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Rain: get wet from the rain or get wet form the sweat?

Old 05-02-12, 09:59 AM
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Rain: get wet from the rain or get wet form the sweat?

i have a problem with sweating inside my rain gear. i spent an arm and a leg on a $400 dollar super-waterproof and *ALLEGEDLY* super-breathable triple layer gortex shell from mountain hardware, but no dice. if i'm doing any kind of physical activity while wearing it, i'll still sweat like a mo-fo. it's absolutely disgusting how wet i get while wearing it when biking. so last night i got caught in rain for 12 of my 15 mile ride home, and instead of pulling over and getting the shell out of my pack, i just decided to ride through the rain as is to see what would happen.

it turns out i got soaked, but i was soaked with rain water instead of clammy and gross sweat. now, it was pretty warm last night, around 50 degrees or so. i'm wondering where the breaking point is temperature-wise where getting drenched by a cold rain is worse then getting soaked by my own sweat inside the shell.

from now on, if it's 50 or above and raining, i ain't gonna bother with the rain gear anymore.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:09 AM
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you got Hiking gear , unless Mountain hardwear
branched out into cycling gear, recently.. .

I'm using a cycle rain cape, now. they are not body hugging,
but entirely open at the chest.. arms extended , hold it open..
umbrella effect keeps legs dry (mudguards required)

But Im on the PNW coast it is still cool at night and often in the day too.
mid continent, where you are, varies much more in temperature..


... and my riding pace is not impressive.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-02-12 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:09 AM
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I think it's going to depend on several factors. Temperature, amount of rain coming down, how long are you going to be out in it, how good you feel that day, etc. My 5 mi commute I usually just dress as if the temp is 5-10 F cooler.

I gave up years ago trying to find the perfect rain gear. If it was water proof, I sweated. If not rain seemed to leak thru. I try to dress to stay just warm enuff and not worry about the rain. Spare clothes are important in that case.

Then again, in Phoenix, you can almost always ride everyday, even the days it rains, without riding in the rain. If it's raining here just wait a couple of hours.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:31 AM
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Good technical wear will keep you warm even when you're wet. Wool is incredible for this as well. I'd much rather be soaked with rain than have my own little personal sauna of sweat.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
from now on, if it's 50 or above and raining, i ain't gonna bother with the rain gear anymore.
Mountain Hardware stuff is pretty awesome when you're going for the summit, and leaving your tent at 3 am so you can be on your way back down to camp when the weather hits. But that's a far cry from going to work.

I wear a wind breaker for most of my cycling; the goretex only comes out when the wind is very cold and strong. The particular jacket I use seems to block 2/3 the wind and let the other 1/3 through ... think air conditioning. It isn't waterproof, but it's pretty resistant. The water will soak through after 20 or 30 minutes if I don't shake it off regularly. So I try to do that, but I also wear wool underneath. Always a 100 % merino base layer, and a cashmere wind breaker if it'll be below 50 F for much of the ride. The system works beautifully; I've only ever been too warm in this jacket twice, and one of those times the sun had come out and the mercury hit 80+ F.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Kojak
Good technical wear will keep you warm even when you're wet. Wool is incredible for this as well. I'd much rather be soaked with rain than have my own little personal sauna of sweat.
+1 on that. Figure out what your breaking point temp is (for you it's 50 and up) Wear appropriate layers you need for warmth at the temp you are in riding in and just get wet. Breathable rain gear for high output exertion is pure science fiction. That fabric has not been invented yet despite the marketing claims.

Rain gear with good physical venting is good in the cold, in fact it's priceless when it's 36F and pouring
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Old 05-02-12, 11:20 AM
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I am kind of with you OP in thinking that 50 is about that line. In reality, enough breathable non-water resistant layers should keep you warm (even if wet) down below that even. I have had some seriously miserable rides in arm warmers/vest in rain/snow just above freezing. Looking back on it, I would have probably preferred more breathable layers over a vapor barrier.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:23 AM
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I have a $60 GoLite running jacket that I use when it's warmer rain (warm being 45ish or greater). In the lower 40's, you can get into some serious trouble with being wet, expecially if it's windy. The GoLite jacket is very lightweight & does a great job at keeping the rain out, but it also have some vents to allow some air flow. Then I have my Mountain Hardwear jacket (I forget the name) for it i get caught out in the rain & it's colder than 45ish. If it's over 70, I just ride, no jacket, as everything is stiffling in that weather.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:25 AM
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Up where I live (Québec, Canada) I prefer to be wet from my sweat because rain is freezing cold 5 months a year ( 4 months of snow and 3 months of fairly warm weather) But I don't mind the legs being wet as long as I don't have dripping rain in the neck and dry feet I'm fine.
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Old 05-02-12, 11:45 AM
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I’m with fietsbob on the cape and I have never tried one. I carry a lightweight military poncho that snaps up making something similar to a cape but maybe not as good. Basically building an open bottom tent with your body as the tent pole. I experimented with riding in this setup several times last year and it worked pretty well. As he mentioned fenders are a must and I also carry a pair of unlined summer gators.

