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Pants for riding in rain?

Old 12-07-19, 07:05 PM
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dmusicant
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Pants for riding in rain?

Rode home last night in moderate rain storm, had my best outfit on but it wasn't enough. The cheap Chinese made orange jacket kept my torso dry (included a hood), but my very old twice re-sprayed black rain chaps failed me... again! Gotta ditch those and get something that will keep me dry from the waist down.

I suppose I could use something for my shoes. But pants instead of 2 separate (but identical) chaps would seem to be the thing. I figure YELLOW, why not? Poking around I'm seeing rain pants anywhere from $10 to $159 (Showers Pass). Showers Pass appears to be the premium, but they have various offerings. Really, maybe I don't need the best, it doesn't rain all that much in Berkeley, CA, this isn't Seattle.

The top Showers Pass offering I saw at Amazon said Nylon. I also saw a listing from them indicating the material is Artex. Most of the stuff I'm seeing on Amazon and Ebay say Polyester, and I assume those are PVC treated, although most don't say.

The longest rides I'm doing these days are 5 miles (each way). That's the distance to my gym. If it's really raining I'll probably drive instead, but there will be times I chance it and get caught. Also, sometimes I need to go somewhere where I can't park and will bike anyway, maybe 2 miles each way.

Can I get some tips? I'm 5'10", 174 lb right now. Waist, maybe 34". I will have my regular pants under the rain pants, so they need to be bigger than my trousers. Thanks for ideas!

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Old 12-07-19, 09:19 PM
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I use Showers Pass Transit pant and have been real happy in rain up to two hours. I'm not in Portland, maybe there I'd buy one of their more expensive pairs. For a five mile ride they would be way more than adequate. For five miles it seems like you could just get some cheap totally waterproof pants and sweat just a little by the time you get to your destination.
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Old 12-07-19, 11:37 PM
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Read this. It probably won't make you feel any better about your choices, though.

The Search for the Holy Grail: Waterproof Breathable Rain Gear | PopUpBackpacker

The upshot is that a material is either breathable or waterproof, but can't be both. The solution is to use a waterproof material as a loose cover to keep you dry while allowing airflow. Poncho. Maybe something like chaps. LOTS of airflow is needed. But will it flap in the wind? Get caught in your chain? Experiment.
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Old 12-08-19, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
Read this. It probably won't make you feel any better about your choices, though.

The Search for the Holy Grail: Waterproof Breathable Rain Gear | PopUpBackpacker

The upshot is that a material is either breathable or waterproof, but can't be both. The solution is to use a waterproof material as a loose cover to keep you dry while allowing airflow. Poncho. Maybe something like chaps. LOTS of airflow is needed. But will it flap in the wind? Get caught in your chain? Experiment.
Yeah, my thinking, breathable and waterproof sounds like an oxymoron, but you see it touted, certainly by Showers Pass for the Artex made pants. Yes, I figure some air circulation in tandem with water impermeable material would seem to make sense. Saw (maybe at Showers Pass site) talk about the holes being so small that water couldn't get through but air could. Dunno, maybe wishful thinking that.

Anyway, chaps aren't working for me, somehow a lot of water gets down the front of my legs with them. They are good for air circulation, pants won't be, but if 5 miles is my maximum, I can tolerate being sweaty for 1/2 hour.

Edit: I read the linked article. Excellent!

I have a bunch of rain stuff. My go-to kit when it MIGHT rain, but isn't is my rain chaps plus a DIY rain suit I made out of black plastic trash bags! Yeah, picture this: Cut a hole in the closed end of said large plastic bag you can fit your head through. Cut holes adjacent for left and right arms to fit through. Make tubular arm coverings from another plastic bag & tape and attach at the arm holes with tape. Voila, you have a rain jacket sans hood. I made mine more than 20 years ago, have used it umpteen times and never had to replace or repair it. Under my arm pits the tape has broken loose, but so what? No water gets in there and that provides more air circulation, a win. If there's a greater threat of rain, I'll take my cheap Chinese rain jacket with the zipper on the opposite side of what we wear in the west (i.e. the pull is on the left, not the right). Weird, but works. I have a poncho, never take it. I have an expensive yellow rain jacket that I got at REI, but it's anything but waterproof, don't know if it ever was. Fancy but doesn't keep me dry.

