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  1. #1
    Senior Member clawhammer72's Avatar
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    Waterproof/Breathable Jacket

    Can anyone recommend a waterproof breathable jacket for commuting in the rain?
    I'm around 250lbs and 5' 10". I don't get cold very easily, so I just want the rain protection. I'd like to keep the price reasonable, but I don't want the cheapest thing out there, either.

  2. #2
    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    I use a Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket. Works very well, but if you really crank, any shell will have a hard time keeping up inside.
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

  3. #3
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    I use Frogg Toggs. The one I currently have is the Night Eyes. Good for keeping rain away and they're actually pretty wind resistant as well. But, like Maidenfan said about the Showers Pass Elite, not super breathable. If you crank, you'll sweat.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I use an love my Arc'teryx Beta AR. Fits perfectly, gives complete protection from the wind and rain, has a great hood (which can fit a helmet), and I can reach up to grab something over my head without it rising up and exposing my waist. I use it to ride when it's cold out, for kayaking, and for hiking year round. It weighs less than most pedals, and is bomb proof. When it's pretty warm ( 55 + ) I wear an Accelero jacket instead, which is highly water resistant, but lets about 1/3 the wind through for air conditioning (so I don't over heat).

    But the shell isn't the most important part of staying warm and dry in the little microclimate you're trying to create. Any waterproof, breathable parka will do - even a Shower's Pass. What's important is the base layer and the mid/insulating layer you wear. Your base layer should be comfortable, help you regulate your temperature, and it should absorb your sweat, moving it outward. The mid layer should pull it away like a sponge. You want a thin, wicking base layer that doesn't add much insulation, and a mid layer that gives the right insulation. Too little, and your body wants to produce more heat to cope, which ultimately means you sweat more, and a waterproof outer layer doesn't help that much. Too much, and the same thing basically happens. You need the Goldilocks of midlayers.

    I find that merino ( 100 to 150 grams per square meter ) is the best base layer around, and cashmere is the ultimate midlayer. It's warm, but it gives up its insulating power when you sweat. Then goretex or eVent or whatever else to protect you from the elements.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  5. #5
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Don't cheap out too much on an outer rain shell.

    If you're going to ride a lot in the rain, at least get one that has pit zips, rear vents, and is designed for cycling so it has longer arms and a longer tail to keep you covered while you ride.

    Riding in warm rain - if you're wearing 'cycling' clothes - you don't really need a jacket. Just get wet.

    Riding in the cold rain is where you really need water protection. But it's just fine to have different layers to keep you warm - that way, if it's just a little cold, you can wear the rain jacket and a jersey, and as it gets colder you add layers.
    DFL > DNF > DNS
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Any goretex shell. Nothing breathes well enough for hard cycling, but goretex is better than the rest, in my experience. I agree with SeattleForrest about merino base layers, they absolutely cannot be beaten. Don't agre about the hood, though, hoods are dangerous for cyclists because they interfere with your ability to look behind you.

    Unfortunately, goretex and merino are pretty expensive. But in this case, you get what you pay for.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Don't agre about the hood, though, hoods are dangerous for cyclists because they interfere with your ability to look behind you.
    Interesting. I can't say much about this, so I'll take your word for it; hoods get me to overheat within minutes if I'm working hard. I use it for kayaking, and while I stop on hikes. But I can't wear my favorite backpack on the bike for exactly the reason you just mentioned.

    As for merino - here's a long sleeved base layer (only in XXL and XXXL) for $19.20. It isn't cycling specific, so the roadies will call you Fred. But this is the sort of thing I wear. Merino tends to be ridiculously expensive, and I find it pays to wait for deals.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    It isn't cycling specific, so the roadies will call you Fred.
    Two things.

    First, it's a base layer; nobody's going to see it to call you a Fred.

    Second, if you're riding in weather that requires rain gear and baselayers, the probability of seeing a roadie approaches zero.
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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    Two things.

    First, it's a base layer; nobody's going to see it to call you a Fred.

    Second, if you're riding in weather that requires rain gear and baselayers, the probability of seeing a roadie approaches zero.
    LOL! I'm a roadie, most of the time. If I didn't ride in weather that needed base layers and rain gear, I'd be off the bike for most of the year. Not everyone lives in North Carolina...

