Author Topic: Help on choosing rain gear  (Read 10783 times)

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Offline Agnes

Help on choosing rain gear
« on: May 22, 2009, 06:06:13 pm »
I am new at touring, and I am planning a small trip.
From all the blogs I have read and info I've gathered, the single most important piece of clothing to carry is a rain jacket.
OK, but what features I am looking for ? Hooded, no hood, back pocket or not, open in the back for breathability, what is a must and what isn't ?
Are booties worth carrying ? Or does the rain get your socks wet running down your legs anyway ?
Can someone out there answer these questions for me, please.
Thank you.

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 06:15:26 pm »
I wouldn't worry too much about a hood when looking for a rain jacket, but if you do go for a hood, make sure it fits under or over your helmet easily.  I like to look for lightweight jackets that aren't going to tear easily, especially if you plan on wearing it on the trail.  I've had two rain jackets in the past that have been superb.  I highly recommend Showers Pass or Bellweather for jackets that will last a long time, and are very practical for cycling.

There aren't a lot of lightweight waterproof booties out there, and the ones that are available I have had little luck with.  Water still manages to work it's way in through the cleat holes, and down the tops no matter how much I cinch them down.  I like to go with plastic bags over my socks.  That all being said, booties are very nice if you're going to be riding through some colder regions. 

Offline JimF

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2009, 08:44:46 am »
Hi, Agnes:
I like a rain cape on tour. There are a number of manufacturers designing for cyclists. One is . My wife and I have used this cape on numerous tours and find it very effective. Coverage is excellent and it provides plenty of ventilation, and important feature. Enjoy your tour.

Offline Agnes

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2009, 05:36:46 pm »
Thank you for your comments.

Offline wanderingwheel

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2009, 05:56:26 pm »
The first important thing in the rain is to stay warm, not to stay dry.  If you are riding vigorously, and true waterproof jacket will do little good since you will end up just as wet as if you weren't wearing it in the first place.  At a more leisurely pace a waterproof jacket may be reasonable.  Also, consider the weather that you will likely encounter.  An afternoon thundershower in the middle of summer in the deep south is far different than a gusty, winter rainstorm further north.  For the first, you probably don't need anything special, regardless of how you are riding.  For the second, you will need much more than a simple rain jacket if you aren't working very hard.

For my own jacket, it first must be windproof.  The wind will cool you off much faster than the rain, and remember that it includes the apparent wind due to your forward speed.  Next, ventilation options like double zippers and pit zips are important so that I can keep the jacket on in many different conditions without getting overheated.  I don't use hoods or pockets, so no need for those.  Beyond that, I like simple, durable, non-bulky jackets.  Some jackets have reinforced shoulders and waists for backpacks, and I highly recommend those if you will be riding with a backpack.

If I am touring in constant rain, I like to use rainpants and waterproof (non-insulated) shoe covers.  This keeps my legs and feet comfortable and dry.  I'll add leg warmers and thick wool socks as the temperature dictates.  For short storms I don't do anything special for my legs and feet.  In cooler or freezing weather I'll use booties and tights primarily to keep warm and don't need the rainpants and shoe covers.


Offline bogiesan

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2009, 09:12:38 am »
You want to practice, too. Riding in the rain builds character.
You need to know how your brakes function when wet, how your wheels spray, what else in your system will fail or leak in heavy rain, and what you may need to add to your raingear such as goggles or additional rear flashers.

You must lube your chain immediately after riding a good downpour. Good idea to rinse the bike, too, get all the road grit off

Try to look forward to riding in the rain, a throughly delightful experience under most conditions.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009, 12:53:43 pm »
You have not said too much about your route: time of year, how rainy, etc.

If temps will be at least 55 F, I think you will be just fine in a rain jacket and tights.  You body will produce enough heat that damp legs and feet will not be safety hazard.  Colder than that, then rain pants, gloves, and booties become a consideration.

Having rain water run down the small of your back is demoralizing.  In a light rain, a jacket will do fine.  In a heavy sustained rain, you might need more.

I have a Bernoulli rain jacket from MEC.  MEC is the Canadian equivalent to REI, and yes they ship to the states.  My Bernoulli jacket was made from Gortex, and sound like this is not the in fabric any more.  It has pit zips (armpit zippers)  and a horizontal zipper on the back for great ventillation.  I will be really sad when I have worn this jacket out.

MEC also sells helmet covers (aka helmet condoms).  Mine is urethane coated nylon, and small enough to go any where in your luggage.  Besides covering up your helmet, it has a big bill (flap) that covers the back of you neck.  It keep rain from running down your back.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2009, 11:42:32 am »
I have cycled many places without carrying any rain clothes at all; however, it is good policy to have rain gear just in case. Gore Tex is a good choice. It is expensive. It works. It keeps out the water. It lets water vapor escape. There may be much less expensive breathable, waterproof fabrics on the market. I saw some in Wal Mart.

Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Help on choosing rain gear
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009, 11:49:26 am »
Once while on a tandem tour without rain gear we bought two garbage bags from a StarMart and went on our merry way.  We looked pretty bad but it sure worked and I stopped carrying rain gear.