Help me, I'm melllltiiiing!
November 15, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

I don't like being wet! Please give me your rain hacks!

I don't being soggy. Balancing my tote bag, umbrella, and coffee this morning from home to car to office did not go as well as I wanted. My old umbrella was small. Now I have a huge one but then it drips all over the inside of my car. I put on my girly-office shoes at my desk and plod around in flip flops but my feet get cold. I want outer layers that keep me dry but aren't too heavy. I feel like a clumsy, damp fool. I need tips, product recommendations, whatever.

tl;dr - Give me your rainy day hacks! Please help me stay dry, hive mind!
posted by pointystick to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Get a good raincoat?
posted by bardophile at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2010

Rain coat? Boots? Have you tried these?

Also, I have found that keeping an old towel or two in the car is great for umbrella/wet person mess.
posted by phunniemee at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

An umbrella, a raincoat, a totebag you can sling over a shoulder that's waterproof.
posted by Rendus at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Go to an outdoor store, EMS, REI, L.L. Bean, whatever, and buy a rain shell designed for hiking or biking.

Make sure it has a versatile hood that covers your head. The sides of the hood should extend past your nose and it should have 2 or 3 drawstrings so that you can adjust the hood to your head. This will keep it from blowing off in the wind and also help it turn with your head. The waste should have a drawstring, preferably two (one mid-way up, the other at the end of the jacket) so you can snug it around you. There should be several convenient pockets, all of them with tight zippers to keep them closed. There will be armpit zips to vent your pits when you're active. Sleeves should extend past your wrists and have velcro (or similar) straps to tighten them down.

Material should be waterproof and breathable. Gore-tex is the name brand but most stores have their own version. If you're not breathable then you'll get wet from sweat.

Beyond the jacket you can buy pants if you want. Either with full side zips (so you can don/doff them without removing your boots) or without. Without will be cheaper and most of the ones without full zips have foot-long zips that'll let you remove them with all but the largest boots. The trouble with this is you get the insides wet and muddy if you remove them with your shoes on.

All of these items will come in various weights. Heavyweight is good for snow, light weight is good for the occasional shower, mid-weight is probably what you want for all-around dryness.

For your feet, get a pair of lightweight ankle-high hiking boots with Gore-tex (or similar) waterproofing.

I wear my hiking shell whenever it's raining and I'm the driest, happiest guy on the train. I never have to worry about the wind destroying my umbrella.
posted by bondcliff at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Uh, rain boots, for one! I live in a city and have a dog, so waterproof rain boots are a MUST. I have these (in khaki), and believe me, they are worth the investment. They are in excellent shape after a year, and the rubber is crazy durable and flexible. I expect them to last many more years. They are actually very classy and have a great shape to them, and they are very comfortable with any type of sock. I get compliments on them all the time.

Also, I've given up looking amazingly fashionable in the rain, especially since most of the time I'm either riding a bike or walking a dog. I have a great rain jacket from L.L. Bean (sorry, can't remember which model) that is perfect for putting over lighter jackets or sweaters. I also have a very, very hard core North Face jacket (can't remember this either) that has two layers and is extremely warm. The top shell is waterproof with a detachable hood and can be worn alone (it's a bit heavier than my L.L. Bean jacket), and the bottom layer is very warm and is more like a fleece (can also be worn alone). Together, it's like an impenetrable force against crazy wet/cold weather. So, I recommend some solid jackets!
posted by two lights above the sea at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I put on my girly-office shoes at my desk and plod around in flip flops but my feet get cold.

I am very confused by this sentence. Are you wearing flip flops in the rain? Wear shoes that cover your feet entirely in the rain.

Maybe get an umbrella that is neither small nor huge? You can also just wear a raincoat with a hood or rain hat and carry a waterproof tote, to avoid an umbrella entirely.
posted by amro at 12:10 PM on November 15, 2010

I, too, love my Hunter rain boots. It's nice to have a tall rain boot to tuck one's pants into, so that you don't walk around all day with a wet cuff.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:12 PM on November 15, 2010

A couple of years I ago I spent something like eight hours tramping around outside in wind-driven rain and ocean spray. I had a good rain shell from REI, and rain pants (Marmot brand). Except for my hands, I was completely and totally dry.
posted by rtha at 12:15 PM on November 15, 2010

Response by poster: I suppose I should have been more specific - of course, rain coat or boots/shoes are a good idea but I could use recommendations on brands and types - materials, styles, etc. I am sorry I phrased the question badly.
posted by pointystick at 12:16 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: I should add, I've been happy with Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, and the higher-end store brands from EMS, REI, and L.L. Bean. North Face makes some good stuff but they seem to be more focused on fashion these days so (IMO) their stuff is overpriced.
posted by bondcliff at 12:17 PM on November 15, 2010

a drop of water has never gotten through my naval issue overcoat. it has a fleece lining that i can take out on not cold days.
posted by nadawi at 12:17 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: This is the Insanely Overly-Complex Version, from a recent transplant to the Pacific NW. Things you need:

1. A small bag to put your office shoes in. (I use plastic grocery bags.)

2. A bigger tote bag, preferably waterproof. Into this you put your bag o' shoes, your purse, and anything else you're carrying except coffee and umbrella.

