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. 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. You can read more of my writing at www.funsizehikes.com
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?