I don’t know how much wind will cause a problem with a cape maybe Bob can comment on that.

Two pieces of equipment that are amazingly versatile are the poncho and poncho liner.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:18 PM
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I've started to just go with it and get wet. Wool is awesome as I don't need to worry about getting cold, especially with a tight base layer and then wool sweater.

I sweat very easily so waterproof is not nice for me either. I rode in the rain this morning and to put on a shell type wind jacket (usually remove the arms to make i a vest and was fine there too. Rain slowly soaks through but I sweat through my layers anyhow. Wool would have been a better option in todays drizzle.

Of course, technical fabrics dry faster while at work than wool.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:29 PM
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Rain capes made for cycling are conic shaped,
so unlike a big rectangle with a hood, poncho,
they don't flap like a flag in the wind.
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Old 05-02-12, 12:58 PM
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Sounds like you are willing to spend some money. The Orion Jacket from Mission Workshop keeps me dry and doesn't make me sweat much until the mid-60s. Pit zips are key.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:15 PM
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A question would be are you wearing too much under the jacket and getting overheated? Assume your jacket has vents/pit zips and you have them open?
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Old 05-02-12, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by woodway
A question would be are you wearing too much under the jacket and getting overheated?
just a t-shirt. if it's cold out (sub-40) perhaps a long sleeve t.




Originally Posted by woodway
Assume your jacket has vents/pit zips and you have them open?
yeah, it's got pit zips that i open to maximum, but they don't seem to vent very well as i still stew in my own sweat. i think the main problem is that i'm just an unusually warm and sweaty person and i don't react well to having warmth held close to my body. even when i sleep at night, it's usually just a sheet or nothing at all. my body hates warmth.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:21 PM
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Showers Pass makes some nice stuff too. I don't have personal experience with it buy my wife really likes her Showers Pass Portland jacket. She's not a very aggressive rider so maybe it would pose a sweat issue under more vigorous riding. She especially likes that it doesn't look like my racing cycling gear, it actually looks like a normal coat.

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Old 05-02-12, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
i have a problem with sweating inside my rain gear. i spent an arm and a leg on a $400 dollar super-waterproof and *ALLEGEDLY* super-breathable triple layer gortex shell from mountain hardware, but no dice. if i'm doing any kind of physical activity while wearing it, i'll still sweat like a mo-fo...
if rain can't get in, sweat can't get out.

welcome to 21st century advertising BS.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:30 PM
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Just a t-shirt. if it's cold out (sub-40) perhaps a long sleeve t.
If its a Cotton T you wear, instead look for a thin Wool
or the wicking tech wear stuff mentioned above .
since cotton absorbs and retains sweat,
when its 90F out that evaporates , unless its 90+% humidity out.

50f less so.. Cycle rainCape or open the pit Zips

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-03-12 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:58 PM
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if it's raining and over 55 degrees, I don't bother with raingear...just cover my bag.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by woodway
A question would be are you wearing too much under the jacket and getting overheated? Assume your jacket has vents/pit zips and you have them open?
Originally Posted by Steely Dan
just a t-shirt. if it's cold out (sub-40) perhaps a long sleeve t.
Paradoxically, this might be your problem.

I used to wear just a tee shirt under a goretex parka (uninsulated) on long mountain hikes and on bike rides. I'd sweat a lot, and there wasn't much less to remove, which is a bummer. Turns out I'd sweat less if I wore more; a mid-layer for warmth actually kept me from sweating.

