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Rain clothing?

Old 03-19-22, 11:14 AM
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conwayjdc3
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Rain clothing?

Wondering what people use for rain protection oN tours. Iím riding the Transam June-September and expect some rain along the way. I have a bike poncho that works ok when itís warm, but the legs can get wet. I donít like the poncho when itís windy and in cold weather Iíll need leg protection. There are a lot of options for rain jackets and pants, some are very expensive. Iím hesitant to make an expensive purchase and find out the clothing doesnít keep me dry, or, I sweat so much that Iíd be better off with nothing. Opinions and recommendations welcome, thanks!
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Old 03-19-22, 11:31 AM
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My Showers Pass 2.1 jacket is both expensive and effective.
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Old 03-19-22, 12:17 PM
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I believe that the consensus is that you'll eventually get wet and that what matters is to stay warm.

Good shells will reduce water inflow and protect from the wind. OR Helium is one of many alternatives (I'd consider riding with a Patagonia Houdini) on top of whatever base/mid layer that would be appropriate. The problem is that most shells will trap perspiration and you'll get wet "from the inside". A marathon shell (Houdini) breathes much better but lets a fair bit of water getting in.

Rain pants (OR helium again).

Pay attention to your extremities. A merino beanie, and thin neoprene socks and gloves help you stay warm.

The other crucial aspect pertains to camping. I personally find that setting up camp during a downpour is unpleasant at best and reason enough to justify renting a room. If not possible, I try to focus my mind in why touring is usually great. A ready to eat meal (trail mix) is good idea.

I don't remember ever being caught in non stop rain lasting more than several hours (as would be common during the fall season). You may want to look at weatherspark to get an idea of what to expect.

Nonetheless, I do remember getting cold (wind + rain + riding downhill + cold front) and wearing all of my clothes but for a dry set for the evening.
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Old 03-19-22, 01:23 PM
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You mention that you do not want to sweat so much you are better off with nothing. It is pretty hard to find a rain jacket and rain pants that breath so well that your sweat will evaporate quickly on a rainy day when water is coating much of the jacket and pants. So, if it is warm enough, you might find skipping rain pants might work for you.

I try to avoid hot weather, thus most of my tours are in cooler climates, thus sweat happens but is not excessive for me.

Top to bottom:

A rain cover for helmet is something most cyclists do not use, but I am sold on it. Keeps the top of my head dryer, the water does not run down my forehead into my eyes.

I use some yellow color wrap around glasses in rain when it is not light enough to wear sunglasses.

My favorite rain jacket is a Marmot Precip. I do not use the hood when cycling, but I want a hooded jacket for touring as I often use the hood in the campsite in rain. Sometimes I wear a thin neck gaiter with it but that does not aid waterproofing, it is better to keep my neck and head warm.

Rain pants, the ones I use have not been sold for over a decade, so not mentioning them by model. They are long enough that when I bend my knees pedaling, the bottoms do not lift too high. Zippers on legs that allow me to put them on or take them off without having to remove my shoes. I probably am the only one that does this but I hold them up with suspenders, that way they do not slide down constantly and I do not have to cinch a waistband really tight.

Shoe covers are a must, otherwise the rain gets on your socks and fills your shoes from capillary action. But they only function well if rain pants keeps the water off of your legs above the shoe covers.

If your saddle is leather, a rain cover for it.

I usually store the rain jacket and rain pants where it is quite handy on my bike, I can get it out in less than a minute. Helmet cover and saddle cover in handlebar bag where it is very handy too.

Some long finger gloves are nice too, my favorite gloves are not sold in USA so I am skipping the brand and model. They are not waterproof, they are full finger and give me a small amount of warmth.

If you lack saddle cover or helmet cover, a motel issued shower cover for your head can function in that role too.





I prefer pedals that are two sided, SPD cleat on one side, platform on the other. If my bike shoes are soaked from previous day(s) of rain and it will be dry out, I might want to use my regular shoes that I bring for campsite use on the bike for a day.

