Rain Gear

Climbing Croagh Patrick

Sept. 6, 2009: Climbing Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, Ireland

Conn has traveled with:
Sierra Designs Mantra Fusion Jacket*
REI Ultra Light Pants
(*My exact raincoat doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but the Mantra Fusion looks to be the closest replacement)





Anjel has traveled with:
Outdoor Research Aspire Jacket
REI Ultra Light Pants

We tried on quite a few jackets before we decided on these. A good rain jacket can be frighteningly expensive ($300 – $500) so a little research goes a long way to finding that sweet spot between price and performance. Rain pants are always less expensive, maybe because there just aren’t as many tricky seams and edges.

We used this setup on all of our treks (Ireland, Spain, Tasmania, Nepal) and though they weren’t designed for it, they also doubled as our motorcycle rain gear through Vietnam, Turkey, Iceland and the US. The only time we ever had any trouble with anything, on or off the bike, was on a ride where we got caught in an absolutely torrential downpour; then kind where seat between your legs fills up like a sink and you’re basically sitting in 6″ of water. The pants weren’t designed to be submergible, but besides that they worked like a charm.

When it’s time to replace the pants, I’ll probably go up a size. They’re usually going over at least one or two layers and though baggy rain pants can look a little goofier, it does make getting them on and off quickly over boots a lot easier. For the jacket, a put-it-on-quick trick we learned somewhere along the way was to leave the jacket unzipped when you’re packing it away. Lay it flat with the zippers together, but not zipped together. Fold the arms together onto the chest and, from the bottom, roll it up into its own hood. That way, when you do need the jacket you can just pull it out, roll it out, throw it on and zip it up.


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