power difficult to hold still enough for easy low light viewing.Hope that helps! Happy trails!
hopefulist is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 03:17 PM
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hope is a seasoned traveler who posts some great hints on this forum. My hubby is extremely pleased with the daytime clarity and easy portability of the more expensive binos I recently bought him, but it's true, at full dusk they're not as useful as we'd like. hope, how heavy are the binos you described?

L L Bean carries a very useful strap holder for binos, something shillmac told us about. It's come in super-handy, not having them bouncing around or having to carry them. The price has actually dropped, and they're extremely affordable, maybe $15 -ish...
Cattail is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 03:18 PM
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One thing about umbrellas - most places we've stayed have supplied them, a big barrel full of them set outside the rooms, lobby, etc. I find them kind of hard to juggle in the jungle - can't see monkeys through an umbrella.
volcanogirl is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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What about shoes? Are sneakers enough to hike in the jungle? What about Keens? Are they too open?
amda85 is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 06:54 PM
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Thanks, Cattail. I don't really have a way to weigh them but they're definitely bigger than the smallest sorts - about 5 x 6 x 1.5, almost the same as mine. I try to pack really light, too, but they're worth the weight for me since they allow me to see things clearly that I might never see again. Some day I'm going to see a Guatemalan quetzal in the wild with my binocs!
hopefulist is offline  
May 9th, 2012, 07:13 PM
  #20  
 
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Sneakers are great unless it's really wet, then we wear our Keen's.
volcanogirl is offline  

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