Author Topic: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?  (Read 2892 times)

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Offline James

Hi, I am planning a tour that will include the Vancouver B.C. area.  I will also catch the ferry to Prince Rupert, and ride the Yellowhead to Jasper.  Then down to Banf,  and Glacier Park MT.  It looks like I should be prepared for rain.  Some of the journals I have read indicated that (sometimes lots of rain).  Travel time will be about the middle of July to the middle of Sept.  My question is what works well?  Fenders, pants, shoe covers, etc?   


Offline johnsondasw

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2010, 10:41:43 pm »
I wouldn't do that without a waterproof, breathable rain jacket.  You can really get dumped on there--all day.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline univac

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 11:34:43 pm »
It looks like I should be prepared for rain.  Some of the journals I have read indicated that (sometimes lots of rain).
Yes, you should bring rain gear for all of BC at any time of the year.  I have property on the Sunshine Coast, and it can be pouring rain or 35C and sunny.  You also mention doing Hwy 16 from Price Rupert to Jasper.  I did that last year as part of my X-Canada ride.  FYI, I believe Prince Rupert claims to be the rain capital of the world.  Oh yes, I had snow flurries when I went down the Icefield Parkway last July 1st (+-).  Of course, since it didn't go below 4C, the snow melted when it hit the road, but it did go to -2C that night.  Make sure your sleeping bag is adequate.

My question is what works well?  Fenders, pants, shoe covers, etc?   


Most 'real' touring bikes have fenders, so if you don't have any I'd definitely get a pair.  Yup, pants are good.  I used my Gortex commute pants.  I also have shoe covers but eventually even they leak thru.  Since you're going to Vancouver first, check out Mountain Equipment for supplies (mec.ca).

Offline DaveB

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2010, 10:20:28 am »
Fenders? Absolutely.  If your frame and fork have the clearance for them, full coverage fenders are a blessing in any kind of bad weather.  They keep you dryer and your drivetrain a lot cleaner.

I've used several other brands and the Planet Bike (these: http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7004.html ) are my favorite.  They are easy to install and adjust and give very good protection at minimal weight.

Offline sanuk

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2010, 04:29:00 am »
Calling that particular area of BC the Sunshine Coast should alert you in the first place. Canadian wishful thinking at its best.  It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.  Just as it does generally speaking in the entire area of the Pacific North West - Canadian or otherwise.  Rain defines the place.  I once lived in Vancouver so I feel qualified to speak on this issue.  It was one of the reasons I left.  But you may luck out.  Just be prepared and/or check my own post on the question of what to wear in the rain.  As little as possible perhaps, although going nude might be pushing the boundaries of Canadian open-mindeness. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 10:13:29 am »
It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.  Just as it does generally speaking in the entire area of the Pacific North West - Canadian or otherwise.
Not too relevant to the original question, but... Just so no one gets the wrong idea, that is mostly only the coastal area.  Much of the PNW is very dry including eastern Washington,  eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana (all part of the PNW by many definitions).  In fact you often don't get far from the coast before the climate changes drastically.  Over the Coastal Range and it gets pretty dry, over the Cascades and it gets very dry.  A major portion of the PNW can accurately be called desert.

On the TA, being unfamiliar with the area, I kind of expected wet Oregon weather for a while and the first day we headed inland we were very quickly in dry climate and it remained that way until we were out of the PNW.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 10:26:24 am »
It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.  Just as it does generally speaking in the entire area of the Pacific North West - Canadian or otherwise.
Not too relevant to the original question, but... Just so no one gets the wrong idea, that is mostly only the coastal area.  Much of the PNW is very dry including eastern Washington,  eastern Oregon, Idaho and Montana (all part of the PNW by many definitions).  In fact you often don't get far from the coast before the climate changes drastically.  Over the Coastal Range and it gets pretty dry, over the Cascades and it gets very dry.  A major portion of the PNW can accurately be called desert.

On the TA, being unfamiliar with the area, I kind of expected wet Oregon weather for a while and the first day we headed inland we were very quickly in dry climate and it remained that way until we were out of the PNW.

There is much less separation between the coastal range and the Rockies in Canada.  As far east as Jasper and Banff (but more Jasper than Banff), you will find very dry air through which passes a rain shower at least several days per week, if not daily.  The dry air means that if it's warm enough, you don't need to wear much and you and whatever you're wearing will be dry in perhaps 20 minutes after the rain stops.  Point being you can get rain all the way to the Alberta border (and a bit beyond).  But the original question was about the coast, where they have been known to have rare dry spells of weeks on end.  But better not to assume it.

