TrailLite Designs CloudKilt By ZPacks

So, thanks to the Jolly Green Giant’s post on a UL Rain Kilt I now am an official TrailLite Designs CloudKilt owner! (Note: it is not a full-time hiking kilt, but rather a UL rain kilt.) At 1.8 oz and small enough to fit in my fist, I gladly replaced my 12 oz rain pants with the TrailLite Designs CloudKilt by ZPacks. Naturally, I won’t use this while hiking during the middle of winter, but for all the rest of the times…Oh yeah… Not to mention that it is also a multiuse item! So, go ahead and check out my video and let me know what you think…

EDIT: The CloudKilt is designed by Thom at TrailLite Design’s. TrailLite Design’s is a small company in Southern Oregon which focuses on creating Ultra-lightweight gear for backpackers as well as for tenkara fly-fishing. Once Thom designed the CloudKilt he outsourced the design to Joe at ZPacks. ZPacks is the official site in which to visit to actually buy one of these awesome kilts.

UPDATE: 3/6/11

The CloudKilt is basically a rectangular piece of cuben fiber which is attached around the waist using a hook-and-loop closure device (Velcro) and is an alternative to using rain pants while hiking in less-than-perfect weather. The benefit: lighter-weight than pretty much all rain pants currently available as well as functioning as a multi-use item (ground sheet & tarp beak as well as its primary use, rain protection for my legs).

However, the CloudKilt is not the only rain kilt on the market. ULA (Ultralight Adventure Equipment) also sells the Rain Wrap. While both of these are essentially the same item, they each have a little different twist to them.

Recently, another hiker by the name of Raul Perez (which has quite a few great videos on hiking gear) has recently striked up an interesting conservation with me in the comment section of the CloudKilt video over on YouTube concerning the real world use of the CloudKilt. Unfortunately, I have not actually needed to use the CloudKilt on any of my hikes yet so the actual effectiveness is still, well, up in the air…

Raul owns the ULA Rain Wrap and after asking him a few questions, he decided to simply do a video review of the rain wrap to answer a few of my questions. So, I decided to go ahead and post Raul’s video of the ULA Rain Wrap here in the same place as the CloudKilt video I did. From watching his review, I think that the ULA Rain Wrap is a great piece of kit, as well as the CloudKilt, so I wanted to post these videos together so that anyone interested in this idea could see both versions and go from there.

But before I post his video, I would like to say that both of these companies make great products. I own gear from each of these companies which I am really happy with and on top of that, well, their customer service has been super. Plus, if it is any count, they are both owned and operated here in the USA. Also, Joe at ZPacks will do custom work to items if contacted first, and while I am not 100% sure, I think that the guys at ULA may do the same. Simply give them a call before ordering and discuss the possibilities. (Of course be aware that by doing this the items may cost a little more $$$ as well as take a little extra time to get to you.)

I would also like to add that the main reason I have decided to carry a rain kilt as opposed to rain pants is simply due to weight savings. Typically, my rain gear is carried much more of the time than it is actually being used, so in this light, weight is a legitimate factor. However, in those times of need, I want to know that the items I carry will go the distance as well, and I believe that either of these kilts will do that job, respectively. I would also like to make note that, in my opinion, the kilts are more so a 3-season piece of kit. If I am planning to be in snow and/or sub freezing temps, I will be smart and carry full rain pants. There is a time and place for kilts, at least in my opinion.

So, without further a due…

Thanks for reading/watching. If you have any comments or questions please just post them below. I would really like to hear some feedback from owners of either of these items (or even some of the DIYers out there ~ come on, I know you’re out there…) And now, I am going to follow Raul’s lead and don my rain gear and hit the showers…  🙂


12 Responses to TrailLite Designs CloudKilt By ZPacks

  1. Pingback: AT Section Hike: Erwin, TN, to Sam’s Gap | Stick's Blog

  2. Pingback: Quick Look @ the MLD Light Snow Gaiters | Stick's Blog

  3. H2Oboy says:

    I was thinking of getting the Cloudkilt and then fashioning some (probably Tyvek) legs that will zip on to my convertible pants. Combine those with gaiters and rain jacket and I’m thinking that I should have a really light rain system for 3 seasons! It would work like shingles… jacket hangs over kilt, kilt hangs over zipper connection on Tyvek legs, gaiters are tucket into legs. I really wish that I could find a PP33 Tyvek Jacket (http://www.directindustry.com/prod/dupont-personal-protection/chemical-protective-clothing-jacket-28186-1208411.html) in the U.S. but I guess I’ll have to find something else.

