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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 10-01-17, 08:47 PM   #1
Hapsmo911
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Is it me or are waterproof jackets worthless?

I ride through the winter in N California so my version of cold is laughable to some of you, 30-60 degrees f in the winter. I found that waterproof jackets hold the sweat so your wet anyway. Last year I went with wool and seems to work the best. Atleast if I am wet I am warm. Am I missing something? I was thinking my jacket just may not be vented enough? should I try a more breathable waterproof jacket?
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Old 10-01-17, 10:41 PM   #2
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On colder days rain or not, I often wear less or thinner layers and just wear a rain jacket as a wind breaker.
Knowing the rain jacket can make you hot by reducing airflow.. I plan on that and use that to my advantage.
If no rain
I wear a base layer, rain jacket, then a top layer. I'll take off the top layer at any point if I start getting hot (that decision is obvious after I warm up and get going a few miles). I'll make further adjustments with a few inches of the jacket zipper as needed.
If rain starts
I'll put the top layer on under the rain jacket or just leave it off.

Sounds complicated but it's really not. I plan my clothes in the cold assuming I'll be wearing the rain jacket the whole time and adjust other layers instead. Maybe people have these super great rain jackets but none I have ever owned can breath good enough to simple put on and take off without a drastic change in body heat retention one way of the other.

Last edited by u235; 10-01-17 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 10-02-17, 12:33 AM   #3
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A good quality waterproof breathable jacket is worth its weight in gold.
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Old 10-02-17, 09:45 AM   #4
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big fan of cycling specific gear for a rain jacket cuz they have high collars, back vents & pit-vents. sometimes you just need a thin base layer under it. but yeah, venting is key. personal, warm, sweat is not nearly as awful as cold rain. got this Novara jacket at REI bunch of years ago off their sale rack for $75 I think & that was the sale price! still works great. I added coast guard approved reflective tape
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File Type: jpg Novara REI rain jacket.jpg (95.8 KB, 139 views)

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Old 10-02-17, 09:48 AM   #5
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If it's too warm out you are likely to get soaked no matter how breathable your jacket is. But I find a breathable waterproof jacket is great for cold rainy days. I'll still get wet to some degree, but it's a lot more pleasant to keep most of the cold rain out.
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Old 10-02-17, 10:23 AM   #6
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Worthless for keeping you dry, maybe, but I find that they keep me warmer in those 30-50 rains.
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Old 10-02-17, 10:59 AM   #7
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From a comfort perspective, liquid water is annoyingly similar to water vapour.
You simply can't make a jacket that's both fully breathable and fully waterproof.
The general recommendation is to match degree of breathability to level of effort.
That tends to work well for casual activities. But not for working hard.
My preference is for clothes with different panels front and rear. More waterproof at the front, more breathable at the rear.
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Old 10-02-17, 11:21 AM   #8
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I think your perceptions are pretty-much accurate. It seems to me that all synthetic, water-proof/resistant garments do one thing: Hold your body heat in. This shell over the wool is about as good as it gets, but I still get wet under Gore-Tex, even, to the point where I can't tell if I am saturated in sweat, rain, ground-water or a combination of the above.
You can try to vent, but depending on how cold it is out, it might not be the best idea, health-wise, to get cold air blowing in on your wet base layer(s).
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Old 10-03-17, 06:34 AM   #9
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I've been shopping around for a more breathable rain jacket as well. The Shower Pass Club Pro jacket has been reported to be very well vented/breathable but I'm concerned because many people are reporting the waterproof coating begins flaking off within one year, maybe two. For a $100+ jacket.
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Old 10-03-17, 11:13 AM   #10
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Forget about the jacket. (A breathable jacket only goes so far.)
Pay special attention to the layers you wear underneath.

A good, wicking base layer goes a long way. Or have a spare shirt.

Trial and error
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Old 10-03-17, 11:50 AM   #11
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The DWR treatment on the surface of WPB fabrics is good for a year or 2 then it must be replenished ,

or the rain wont bead up, but instead soak in.
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Old 10-03-17, 11:58 AM   #12
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My heavy Rain Protection is now a Cyclist's Rain Cape, It is water Proof , seam welded nylon backed PVC..

Further North and right on the Coast, the marine squalls dumped a lot of rain all at once as the storm fronts came ashore..

Something I never Experienced in San Francisco Or any town east of the Coast Range. Napa, Eugene, etc.

Even Eureka/Arcata, were not getting that kind of rainfall. further south..




...
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Old 10-03-17, 12:12 PM   #13
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O2 Rainwear - add a base layer of wool and it's awesome for temps down to 20F and below.

Snow/sleet, 25F, 10-mile commute - this jacket kept me feeling great!
904279_10201010153598745_551347486_o.jpg

Almanzo 100 - rain all day, strong winds, temps under 40F - it was great!
18699370_10213181149386033_223983825322108508_o.jpg
(Toad's on right of the pic with the fatbike)
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Old 10-03-17, 12:18 PM   #14
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I have one of these from J&G Cyclewear...plus the non breathable cycle jacket. With layers the breathable jacket works very well, easy to regulate body heat. Great quality, cool company

Waterproof Jackets from People Who Really Know Waterproof Jackets!
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Old 10-03-17, 12:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapsmo911 View Post
I found that waterproof jackets hold the sweat so your wet anyway.
The thing is...being wet AND in the wind is the real danger. Riding hard you're going to sweat. And I don't believe there really is such a thing as "breathable waterproof/water-resistant material. Even if it is "breathable" the moisture is coming out of your body faster that it can escape through the "breatheable" material. So, I choose an outer layer that will break the wind regardless if it's wet or not. So I get wet on my inner layers from sweating...at least I stay warm because the windbreaker keeps the wind from carrying my heat away.

