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  1. #1
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    Rain Cape in North America

    So I've heard the rain cape touted as great emergency rain gear. I'm looking to get one but don't seem to find an abundance of these in the LBSes and my usual online retailers (this is in Canada/North America). Now I'm interested in the real bicycle rain capes, with no sleeves (some people seem to sell rain jackets as rain capes) and with the hand loops, waist band, other ways to prevent flapping.

    Could you guys/gals point me to where you got your rain capes (in North America) that you would recommend.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakub.ner
    So I've heard the rain cape touted as great emergency rain gear. I'm looking to get one but don't seem to find an abundance of these in the LBSes and my usual online retailers (this is in Canada/North America). Now I'm interested in the real bicycle rain capes, with no sleeves (some people seem to sell rain jackets as rain capes) and with the hand loops, waist band, other ways to prevent flapping.

    Could you guys/gals point me to where you got your rain capes (in North America) that you would recommend.
    While I hope someone can direct you to a rain cape you did use the right
    wordemergency rain gear. If you do not have fenders the spray from the wheels will get trapped inside the cape with you. The good way to keep rain gear from flapping and getting sucked into the wheels is to get a rain suit; jacket with hood and pants, booties extra. Emergency gear to me is duct taping a couple of big plastic garbage bags about me. Warm wet is better than cold wet.
    This space open

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    www.bicycleclothing.com

    They have a bunch of other cool stuff too!

  4. #4
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Some of us in hotter climes prefer a rain cape. In the American South, it only gets cold enough a few days a year to not have any rain suit you wear turn into your own personal sauna. Gore-Tex and a few other fabrics claim they breath, but not near enough to throw off the moisture generated by aerobic exercise like bicycling. So you arrive at your destination wet regardless.
    Raincapes do breath, and if used in conjunction with fenders, keep you pretty dry. Now, a rain suit would probably be good in the Canadian winter, but if you're looking for something year-round, raincape, fenders and wool clothing are good to have.

    Campmor usually has them for about 30 bucks, and Carradice sells a really nice version, too.
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  5. #5
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    The Center for Appropriate Transport in Oregon sells rain capes:
    http://www.catoregon.org/catstore/00fsetponcho.htm

    Carradice has quite a few dealers in the USA, look here:
    http://www.carradice.co.uk/usa/index.html

  6. #6
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    I have the Campmor cape and the Carradice Duxback one. What I don't like about them is that for night riding, they tend to want to cover any handlebar-mounted light. When I had my Atlantis I had a hub generator light setup with the lamp mounted down by the fork crown, and the capes worked fine with that setup.
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  7. #7
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krispistoferson
    Some of us in hotter climes prefer a rain cape. In the American South, it only gets cold enough a few days a year to not have any rain suit you wear turn into your own personal sauna. Gore-Tex and a few other fabrics claim they breath, but not near enough to throw off the moisture generated by aerobic exercise like bicycling. So you arrive at your destination wet regardless.
    Raincapes do breath, and if used in conjunction with fenders, keep you pretty dry. Now, a rain suit would probably be good in the Canadian winter, but if you're looking for something year-round, raincape, fenders and wool clothing are good to have.
    +1 - wool, fenders w/ mudflaps, wind jacket and a rain cape for downpours - and I am in Ohio where we get a lot of rain and snow!

    http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Rain-Capes.html
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  8. #8
    RPM: 85. MPH: varies. edtrek's Avatar
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    I love my rain cape; previous comments about fenders being required for effective rain cape usage are correct. I have the Carradice Pro Route; it's got two internal cloth loops on the front that go over your thumbs, and another loop in the back that goes around your waist.

    Here's a recent photo on a rainy day that stopped raining:


    I like the ProRoute vs. the Duxback because it's so high-viz.
    It's somewhere on the spectrum between UberGeek and PeterPan, but it's very effective and I love it.

    This page contains pictures of a few different versions of bicycle rain capes.

