Wednesday, 9 March 2011

His Rain Gear

Now that it's stopped snowing, it's been raining - and happily, the Co-Habitant has some new rain gear that keeps him from getting soaking wet on the way to work. As far as finding what worked for him, his case was a tricky one. In his hatred of shopping and owning too much clutter, he wanted something suitable for both roadcycling and commuting to work. So a nice waxed cotton trench coat was out, as those are uncomfortable on a roadbike. A waterproof cycling jacket was out, as those are too tight to be worn over office clothing. And most waterproof windbreakers are too short in the back to be worn on a bike, plus they are seldom available in the classic colours he likes. Also, two years ago he bought a couple of rain capes and hated them: They billowed in the wind, didn't cover his knees as much as he wanted, and started to fall apart after just a couple of storms. I was at a loss as to what else to suggest.

But what I feared would be an endless search for The Garment That Does Not Exist, ended after a visit to our local Eastern Mountain Sports: The EMS Thunderhead rain jacket and rain pants turned out to be just what he'd been looking for. The colour he chose is a very classic shade of loden/olive green, which was exactly what he wanted. Although the jacket is not cycling-specific, it works great on a bike.

It is cut more slender than a typical windbreaker, which reduces billowing. And it is considerably longer in the back than in the front, just like a cycling jacket.

The wrists are mildly elasticised and can be tapered further via velcro closure - or loosened up for a less sporty look.

Air vents under the arms.

Elastic for adjusting collar and hood.

The zipper is bi-directional (Is that the right term? It opens at the collar and at the hem). The hood rolls up an stows away under the collar.

The hood is a pretty nice one - classic and even a bit old-fashioned, with an elegant front extension instead of a visor.

The jacket is not restrictive while cycling. While the EMS product description states that the material is breathable, the Co-Habitant says not so much. Still, at least it is a thin shell, and ventilation can be improved by opening the vents.

The rain pants are from the same Thunderhead line as the jacket. He liked them because they look presentable for cycling to work and not too sporty.

Made of the same material as the jacket, these are meant to be pulled on over regular pants when it starts raining. They are roomy, so this is easy to do.

Alternatively, they can be put on or removed via the side zippers.

Side zipper again.

Both the rainpants and jacket fold up to take up very little space, and can be stowed away easily in a handlebar or saddle bag.

I don't know much about the EMS Thunderhead line, other than what's here. The product page includes customer reviews, some of which state that the jacket loses waterproofing over time - which has been my experience with pretty much any waterproof jacket. Still, for those looking for rain gear that is versatile enough both for cycling to work and on a roadbike, I think this set-up works pretty well. It stows away easily, works in all seasons, and is neither too roadie nor too dandified - just some easy to wear, easy on the eyes, all around rain gear in a classic colour scheme and at a reasonable price.


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