Rain, you are not very visible to the drivers behind you that have worn out windshield wipers and ineffective windshield defrosters, so good well aimed taillights are important too.

And you want to be visible too, wear bright color clothing.
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Old 03-19-22, 02:20 PM
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Ditto about staying warm rather than dry. Don't expect breathable fabrics to breathe when they get wet. I no longer spend money for tech fabrics, just a waterproof shell and learn how to ventilate when you can and deal with the sweat when you can't. What you wear beneath is important--tech fabrics there for sure.

A friend made me a nice anorak and pants set from silnylon, seven ounces total weight and both pack the size of two fists, my favorite raingear ever. I don't always bring the pants, only in shoulder seasons and for high altitude passes.
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Old 03-19-22, 03:06 PM
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I used coated nylon jacket and pants on the TA. Since then I have packed lighter and user lighter wind shells with insulation layers that work well when wet, doesn't hold much moisture, and dries fast. If you want something more in the real rain gear category that doesn't break the bank check out Frogg Toggs offerings. Cheap, light, effective, and hold up fairly well. They are priced like almost disposable, but folks have used a set for a whole AT thru hike. They have rain suits an ponchos. I'd use them if I were on a trip where I expected much wet weather and thought I'd actually try to stay dry.
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Old 03-20-22, 10:29 AM
  #7  
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I can't remember a tour that it did not rain . On one tour my wife and I experienced 35 days of rain. Showers Pass and REI brands are good gear. IMO REI (COOP) brand rain gear is the best value for a good product.


My 15+ year old REI rain jacket. It is faded to almost white on the outside compared to the flap that gets little sunlight. It still sheds water.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-20-22 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 03-20-22, 10:58 AM
  #8  
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My primary rain gear is a red shell jacket. The label says Columbia Sportswear and believe I bought it at REI, but forget exact model or if they still sell it.

I found a helmet cover to be useful, particularly in cold weather and in a pinch a lightweight shower cap does fine.

I've tried rain pants but found them to be more trouble than their weight unless I am in a special situation like north slope of Alaska or doing more hiking than cycling. Instead, I bring along a long set of cycling tights, assume my legs will get wet and take caution if I am out for an extended wet period. Similarly, some overgloves can be useful for extended time in cold/wet. Not so much to stay dry but to keep warm in a 40F and rain type situation.

I brought over-booties with me on the Dalton Highway, but wouldn't bother normally. Instead, put plastic bags between my feet and shoes and wear an extra pair of socks.

For a TransAm from June to September, I might expect some rain and even a few days in a row - but I'd be more concerned about an abnormal early fall mountain storm, e.g. if finishing in the west in September. Most likely wouldn't expect it to happen, but be on the lookout and potentially plan some margin in my schedule to wait something out for day or two if it coincided with crossing some high passes with mid-September weather.

Otherwise if you look at WeatherSpark for climate averages for a place like Breckenridge (~2000ft below Hoosier Pass) - https://weatherspark.com/y/3362/Aver...tes-Year-Round getting close to freezing is well outside the 90% confidence interval in July/August.

Last edited by mev; 03-20-22 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 03-20-22, 11:10 AM
  #9  
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In my previous post, I mentioned a "motel issued shower cover" which should have been cap, not cover. If you lack a saddle cover or helmet cover, they can substitute.

I remembered seeing them for sale somewhere and later remembered where. Two options:
https://www.dollartree.com/disposabl...t-packs/616755
https://www.dollartree.com/urban-ess...t-packs/165733

That said, I find that the purpose built ones are much longer lasting and well worth it compared to a cheap substitute.

A caution on helmet rain covers, I find that it can take a while to find one that fits properly, I have bought a few that did not fit well but were not worth the hassle of trying to return when bought on line. Best bought in a store if you find a store that has some you can try on your helmet. The last time I bought a new helmet, I said to the salesperson, before I buy it I need to check one more thing for fit and I pulled out my helmet rain cover and tried it. I probably would have bought it if it did not fit, but then I would have had to find a new cover.

