does anyone have any suggestions for reasonable rain gear to make it through the spring (and maybe fall)? ideally, i want something cheap, breathable, brightly colored, and of course waterproof. cheap and breathable seem to be mutually exclusive, so i’d settle for bright, waterproof, and cheap, but i haven’t found anything yet, or don’t know where to look.
I spent $100 ($75 of it with a gift certificate) on a rain jacket (whatever Shower’s Pass $100 jacket is called) and it still isn’t very breathable.
The next one up costs $150.
A clear rain jacket and some waterproof pants will get you thru a lot. Both can be had at Performance for not much.
Next step up would be something from Endura which is kinda expensive but really nice.
Now’s the time to hit the sales rack, @HV!
I’ve been very happy with my Novara Stratos rain gear from REI. Not cheap, but on sale right now.
For the jacket, do your best to find something with zippers or vents in the arm pits.
This is kind of not your question, but it relates…
It’s been my experience that the layer you wear under the rain jacket is just as important as the rain jacket itself, that is, you can buy a $200 rain jacket, if you wear a cotton sweatshirt under it, you are going to feel wet and you have just burned $200.
If you wear a polyester “wicking” t-shirt, with a wool sweater or shirt or even a cheap polyester fleece jacket or pullover, and a halfway decent ($100) rain jacket, that will get you through about 80% of the weather we get here. Think of what you are wearing as a system, where everything needs to work together.
+1 on the zippers and armpit vents, too.
I bought an on sale $100 Nashbar Gore-Tex jacket about 10 years ago and it still is mostly waterproof, and perhaps somewhat breathable. I did have to replace the front zipper for $20, but have been rally pleased with it. Black and gold color may score points with locals, although the gold looks a bit road weary by now. Armpit zips come in handy with radical temperature swings from am to pm commute.
Are you looking for something racy, or something to wear while commuting?
If you’re looking for commuting gear, I recommend a rain cape. I got one last year from netvlin, and it was best money I spent. Yes, I look kinda silly, but I stay dry and comfortable, thanks to the open bottom.
Chris’ suggestion is right on. You lose some breath-ability with a plastic jacket, but you can’t go wrong with the price.
Also, keep in mind that something that will keep the rain out also typically keeps the sweat/heat in.
Oh, yeah, Nashbar has a rain cape on sale now, pretty cheap, and there are colorful colors. Made by some company called Vaude (?). Look kind of cool. Would be something to try, if you ride a hybrid or semi-upright. I was thinking of trying one, but I think I am in and out of the saddle too much for it to work.
I spray all my bike gear with scotchgard fabric protector a few times a year. It’s only $6 a can & makes just about anything water resistant.
I was just at Performace yesterday & the clear rain jackets are on sale for $16.
I wonder if that Nashbar cape is actually a proper rain cape, or just a poncho. Mine (made in Portlandia) has thumb/finger doodads, plus a “belt” that keeps the back of the cape from flapping in the wind.
Says it has hand loops. And it looks like the color is down to “orange”. And it’s 35 bucks.
Other than that I can’t speak to that level of detail about it.
how long a ride/heavy the rain do you guys see as requiring rain gear of some sort?
I’ve found that due to sweating (regardless of the sauna properties of my rain gear), I need a full change for my hour-long rides, so cold is the limiting factor. If I have on my wool undies and something (fleece or my new patrol jacket) over that, even when wet I’m not that cold.
I could see a downpour in 35 degrees with lots of downhills being an advantage, but… Do you guys have any rules of thumb you’ve figured out over the years?
Anything over a light rain and below 50F. I usually dress a bit lighter if I know I’m going to wear a rain jacket for the duration.
I keep a tank t-shirt (“wife beater” they are sometimes called) in my pack, along with other rain gear.
If it’s warm enough to sweat with my non-breathable rain gear, I take my shirt off and wear the t-shirt under my rain jacket.
If it is really hot, I just wear the t-shirt, and put my shirt somewhere it will stay dry.
Then when I get where I’m going, I wipe myself down with the T-shirt and put my regular shirt back on. Sometimes I have to wring out the t-shirt before I wipe myself down.
Using this process means that there will times I lurk behind bushes and in alleyways for the quick-change thing.
Anything wet below 60F. Above that, it doesn’t matter so much. In the torrential summer 80F downpours, rain gear loses any value except visibility.
I bought a fairly expensive GoreTex bike rain jacket from Nashbar years and years ago, and it is one of my most satisfactory purchases ever. I found that even if I was a bit damp, I could actually dry out under some limited conditions. It’s not so waterproof anymore, but it’s windproof and the pit zips are a boon. However, it was too warm to wear comfortably at temps > 50F.
I try to stay cool so I don’t sweat too much, which is tricky. You want lots of different airflow options to make that practical. I heartily recommend a full length front zipper, pit zips and a helmet cover.
Another thing that is nice to have is a very lightweight “onionskin” type jacket that you can take off and stuff in a pocket, for those days in the high 50s, low 60s that are comfortable when you’re working, but if you have to stop or if it starts to rain, get really unpleasant.