The best story I've come up with to explain it is if I'm going out in a t-shirt and thin jacket when it's 40 F, I'm cold, and my body is trying hard to produce more heat, above and beyond what comes from the exercise. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's reliable even if I don't understand it.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:23 PM
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^ but the absolute LAST thing i need at 50 degrees is more warmth. 50 degrees is already borderline too warm for me as it is.
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Old 05-02-12, 04:21 PM
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Goretex shells don't breathe adequately in the rain for fast movers - they rely on "moisture gradient diffusion" - which means they need dry air outside to get rid of sweat. Which, of course, is insane.

Paramo make waterproof technology that is sort of super-wicking, so it still pumps sweat away from you in the rain. It works amazingly well but it does add some insulation. If you need to go lighter again, get one of the British designed membrane-less mid-layers that work on the same principle and wear it as your only layer - they wick well, are warm while wet, windproof and at least resist rain.

But I'd be surprised if the Paramo was too hot at 50F (that's 10C?) as long as you get the "Velez Light" model - the breathability means sweating actually cools you, so a VL over a T should be cooler than Goretex over the same T. Plus the fabric is flexible enough to let you roll the sleeves up, there are big pit vents, etc. You would have to order from the UK though.

https://road.cc/content/review/24252-...re-light-smock

Bad news: these don't pack small! We're talking coconut sized. The philosophy is you live in them!

Last edited by meanwhile; 05-02-12 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 05-02-12, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Paradoxically, this might be your problem.

I used to wear just a tee shirt under a goretex parka (uninsulated) on long mountain hikes and on bike rides. I'd sweat a lot, and there wasn't much less to remove, which is a bummer. Turns out I'd sweat less if I wore more; a mid-layer for warmth actually kept me from sweating.

The best story I've come up with to explain it is if I'm going out in a t-shirt and thin jacket when it's 40 F, I'm cold, and my body is trying hard to produce more heat, above and beyond what comes from the exercise. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's reliable even if I don't understand it.
What was probably happening was that the mid-layer was wicking sweat away you. So you had relatively dry air near your skin, letting sweat evaporate to cool you. Some of the "missing" sweat would have been buffered in the mid-layer.
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Old 05-02-12, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan
i have a problem with sweating inside my rain gear. i spent an arm and a leg on a $400 dollar super-waterproof and *ALLEGEDLY* super-breathable triple layer gortex shell from mountain hardware, but no dice. if i'm doing any kind of physical activity while wearing it, i'll still sweat like a mo-fo. it's absolutely disgusting how wet i get while wearing it when biking. so last night i got caught in rain for 12 of my 15 mile ride home, and instead of pulling over and getting the shell out of my pack, i just decided to ride through the rain as is to see what would happen.

it turns out i got soaked, but i was soaked with rain water instead of clammy and gross sweat. now, it was pretty warm last night, around 50 degrees or so. i'm wondering where the breaking point is temperature-wise where getting drenched by a cold rain is worse then getting soaked by my own sweat inside the shell.

from now on, if it's 50 or above and raining, i ain't gonna bother with the rain gear anymore.
When I was in the military I used to sweat and get much, much wetter from sweating under the issued raingear. So I just didn't bother with using it. I wasn't alone.

Right now for raingear, I have a lightweight windbreaker that seems to do a pretty good job. Although tonight when I got caught in the rain all I did was when I stopped after getting caught the second time was to take out my waterproof pannier bag cover and put it over my pannier and top bags. I didn't do anything for myself.

But I live in Florida and temperature wise it was very pleasant, so I wasn't worried about cold. And "knock wood" spandex dries rather quickly.

Although I have been looking at what appears to be a lightweight rain jacket at the LBS that I go to. Next time I'm there I'll talk to them about it and see what they have to say about it.
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Old 05-03-12, 02:25 AM
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I've used Paramo for about 10 years of winter riding. My temperature cutoff level is about 16C (61F). warmer than this and its too much insulation. They also make jackets from the windproof-only fabric without the wicking liner material. Paramo fabrics have to be washed in Nikwax to shed water.
In the correct temperature range, nothing is as comfortable as Paramo. I can cycle all day in torrential rain and feel comfortable, never clammy.

For heavy sweaters in temperate conditions, any waterproof is too much. Try using windproofs made from Pertex nylon or polyester outer material.

Gortex is commonly advertised for high altitude or arctic adventuring. These are often very dry places with very low humidity where a humidity differential can be generated. That differential is almost impossible to generate in temperate or warm damp climates with rain, mist, fog.
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