3. A big plastic bag, like the kind a department store will put clothes into, or a plastic trash bag or the like. Fold this up and put it in your pocket.

4. A big umbrella.

5. Rubber footware. I use these, but there are plenty of cute rubber boots out there as well.

The technique: Put on coat and rubber footware. Put big plastic bag in coat pocket. Put shoes in little bag, and put that in the tote bag, along with purse, lunch, anything else you're carrying. Hook tote bag over your shoulder. Grab coffee with one hand, umbrella with the other.

When you get to the car, go to passenger side, put the tote bag inside, and put your coffee in the cupholder. Keep umbrella elevated overhead. Close door, go around to the driver's side. Open door, slide inside keeping umbrella overhead, extract big plastic bag from coat pocket. Shake it open, and with car door still open, carefully fold up umbrella and insert into plastic bag. Transfer bagged umbrella to passenger-side floor.

When you reach your destination, reverse process; once inside, just put on your work shoes and stick the rubber footware in a corner. Voila!
posted by Kat Allison at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: And amro I wear flops because until recently, it's been hot and in 90 degree storms, works great. Now that winter is coming, not so great. I am loathe spend money on rain shoes or boots unless I know they're good - At least my feet dry quickly :) Thanks for the answers so far. !
posted by pointystick at 12:20 PM on November 15, 2010

I have a cheap pair of rainboots bought from walmart that work swimmingly. However, I usually feel much warmer and drier when I wear them with a skirt and tights than pants. Nothing is worse than the feeling of wet pants clinging to one's legs.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:24 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Not totally sure if you're wanting non-clothes recommendations too, but:

I used to do a lot of work in really rainy weather. I learned the value of ditching my binder in favor of one of these, and I kept an envelope-size one in my car to use in case I need to keep something dry.

The envelope-size one turns out to hold keys, phone, even a small snack just fine, and it fits in a shoulder bag perfectly. Whenever it rains or snows, it's one of the first things I reach for. Your bag might get soaking wet, but the items inside the case won't.
posted by circular at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Lands End Duck Boots are pretty go-to cold-weather rain/slush boots. They're ugly, but they do the job.

I hate, hate, hate wearing wet clothes, so when I was in the rain a lot, I used to wear workout pants and change into real pants when I got where I was going if it was too cold for a skirt-with-bare-legs, as I never found a satisfactory method of keeping my pants dry-ish in winter. Spare socks/hose stashed at your desk help too.

My classic London Fog raincoat, which I picked up on sale, has always kept me dry. But I also have a similar-but-stylish one in a similar fabric from Target which does the job fine. Department stores typically have a selection of "nicer" raincoats in the trenchcoat style with the raincoat fabric (poplin? whatever it is) ... and you can usually get ones with zip-in/zip-out liners for when it's colder. But the trench length is pretty key, I think.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:46 PM on November 15, 2010

you know those umbrellas that you can buy on the street for $5 as soon as it starts raining? they suck. invest in a good umbrella (not designer, but one that won't blow inside out) and you will be very happy.
posted by sabh at 12:47 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Seconding the idea of a skirt/dress plus tights. When I used to have to bike to campus in the rain, I discovered that the dress/tights combo will dry much faster than jeans or pants. Plus, I feel much comfier in them!
posted by bluloo at 1:06 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Previous answers have mentioned rain coats in breathable fabrics. From the few I've tried, these tend not to be worth the cost until the cost is quite high. By all means, get yourself some Gore-Tex, but also take care not to overdress. People are often surprised to find they can walk around in 50F weather in an unlined nylon shell. Especially if you're used to 90F weather in November, don't overestimate how much insulation you need.

I wear leather dress shoes, just generic oxfords, which I've found to be waterproof enough for all but wading through puddles. For that, I break out the insulated, waterproofed boots.

You didn't specifically ask about the cold, but most of the misery of being wet comes from being wet and cold (compare, for example, a hot tub). Cotton absorbs water and loses its insulative ability when wet, so you'll feel extra cold and miserable if you wear wet cotton, especially wet cotton socks.
posted by d. z. wang at 1:10 PM on November 15, 2010

Could you get a thermos with a sealing top to put into your tote bag instead of carrying a separate coffee mug? Having one hand free will make much of this easier.