When rain is a threat, I take my chaps and DIY trash bag poncho in a largish plastic bag, and that bag will accommodate my backpack (should I don my rain gear) so it will stay dry, pack in plastic bag plopped in my rear basket, which is bolted to a Pletscher rack. I figure a decent pair of rain pants can substitute for the chaps I've been using. The chaps are OK in light rain, not when it's "really raining!" I figure get yellow, if reasonably possible. Safety is paramount. Always be visible on a bicycle (but, of course, don't assume they see you).

Last edited by dmusicant; 12-08-19 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 12-08-19, 09:38 AM
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dmusicant I've had some ideas of my own for making raingear from those trash bags. I have some 55-gallon size in 3 mil plastic. One thing I thought of is making a hooded garment, using one of the bag's square corners for the hood. Make a cut somewhere like 8" inches or so from the corner, such that it becomes an opening for your face. This means turning the bag 90 degrees from the way you've done yours. Then do the armholes, sleeves, etc.

I also have an idea for using those bags to make a two-piece bottom-half rig, but haven't tried it yet. Not sure if it would work on a bike.
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Old 12-08-19, 10:43 AM
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For the most part, I concur with the sentiments that "breathable" and "waterproof" are not possible together. You're either going to get wet from the outside in...or from the inside out. But, it kind of comes down to the weather conditions OTHER than the rain, and how hard you're riding. If they are conditions conducive to sweating...warm, humid air...and if you're wearing waterproof clothing (not breathable), and you're riding hard enough to sweat...your inner layers of clothing are still going to get wet from the perspiration. But if it's cooler, and you're not riding hard enough to sweat...then maybe your inner layers stay dry. I'm a road cyclist so even in colder temps I'm usually riding hard enough to sweat. Therefore, for personal safety and comfort...in cooler temps with precipitation...I will opt for an outer layer that is going to maintain warmth. I.e. something non-breathable. It'll sort of act like a wetsuit in that it keeps the warm air, and warm sweat in rather than letting cold air and cold rain soak through to my skin.

Dan
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Old 12-08-19, 11:31 AM
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I dunno. Your riding now may not be your riding later. Maybe youíll do a multi-day tour and need something high quality. Perhaps check out REI branded stuff for a compromise.
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Old 12-08-19, 03:06 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/Red-Ledge-Thu...32678288&psc=1
I have a pair of Red Ledge rain pants I've used for years. One outing was in the boonies of the Colorado Rockies during an all day rain at 10,000 feet of altitude where getting wet would be serious. During this and every other time they have been totally satisfactory and cost is reasonable.
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Old 12-09-19, 01:14 AM
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I have a Frogg-toggs two-piece rainsuit made for motorcyclists. Impermeable, very lightweight; it's that non-woven stuff, Tyvek, I think. Cheap. Great if you're sitting still. I sometimes wear the jacket for raIn. I wear the pants when I'm shoveling snow off the driveway, but above the waist I do permeable layers.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:26 AM
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I'm this close // to confirming purchase of Jorestech yellow medium mens rain pants, on ebay comes to bit less than $20 after tax, free shipping, a buck more at Amazon, where the reviews are better than most similar products. 150 denier Polyester with polyurethane coating. Zipper at ankles, so flared there. For me, effectiveness is very important, of course, but durability, length of usefulness counts for a lot. These are things it's impossible to know for sure without having the luxury of hindsight. I'm watching an ebay listing for a Showers Pass 100% nylon pair that's black, cheap for Showers Pass but 3x the Jorestech pants. I figure the yellow color is an important attribute for riding in the rain, so will pass on the Showers Pass ebay listing. Repelling drivers is easily as important as repelling rain in stormy conditions!

Edit: Found same Jorestech rain pants a buck cheaper at Walmart, i.e. $16.99. Should have them in 8 days.

Last edited by dmusicant; 12-09-19 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 12-09-19, 09:12 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by rollagain View Post
dmusicant I've had some ideas of my own for making raingear from those trash bags. I have some 55-gallon size in 3 mil plastic. One thing I thought of is making a hooded garment, using one of the bag's square corners for the hood. Make a cut somewhere like 8" inches or so from the corner, such that it becomes an opening for your face. This means turning the bag 90 degrees from the way you've done yours. Then do the armholes, sleeves, etc.

