ULA Rain Kilt Review

ULA Equipment’s Rain Kilt is a lightweight and breathable alternative to rain pants that will keep your lower half dry in rain without overheating you. It’s great for use in the summertime when hiking on brushy trails with wet ferns, leafy shrubs, and tall grasses that would quickly soak a pair of pants. A rain kilt doesn’t provide much protection in cold and windy conditions, especially above treeline. But that’s okay….I would not expect it to perform like pants in those conditions.

ULA Rain Kilt

Ventilation
Weight
Quality
Waterproofness
Fit

Ultralight Rain Protection

The ULA Rain Kilt is an inexpensive silnylon rain skirt that is much cooler and has much better ventilation than rain pants. It's also far lighter weight and a good alternative in warmer weather.

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Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 2.9 oz (size medium), 3.5 oz  (size large)
  • Material: silicone impregnated nylon
  • Length:  28” for medium, 32” for large
  • An integrated stuff sack is sewn in one corner

A rain kilt is a long skirt that you can wear over hiking shorts or underwear. It wraps around your waist and runs down to your hips to your lower legs, protecting them from rain and wet vegetation. While a kilt won’t keep you as warm as rain pants in cold temperatures, and they’re not insect-proof, they’re much faster easier to put on and take off, without having to remove your shoes.

I like using a rain kilt because I sweat heavily when I hike in rain and need well-ventilated rain gear. I considered using a trench-length raincoat or cagoule that would just cover my hiking shorts, but those types of jackets are comparatively heavy.  A rain kilt plus a rain jacket is a much more versatile solution.  I can combine my rain jacket with either the skirt or a pair of rain pants depending on the temperature and wind conditions.  Although the kilt can be a replacement for rain pants sometimes, there are certain times when I bring both.  Especially when on multi-day summer trips when my rain pants are the only long pants that I carry.

The ULA Rain Kilt is a simple wrap with an elastic hip adjustment and velcro strips

The ULA Rain Kilt has velcro fasteners on the waist and down one side of the kilt, allowing for quick and easy on and off as well as freedom of movement. It’s really just a simple wrap with an elastic and barrel-lock tensioner to tighten it and keep it from slipping down your waist.  The bottom of your rain jacket should cover the kilt’s waist, so rainwater will drip down the skirt and onto the ground and not into your underwear.

The side seam also closes with velcro and is designed to release if you take a step that is too big for the width of the kilt. I prefer this style of closure to a zipper because they’re less chance of it failing. While you can position the side opening anywhere, I usually put the open seam on my side.

Sizing

The waist adjusts to any size from 24” to 54”. For height, if you are under 5’8” you should order a medium.  If you’re taller than that, you should order a large.

Comparable Rain Kilts and Rain Skirts

Make / ModelWeightPrice
AntiGravityGear Rain Kilt3.3 oz$39
Enlightened Equipment Rain Wrap1.75 oz$40
Lightheart Gear Rain Wrap3.2 oz$55
Mountain Laurel Designs Silnylon Rain Kilt2.7 oz$35
Mountain Laurel Designs Dyneema Rain Kilt1.7 oz$70
Rip Stop By the Roll Dyneema Rain Skirt Kit1.0 oz$34
ULA Rain Kilt2.9 oz$35
Yama Mountain Gear Rain Skirt3.4 oz$45
Zpacks Vertice Rain Kilt2.5 oz$79
Zpacks Dyneema Rain Kilt2.0 oz$59

Recommendation

The ULA Rain Kilt is an inexpensive silnylon rain skirt that provides much better ventilation than rain pants. It wraps around your waist with an elastic and velcro waistband that covers your legs from the waist down to your calves. While a rain skirt can replace rain pants in warmer weather and save a significant amount of gear weight, there are still times when rain pants may be more suitable than a kilt because they’re windproof, they retain more body heat, and they’re insect proof. There are times when you might want to carry both a rain kilt and rainpants, offsetting the additional weight by carrying a very lightweight pair of like Zpacks Vertice Rainpants (3.4 oz) or Montbell’s Versalite Pants (3.2 oz).

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About the author

Wanda Rice has been backpacking since the late 1980’s. She has climbed the New Hampshire 48, the New Hampshire 48 in winter, the New England 67 and is working on the New England Hundred Highest and the Four-Season 48. Wanda also teaches for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Mountain Leadership School, the AMC New Hampshire Chapter Spring and Winter Schools as well as the AMC NH Winter Hiking Series. She leads day and overnight trips for AMC NH year-round and loves mentoring new leaders. She is a gear junkie, a self-proclaimed Queen of Gear Hacks and loves sharing her tips and tricks with others. Wanda lives in southern NH and is looking forward to moving closer to the mountains in the next few years.

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4 comments

  1. I started my 2018 AT thru hike with rain pants and after the snow and cold had passed I picked up the Enlightened Equipment Kilt. When I hiked in the rain with rain pants I would get extremely sweaty and after a few hours of hiking there was no semblance of waterproofing leaving me soaked and often very cold on the inside. After I switched to the kilt, my groin area down to my knees would stay relatively dry and I wouldn’t be a mass of sweat. The Enlightened Equipment kilt weights less than 2 ounces so I carry it with me on all my non winter hikes. I love my kilt!

    It’s also served double duty on my Nemo Hornet 2P which has a large area unprotected by a fly at the head of the tent. Despite what Nemo says, it wets thru pretty easily in this area with steady rain. I used a cheap tool to add a few more snaps to the kilt and then wrap/snap that around the tent poles at that end of the tent effectively extending my rain fly closer to the ground. This has made a big difference in keeping the tent interior and me dry.

  2. Are you wearing the lightheart gear rain jacket in the photo? I have one the same color, and totally love that jacket!

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