Also, start with some inexpensive rain boots at your favorite big box store. They tend to be mid-calf height and pretty cute, so they'll keep your feet dry if you tuck your pants in.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:59 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Vancouverite here. I find that there are really only two things necessary:

1) Umbrella
2) Rainboots

Your head/shoulders and feet/lower legs are really the only parts of your body that are in danger of getting soggy. The middle bits might get lightly sprinkled on, but I don't find that it's anything to worry about. I'm not a big fan of rain jackets. No matter how huge the hood is, your face still gets wet because the rain easily blows in under the one or two inches of hood overhang. Compare that to the one to two feet of overhang you can achieve with an umbrella! Umbrella and boots it is for me.

The umbrella - I prefer folding umbrellas. They're so much more convenient to tote around and easier to shake the water off of after using. Collapse the canopy, a few flicks of the wrist, and drippy problem is solved. I like a good balance between adequate canopy size and compact size/light weight when folded up. Mine is a Fulton with a 90cm (36 inch) canopy. I wouldn't go any smaller than that if you want to keep your shoulders and upper arms dry. Yes, I spent $40 on an umbrella, but it's worth it to spend more on a quality umbrella with ribs that collapse smoothly without getting kinked up, won't fall apart at the first gust of wind, or snag your hair. I've owned many an umbrella and Fultons are the only ones that have never broken on me. In addition to being very strong, they are also surprisingly light.

The boots - I love my Hunter boots. They are very comfortable (orthopedic footbeds, rubber is soft and easy to walk in), as stylish as rainboots get, and very durable. I have the knee-high model and they are fabulous for stomping around in big puddles, water fountains, what have you. Tuck your pants in. You can get fleece inserts (welly socks) for them that make them warm enough to double as snow boots too.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:54 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

You want a "waterproof/breathable" shell such as Gore-Tex or something from the Omni-Tech line by Columbia. If you need more warmth, wear fleece or wool under it (layers!).
posted by neuron at 3:08 PM on November 15, 2010

I have a very nice Marmot Precip rain jacket that does an excellent job of keeping my top dry... but the water still has to go somewhere and if you are walking, that tends to be onto the front of your pants. I would recommend a longer rain jacket (or rain pants, but those never seemed practical unless you're hiking).
posted by smackfu at 3:28 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: Didi I miss where you live?
LLBean Trail Coat
LLbean Trench coat - wool lined. I have owned the previous version of this coat. With the wool lining in, it's very warm. Remove the wool lining in Spring and Fall.
Every catalog I've seen lately has really cute rain boots or clogs.
I think you need to plan a little extra time to change from rain shoes into regular shoes at work, change back when you leave, and stash the wet umbrella in the trunk. And bring some teabags to work. A cup of tea warms your hands.
posted by theora55 at 3:37 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: More under 'tips' I guess -- always keep a dry pair of socks in your glove compartment and in your bottom desk drawer. You'll forget about them. Until your feet are wet. And then...magic!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:25 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Vancouver B.C. resident. It starts raining heavily here around Hallowe'en, and continues until May or so. What you want is an oiled canvas duster and hat. Alternatively, you can add a hood to this model. You need to layer under that one, depending on where you live.

Not stylish, unless you're rocking the whole cow-poke look, but nothing else keeps you as dry while leaving your hands free. Relatively inexpensive, as well.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:20 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: SE Alaska, temperate rain forest dweller. It rains so much here that you'd be carrying an umbrella everyday so most people don't use them. My tips

1. Most rain jackets for women fit tightly these days and end at the hips which means your legs absorb all that water. A trench-style paired with rain boots will keep you pretty dry. Otherwise, rain pants or bibs are awesome but cumbersome.

2. My favorite rain boots are Bogs and the Alaskan classic, XTRATUFFS. XTRATUFFS are the best but aren't for big calves. Bogs will keep your feet pretty warm.

3. Staying warm. Like other people said, you probably won't need a lot of clothing underneath but I prefer layers instead of an insulated raincoat. Also, like others, stay away from cotton socks. Once they get wet, you will have cold feet.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:19 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: are you a lady? I bought a three-pack of those little old fancy granny rain bonnets. clear plastic with blue trim -- look in your drug store. they're cheap. and they fold up to nothing, so you can carry them with you in case it starts raining and you an keep your head dry.
posted by custard heart at 9:05 PM on November 15, 2010

Best answer: If keeping your chest and head dry are really important, there's always the Nubrella.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:43 PM on November 15, 2010

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