Staying Dry While Cycle Touring

The rain isn't so bad when you are prepared for it, in fact it is much better than a howling headwind.  The trick is being prepared for it!

My quiver of protection included:

Skull cap
Neck buff
Long fingered gloves
Soft shell tights
Waterproof trousers
Leg warmers
Neoprene over shoes

The skull cap and neck buff aren't 100% waterproof but work well in drizzle and help keep the drips out when used with the other clothes.

The jacket is a middle of the range no padded walking jacket.  The nice features area peaked hood, high collar, velcro sleeves and arm pit vents.  It is not bulky but not as small as some cycle specific jackets which I have my concerns about just how ell they will keep you dry in prolonged heavy rain.  I think the other trade off is breathability vs water resistance.  It seems almost impossible to have the best of both worlds regardless of what you pay.  I tend to opt for reduced breathability and better water protection.

The gloves didn't work to well at keeping my hands dry at all but a quick stop at a hardware shop produced some latex gloves as used by your doctor/customs :-) wearing these under your gloves will make your hands sweaty but will keep them warm and the rain won't get in.

Soft shell tights cost me quite alot.  For an hour or so they work well and are so comfortable to ride in I have used them on cold dry days too.  Unfortunately after that period the water finds the seams and you start to get damp, then wet and finally soaked.  The worst part is they don't dry quickly either and you can't tumble dry them so all in all great for a blast out for an hour or so but not so good for touring.

My cheap waterproof hiking trousers are designed for cycling and are supposed to be but aren't breathable.  The do however keep you dry and warm, the trade off being thy also make you sweaty and they rustle and rub on the bike.

Leg warmers are one of my best bits of kit, if worn under the softshell tights they keep you dry that much longer, they make the trousers more comfortable to wear and do a OK job on their own in drizzle.

Neoprene over shoes have been my most disappointing purchase.  My fault i guess for not getting ones with a protected sole just neoprene so the ripped to bits the first time out.  Really not up to the job but whats worse they don't even keep your feet dry for long just like the tights.  I found a good trick was to put good old carrier bags underneath them which did the trick, just making a hole for the cleat.  Another good trick is putting tape inside your shoes where the cleats screw in as water will get in there, a nice strip of gaffer tape under the insole does the job well.

As for keeping your gear dry, waterproof panniers and lots of dry bags!!

So I have sacrificed breathable for dry and found some of the cheaper gear does a better job than the expensive.  Even a bit of DIY can help.

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