Some links to previous years posts are provided below regarding this topic of wet weather riding gear. As most of my equipment has lasted for several years whenever I find some new product or information to share I am always pleased to know that the gear will last for years to come. A good example is the Stormy Kromer Waxed Cotton Cap which is a fun yet practical design for riding in the rain or while bike camping in wet weather.
After last year's cold, wet winter commutes wearing water proof pants specifically designed for riding a bike from Tenn Cycling Gear not only kept me dry but provided practical function for use as wet weather work pants. Over the years most if not all waterproof products slowly begin to lose their water repellent features so knowing how to care for the materials to get the best and longest lasting performance from your investment is important. A simple, cost effective product from Atsko is their Sport Wash. I have been using the product to not only wash or restore older well used water proof fabrics but is also excellent for washing and restoring the insulation qualities of down sleeping bags. However, even while properly cared for after ten years or so I have noticed some of my water proof bike commuting and touring outer wear simply needed to be replaced as was the case with a pair of old Columbia Omni Tech pants which I enjoyed wearing while commuting during the very wet months in Portland, Oregon.
Another feature I have found to be particularly useful when commuting on a mountain bike is the ability to drop the rear of the jacket down to cover my butt. For folks who enjoy wet weather trail rides or those who commute without a rear fender or rack this is a particularly useful option unique to the Bell Storm Front Jacket. Made from Bellwether's patented Aqua No material provides an excellent water proof barrier that provides adequate ventilation with full front zipper as well as the zippered side vents previously mentioned. Interior of collar has a soft fleece lining to prevent chafing and an adjustable draw string chord can be cinched around the waist. This is an excellent quality rain jacket well thought out for bike commuting at an exceptional price. Click on photos or links provided for information or to purchase.
These panniers have been offered at very reasonable prices though expect to pay a bit more for the high viz yellow. Either way these excellent quality panniers can usually be had for less than a hundred bucks and are easy to get on and off the bike. Features include:
My favorite so far are the Tenn Tempest Waterproof Hi-Viz Bag Cover shown in photo at left and are described thoroughly in a previous post. Made of a thicker, more durable polyester material rather than nylon, coated nylon or nylon tafeta may be why these rain covers work so well.
Excellent for bike commuting as they provide high visibility for traffic areas as well as very bright reflective trim for night or low light riding.
Another useful method for keeping your bike commuting items safe and dry are by using waterproof stuff sacks in a variety of sizes which also helps to organize your gear for packing panniers. These are excellent for use when bike touring or commuting and provide another affordable alternative to waterproof panniers or pannier rain covers. A set of three stuff sacks of four, six and eight liter capacities are available from Outdoor Products. I was able to fit our REI Quarter Dome 2 Tent into the eight liter sack with no problem. These are excellent quality for the price and can be used for all sorts of types of travel. .
Have a safe and enjoyable rainy day commute by adding any or all of the items listed here to your bike commuting kit. Use any of the links provided in bold or click on photos for information or to purchase.
Links related to this topic:
Winter Bike Commuting Gear
Who Makes a Good Pannier Rain Cover?
Camelbak Multipurpose Rain Cover
Waterproof Bike Commuter Pants
Bike Commuting in Wet Weather from Portland, Oregon
Dry Stuff Sacks for Panniers