I also have an idea for using those bags to make a two-piece bottom-half rig, but haven't tried it yet. Not sure if it would work on a bike.
Yeah, 55 gallon trash bags. A neat thing about a DIY poncho made from them is that there's a lot of air flow when you use it. So big and roomy with the open bottom, sweat isn't a problem and of course the plastic is totally impermeable for rain. I just fold, roll up, put in plastic bag, with a rubber band around it and toss in my backpack. Will do same with my rain pants when I get them.
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Old 12-09-19, 10:56 AM
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I purchased a Vikingwear rainsuit. I use it for times when it's too cold to get soaked on the trip to or from work. It's construction worker clothing.

Yes, it is not fully breathable but when you are down to 2 deg C you need to maintain a little warmth. The suit I bought was 150 denier ripstop nylon with taped and double sewn seams. The suit cost around $75 CDN.

I wear a merino wool shirt and cycling tights underneath and it keeps me warm and dry. I have a small cycling backpack that will fit underneath the jacket so all my swag stays dry.
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Old 12-09-19, 11:39 AM
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In Berkeley weather, might I suggest stuffing your pants in a plastic bag in a backpack and wearing shorts for the duration of the ride? Maybe stepping up to light jogging tights/pants/leg warmers in the depths of January/February cold? Unless youíre riding in the dead of night, 5 miles to the gym in NorCal conditions shouldnít require any bank-breaking top-of-the-line REI gear designed for a 3-week bike packing trip in the Cascades.
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Old 12-09-19, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
In Berkeley weather, might I suggest stuffing your pants in a plastic bag in a backpack and wearing shorts for the duration of the ride? Maybe stepping up to light jogging tights/pants/leg warmers in the depths of January/February cold? Unless youíre riding in the dead of night, 5 miles to the gym in NorCal conditions shouldnít require any bank-breaking top-of-the-line REI gear designed for a 3-week bike packing trip in the Cascades.
Yeah, I've had an REI gift card for must be over 10 years that I'm still working on (birthday present). I go in there once in a while, seldom buy anything. Most of what they sell isn't in my wheel house or is too expensive, I'll find cheaper elsewhere, although maybe not as high quality. In Berkeley I'm very unlikely to be riding in the rain in temperatures below 45 F.
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Old 12-09-19, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
bank-breaking top-of-the-line REI gear designed for a 3-week bike packing trip in the Cascades.
Even at $80 that would be a tiny bank to break. I still have the same pair I bought 20 years ago. Just treated them again this spring. Too bad they only have XXL left. I might have considered getting some new ones.

And maybe it's the fact that my riding is already varied, but I like to be prepared for new/different conditions/experiences.
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Old 12-09-19, 01:42 PM
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I don't have any recommendation to offer, but it occurred to me that it would be nice to have pants that are truly waterproof in the front half down just past the knee, where most of the wetness occurs.
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Old 12-09-19, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by dmusicant View Post
Yeah, I've had an REI gift card for must be over 10 years that I'm still working on (birthday present). I go in there once in a while, seldom buy anything. Most of what they sell isn't in my wheel house or is too expensive, I'll find cheaper elsewhere, although maybe not as high quality. In Berkeley I'm very unlikely to be riding in the rain in temperatures below 45 F.
If you have the gift card, might as well use it. I build up dividend point there, so thereís always something that comes on sale and works out cheapish. Youíre right, though, that their pricing isnít very friendly.

Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Even at $80 that would be a tiny bank to break. I still have the same pair I bought 20 years ago. Just treated them again this spring. Too bad they only have XXL left. I might have considered getting some new ones.

And maybe it's the fact that my riding is already varied, but I like to be prepared for new/different conditions/experiences.
Iíd need a very good reason to part with $80 for something that gets used as frequently as rain pants in NorCal. Iíve lived here 8 years now and only had a pair of Home Depot plastic ones, and that only for standing at work. And on the rare occasions when Iíve biked in the rain, Iíve been in shorts.
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Old 12-10-19, 02:30 AM
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Just stay a long ways away from those cheap vinyl/PVC rain pants/rain suits as they crack at the seat when it's cool or cold out.

