Monday, December 7, 2015

Rain Gear Recommendations‏

Recently, you endured a rainy climate. What worked and what didn't? From umbrellas to boots, town and country, drizzle to downpour. Personally, I find that umbrellas are under-appreciated, and most rain pants are not worth the trouble.
Hello Jo,
Indeed, after four years of Irish weather rainy climate has a whole new meaning for me. It practically rains every given day, and when it doesn’t its cloudy with +90% humidity.
Ironically enough, people over there don’t seem to be worried about dressing appropriately for the weather. Most teens and young adults can be seen walking around with cotton hoodies. If it started drizzling a bit heavier they would pull the cotton hoodie over their heads, as if that was some kind of solution. Adults and school age children could be seen walking around just getting wet. There’s almost a pathological denial regarding umbrellas, you just don’t see people carrying them as you’d expect. Not me, I learned to love umbrellas in Ireland and carried a cheap but sturdy IKEA umbrella everywhere I went. If you want something classy, get a Fulton Huntsman. My wife loves her Fulton Bubble clear birdcage umbrella.
As for what I learned:
1)A quality rainproof jacket, with a good hood makes all the difference in the world. Most of the time I would just carry a Hi-tec jacket. Their waterproof breathable fabric is called Dri-tec. It’s not as fancy as Goretex but it works well enough. Usually a waterproof shell and t-shirt or long sleeve shirt would be all I’d wear on top. Only in the colder winter days, and some years we did have lots of snow and pretty cold temps, did I wear my 3 in 1 North Face jacket.

2)At first I just got along with 100% cotton t shirts, same I would use in South America. Of course this isn’t that good an idea in such wet and cold climates. It stays damp longer given the constant rain and high humidity, which causes you to lose heat. Here is where Merino really makes a difference. I got along ok with cotton because I’m not particularly sensitive to cold temperatures and Ireland isn’t excessively cold most of the time, but I can tell a Merino t-shirt is pretty much ideal for wet, cold climates such as the one in Ireland. Try Icebreaker or if you’re particularly sensitive to itch, give Smart Wool a go.

3)For footwear I mostly used light hiking waterproof footwear. Again Hi-tec proved to be affordable yet good enough for my needs, but other brands such as Columbia and Merrell have served me well as well. When hiking in tougher terrain I use Caterpillar Hydraulic boots. Waterproof, sturdy as hell and good traction for walking in rocky terrain.

4)Socks and underwear has been the thing I’ve learned to appreciate the most. Using synthetic fitted socks (technical liners from Dunnes) and underwear (Under Armor) makes a big difference.
About technical fitted socks and liners: These would be the socks you buy both for your foot size and which come fitted for left or right feet. It may not seem like a big deal but I’m a believer. I’m fed up of these tubes on my feet that never fit quite right. If you think about it your left foot is the exact reflection of your right one, very different! In the same way a right-hand glove fits poorly your left hand, a sock shouldn’t be expected to be interchangeable. People have emailed me about having a hard time finding these. These New Balance Technical Elite are pretty similar to the ones I wear. Give them a try, I’m sure you’ll love them. For longer socks try Nike Men's Dri-Fit Cushioned Socks 3 Pair

5) I tend to agree that in general, pants aren’t that important unless its pouring rain and you’re doing some kind of outdoors activity. For running errands and such, jeans work ok. 100% Cotton jeans do get pretty wet in the Irish weather though, the 50/50 (50% cotton, 50% synthetic) blends dry a bit faster and don’t hold as much water. 50/50 is what the military uses for their BDU so it’s a good compromise. My favourite pants, synthetic 5.11 Taclites, are clearly more suited for rainy weather because they are less likely to absorb water and even if they do they dry faster. I did grow a bit tired of 5.11s and lately I was using mostly 50/50 jeans.

6)Protect your eyes. Sunglass also come in handy when there’s strong winds and rain. Ireland is very windy, so shades that aren’t too dark are very useful to keep rain way from your eyes. I recommend the ones I use, Wiley X Revolvers.
Wiley X Revolvr Sunglasses, Smoke Grey, Matte Black
I’ve used my pair for years, all the way from shooting ranges to the streets of Buenos Aires, Ireland and now the sunny Mediterranean beaches in Spain. Everywhere I go the Wiley X Revolvers come with me.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Anonymous said...

For an umbrella, these are it, pricey but guaranteed and they have seconds on sale frequently. Will stop any downpour, intimidate most riffraff before you escalate to your Glock.

Unknown said...

I have a question:
Imagine the following situation. In a crisis my family has problems to buy oil or gas to heat with a central heating. Do you know good special cover to cover oneself without getting cold in winter.
Oil could be very expensive in the long term especially in a strong inflation. Therefore, I would like to make provisions for my family.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

I share your feelings for rain - I basically ignore it. I get more uptight about precipitation on my eyeglass lenses than my clothing (unless it is really pouring). I have a very lightweight oversized 5.11 windbreaker that is ideal - it will fit over every shirt I wear, the sleeves long enough to pull over my hands when it is cool rain if I wish. I only wish it had a hood - then it would be my perfect rain jacket.

In the rurals, I prefer the hooded rain cape over the jacket or poncho. The cape breathes better, trapping less moisture inside the garment and I can climb ladders or steep inclines easier because I don't step on the front edge like I do when wearing a poncho.

Thanks Ferfal - rain wear really doesn't get enough coverage.