When ominous thunderclouds form and water begins falling from the sky, the first response is to reach for an umbrella . But, bushwhacking, paddling, and other cross country wilderness travel while carrying an umbrella doesn’t work. And it’s uncool. And ill-befitting of those ‘tough-it-out’ characters who revel in exposing themselves to the harsh eventualities of the water cycle. So what’s an outdoorsy type who doesn’t like to get wet and risk hypothermia to do? Outfit himself in a sporty new rain coat and pants, of course.
Rainwear features to consider:
Waterproof vs. water resistant. I think there are many lengthy discussions on this subject, so I’ll keep it short. If you absolutely can not risk getting wet, pay the extra cash for waterproof rainwear (either GORE-TEX or eVent). If you are only out and about in relatively stable conditions with refuge close by, the water resistant options will keep you dry enough.
A hood that cinches down securely around the head and face. Storms tend to be windy.
Pit zips (PZ’s). To let in some fresh air during those hot summer rains.
Color. The yellow rain slicker of yore may be out of style, but colorful coats are definitely the way to go. Not only are they more cheerful and bright for gloomy conditions, wearing reds, oranges, or unnatural neons will help others spot you. Being lost in the rain is not one of life’s sought-after experiences.
Internal pockets. Guaranteed to keep granola bars and trail treats from becoming soggy.
Size. At least a little room for an extra layer of warmth. Rain shells are not good insulators and it will get chilly if clouds block out the sun for long stretches.
The rainy season approaches, but staying indoors is not the only way to stay dry. Outdoor lovers will zip into rain coats, pull up their hoods, and be able to appreciate springtime’s watery spectacles.