I had one made of Tyvek that I really liked. It wadded up so small I could keep it in my seat bag. You might get wet, but if you can keep the wind off, that helps a lot.
seems like there’s a trend, thank you. I end up sweating enough on the hills that lie between me and *everything of interest* that there is no happy medium – down hill wind chill is my limiting factor, something I’m still trying to get used to. I end up on the personal basting side of that line more often than I’d like, but I’m learning.
This is an advantage of the rain cape–air flow. I tend the wear the cape in much higher temps than I would a jacket, because the ventilation is much better.
zippers help with the adjustment between up and down hill. Also, not sweating makes the windchill less troublesome.
Personally I haven’t had great luck with gore-tex. Most of my gore-tex jackets tend to lose their waterproofing after about 3 years. They’re still resistant but considering how much more expensive they are compared with plain waterproof (non-breathable) jackets, it’s not really worth it to me. Pearl Izumi’s WxB line is pretty solid and I’ve had good luck with it.
Lyle – not sweating while running, I have down pat. I’ve gone on 5 mile runs and not broken a sweat, only in the hottest of weather is it unavoidable. Biking, somehow, is completely different. Maybe after 20 years of it I’ll have that figured out too
I tried a poncho modified for rain cape use, and it was not helpful (billowing steam bag, somehow). Wool has been a godsend in every temperature I’ve tried it, Icebreaker is my new favorite company. I’ve had the same experience with gortex as mpm – except not so breathable either (worst of both worlds).
Lower gears will help prevent sweating. My mountain bike has 42/32/22 in the front and 12-32 in the back, which is pretty common for MTBs. Sometimes, since I’m not usually in a hurry, I put it in a low gear just to keep from sweating. Oh, the 42 front 12 in the back isn’t really big enough on the downhills but its marginally OK.
I personally like to sweat- when going for a run or ride for the exercise, I don’t feel it was sucessful unless I come back more than just glowing.
made in the USA, pretty cheap, and last a long time: http://www.bicycleclothing.com/
I dropped one of my waterproof gloves in a mud puddle this morning. Then, this afternoon I dropped my hat in a gutter. I’m clumsy at locking up my bike.
I wore my new rain pants today, they are awesome. Much better than sitting around in soggy jeans all morning. Just worried they won’t be as pleasant to wear when the temp is not in the 30s.
@ salty on warmer rainy days, I just wear light long johns under the rain pants. I bring a change of clothes to work inside one of those dry sacks for kayakers.
In my experience nothing is really waterPROOF, it’s only a matter of how long will it hold off the water. And everyone has their temperature threshold. I spent about 90 minutes riding in the rain today and was fine. Tomorrow: no way.
I bought a Novara water resistant jacket that’s colorful and breathable for under $100. If it’s very humid, I feel better off riding without it. I haven’t used it in a downpour yet though from what I can tell it’s not designed to withstand much more than light rainfall.
@flyS548, if you have the Novara Stratos line, its good in a downpour. They have thinner stuff for lighter rains. I stayed dry on Thursday & was out & about for a couple of hours.
i ended up getting some novarra stuff at rei earlier in the week, and just in time! it’s been a wet week.
the jacket i got was great. it’s orange, clearly waterproof (though i don’t think it’s the stratos line), and it was on clearance for half the price of the other jackets.
i’m not sure how i feel about the pants, though. the waist is ok, even on the large side, but the legs are rather tight, and i’d want to wear them over other pants (though i suppose that’s not necessary, or i can wear wool tights). additionally, having to take off and put on pants makes me less likely to use them. however, it has seemed worth the trouble this week.
Oh! Don’t forget about Rain Legs! Many long-distance types swear by them. Some may swear at them, too.
My problem isn’t my legs but my feet. Even with fenders, there’s no way I can seem to keep my feet dry on a wet day. There’s always just enough splash to get past the fenders, especially on a longer ride (> 10mi), as most of my rides are. I can deal with my legs getting wet, but not my feet.
I have some 8-year-old goretex rain pants from REI. In the summer, I’ll just wear shorts and let them dry. In the spring/fall/winter, I wear the pants if its pouring out. Since I rarely wear them, the waterproofness is still well intact. I’ve cycled through a couple of goretex or goretex-like jackets. They haven’t fared as well as the pants, but I wear them all the time, whether it’s raining or not. Currently I’m on a $100ish showers pass jacket I got at REI with one of their 20% coupon sales, with the add-on hood. When I’m wearing this gear, my pants and shirt stays totally, 100% dry. No soak through at all. My cycling shoes/face/hands get wet, but two of the three dry quick.. I keep a pair of extra socks in my desk for the shoe-soaking days.
anyone else have bad luck with the lining of rain jackets delaminating? I guess I shouldn’t be sooo surprised given how I use/abuse them… but my 3rd marmot jacket in 8/9 years has about bitten the dust. pretty much the whole lining through the arms and at the neck (rub spots, I guess) has disappeared.
My wife’s Patagonia hard shell has suffered the same fate–the lining around the neck is mostly gone. I did notice at the latest offerings from Patagonia now have the shell nylon around those areas rather than the lining. Good idea!
Showers Pass and Event fabric is what I am digging on. I have heard good things about their lower priced stuff too. As mentioned I believe the bigger issue is the base layer. I won’t wear rain gear below 55F. I have some issues with my shoes but they dry pretty quickly.
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