    Seattle Forrest, the trouble with hoods is that they don't turn with your head, so as you try to look behind you they obstruct your peripheral vision. I tried it once. Never again.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    I'm really happy with my LL Bean Gore-Tex jacket. Breathes pretty well, hood folds up into collar. No vents to open. I use it as a shell and a rain jacket for riding. It's also my general rain jacket. Only negative is that it gets stinky sooner than I would like and I have to wash it after every few rides. XXL fits me well (5'11"/265lb). I have a big chest/wide shoulders and it allows me to reach on the bars without being too much of a parachute in the wind.

    http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63188?feat=2-SR0

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    Second, if you're riding in weather that requires rain gear and baselayers, the probability of seeing a roadie approaches zero.
    Somebody called me Fred at the start of last year's Chilly Hilly for dressing the way I describe above. Also, I wear the same merino (wool) base layers year round ... in the cold they're covered with other layers, true, but in the summer, people might laugh at the lack of back pockets. I see plenty of roadies out every day of the year, including when it's 18 F, or 33 F and raining sideways. If you won't ride in the rain in Seattle, you won't ride much.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Seattle Forrest, the trouble with hoods is that they don't turn with your head, so as you try to look behind you they obstruct your peripheral vision. I tried it once. Never again.
    I guess there's no point in asking if this is the case if you cinch the hood down, in light of your 'never again' vow.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I guess there's no point in asking if this is the case if you cinch the hood down, in light of your 'never again' vow.
    No, ask away. I did try to cinch the hood down, and it wasn't a big flabby hood, but I still found that my head tended to turn inside the hood. YMMV.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  13. #13
    Senior Member clawhammer72's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses!

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    Quote Originally Posted by maidenfan View Post
    I use a Showers Pass Elite 2.0 jacket. Works very well, but if you really crank, any shell will have a hard time keeping up inside.
    How is the body fit on these jackets? I am thinking about buying online, but leery of the slim cuts on cycling gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clawhammer72 View Post
    Can anyone recommend a waterproof breathable jacket for commuting in the rain?
    I'm around 250lbs and 5' 10". I don't get cold very easily, so I just want the rain protection. I'd like to keep the price reasonable, but I don't want the cheapest thing out there, either.
    This company is great to deal with: http://www.bicycleclothing.com/index.html

    I just bought their windbreaker and I am VERY happy with it.

    I might throw out some food for thought:

    It may be tough to find something waterproof and that breaths. Most of the time, the jacket makes you sweat so you are now wet from your sweat.

    Perhaps you can tell us about some of the riding you are doing and temperatures and we can go from there.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  16. #16
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    If warm out I wear one just for looks I think as whatever I have tried I still get soaked as rain comes down neck plus I sweat like a pig. In colder weather I just make sure I have wool on underneath as it will keep you warm wet or dry.
    Best thing about cycling is when I'm at work I'm thinking of cycling, when I'm cycling I'm thinking about cycling.

  17. #17
    Senior Member RunningPirate's Avatar
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    I lucked out and found and Outdoor Research jacket with pit-zips that unzip all the way down (so it can effectively become a cape with sleeves). The challenge I have is that I run hot, so unless it's a real gully washer, rain jackets do not help much because if I'm not wet from rain, I'm wet from sweat. This year, I might look in to some soft-shell options to see how well they do.

    As for Fred comments, know that the definition has two, somewhat contradictory meanings, and as such describes all but elite racers - so screw the Fred-commenters (Also, some state that Fred = Fenders and Racks Every Day).
    There's nothing for you to see here...just move along, now...

  18. #18
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 69isfine View Post
    How is the body fit on these jackets? I am thinking about buying online, but leery of the slim cuts on cycling gear.
    I have the "Storm" and it's pretty roomy-cut. I like it, although I haven't actually had a chance to need it yet. I got it at REI, who are good about returns.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    This company is great to deal with: http://www.bicycleclothing.com/index.html

    I just bought their windbreaker and I am VERY happy with it.

    I might throw out some food for thought:

    It may be tough to find something waterproof and that breaths. Most of the time, the jacket makes you sweat so you are now wet from your sweat.

    Perhaps you can tell us about some of the riding you are doing and temperatures and we can go from there.
    I went to the website. Looks like good feedback. I also found a Showers Pass Club Pro for $79 plus free shipping on ll bean. http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/64364...0=Yellow/Black

    Any thoughts on best product for the pnw rain season?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RunningPirate View Post
    The challenge I have is that I run hot, so unless it's a real gully washer, rain jackets do not help much because if I'm not wet from rain, I'm wet from sweat. This year, I might look in to some soft-shell options to see how well they do.
    Typically, soft shells are insulated, but not entirely waterproof or wind proof. Hard shells tend to be water and wind -proof, but not insulated. If you're too hot, and sweating too much because of it, I don't think a soft shell is your answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by 69isfine View Post
    Any thoughts on best product for the pnw rain season?
    It isn't really about where you live, it's about you. What I mean by that is that two people can wear exactly the same clothes and jackets, and go out on the same bike ride, and one of them will be comfortable while the other will be cold ... and a third person in the experiment might over heat and drench themselves in sweat. So, the answer tends to involve lots of experimentation. But wool is good as a base layer.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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