Offline dahut

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2010, 10:22:57 am »
Calling that particular area of BC the Sunshine Coast should alert you in the first place. Canadian wishful thinking at its best.  It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.  Just as it does generally speaking in the entire area of the Pacific North West - Canadian or otherwise.  Rain defines the place.  I once lived in Vancouver so I feel qualified to speak on this issue.  It was one of the reasons I left.  But you may luck out.  Just be prepared and/or check my own post on the question of what to wear in the rain.  As little as possible perhaps, although going nude might be pushing the boundaries of Canadian open-mindeness. 
This is what I was thinking. :)

Success is 90% preparation and 10% perspiration.

Offline univac

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2010, 12:45:39 pm »
Calling that particular area of BC the Sunshine Coast should alert you in the first place. Canadian wishful thinking at its best.  It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.

The Sunshine Coast gets 300 days of rain in a year?  I don't think so!  I tried to dig up some real numbers from Environment Canada but navigating their web site is too frustrating for me.  Anyhow, unofficially, the Sunshine Coast gets over 230 days of sunshine per year, and according the the Sechelt Chamber of Commerce web site (http://www.secheltchamber.bc.ca/sechelt.html#CLIMATE), a 30 year average shows that it acquires its 37 inches of rain in 129 days.  Victoria, on Vancouver Island, gets LESS rain but over MORE days.

Btw, The BC Sunshine Coast apparently acquired its name during the postwar [WWII] years because of its reputation for having more sunshine days than either Victoria or Vancouver. 




Offline johnsondasw

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2010, 01:29:26 am »
It pisses down there at least 300 days of the year.  Just as it does generally speaking in the entire area of the Pacific North West - Canadian or otherwise.
  Over the Coastal Range and it gets pretty dry, over the Cascades and it gets very dry.  A major portion of the PNW can accurately be called desert.


Staehpj1 is right (as usual, I might add!)  I live on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mtns in WA.  On Snoqualmie Pass, about 55 miles east of Seattle, the mountains get up to 120 inches of precip a year.  Sixty miles east, in Ellensburg, the yearly precip is 9 inches.  That's desert, with less precip than Tucson AZ. There are rattlesnakes, small cacti, and lots of sagebrush around there.  Irrigation water around here is sometimes rationed in years with low snowfall in the mountains. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline sanuk

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2010, 04:42:19 am »
OK, OK.  I admit to a certain degree of exaggeration.  It's a bit like the half full or half empty glass perspective.  Maybe the weather thereabouts got better since I left about seventeen years ago.  The saying used to be that in Vancouver you don't tan, you rust. I remember the sun shining a couple of times.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2010, 08:49:00 am »
OK, OK.  I admit to a certain degree of exaggeration.  It's a bit like the half full or half empty glass perspective.  Maybe the weather thereabouts got better since I left about seventeen years ago.  The saying used to be that in Vancouver you don't tan, you rust. I remember the sun shining a couple of times.
Your comments were spot on for the coastal part of the area the OP asked about.  My only quibble was lumping in the whole PNW.

Offline obinja

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Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2010, 02:40:09 pm »
Personally, I never go anywhere without raingear. You can get away with it for short day rides if you have a nice warm dry place to go should you get dumped on. I live in a "dry" climate, the American southwest to be exact and I work as a wilderness guide. Not having raingear is just irresponsible for me. Anyway, the technology has come so far anymore, you can find raingear that weighs almost nothing and can be stowed very easily. It can also work well as an extra layer if it gets chilly. Good Luck.
Never a bad day to ride...

Offline sanuk

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2010, 12:29:13 am »
Guess I forgot the topography.  Didn't get east of the mountains all that often when I lived in Vancouver.  In fact, didn't get all that often out of the city.

Offline dracolytch

Re: Is rain gear needed on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2010, 10:27:21 pm »
Fenders! First time I did a trip, I ended up buying them along the way: Big help with road grit.

I also had a fleece which I had put in a trashbag to keep it dry for the end of the day, that was a godsend. I ended up getting some knee warmers on the trip too, because my legs had gotten cold. A windbreaker at a minimum, and a breathable raincoat if your trip is long enough that you want to take it with you (some are heavy).

Riding in the rain = wet (either from sweat or rain)
Wet = cold
Riding cold = sucks

Minimizing the amount of riding in the rain you do will minimize your misery. Also, your body burns a lot more calories to stay warm, so remember to keep yourself fueled. Cold rain will constantly be stealing heat from any exposed skin, so do your best to cover up.