Poll

Do you carry rain gear on long distance trips in USA (summer time only)?

Yes
20 (95.2%)
No
1 (4.8%)

Total Members Voted: 20

Voting closed: September 28, 2011, 05:04:37 pm

Author Topic: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?  (Read 3791 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BikeFreak

Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 21, 2011, 05:04:37 pm »
Hi,

I would like to know if people touring in the US (for instance cross country etc) during  summer time are bringing along all their rain gear (jacket, pants etc). The reason I'm asking is:

I have toured quite a lot in US (approx 20000 kms) and have had only very few rainy days. Actually I have never experienced any full days of rain - only short periods. To save weight and space in the panniers I'm considering leaving all the rain gear at home and just seek shelter if it starts to rain. Maybe it rains for 2 hours and that would just be a nice break. Again, its not very joyful to ride in full rain gear. Has anyone had the same thoughts?

Lucas

Offline nomad

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 05:30:46 pm »
I always carry plastic trash bags to quickly rap up any cargo I'm carrying.  It's also useful to carry along an inexpensive poncho if you don't enjoy being completely soaked.  They are very light and cheap and as long as they're unopened, they take practically no space wherever you keep them.  I also prefer to ride in water shoes since these dry faster than other shoes, but that isn't possible if you're using clip shoes.  The only problem with cheap ponchos is that they tend to blow around a lot.  Maybe one day someone will mass-produce ponchos made especially for bicycling with elastic to wrap around the handlebars like a skirt.  It's not that hard to bunch up the excess poncho in you hands while riding but it would be more convenient if it was already the right length and was form fitting.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 05:35:31 pm »
If the weather is uniformly warm during your tour, then you can probably skip the rain gear. I, however, prefer to bring it along because you often cannot count on the weather always being warm (especially at high elevations), and because the rain jacket makes a pretty good windbreaker/light jacket, even if it's not raining. Furthermore, if it's a rainy afternoon/evening in camp, the rain gear is even more appreciated there than when riding--at least you won't be trapped in your tent. My rain jacket weighs 8.7 ounces--it's not nothing, but it's not excessive.

Your approach, however, would probably work. If it rains all day long for three days in a row, however, and it could happen, you'll wish for the gear.

Offline litespeed

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 06:19:19 pm »
I pack a Gore rainjacket with hood. It serves as a windbreaker as well as raingear and, in cold weather I wear it over my insulated vest. The insulated vest is also my pillow (with pillowcase). I have never bothered with, or really felt the need for rain pants. I can see the charm of booties as wet feet are no fun at all but I have never used them.

In 2004 I circumnavigated the 48 states. It was a rainy year. It seems I had my rainjacket on as often as not. It is the main reason I went to Ortlieb panniers and handlebar pack. I got thoroughly sick of fooling with rain covers.

It has to be VERY warm, downright tropical, for one to be comfortable in the rain with no rain gear. Also, if you go up to any appreciable elevation you will need serious protection from the wind and rain.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2011, 04:44:19 pm by litespeed »

Offline tsteven4

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 07:56:44 pm »
Isn't the purpose of bringing rain gear is to make sure it doesn't rain?  And if it fulfills that purpose isn't it worth carrying?

But seriously, as others have said rain gear is good for warmth, especially in the wind, even when not raining. I nearly always bring a rain jacket with hood and pants.   I have given up on waterproof over mitts (they needed drains) and waterproof booties.  If I expect lots of rain I will bring waterproof socks, but I usually leave these behind.  In the west you could be a long ways from any kind of shelter, so planning to sit out the rain could be problematic.  My experience with summer touring in the west is that we may not hit much rain, but in the mountains we usually hit morning  temperatures from 25 to 40 degrees and the extra warmth and wind protection of the rain gear is nice if not critical.  On the coast brightly colored rain gear could save your life due to better visibility in the fog.

Quote
It has to be VERY warm, downright tropical, for one to be comfortable in the rain with no rain gear

I have some experience in Hawaii with a rain storm, and it wasn't tropical enough to stop shivering without clothing.  However, with synthetic or wool clothing (and no cotton) you could get by.  And with rain gear your clothes won't be all wet.