  9. #9
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edtrek
    I like the ProRoute vs. the Duxback because it's so high-viz.
    I got the Duxback on the advice of Peter White mostly because I was afraid the ProRoute would be too small. I do wish it was more visible though (what were they thinking to make it dark green?), but I really love the smell and feel of that waxed cotton, and the flannel lining on the hood is very luxurious!

    Have you come up with a solution to the cape covering bar-mounted lights? I realize I can just pull it back behind the light, but IME every time I take a hand off the bars the cape wants to reposition itself over the light because of the thumb loops on the inside of the cape that keep it attached to my hands.

    I love the feeling of riding with the cape though. I keep the Campmor yellow one at work in case I get caught at work without raingear.
    ---

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    I picked up my raincape from Campmor for $30. I like it in warmer weather since it does vent some of the excess heat you generate. If its a summer rain I usually skip the cape and just get wet, but for a 50 or 60 degree rain its great. Its also small enough to just leave in the bag for unexpected showers. Fenders are a must and it may take a little practice to get it to cover your hands, but not bar mounted lights or computers. It makes you about as visible as is humanly possible, but the first major head wind you run into or even strong quartering wind will drive you nuts. Its like trying to row a sailboat with all the sails deployed into the wind. It will, however, keep you dry even in such winds.
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  11. #11
    RPM: 85. MPH: varies. edtrek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelnel
    I got the Duxback on the advice of Peter White mostly because I was afraid the ProRoute would be too small.
    Michael, I was in the same dilemma - I'm 6'1", 230 pounds, was worried about the ProRoute's one-size-fits-all (which usually means it doesn't fit me). So I overdid it and bought both the ProRoute and the Duxback, and after trying on and using the ProRoute I've never opened the Duxback. I'd planned on selling it on Ebay but I haven't yet.

    To the original poster: in response to your question about where to buy one, I got mine from an English bike shop, Simpson's Cycles , they were very easy to deal with. This is a list of US Carradice dealers .
    Last edited by edtrek; 01-12-06 at 09:04 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelnel
    I got the Duxback on the advice of Peter White mostly because I was afraid the ProRoute would be too small. I do wish it was more visible though (what were they thinking to make it dark green?), but I really love the smell and feel of that waxed cotton, and the flannel lining on the hood is very luxurious!

    Have you come up with a solution to the cape covering bar-mounted lights? I realize I can just pull it back behind the light, but IME every time I take a hand off the bars the cape wants to reposition itself over the light because of the thumb loops on the inside of the cape that keep it attached to my hands.

    I love the feeling of riding with the cape though. I keep the Campmor yellow one at work in case I get caught at work without raingear.
    I also have a Camphor rain cape and I'm fairly happy with it. I wish, though, that it were a bit larger. I've also thought about getting a Carradice Duxback cape for some of the same reasons you mention. My question: Is the Duxback larger than the Camphor? And if so, by about how much?

    The only real drawback I find in rain capes is that the thumb loops make it difficult to signal turns.

    I don't have the light problem because my light is helmet mounted. That's not how I planned to mount it but I find that the helmet mount really works for me.

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    Thanks for all your responses!

    Got fenders and my lights protrude forward from the handlebar on a separate mount, so hope it will be OK. Thanks for the advice.

    Got a rain suit from helmet to shoe covers, but very much dislike the "sauna" effect people describe (in the jacket and pants), hence the question above. Will be using the rain cape, possibly with shoe covers. I'm assuming shoe covers may still be necessary: I find shoes are the hardest thing to dry after a wet ride.

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    With respect to the Campmore, does the hood detach?

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    Quote Originally Posted by edtrek
    This page contains pictures of a few different versions of bicycle rain capes.
    This is interesting.. Like so many other American web pages I've seen, this page says that rain capes are common in England. Well, I've lived in England off and on for almost 8 years, but I have to tell you I've never, ever, seen a rain cape! I vaguely remember the occasional old lady cycling with them when I was a kid in Norway, but apart from that I've never seen one in use anywhere in Europe.

