What is Rain Gear?
Rain gear is clothing or apparel that is made to oppose rain and other “wet” conditions.
Why is Rain Gear important?
Rain Gear makes for optimal cycling in any condition. As long as you, the rider, are prepared to ride in any condition, then there is nothing stopping you. In rain, sleet, or snow you can still expect a fun ride! Rain Gear is specifically made to be water resistant or water proof. It also helps to avoid sickness or diseases like trench foot. Imagine being soaked through every layer of clothing and catching pneumonia or something dreadful like trench foot. Rain gear helps to overcome the elements and makes it easy to avoid getting wet or sick. The variety that is added to your cycling because of rain gear can be very beneficial to you. Another great thing about rain gear is that the rain apparel does not make pedaling hard or awkward. So, in other words, rain gear allows you to move freely just as if you were not wearing the extra rain gear.
How to choose the right rain gear for you?
Waterproof or Water Resistant? That is the popular question that a rain gear buyer has to ask themselves. Water-resistant is good for light drizzles of rain. To be resistant just basically means the rain or moisture runs off of the material. In heavy rains, however, water-resistant will not work. Waterproof is the best route to choose if you plan on riding in heavy rains or snows.
The next topic to consider is breathability. Waterproof materials can keep the rain from soaking your apparel but does it allow the heat to escape? Some materials do and some do not. Cyclists get really sweaty from wearing layers of clothing. It is very important to have a waterproof material that allows the rider’s heat and sweat to escape. The same idea is applied when thinking of venting. Venting allows air to flow into the rider’s apparel. So, again…the material you purchase as a cyclist is very, very important! You want a materials that has good venting, breathability, and is waterproof.
Fortunately, there is a fabric that does all of these things. It is called..(drum roll)…Gore-Tex! Gore Tex allows for the rider to be completely waterproof and provides proper venting/breathability. Gore Tex fabric repels water, wind, and cold. At the same time, it allows the cyclist’s sweat to escape from the material and provide the rider with some air.
There are three categories of rain gear:
Poly-vinyls or PVC- These fabrics are completely waterproof but do not have the proper ventilation or breathability. Normally seen in plastic rain jackets.
Coated Fabric (Nylons or Polyesters)- Fabric is coated rather than laminated with a waterproof coating. This allows the fabric to be less stiff/softer. The downside to this coating process is that they are water-resistant at best.
Laminated Fabrics (Nylons or Polyesters)- Laminated basically means that many layers are heated or glued together to form one layer. Laminated fabrics are waterproof but are not as free moving or soft. They also provide a little weight.
The best option for a cyclist is to go with Gore Tex material. It is the best rain gear out there. It also is more durable than many other rain gear options.