Monday Media – Rain Gear
|January 23, 2017||Posted by Melinda under Equine Endurance, Ultra Running|
Here’s this week’s question:
I knew immediately that Aarene was the better person to answer this question since she lives up in the Swamp, and published a post in 2015 that has some great information.
I only ride in the rain when forced to by bad planning or absolute necessity. I find that it is necessary less and less….. :). Maybe a bit of “been there done that and I live in California and don’t *have* to ride in the rain?” I also haven’t had any big goals lately that have convinced me that riding *this* week in the rain is better than waiting and riding *next* week in the sunshine.
But sometimes, I do ride (or run) in the rain. Especially this year as I look forward to 100 milers (both riding and running) and some epically big storms have hit my area. So for the very little it is worth, here’s my strategies for running and riding in the rain.
- Wool long sleeve base layer on top. Smartwool is what I’ve used since it has proven to hold up to the abuse I throw at it year after year.
- GLOVES. I forget this every time. Don’t be like me, wear gloves. The cheap dollar knit gloves are what I like the best – several pairs to change out as they get wet.
- A middle vest layer – down vest if it’s really cold, or a lighter weight vest if it’s not.
- A waterproof jacket shell. I bought a Gore Tech (Tex?) jacket on sale many years ago and it has stood up amazingly well in almost a decade of use (although less use than many of you would have put on it in other parts of the country). The best part? It has a lifetime guarantee.
- Something to keep my neck warm and the rain from going down the back of my neck.
- Riding tights. If it’s REALLY cold I’ll layer a silk long underware layer under them, but that isn’t usually necessary.
- Rain pants over the tights. I have an REI pair I bought in the thrift store that are still going strong. They are thin – just a shell – which in my experience work better than the thicker insulated ones. They are “generously” cut which isn’t great for my figure…..BUT I can pull them on without taking off my shoes and they will fit over whatever layers I plan on wearing underneath them.
- Wool socks.
- Shoes….if it’s really important that my feet stay dry and wet, then winter insulated boots are best. I’ve used muck boots which work OK. I had a pair of awesome (expensive) tall insulated waterproof riding boots that I found used for a REALLY GOOD price that finally bit the dust awhile ago and I haven’t replaced because even they didn’t do a perfect job of keeping my feet warm and un-numb for many hours on the trail (but better than the other options).
- Something to cover my head – a beanie, hat, buff…I don’t have a preference! All have worked well for me.
- Something to cover my face and neck. Makes a HUGE difference. A buff works really well for me.
- A long sleeve light weight wool running shirt.
- A trashbag, or if ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY (runs over 2 hours in freezing rain and wind), a waterproof and breathable shell jacket.
- Gloves. Don’t be like Mel. Actually wear gloves. Again my favorites are the cheap knit ones. My cuffs of the jacket or shirt are long enough, they don’t really get wet.
- Tights. There are many debates whether shorts with bare skin getting wet, or tights that hold cold water against the skin, is the better choice. I’ve tried it both ways, and I find that the fat layer on my legs stays warmer with the tights layer than the shorts. Either way a good choice is SKIN TIGHT. Nothing worse than flopping wet cold fabric slapping against the skin.
- Your favorite running socks. I like Balegra enduros and they aren’t wool…but I also don’t tend to get blisters.
- Regular running shoes – consider the footing and choose the appropriate shoe in your closet. FWIW my feet are WAY less cold in traditional type shoes in wet weather than minimalist shoes.
I try to avoid rain as much as possible unless it is a warm summer rain. After being stuck in a cold fall rain at a hunter pace, I asked the hubs for a riding rain coat that christmas. I adore it. It is long enough that it covers my legs and the seat of the saddle. My biggest issue though is the saddle seat. A soggy wool seat cover is the worst. What do you do with your saddle when you dismount?
No sheepskin in the rain :).
Sheepskin on my saddle is a fairly recent thing for me – I’ve used it on the stirrup leathers for awhile but not on the seat. So, if it rains I’d probably just pull the sheepskin seat off again so I don’t have to deal with the soggy thing.
Hahaha, I applaud your honesty in the intro! I totally agree with the thought that the best rain gear is a roof! My first two seasons in a warm, sunny country completely reinforced the notion that rain = maybe not ride? Such a wimp with rain, but that happens when I’m spoiled with sunny days.
Head, neck, hands, feet, wool and a light, thin waterproof layer – excellent! 🙂
I agree with warm feet being impossible. Have you tried the little feet warmer heat pack things??
I put them on the backs of my hands in the knit gloves with pretty good success. Only once did I put them in my boots and that was a mistake! LOL it made for a great time because they got really hot and I was throwing myself off my horse trying to get them out of my shoes. He hee hee good memories
Hahaha, classic!! Good to know, better to learn from your experience! 😉
This was for white water kayaking – but for really cold conditions (yep, we may have kayaked in glacier feed rivers in the rain and with cold winds) we would put a swim cap on underneath our helmets. It keeps your head really, really warm.