    In fact, by far and away the most references I find to rain capes are on American web pages! I'm not saying this to be sarcastic or anything, as I think rain capes are an interesting idea. But in my mind rain capes are an American phenomenon...


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    When I got back into cycling in '82, bought one and used it regularly (along with a sou-wester). Even wore the sou-wester in my first ever TT (25m) - I wear glasses. When considerable amount of mickey was taken, I loftily informed them that is was "an auto-airstream conformable helmet".

    I tended to hook the thumb loops over the brake hoods. This enabled me to signal fairly clearly.

    Haven't worn it for some years tho', largely because it rarely rained while I was commuting and it was quicker to shrug on a racing cape, aka jacket

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakub.ner
    With respect to the Campmore, does the hood detach?
    I'd like to know the answer to this question too.


    Also, apart from internet sites are there any LBSes where we can try capes on, in person, outside of Oregon and Massachusetts. It's really quite frustrating having to buy stuff over the internet all the time because LBSes don't cater to commuters. For god sakes, there are 8 million people living in NYC...how can there not be enough demand for at least one bike shop to stock rain capes?
    Last edited by makeinu; 02-28-07 at 11:56 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member thdave's Avatar
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    I don't think so.

    I bought a Campmor model a few weeks ago and this afternoon might be my first ride with it ;o)! Looks like lots of rain coming our way. I should have put it on this morning, but I so close to work when it started coming down that I thought I'd be ok. Yet my thighs are still wet.
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    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    Is a rain cape the same as a poncho? If yes, you may want to search for that term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barba
    Is a rain cape the same as a poncho? If yes, you may want to search for that term.
    Technically, yes, a rain cape is a poncho but so much more as alluded to in earlier posts. Poncho's may or may not have internal devices to keep them on your body and do not actually have to be waterproof(!). So, even though I can't imagine the o.p. needing more information than already provided by the excellent comments, links, photo's already supplied, ('s been an education for me in any case) any search criteria whether it includes the keyword 'poncho' or not should simply include the modifying keyword(s) 'bicycle' and/or rain.

    H

  21. #21
    It's ALL base... DScott's Avatar
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    What about these PVC capes? Here is a pic of the ToC riders, some wearing the clear PVC rain capes (like the SlipStream rider in the lower portion ofthe pic):



    These don't make any sense to me, unless teh idea is to wear them loosely, allowing them to breath. similar to the "better warm and wet, then cold and wet" comment above.

    Thoughts for occasional use?

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakub.ner
    With respect to the Campmore, does the hood detach?
    A bit late with the reply But no the hood does not detach on a Campmor cape.

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  23. #23
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    I use the ProRoute Carradice cape (purchased from Peter White: Very fast, friendly and helpful service too!). I really like the airflow one gets with the cape. Here on the north coast of California, a lot of our weather patterns actually sweep upwards from Hawaii; warmer rain than one would suspect.

    In no particular order: The cape has kept me dry on my (former) 4.5 mile commute. I hook the thumb loops over the palms of my hands. I thought about hooking the loops on the handlebar, but if I had to do an emergency dismount, I'd be screwed. The gaiters are too snug, and the zippers are too small; they easily open and the darn things are VERY hard to manipulate into place (to get started) because the parts are too small and one has to bend way over to zip the gaiters behind one's legs. Still, as far as dryness goes, the gaiters do their job. I will seek replacement gaiters in a backpacking store. When clad thusly, the wind is NOT your friend. A passing truck sometimes causes the front of the cape to suddenly flip up. During rain, a puddle forms in the cape where it is suspended between my arms. The cape's flipping up gives me an invigorating splash of cold water on my face. I give the cape a 9.4 on the geek scale, but I happily use it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I've been trying to locate the Carradice Duxback rain cape, but finding it difficult. Even at the Carradice web page, it says it's out of stock, maybe their waiting for winter to begin to start producing them again.

  25. #25
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    I went to this link and down at the bottom was a helmet cover with a Kepi-ish flap. Apparently it may have been available in 2006.

    Anyone have any idea where one might purchase such an item.
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