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Thursday, July 14, 2016

In praise of rain gear.

It occurred to me the other night that I've written a bit about riding in the rain.  I've praised the gear that I have but I've never really done a full review of it.   It's about time I did.  When you ride your going to be hot, cold, wet, dry, sunburned.   Your going to be miserable at times....that's what riding does to you.  But your miserable for a moment and smiling the greater part of the day.  That's biking.

That being said I have to give credit where it is due.  Susan picked up my rain gear from someone for a few bucks.  It's actually large on me, being XXL.  I often feel like that guy in the picture when I first put this gear on.

Rain gear should be larger of course, your pulling it over your jacket.  Your pulling it over your boots and pants, often on the side of the road just before or shortly after the rain starts to fall.

Rain gear is not really designed for fashion.  It's designed to keep you dry.  I've used two different rain suits in my time on a bike.  The first I got from Target and it was really a cheap plastic suit designed more to just keep you dry if you had to work or walk around outside.  It was good for a stadium during a rainy baseball game.

I don't miss it.  That being said, the second and most current rain suit I have is designed by Frogg Toggs.  I've not sure what the model number or anything like that.  I will say this.  I LOVE MY FROGG TOGGS!!!

The last few days have been kind of nasty in Florida.  Raining just late enough to catch me out in it on my way home from work.  I carry my rain gear everywhere, it's an "unofficial" requirement in Florida.  It's yet to fail me when I've needed it most.

I've also learned a few things:  1)  It's best to pull up the pants as high as you can on your waist.  Sure it makes you look and feel stupid, but the water is going to run down off your helmet and jacket and pool somewhere.  Your crotch makes a perfect spot for that water to accumulate.   You want to avoid that.  2)  Your helmet is going to fog up unless you spent the money on a helmet with a pin lock.  There are a few anti fog agents on the market but I've found a little bit of denatured ethanol works best.  I use Fogtech DX from

Here is what I love about my rain gear.   I'm comfy, dry and warm in it.


Frogg Toggs are 100% polypropylene.  Which basically means it's made to repel water.  Being relatively thick means that it is better designed than a cheap plastic rain suit, even if it's made from the same material.  Your going to stay dryer, and warmer, because of the layering of levels (at least 3) in a Frogg Togg.  In fact, I've slipped into rain gear on cooler nights just to keep myself that much warmer.

They also design suits made specifically for the motorcycle rider.   That means reflective material is woven into the suit itself.  Remember that we're invisible in broad daylight.  Rain is going to just make it that much harder to see you.  I still wear my yellow reflective vest over the rain jacket to be on the safe side.

Pants showing the boot zipper

The zipper is solid, and to help protect you from water getting in behind the zipper, there is a button flap that folds over the zipper.   I don't use it often, but the jacket also has a thin hood that slips up and over your head to prevent water from running down your neck and back.  I've found this collar is snug enough against the back of my helmet to prevent that anyway.  Both the pants and jacket can be folded tightly into a carry sack as well.  It can be compressed even smaller depending on how you pack the sack.
My hand in an effort to show size.

If I have an issue, it's there are no drawstrings in the pants or jackets to adjust the fit.  Although other models of the suit have that feature.  Nor is there a way to access my pockets in the rain suit.  I only bring that up because of a bit of an adventure the other night where I came across a three alarm fire, sadly I had no way to dig out my camera phone quickly, and I wasn't going to go fishing for it on the side of the road.

The other thing I bought specifically for rain and colder days was a pair of BILT waterproof gloves.  These are chemically treated to repel water and are a blend of nylon and polyester.   Again I don't remember exactly what model I ended up buying from Cyclegear.

Again I went with bright yellow to provide some visibility in low visibility circumstances, for me it's more about safety and function than looking like a fashion plate model.  I also highly recommend gauntlet style gloves for one big reason.  They slip over the jacket sleeve prevent wind and water from getting in.

These are very thick and solid gloves with 100% polyester lining.  Traveling along in the rain I'm not feeling my hands getting wet, and more importantly, cold. 

I can still feel the bike's controls with these gloves on and they have a reinforced palm to help save on wear and tear.  BILT sometimes gets knocked for shoddy workmanship.  Now I admit that these are not my everyday gloves and I only use them while riding in the rain but they have stood the test of time for me over the last year or so.  The stitching seems solid and tight.  If I have one very minor issue it that I wish they provided a bit more Velcro to the strap.

I like a tight fit against my arm and I've noticed that sometimes the Velcro comes loose when I'm riding.   This can allow water running down my arm into the glove.   It's a minor thing really.

So if your a new rider, or even an old pro, I'm going to highly recommend picking up a pair of Frogg Toggs.  It's going to add a whole other level to your riding experience.


David Masse said...

Very good review Rob. I have a Teknic rain jacket and pants. I seldom wear the pants, they're just too difficult to get into. Besides my Revisit pants are waterproof.

I'll have to look for some FrogTogs. I've heard nothing but good things about them.

Conchscooter said...

I never leave home without the Frogg Toggs strapped to the seat. Unpredictable rain. I might have to check the gloves out. I ought to.