I'm a triple crowner (PCT 2016, CDT 2017, AT 2018) with over two decades of backpacking experience. On trail, I go by Fun Size. I love everything from thirty mile days to sitting in a hammock with a beer. In 2019, I hiked Vermont's Long Trail with Chester the nine pound dog, and I'm planning on thru-hiking the Great Divide Trail in 2021.
Outside of your tent and sleep system, rain gear can be one of the most expensive items to purchase for a thru-hike. Prices range from $100 to over $400 for a jacket alone, with most ultralight options finding a sweet spot between $150 and $200. Jackets are available in a bewildering variety of fabrics, from Gore-Tex to Pertex to eVent, and I have yet to find an option that will not delaminate, wet out, or otherwise fail over the course of a thru-hike. So, can a $20 rain jacket really measure up to pricier options?