My rain gear

Some people asked about rain gear and I was inspired by Warren’s post on cool weather riding. Here’s a picture of my typical cool-weather rain gear. When I buy cycling rain gear, I look for these features: waterproof, taped seams, pit zips on jackets, tail on the jacket, and adjustable ankle and wrist cuffs.

Winter cycling gear

On my head I have a light cap — in this case, REI’s Novara cycling beanie. For heavy rain, a helmet visor helps keep the rain away from my eyes.

The jacket is a high visibility waterproof cycling jacket. “Pit zips” — zippered ventilation at the underarms — provide ventilation to let sweat escape. Taped seams ensure water doesn’t sneak in at the seams. A tail on the back helps keep my seat area dry. I sweat enough under this jacket that I need to change my shirt when I arrive at the office.

The pants, like the jacket, are windproof and waterproof with taped seams. These Novara Express cycling pants zip almost to the knee to allow for easy on-and-off over shoes and pants, and adjustable ankle cuffs let me batten things down near by feet. Down to about 45 degrees I generally just wear cycling shorts under these pants, though I’ve worn my office pants under them in heavy rain. They work well.

They’re not shown in this photo, but when rain is especially heavy I’ve worn waterproof gaiters over my calves and feet. Gaiters are used by mountaineers to keep snow out of their hiking boots.

Bridgedale wool hiking socks keep my feet warm even in the wet. Where I live now the rain is light enough that fenders do an adequate job of keeping my feet and shoes dry. When I lived in truly wet climates, I’ve worn plastic bags between the socks and shoes to keep my feet dry. I always bring a dry pair of socks with me when it’s raining.

The gloves in this photo are Seirus spring skiing gloves; these gloves are windproof and waterproof, but because the seams are not taped water still gets in. These days I wear a pair of Manzella Silkweight Windstopper gloves (Reviewed here on CBB). The Manzella gloves are water resistant, but that’s usually good enough for my commute.

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