Rain capes or ponchos are not common in North America, a place where cycling is predominantly seen as a recreational activity, and even people who bike to work regularly often choose to take transit or drive when it rains. We get it. Suiting up for a wet-weather ride with the usual waterproof outer gear (raincoat, pants, booties, water-resistant gloves, a second pair of gloves for later, etc.) is a pain. But a rain cape makes it easy! Let us explain why…
6. Dry Legs
A rain cape is like an umbrella for your legs! No need to choose between uncomfortable rain-drenched thighs or sweaty rain pants anymore.
5. Less to Pack
Before getting rain capes, we had the usual wet-weather cycling gear: raincoats, rain pants, rain boots, and water resistant gloves. This set-up was okay for biking around our hometown, but when we were planning a trip to a rainy country (The Netherlands) it occurred to us that we did not want to pack all that—it would take up half our bags! Whereas a little rain cape requires no more space than a T-shirt.
Bonus: the rain capes are handy at home too. It’s much easier to put a small rain cape in your bag or purse—just in case it rains—than pack an entire Gortex outfit.
4. Quick to put on!
If you cycle often, you’ve probably been out riding when suddenly the weather takes a turn and it starts to pour. How quickly can you suit up? Not very fast if you need to don a rain coat, pants and booties. But a rain cape can go on in seconds no matter what you’re wearing, be it a sundress or a fall coat, you’re covered!
3. Dry Hands
This is something I (Heather) love even more than dry legs! Thing is, there’s no such thing as waterproof AND breathable gloves. At least I haven’t found any. (If you have, feel free to tell me in the comments.) So when it rained, I always had to pack a second pair of gloves for the ride home. And if it was a long ride, my hands would be wet and cold by the time I got to my destination. But now I have a rain cape that covers my hands! No more wet gloves! It’s a miracle!
2. No Sweat
Toronto has been getting a lot of hot summer downpours. When it’s 30 degrees Celsius, no one wants to wear a raincoat and rain pants—you’ll sweat so much! But the other option is to not wear the gear and get drenched by the rain. Either way, you get soaked. But with a rain cape, the air can flow freely underneath and keep you cool while also keeping you dry.
1. Saving Money
If any of you have looked up rain capes, you probably think they’re pretty expensive! At least the quality ones are, like our Cleverhoods. So how can saving money be a reason to get a rain cape? Because ONE cape replaces all the usual wet-weather cycling gear: coat, pants, boots, and gloves. Now we don’t need any of that! Well, we still need boots and gloves, but they don’t need to be waterproof because the cape covers them. The only reason you’ll still need water-resistant footwear is if you bike through puddles (the cape only protects from water above, not below). So though a rain cape may seem like an expensive investment, it’s actually cheaper than buying all of that other gear.
Get a rain cape! Though, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, since rain capes or ponchos are not as common in North America as they are in Europe or Asia, shopping for them isn’t easy. So next post we’ll tell you where we got ours, and compare the two kinds we bought: Cleverhood and The People’s Poncho.