I should have mentioned before that fenders on a bike are pretty nice to have. I wished I had them on the day in the photo below for that all day long drizzle. Even the potholes were topped up from the rain.


Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 03-20-22 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 03-20-22, 02:01 PM
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I have a gortex jacket, thin/light rain pants (helium?). In the old days, toured with urethane coated nylon gear. I tour in sandals, so wool socks or thin neoprene socks. Wool socks are dual purpose, can wear around chilly camp. I have toured since 1980 and have often been in driving rain lasting for a long time in the middle of nowhere. I consider good rain gear essential for safe travels, even if I rarely wear the pants. The jacket doubles for warmth protection when not raining. Perhaps you are in the middle of some midwestern plain (i.e. the middle of nowhere) and a big system comes through that lasts for many hours. You look for an overhang, but none for miles, what then with only a poncho? And just wondering, Got Fenders?
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Old 03-20-22, 02:25 PM
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I have a pair of goretex socks that I save for camp.
Feet will get wet riding even with waterproof socks, so I wear dog poo bags over regular socks mainly for warmth.

Rolled up balls of newspaper help greatly in drying out shoes overnight.

Keep your sleeping bag dry!! 😊
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Old 03-20-22, 04:27 PM
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One thing I learned about helmet covers - I can only use mine in the winter. Canadian winter.

I tried it once in warmer weather and nearly died of over-heating. I decided I would rather be wet than dead.

lol

And I've since started riding with a a helmet-mounted camera so the rain cover is likely never to be used again... I will not ride without my camera.
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Old 03-20-22, 05:08 PM
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I've posted this picture at least a dozen times, but this seems to fit here.

Sometimes there are situations where it is best to seek cover. We were riding through Astoria, Oregon on a Pacific Coast tour. The wind was blowing so hard it blew my wife over, literally, twice, and we had just passed this motel. Guess where we spent the day. Note the shower cap on my wife's saddle.
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Old 03-20-22, 09:24 PM
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A poncho in the rain works but the wind can be problematic. You might like a rain cape but I don't know if those are available these days. I have an old Burley. Air circulation under a poncho or cape works for me.

Fenders will help keep your legs and your bike cleaner and drier than if you did not have them. I once sat in a park in France in the rain and installed a set on my bike so I could continue riding and be less miserable than I was without them. That mattered a lot.
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Old 03-21-22, 05:20 AM
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I think the "breathable" part of rain suits is total BS. But, a newish suit with the waterproof treatment fresh really is waterproof. After a good amount of use or a couple of years they slowly stop working and the refresh stuff you can buy to make them waterproof again really doesn't work--in my experience. So buy cheaper and replace seems the best bet.
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Old 03-21-22, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by conwayjdc3 View Post
I have a bike poncho that works ok when it’s warm, but the legs can get wet.
Yep. The bike ponchos/capes were part of a 'system'.



Fun fact: Author David Lamb reported he rode coast-to-coast without being hit by so much as a single drop of rain. OTOH, TransAm riders in 1993 got hosed down 20+ consecutive days crossing flyover country!

Last edited by tcs; 03-21-22 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 03-21-22, 03:15 PM
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A few random thoughts:

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Old 03-21-22, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
...Feet will get wet riding even with waterproof socks, so I wear dog poo bags over regular socks mainly for warmth...Keep your sleeping bag dry!! 😊
The "Bagtex" method is high on my list too. I pack a couple of bread bags for that.

If the clothes you need the next morning are wet when you go to bed, I've found that putting them between my sleeping pad and the tent floor often dries them out. At least it keeps them a tad warmer, or thawed out, and easier to put on wet in the morning. You need to ventilate your shelter well enough for that to work. Sometimes if it's not too humid, I'll wear hat and gloves to bed to dry them out directly with body heat. Definitely, keep the bag dry! I'll stop at every sun break the next day to lay out camping gear, to try to get a dry start to the next night.