Dan
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Old 10-03-17, 12:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
O2 Rainwear - add a base layer of wool and it's awesome for temps down to 20F and below.

Snow/sleet, 25F, 10-mile commute - this jacket kept me feeling great!
Attachment 583194

Almanzo 100 - rain all day, strong winds, temps under 40F - it was great!
Attachment 583195
(Toad's on right of the pic with the fatbike)
I like the O2 Calhoun jacket....will have to investigate that and the pants
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Old 10-03-17, 03:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapsmo911 View Post
I ride through the winter in N California so my version of cold is laughable to some of you, 30-60 degrees f in the winter. I found that waterproof jackets hold the sweat so your wet anyway. Last year I went with wool and seems to work the best. Atleast if I am wet I am warm. Am I missing something? I was thinking my jacket just may not be vented enough? should I try a more breathable waterproof jacket?
A good rain shell should keep wind and rain out (mostly) and breathe. But they aren't cheap.

Riding year-round in Minneapolis, I use a rain jacket for temps between 25F and 50F... over that and I'm basting in my own sweat. For mild days (50 to 60F), I like long sleeved jerseys and tall socks, made with wool or other materials that don't hold the rain but keep the road-spray off the me. For temps below 25F, well you don't get rain... it's snow and I have different jackets for that.

At the end of the day, I don't expect a rain jacket to keep me "dry" in the rain, you're riding a bike in the rain... you're gonna end up wet.
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Old 10-03-17, 03:17 PM   #18
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I like the O2 Calhoun jacket....will have to investigate that and the pants
I have the O2 pants, they're great too! One issue I had was the leg is too bulky and can get caught in the chain, so you need to use a ankle strap to prevent getting them ripped on the chain-ring.

I've had the jacket and pants for many year, at least 5 years, and they are just starting to break down. I will happily buy them again. As you can see from the Almanzo pic, I put this gear through hell, and it comes back asking for more.
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Old 10-03-17, 03:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapsmo911 View Post
I ride through the winter in N California so my version of cold is laughable to some of you, 30-60 degrees f in the winter. I found that waterproof jackets hold the sweat so your wet anyway. Last year I went with wool and seems to work the best. Atleast if I am wet I am warm. Am I missing something? I was thinking my jacket just may not be vented enough? should I try a more breathable waterproof jacket?
I have a bike specific water repellent jacket with lots of vents that is tolerable, but for the most part if its raining, I just get wet. That's not a problem if you're wearing spandex and riding hard enough to stay warm.
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Old 10-03-17, 04:00 PM   #20
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Find a jacket that is covered on top, but has lots of ventilation underneath. Not just Goretex that allows some breathing of the fabric.

Look at some of the Shower's Pass gear, made for the wetter Oregon weather.
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Old 10-03-17, 04:44 PM   #21
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Plastic jackets are awful for most purposes. Useful winter layers are these:
Insulated softshell (I.e Nashbar Derby Jacket, Mavic Vision Winter)
Rain Jersey (I.e Castelli Gabba or Perfetto)
Wind vest
Wool long sleeve jersey
Running tights (over bib shorts)
Cap with ear covers
A wide range of gloves
Wool socks
Lake MXZ boots
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Old 10-04-17, 02:42 AM   #22
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Wear a plastic garbage bag.

On really cold days, unzip your shell jacket from the bottom to let the air flow through from your belly to the vent in your arm pit.
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Old 10-04-17, 05:14 AM   #23
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I have this jacket and really like it: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5034-3...olution-Jacket

It is comfortable, warm during this past chilly, damp, windy Tasmanian winter, and protects me from the rain. It also has good ventilation.
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Old 10-06-17, 03:08 PM   #24
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I'm going to share a piece of advice which is fairly well known in the hiking (especially the winter hiking) circles but a. isn't as widely discussed in the cycling circles and b. may not be as applicable.

Your primary goal in cool and wet weather should be to stay warm. Now, staying dry plays a big part in that but through experience you'll find it that it is IMPOSSIBLE to stay dry. You want to minimize your sweat output, so start out dressed such that you're a bit cold because as you go you'll generate a lot of energy and you'll warm up. If you are warm at the start, you'll be much hotter once you get going, you start sweating, and if you can't take a layer off, that's that. Hiking uphill = dress very light, on flats and downhill = put on a layer. Now, I find that this approach works for hiking but is a bit tougher to dial in for cycling because of generally higher strain to warm you up and higher average winds to cool you down. So you need to combine clothing that traps heat with clothing that blocks wind. The trick is not overdoing it.

No, where am I going with this? In my experience I found that you need waaaay fewer/thinner layers than you think. For me during moderate and high activity a rain shell is equivalent to a 100-weight fleece in warmth! If you're sweating in a 'clamshell', take a layer off. If you can't, unzip vents. If you're still hot, consider wearing a warmer, much more breathable, but only water-resistant layer instead (hey, did you mention wool?)

Last edited by autonomy; 10-06-17 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 10-08-17, 08:43 PM   #25
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I use this Columbia rain coat and stay very dry.

https://www.rei.com/product/863637/c...in-jacket-mens

But I think the key is not to overheat. I commute in the rain and don't try to break any speed records. If I begin to sweat, I'll stop and take off my sweater then put my rain coat back on. My winter gear is something like this: wool briefs, long johns top and bottom, jeans/pants plus rain pants on bottom, wool sweater and rain coat on top.

I also have an old Performance brand rain coat that someone gave to me. It is PVC and has mesh down the sides so it breathes really well but still keeps the water out. I doubt they still make it. I think the one I have is from the early 90s. This is the closest thing I could find:

Performance Dewer Rain Jacket

Or if you don't care about being wet but still want to be warm, just wear a wool sweater or something. It'll keep you warm even when it's soaked.
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