You can buy nylon wind pants and then apply waterproofing to t he area(s) you want or need.

Cheers
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Old 12-13-19, 02:54 PM
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It took me a while to find the perfect rain combination.

I tried ponchos, waterproof hoodies, etc.


So far, the best thing I found was a ripstop rainsuit.

Rain comes down on you typically, so many of these rainsuits have huge downfacing cutouts with draping ripstop over the cutouts, so your gear is also breathable.


I could bike through a full storm and be bone dry at the end of it all.


But once you have waterproof pants, you will notice that your shoes will becom einevitably wet.

If you don't dry them immediately, your shoes will be destroyed, you will have irreversable mold, and constant wetting/drying will also destroy yoru insoles and any fiber board lining that's under them.

Honestly, you would have really good luck searchign for bike messenger gear.

You can buy waterproof gear that's actually designed to be ridden on a bike, or in some way shape or form has the cyclist in mind.

Waterproof cycling boots exist, but they are non breathable, and probably take a solid 10 minutes to get on and off.

I have yet to try shoe booties, but I have a feeling that they aren't going to mesh very well with pedals, and they can be potentially dangerous and get caught in the drivetrain.



SO far I have 2 potential solutions for feet:

1. Buy small, foldable water shoes, and switch shoes mid ride if it gets crazy out.

2. Just get waterproof cycling boots and wear them if there is rain potential.
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Old 12-13-19, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BicycleBicycle View Post
I have yet to try shoe booties, but I have a feeling that they aren't going to mesh very well with pedals, and they can be potentially dangerous and get caught in the drivetrain.
Wut I have used several types of booties over decades, including neoprene ones while crossing the country via a route through the rainy and snowy Pacific Northwest and Adirondacks. Never posed any danger to me or any of the countless people I know who use booties. They were easy to use with SPD cleats. I have also used them with Shimano SPD-SL cleats on my road shoes.
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Old 12-13-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric S. View Post
I don't have any recommendation to offer, but it occurred to me that it would be nice to have pants that are truly waterproof in the front half down just past the knee, where most of the wetness occurs.
https://www.rainlegs.com/en/home

I just got a pair and I'll be using them tomorrow in the slop we have for weather this time of year.
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Old 12-13-19, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
https://www.rainlegs.com/en/home

I just got a pair and I'll be using them tomorrow in the slop we have for weather this time of year.
Had some trouble hitting that site, but finally have hit it.

I'm still waiting on my order of yellow Jorestech Medium yellow polyester/polyurethane coated rain pants, the other part of my order at Walmart came a few days ago. I added 2 other items to get over $35 total so as to get free shipping at Walmart.com.

I have the idea to try putting plastic bags over my shoes when it's really raining and using rubber bands to hold them at my ankles. I use toe clips and wear running shoes as a rule.
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Old 12-13-19, 08:26 PM
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I have used Frogg Toggs for rainy days and they worked well, but when bicycling, the pants drained into my socks which drained into my gore-tex lined hiking shoes. Yes, I said it. After three hours of steady rain I was feeling kind of squishy. I was wet from the inside and the outside, but them's the breaks. The rain suit kept me from getting hypoglycemic when I stopped to pee or drink water in the 50 degree fall weather. I would have been mostly dry except for the water in my shoes.
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Old 12-14-19, 12:04 AM
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Anyone hear of any bicycle-philic pants made of worsted wool? Those would be my choice, if they existed.
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Old 12-14-19, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by dmusicant View Post
Had some trouble hitting that site, but finally have hit it.

I'm still waiting on my order of yellow Jorestech Medium yellow polyester/polyurethane coated rain pants, the other part of my order at Walmart came a few days ago. I added 2 other items to get over $35 total so as to get free shipping at Walmart.com.

I have the idea to try putting plastic bags over my shoes when it's really raining and using rubber bands to hold them at my ankles. I use toe clips and wear running shoes as a rule.
Good luck with using plastic bags. I tried that but found that the bags tore easily. I use toe-covers on one of my bicycles that has toe-clips. Similar to these.




Cheers
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