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    • Stick says:

      That is a pretty good idea with making some waterproof leggings for your pants… I am intrigued… please keep me up to date on how this works for you!

      As far as a tyvek suit, check out this site:

      Tyvek Coveralls

      I have never purchased anything from there, but iirc, I got the link to this site from a BPL article that listed this site to buy the coveralls and convert them to a rain jacket. I could be wrong, so buy at your own risk…

      (Also, here are some on Amazon for less than $9, and free shipping with Prime…)

      But, with the coveralls, you could make the jacket, and maybe use the legs to add your tyvek leggings…

      Anyway, let me know how it works out…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. Dale Caldwell says:

    The website shows it is made with 1.0 material. Do you think that he has changed it up since you bought one? I am wondering if you think the 1.0 is overkill…

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    • Stick says:

      Dale,

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you…

      I can’t remember why, but Joe does not have the 1.26 oz/sqyd in stock anymore, which is what my CloudKilt is made from. Not sure if this was his decision or not (I actually wanted my Zero backpack made with 1.26, but since it isn’t in stock anymore I just went with the 1.43).

      Anyway, if I ever get another one, I would go with the 0.74 for the cloud kilt instead of the 1 oz. That would just be my preference though. I wouldn’t say that the 1 oz is overbuilt though.

      Hope this helps some…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. Nathan says:

    Just curious if you have had a chance to use these in the field yet. Any different thoughts about these than what you shared in the video.

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    • Stick says:

      Nathan,

      Yes, I have used it numerous times in the field, however only once in a moderate, short-lived rain shower. For the most part, it has served as a partial ground sheet under my pad, a porch so-to-say in front of my tent and of course a sit pad for me and my wife to stop and take a break on…it comes in handy for this when hiking in snow and/or rainy, muddy messes…

      Anyway, as a rain kilt, I cannot remember of the top of my head without going back and watching the video, but I still wish that it were a bit wider by about 10 inches. Of course, if I didn’t wear a size 36 waist in my pants, then I may be a little happier with this size. Also, if the shape were that of a trapezoid rather than a rectangle, I think it would cover my lower legs a little better as I walked…

      Anyway, I have been planning to add some grosgrain loops to the top corners too, just haven’t pulled out the sewing machine to do so yet. Anyway, I plan to pick up a 6×9 cuben rectangular tarp from ZPacks, and I will use the kilt to box in the foot end of the tarp when pitched in an A-Frame. This will allow me to use the shorter 9′ tarp since I will be able to squeeze down towards the foot end without getting rained on.

      Anyway, the kilt is a very versatile piece of kit, and despite the fact that it has hardly been used as a kilt in the rain, I still take it on about 95% of my trips and it gets put to use on each one.

      Saying all of this, I have often debated buying 2 yds of 0.74 oz/sqyd cuben fiber and then making another one. If you are buying one of these, I would recommend asking Joe to make it from 0.74 oz cuben as I feel like the 1.26 or maybe 1.43 cuben mine is made from is way overkill, and extra unneeded weight.

      Anyway, hope this helps some…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. JERMM says:

    Hey Stick- I’m catching up on reading your blog, lots of good info…good job!
    I too have a rain wrap and I’ve been using it since 2008, great piece of gear.
    http://jjmatheshikes.blogspot.com/2011/06/rain-wraps.html

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jermm,

      Thanks for checking out my blog some more. I have been enjoying your’s as well! Nice review on the rain wrap too!

      ~Stick~

      Like

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  8. Pingback: Rain Kilt Showdown | Stick's Blog

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