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Old 04-13-06, 09:07 AM   #1
smh_bike
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Need Suggestions - Full Rain Suit

I would like to get some recommendations on a full rain suit - jacket and pants. I would like good quality... waterproof, yet very breathable. Who can help me?
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Old 04-13-06, 12:19 PM   #2
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I have no specific recommendations, except to say to look for something made out of Gore-Tex or equivalent, with any many vents and zippers for ventilation as possible. I have found that even with maximal ventilation with Gore-Tex and vents, the rain suit retains so much body heat from hard pedaling, that I am sweating inside the rain suit. I often arrive at my destination as wet from sweat as I would be from rain.
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Old 04-13-06, 12:35 PM   #3
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Leave the bike specific stuff to the racers. Try Cabelas Pac-Lite outfit...I only wish it came in brighter colors.
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Old 04-13-06, 12:44 PM   #4
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look at rain capes. carradice makes a nice one.

http://www.bikechina.com/p-raincapes.html
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Old 04-13-06, 12:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smh_bike
I would like to get some recommendations on a full rain suit - jacket and pants. I would like good quality... waterproof, yet very breathable. Who can help me?
Yup. Don't overpay for gore-tex or any fancy stuff. Your basic yellow rain jacket and pants similar to what ya wore when ya wlaked to elementary school is all ya need. I have had alot of luck with Columbia raingear: i got the basic jacket at a local camping gear store for $75 or something like that.

Things to look for: make sure it both zips (you can zip yourself up tightly in cold, rain, or both; and snaps; the snaps can be used instead of the zipper on better days so that air gets in and helps with ventilation.

Also; make sure it has an attached hood; usually one ya can roll down and store in a small zipper pouch on the neck. Uner your helmet on a cold rainy day you won't have rain pouring down your back.

Third: make sure the arm length is as long as ya can get...baggy arms breathe better. Also, don't have an elastic band that tightens around your wrist. Some days will be warm enough that ya want the air to sweep up your arms. Use the kind with a velcro adjustment at the wrist; you can tighten it when ya want, or leave it loose.

Again: forget 'waterproof breatheable" fabrics. You get slimy because your body is producing sweat too fast for it to evaporate under any circumstances; not because of lack of ventilation. You could be riding buck-ass naked and you'd still be dripping wet if you are riding on a humid, rainy day.

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Old 04-13-06, 01:26 PM   #6
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If this is for long-distance all-day touring, I would simply get wet and keep something handy for those times when I stop to cover up so I don't get too chilled if it's that cool. The Goretex materials are much too thick and they are best used when the temperature is cold enough outside of the material in order to "draw" the condensation/sweat out.
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Old 04-13-06, 01:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMac
If this is for long-distance all-day touring, I would simply get wet and keep something handy for those times when I stop to cover up so I don't get too chilled if it's that cool. The Goretex materials are much too thick and they are best used when the temperature is cold enough outside of the material in order to "draw" the condensation/sweat out.

Ahhh...IronMac: Is that what it does? The fabrics 'draw' out the moisture based on a temperature difference? Is that what they mean by vapor pressure, and its marketing offshoot, vapor barrier clothing?

About the other point: it depends on where you are riding. If it is a cold rain in the mountains where you are not climbing your body won't generate enough heat to keep ya comfortable. So then i would want to have a rainjacket on, even while riding. Especially true if you are going downhill.

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Old 04-13-06, 02:36 PM   #8
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I found a used REI Gore-Tex rain suit at a thrift store a while back and it works quite well. I wore the jacket with a different (non-gore-tex) pair of pants a few weeks ago and found that at the end of my ride my legs were soaked and my upper body, while damp, was considerably drier.

Vents seem to be very important (underarm, across the back) Some cycle specific pants allow venting on the back side of the leg.

As for the rain slicker comments above.... what works for one may or may not work for another.... But on a cold day, in the rain, a soaking wet body inside a plastic rain jacket when the ride has ended is not fun.

Even the late, ultra-thrifty, cycle touring master Ken Kifer invested in a Gore-Tex rain suit and felt it was worth the money.
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Old 04-13-06, 03:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333
look at rain capes. carradice makes a nice one.

http://www.bikechina.com/p-raincapes.html
I've heard of a few people around here who use these. Is there much hassle when the winds are up?
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Old 04-13-06, 04:30 PM   #10
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Somewhat related, from the standpoint of aerobic output, is that I do wear a Gore-Tex outfit when snowshoeing. Up here in the Cascades, we have very wet snow, or snow/rain mixed. Even in the colder temperatures, when I am slogging uphill with a full pack, and my heartrate is at 150, I am still sweating buckets, which is sufficient to saturate the thin base layers I am wearing. I think that Gore-Tex keeps you dry if you are inactive or lightly active, but as soon as the heartrate goes up and you start to sweat from heavy activity, the breathability of the fabric just does not keep up.
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Old 04-13-06, 04:33 PM   #11
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Try Frog's

I purchashed a set of these last year and I found them to be pretty good.

http://www.qwks.com/froggtoggs.html
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Old 04-13-06, 07:41 PM   #12
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Another maker to give a look at is Marmot. There "precip" fabric is used in several models of jackets, and a few pants. One of there pants models has a full zip.