Experience is often more important than gear. The priciest breathable down gear quickly becomes useless if you don't know its limits or how to care for it.
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Old 03-21-22, 05:11 PM
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For that tour, I would have my wool leg warmers, LS wool base layer, wool socks, and a Gore Shake Dry jacket for riding in the rain. Fenders? Probably not. If going to a colder and wetter place, I'd have rain pains, waterproof gloves, helmet cover, LS wool jersey, down puffy, and fenders.
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Old 03-22-22, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
A few random thoughts:

I have a Showers Pass jacket that looks a lot like this, but it's probably too warm for the time of the year that the OP will need it. On the other hand, I felt like I was getting hypothermia in 70 degree weather in the middle of July when I got soaked in rain on a five hour ride. I got so cold that when I found a restroom with those electric hand driers, I stayed that for 5 minutes, repeatedly hitting the start buttons on all of the units, just to warm up.

The nice thing about the adjustable cuffs is you can loosen them enough that they act like air scoops, bringing fresh air up the sleeve to your core.
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Old 03-22-22, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I have a Showers Pass jacket that looks a lot like this...
And in fact, that's a Showers Pass jacket used in the illustration. Good gear. Pricey.

I like my Showers Pass jacket except the front pockets run all the way down to the waist seam. If you put anything in the pockets and then lean forward, as one does on a bike, whatever is in the pocket jabs you. Phthphth.

...but it's probably too warm for the time of the year that the OP will need it.
A woman I rode with years ago said she was asked: 'What do you do when it rains?' Her answer? 'I get wet.'
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Old 03-22-22, 05:18 PM
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I work outside all day 5 days a week in all weather including subzero temps and windchill. I use a heavy duty O2 rain jacket. It is absolutely waterproof. Period. If doing hard labor one will sweat in It therefore proper wicking layers are necessary in colder temps. My choice is wool.
On the bike I use the lightweight O2 rain jacket. I do not wear waterproof pants or anything, just tights which take me into rain at 55 degrees. Below that I don't ride.
O2 is low cost, durable and effective. My friends that hunt swear by it because it holds up to snags and rolling in the dirt.
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Old 03-22-22, 05:40 PM
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I just looked at the Showers Pass website. They'd have my money if I was going on that trip. I especially like the jackets with the long tails. I'd probably skip the pants though and let my lower body and feet get wet. I would wear wool socks and maybe some wool leggings. In my younger days kayaking it was common to wear a wool sweater (maybe another option).
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Old 03-23-22, 08:12 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
And in fact, that's a Showers Pass jacket used in the illustration. Good gear. Pricey.

I like my Showers Pass jacket except the front pockets run all the way down to the waist seam. If you put anything in the pockets and then lean forward, as one does on a bike, whatever is in the pocket jabs you. Phthphth.
Mine is a Showers Pass Transit. I got it at REI on an end-of-the-season sale at about half of regular price. It was a heck of deal that I couldn't pass up. It's bulkier than others in the Showers Pass range, making it a bit more of a challenge to pack. I never noticed the pocket issue you described but that may be because, at most, I've got my car and house keys and maybe my wallet stashed in them. I'll have to pay attention next time I'm out.
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Old 03-24-22, 01:29 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I work outside all day 5 days a week in all weather including subzero temps and windchill. I use a heavy duty O2 rain jacket. It is absolutely waterproof. Period. If doing hard labor one will sweat in It therefore proper wicking layers are necessary in colder temps. My choice is wool.
On the bike I use the lightweight O2 rain jacket. I do not wear waterproof pants or anything, just tights which take me into rain at 55 degrees. Below that I don't ride.
O2 is low cost, durable and effective. My friends that hunt swear by it because it holds up to snags and rolling in the dirt.
Which O2 jacket. They have several and the original that many talk about are certainly not heavy duty..similar to frogg toggs ultralight.
https://o2rainwear.com/category/products/
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