Quote
its not very joyful to ride in full rain gear
I do loathe riding up hill with rain gear.  You tend to either get wet from the inside or the outside.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 07:57:43 pm »
Summer touring?  I'd take along a rain jacket -- good for the occasional day-long rain, and doubles as wind jacket for downhill passes.  I took (and will take) tights for a bit of extra warmth, but I've never needed rain pants.

I'll offer up an experience when I was very glad to have that jacket: a thunderstorm popped up between Rand and Walden, CO.  If you've ever been there, you know it's a long way to shelter.  It was cold, the rain was cold, and the wind was cold.  After a half hour of that, the rain jacket was the only thing between me and hypothermia, but I made it into town (and a warm shower) safely.

Offline peterharris

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 11:20:54 am »
Ever considered any of these? Some are very expensive, some not so much:

http://www.carradice.co.uk/categories/rainwear

I think they sell these at wallbike.com and probably other on-line retailers.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 09:49:10 pm »
My experience is that I get wetter and end up cold when not wearing rain gear if it is not 80 degrees or more, than when wearing a lightweight Gore-type jacket. No rain pants for me, just tight leggings, (unless under about 40 F).

Offline cheesehawk

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2011, 12:37:05 pm »
Geography may play a role in this. I remember when I was a kid my cousin came "home" to Iowa after his family moved to Colorado. We got caught out in a rainstrom. He just sat back and enjoyed it, "Warm rain is so awesome. The rain is always cold in Colorado."

Offline litespeed

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 01:11:49 pm »
Ever considered any of these? Some are very expensive, some not so much:

http://www.carradice.co.uk/categories/rainwear

I think they sell these at wallbike.com and probably other on-line retailers.

I can't see using a poncho while bicycling. I tried it once and the wind blew it every which way. It works as a sail and slows you down if there is no wind.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 03:36:33 pm »
I carry light weight coated nylon jacket and usually pants of the same material.  They are the kind that pack in a little stuff sack.  Mine are an older model from Sierra Designs.  The jacket does not have a hood, but the neck is snug enough to keep water out mostly.  If I take both the weight is still under a pound and I always wind up using the jacket as a wind breaker.

I have never found the breathable stuff to work very well for me.

BTW, note that I do not expect to be dry.  I usually sweat enough to be soaking wet whether it rains or not, especially on climbs.

Offline dfege

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 07:59:03 pm »
I think it partly depends on the route and the time of year.  If you are crossing the Rockies and Cascades almost any time, I would take rain gear (rain jacket, some time of glove liners, and pants).  It's not the rain that is the problem, but trying to stay warm in the rain when the temperatures are in the 50's or you are going down a long grade.  If you were doing the Southern Tier, I think that rain gear to keep you warm is probably not needed as much.  I just spend three weeks cycling in British Columbia this summer, and it rainged about 17 days out of 21.  I was grateful to have rain gear along.  Also, for the first time, I brought along poly-pro pants to put on when I got to the campground. Really helped me stay warm after changing out of wet clothes, and alos helps a couple of very cold nights in the tent when I was in Bannf.  Could not have stayed warm without the extra gear.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 11:45:59 am »
In my previous post I should have also mentioned that I actually think that carrying my rain gear can lower the weight I carry.  Since the jacket and pants combined weigh 15 ounces and mean I have to carry less warm layers I think I manage to carry less weight that way on most tours.

I personally have never been on a tour where I didn't at some point want or need to wear a windbreaker.  If you will have a windbreaker, I figure it might as well be waterproof.

I have never worn the rain pants on the bike due to rain while on tour, but did once due to cold.  They have sometimes been nice in camp though.  I might consider leaving the pants home in some conditions, but probably never the jacket.

There are lots of other things on most gear lists that I would cut before my light weight rain gear.  I was down to about 22 pounds of gear last trip and still included my rain gear.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 02:30:47 pm »
Here in the NW I have been poured on every month of the year, sometimes far from any acceptable shelter.  I bring light weight "waterproof" jersey and keep pedaling.  I rarely use rain pants in the summer, but just let the legs get wet.  If in the mountains, though, it can get too cold so I bring leg warmers and wear them if I'm getting too wet.  Hypothermia can be an issue in the mountains any time of the year.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Gus Riley

Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 04:58:29 pm »
I bring a rain jacket and pants.  I don't always wear the pants, but most times when I do, I roll the legs up past my knees.