As far as jackets go, whichever brand you buy, make sure that the zipper is "two way". Lets you unzip from the bottom, giving you full leg range of motion without "scrunching" up the jacket. Then you can go with a bit longer of a jacket rather than some cyclist specific models which only go to ones waist.

My personal favorite waterproof breathable set is the REI one I have, but like many good things is no longer made (they "improved it" by making it cost & weigh more). The pants have extra patches of stronger fabric at the seat and right inner calf, and are tailored better for bending at the knee.
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Old 04-13-06, 08:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smh_bike
waterproof, yet very breathable.
There's no such thing. Sweat or rain - you're going to get soaked either way. Make your choice. Best you can do is a skin tight suit that wicks off sweat. As with hiking, add/subtract layers to keep you temperature right.
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Old 04-13-06, 08:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker333
look at rain capes. carradice makes a nice one.

http://www.bikechina.com/p-raincapes.html
Looks like a parachute to me... I'd think you'd want something skin-tight so it draws off sweat and doesn't flap.
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Old 04-13-06, 08:52 PM   #15
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i use gore-tex (gore-sweat in the summer)! on heavy rain days, stay in. if you don't have that option, gore-tex bicycle suit (w/tail, zipper arm pit areas, pant leg zippers) have worked for me . don't forget putting on shoe covers (booties) and helmet covers. expect "old man hands" after 1 or 2 days of riding in the rain, those gloves will dry out. you'll see the sunnier, dry days in a new light !
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Old 04-13-06, 09:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
Looks like a parachute to me... I'd think you'd want something skin-tight so it draws off sweat and doesn't flap.
Raincapes/ponchos supposedly work very well (surprising as it sounds).
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Old 04-13-06, 10:40 PM   #17
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The ultimate aerobic oxymoron...breathable waterproof apparel

Factors to consider: How much do you sweat when biking? If a lot then just wear a Hefty bag and save your $$$. Visibility...something you are more apt to get with Pearl Izumi, Sugoi, etc. I just bought a Pearl Izumi Instinct jacket. It has generous pit zips and plenty of 3M reflective logos and is high Vis Yellow. Are you as concerned about cars seeing you as I am??? What's your budget? The PI jacket was $120. Yeah that's a lot but it is good quality and I know I'll get years (i.e. decades) of use out of it as opposed to the El Cheapo Nashbar suit that's good for maybe one season's use. Oh, and avoid anything with the word Goretex on it. That only needlessly balloons the price by about a hundred bucks. Good luck!
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Old 04-14-06, 02:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camel
Raincapes/ponchos supposedly work very well (surprising as it sounds).
I've biked in a poncho before. Parachute City, Arizona. It flapped so much I could neither see nor hear the traffic behind me.
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Old 04-14-06, 06:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
I've biked in a poncho before. Parachute City, Arizona. It flapped so much I could neither see nor hear the traffic behind me.
I was reffering to cycling specific ones, where (usually) the arms clip onto the handbars etc.
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Old 04-14-06, 07:23 AM   #20
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I bought a Burley coat last fall for commuting for $120 after years of wearing nonbreathable jackets. I have not worn it enough to comment on the breathability of the material but I love the pit zips and other ventilation it provides. It also is in bright yellow and is cut for wearing on a bike.

http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='6580-50'

Having said that. Good old fashion nylon running wear works pretty good. At least in the summer and if you don't mind getting wet. That is it breaths really well, is rain resistent, but you will get soaked in a down pour.
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Old 04-14-06, 07:50 AM   #21
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[QUOTE=robmcl]I bought a Burley coat last fall for commuting for $120 after years of wearing nonbreathable jackets. I have not worn it enough to comment on the breathability of the material but I love the pit zips and other ventilation it provides. It also is in bright yellow and is cut for wearing on a bike.
QUOTE]

Have the same thing. The zips are the key!
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Old 04-23-06, 11:26 PM   #22
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Go Burley!

I've got the Burley Rock Point Jacket and their "Ultimate Commuter" Pants. They've been awesome so far. Waterproof and very breathable - I don't notice any interior wetness from perspiration. As mentioned, the pit zips work great in the jacket - they were longer than other similar jackets.
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Old 04-24-06, 03:41 AM   #23
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On tour I use a Gortex top with a back vent + pit vents. It works OK but its not magic. On my legs I prefer cheaper, lighter, more breathable pertex. Montaine do a nice set of featherlight pants.
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Old 04-24-06, 06:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughstuff
Don't overpay for gore-tex or any fancy stuff. Your basic yellow rain jacket and pants similar to what ya wore when ya wlaked to elementary school is all ya need. roughstuff
I disagree. As a year round commuter and foul weather tourer, I swear by Gore-Tex. It is expensive, but it works.

Also paying for something that has the seams taped will increase your comfort a lot.

I have a jacket from MEC with all that plus pit-zips and lots of Scotch-Lite for less than $200. It is washable, but you have to iron it inside out afterwards to make it waterproof again. They also have pants.

If you don't want to spend the money, just use a plastic garbage bag. That's what most 'waterproof' suits are made of anyway.
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Old 04-24-06, 11:52 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
I've biked in a poncho before. Parachute City, Arizona. It flapped so much I could neither see nor hear the traffic behind me.
No sh_t - which is why you use a rain cape, not some cheap K-mart poncho. A cape will keep you cooler than a rain jacket/pants combo...and can also keep you dryer if combined with fenders.
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