There's no reason to hate rain. It comes falling down whether you like it or not. What you can do is put on the right rain gear to keep your morale high whether you're in the city, trekking in the outback or sitting in a rowboat fishing. Here's a brief insight into various pieces of rain kit and how to best utilize them. ...
There's no reason to hate rain. It comes falling down whether you like it or not. What you can do is put on the right rain gear to keep your morale high whether you're in the city, trekking in the outback or sitting in a rowboat fishing. Here's a brief insight into various pieces of rain kit and how to best utilize them.
Rain jackets or raincoats are an easy approach. You don it like any jacket, but it's waterproof. Simple! You can do anything wearing a raincoat that you normally could, but physical activities, of course, increase sweating. Compared to an umbrella a jacket is far better because it leaves your hands free and doesn't catch wind - rather it protects you from chilling gusts.
Waterproof and so-called breathable membrane jackets do indeed breathe better than rubber or vinyl, but you'll sweat in them anyways. Zippers in the armpits make wonders, other common vent spots are the upper back and front area. Non-breathable materials have superior waterproofing even under pressure (from shoulder straps) and they are more resilient to wear without requiring maintenance.
In its smallest forms rain jackets are very packable, so your ability to meet various conditions will be good with a jacket. The downside is a poor protection for the legs. Raincoats are considered a regular piece anyone should own, but quite often a waxed poly-cotton jacket or water-resistant softshell jacket would do just fine.
Paired with a rain jacket or rain poncho these are an obvious choice. Fewer people get these, though, because donned over regular trousers these will increase sweating by a large margin, and they are a bit of a chore to put on - even if you have side-zips to make things easier with boots on.
Trousers are more susceptible to wear, so the choice between technical membrane stuff and non-breathing ones should be carefully weighed. Increased sweating can be mitigated with the right choice of lower layers (or lack thereof). Breathable membrane fabrics can be redeemed, if the knees and butt are reinforced.
Rain trousers are revered by those who use them and for a good reason. When you need them, the fuss of getting them on is a minor inconvenience and well worth the effort.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile piece of rain gear than a rain poncho. Hikers can easily wear it over a rucksack, or the front can be thrown over your arms and handlebar to protect even the legs when cycling. The open bottom makes rain ponchos very well ventilated and these are not sweat-sacks, especially during autumn and spring months.
Rain ponchos catch wind quite easily, so fastening the sides correctly is a valuable skill to learn. There are articulated and formed ponchos, but they lack a very important magic feature of army style variants: you can use a rain poncho as a tarp to provide shelter from the wind and rain.
Arms poking from the sides are exposed, so it's not indifferent what you have underneath, but all in all rain ponchos are an easy and functional choice for most wet situations.