Riding Ecuador last year, I hit some nasty weather that continued for days on end. When it rains for an afternoon or a day, it’s no big deal, even if you don’t have good rain gear. But when it pours for a week without blue skies in sight, it’s suddenly a lot less fun, especially if you’re at high altitude and colder climates.
Back in Ecuador, what helped the most was the outer GoreTex layer I had on my Klim riding suit; trouble was, my Leatt boots and light motocross gloves weren’t meant for bad weather. And when it rains constantly and your gear doesn’t dry overnight, well, no amount of technical terrain and incredible views can make up for the fact you’re wet and freezing in the chilly mountain air at 12,000 feet altitude. For several days, it was plastic bags over socks and dishwashing mitts over the thin MX gloves, but is there a better way to be prepared for bad weather without sacrificing too much space in your panniers?
Although the GoreTex in my jacket and pants helped a lot, it wasn’t 100% waterproof over the course of several days – you stand up on the pegs, you move on the bike, and inevitably, water gets in. By day 4, I was ogling my friend’s simple and cheap rain overalls with jealousy – she had to do a funny hop dance every time she had to put the rain onesie on, but she remained dry and toasty while I felt the water creeping in.
Boot choices are as individual as anything else, but if you’re riding with highly protective yet helpless against rain MX-style boots, GoreTex socks can be a lifesaver. Having forgotten to pack mine, I ended up with the plastic bag version.
What rain gear do you always carry with you, or do you ride in GoreTex-reinforced gear and boots?