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Rain Kilt on the Beach

Review by Boris, Weymouth, England

Well, I decided to make the plunge and just make the wrap myself. I found a piece of dark blue nylon that was nearly the exact measurements I needed to make my own.

This kilt is the cut off bottom of an old nylon rain cape, worn like a lunghi. It is somewhat longer than a traditional kilt, more like a sarong. At the waist is a draw cord that keeps it in place.

The great thing is that it is a multi-function piece of kit. It can be used for a ground cloth for all my gear that won't fit inside my bivvy, and as a piece of very breathable rain gear for moderate to hot temperatures.

The material doesn't really soak up much water and dries very quickly because it is so well ventilated. It doesn't stay damp as long as shorts do when you go into the water a few times a day.

Several times a day I went swimming and wading in the kilt on quite a few trips, exercising my inner water buffalo, and it proved to be a great swimwear garment, better than shorts.

Excellent Kilt (and Stylish in the Outback)

by Robin from Auckland, NZ

I just returned from a 12-day forest excursion with my son. From a base camp we made daily excursions into the woodland, visiting lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and local swimming pools. It rained every day for a lengthy period of time. Both of us used these kilts extensively with anoraks or ponchos.

On hot days we've worn it on its own, and also worn it for swimming with a swim shirt, anorak or poncho. My son jumped into every lake, river or waterfall we came across in his rain kilt and hiking cape. Short while later he was dry again because of the easy ventilation.

These kilts are superior to pants for many reasons, but the biggest advantage is the they are so easy to put on and off. My comrades in the crew experienced greater problems getting their rain pants on and off.

Better Than Shorts

by Joey, Stirling, Scotland

I never thought a hiking kilt would make that much difference from a pair of loose fitting shorts. It is cooler with good ventilation and hardly even noticeable that you have it on. In my cardio walks my stride increased at least 10% because of the freedom of movement. The kilt fits perfectly and stays in place.

Swimming in a kilt is easier than with baggy shorts, no itchy mesh lining. I always wear it with a cotton shirt or anorak. As for reactions, when wearing it I seem to be invisible to many men (grow up fellas), but women? Well, the thing is kind of a chick magnet.

Swim Kilt
poncho and rain kilt
Look cool in the pool


by Greg from Portsmouth, England

I just finished my hike along the Cornish Coastal Path in south-west England. It rains a lot in Cornwall and I wore a rain kilt the entire way. After all these miles it became one of my favourite pieces of equipment.

It is as well suited for a heavy rain storm as it is for a light drizzle and it really shines during those days in Cornwall even when it isn't currently raining and you are walking through overgrown, soaking wet brush (we call it the "hiker wash").

Whenever I found a nice beach I jumped into the ocean in my kilt and anorak. That was great fun. Afterwards, I enjoyed a long shower at the beach huts to rinse out the salt, as it would attract moisture. Soon my clothes were dry again and I walked on to the next beach.

I never overheated in my rain kilt like I have in rain pants and it goes on and off in a flash without even having to remove my pack; this is VERY important.

Even though it is only held together with a Velcro strip, not once did it come off me in wild wind storms. Many other hikers voiced their jealousy of it and those who I saw using it as well also touted it as a favourite piece of gear.

Highly recommended

by Rodney from Victoria, BC, Canada

I hike in the wettest part of North America, the northern coastal shorelines of BC. The rain kilt is really effective in all kinds of rain and wind storms, especially with gaiters and poncho. It weights almost nothing and it is also handy as a groundsheet for unpacking gear, etc.

If you have never hiked in a kilt, you probably won't understand. It is made for hot weather, as the material is light weight. It has a modesty button which I like, and the pockets are pretty handy.

Jungle Trip

by Jimmy, Hawaii, USA

My rain kilt is very comfortable in the jungle on Maui to keep the vegetation off my legs. Feels great with my other clothes under a waterfall. In hot and humid weather it is more comfy. Fabric is durable as it is light weight. I have already gotten it snagged good on barbed wire and didn't see so much as a scratch in the material, which surprised me. Fit is right. The adjustable belt is great, looks quite robust. Overall, it has surpassed my expectations and is very useful to me. It is also my "hanging around the house" choice.

No Sweat

by Rowan, Cork, Ireland

I've been looking for a hiking skirt or kilt. I wanted one mostly because I sweat a lot on my hiking and backpacking trips. Moisture management and control are critical to my comfort. Wearing this has been much cooler than wearing either my running shorts or hiking shorts. I wear underwear if it's cool and nothing if it's warmer. Both ways are very comfy. Great mobility too.

The back doesn't get as wet as shorts due to increased circulation around waist line. Pockets are big enough and in just the right location, under my hip belt. The kilt wraps around my waist with two snaps that hold it with another snap mid way to hem that holds it together. The waist snaps are not noticeable under the hip belt. Comes to just above my knees. When I get too hot, I simply wear it for a swim. It dries very quickly.


by Torben from Bergen, Norway

This is such a simple and elegant idea. I walk in the central mountains of Norway like the Hardangervidda plateau. It is often quite wet and windy.

Light wind pants, rain kilt and a light anorak or hiking cape is all I need all summer and most of the shoulder seasons as well. Before I got the rain kilt I used garbage bag. This looks better and holds up well. More people want them.

Getting Wet

by Doug and Gordon from Glasgow, Scotland

It always rains when we go out hiking, never fails. We must be rain magnets. Rain kilts with anoraks or ponchos over a thin sports shirt are our usual adventure clothes. On long hikes we get wet anyway, either from sweat, but mostly from water leaks. We often don't keep the hoods up as it is quite refreshing when the rain comes in via the collar.

Something we always tell newbies is that you can only get so wet. When you're fully drenched just enjoy it and remember that backpacking in the rain is way better then sitting at your desk. We use a canoeing dry bags inside our backpacks. At least when we get to a shelter we’ll have something dry to change into.

When we come across a lake we just go into the water with the clothes we wear. It's good fun. Swimming in a rain kilt and anorak or poncho is easy and feels great. The kilt billows up a bit as you enter the water, but once you're in, it just floats along as you move forward.

Gordon was a little reluctant to use a rain kilt at first, but now really appreciates it, especially in warmer weather. We use sil-nylon rain kilts and wear nothing underneath to prevent chafing. It’s definitely cooler and very easy to put on or take off. Can’t remember the weight, but it packs down to the size of a lemon. For cool or cold weather we take rain pants, but wear them much more around camp than in the rain.

Consider hiking without rain pants in the rain and just get wet, or use a rain kilt. In warm weather it really eliminates the chafing and helps you vent the heat you’re generating. Your legs also get less wet when you hike with a poncho.

The major issue with rain is that the backpack tends to funnel rain to your rear end. The rain kilt acts like an umbrella for your lower body and doesn’t seem to build up heat at all. You can test out whether you like it on your next hike with a garbage bag, and then it is a very easy sil-nylon sewing project.