If you are planning to set out on a motorcycle adventure which involves wet weather riding, gearing with properly waterproof riding gear is non-negotiable. Not being fully prepared for when the rains aren’t in agreement with us can result in very uncomfortable, or even disastrous rides. Safety is top priority when riding and it should be of even more importance in hazardous, wet conditions. Wet weather specific riding gear not just protects you during a mishap, but also keeps you dry and warm, so that you can soldier on in adverse weather conditions if you must. In this detailed article, we will discuss all that you need to know about waterproof riding gear.
Supplementary rain gear
No one likes to ride when their clothes are damp. It is not only uncomfortable but also comes with a risk of falling ill. We don’t even want to mention the damp odour that’s unpleasant not just for you but for the ones around as well. Therefore, if you are planning to ride in the rains, invest in gear that will help keep you dry. However, if you have already invested in a set that’s not rain ready, you can make it more suitable for wet weather riding by adding supplementary gear to the kit. You would, however, need to ensure that this supplementary gear is of good quality, fits you well, and does not have water seepage issues.
While using supplementary rain gear, ensure that you wear the individual items in such a manner that the water flows over these items without seeping in at any point. Covering the lower pieces fully with the ones above is crucial for effective functioning of such a kit. If you allow the water to enter the gear through any of the points where two different units of riding gear meet, the whole gear would fail. You will be soaked on the inside in no time, and your journey would be rather cold and uncomfortable.
To elaborate, you should wear the hoodie of your rain jacket inside your helmet and zip it up all the way to the bottom of your chin and tuck it in properly inside your helmet, so that the water doesn’t seep in through the neck area. Similarly, you should let the rain jacket fall over the pants, covering the waist opening fully. If possible, tie the rain jacket below your waist such that it doesn’t flutter and is properly secured at a level below the waist of your rain pants. Ditto for the rain pants, which should cover the ankles of your boots fully to let the water flow over them all the way to the ground. Make sure that you wear and secure your supplementary gear properly before you set out, for if the water enters the setup once, it will make the gear wet from inside, and would trouble you for the rest of the journey.
Rain jacket : Your riding jacket may not be waterproof, but you can cover it with an additional rain jacket. This usually is a thin, lightweight jacket that can be worn over your protective jacket. This liner will protect your riding jacket from getting wet and water seeping into it. Now, when it comes to choosing the rain jacket, your best bet is to buy the one sold by the manufacturer of your riding jacket. They will have a size which will cover your riding jacket perfectly. If they don’t have one, look for other quality options. However, ensure that you carry your riding jacket along to see if the rain jacket fits perfectly over it. There’s no harm in wearing them at the store and trying them out together before buying.
Rain pants: These are equally important and will protect your lower limbs from getting soaked. Just like the jacket, it’s best to use a pair provided by the maker of your riding pants. When used properly, they will also prevent water from entering the shoes. Do try them out at the store before making the purchase.
Pinlock visor: Modern day helmets come equipped with this feature, but if your helmet does not have it, you can get a visor with Pinlock that will fit your helmet. The basic function of the Pinlock is to prevent the visor from fogging up. The cold temperatures while riding in the rain and the rider’s breathing cause the visor to fog up, hampering visibility. The visibility in the rain is already low and the fogged-up visor diminishes it further. Pinlock covers about 80-90% of the visor and prevents the most usable part of your helmet’s visor from fogging up. Think of it as a defogger for your helmet. It is an absolute essential if you are riding in the rains
Surgical rubber gloves : Ideally, you should have a proper set of waterproof gloves, though if you are stuck in a situation where you don’t have such gloves available, there’s a make-do arrangement that you can use as an emergency measure. If your gloves aren’t waterproof, the water can easily enter them, making your fingers damp and cold in no time. To counter this, you can dry your hands, put on a pair of surgical rubber gloves, and wear your riding gloves on top. This will protect your hand from wetness, wind and cold. If you don’t like the rubbery feel, you can put on a thin pair of cloth gloves first and cover them with surgical gloves.
Plastic bags inside boots : Again, this measure is meant strictly for emergencies. If your riding boots aren’t waterproof, you can put on a pair of big, sturdy polythene bags over your socks to prevent your feet from soaking. Of course, you must ensure that your rain pants fall over your boots and cover them completely for this arrangement to be effective.
While you can use the supplementary gear with your existing gear to enhance its waterproofing capabilities, the proper way to ride in the rain is to ride with gear specifically made to tackle wet weather. Often such gear is made from a special material termed as Gore Tex. It’s a special textile material with micropores which block water but allow breathability. Waterproof riding gear is generally more expensive than your regular riding gear, but it’s worth every penny as it offers assured protection and comfort in wet weather.
Gloves: Waterproof gloves are essential in wet weather riding as they cover the fingers and palms, the parts of a rider’s body that allow definitive control over the motorcycle. If the rider’s hands are damp, it is going to be very uncomfortable for him to keep riding for long distances. The fingers, once damp, are prone to going numb, affecting the control and feel of the levers, leading to a severe degradation of the rider’s control of the bike. If the weather is cold, especially in the high-altitude mountains, there is a serious chance of the rider getting frostbite while riding with a wet pair of gloves. It is best to invest in a good pair of waterproof riding gloves made of Gore-Tex material that will keep you safe and comfortable while riding through inclement weather.
Boots: Riding boots are expensive, so it makes sense to spend money and buy a waterproof pair, so you don’t have to invest more money later in a waterproof pair separately. Just like gloves, waterproof boots also make use of Gore-Tex and other advanced materials, along with special enclosures and designs to prevent water from seeping in. We don’t need to tell you how uncomfortable riding with soaked feet could be. And we don’t need to tell you how unpleasant the stink of the damp socks is. A good pair of waterproof boots will prevent both from happening. They also offer more traction and will help you grip the wet surface better when you place your feet on the ground, preventing slippage. As mentioned before, your waterproof riding pants, or rain paints must be covering your boots fully if you need fool proof protection against the rain.Waterproof jacket and pants:
Supplemental riding gear does a good job of covering the jacket and pants, but if you don’t mind spending the extra cash, it’s always advisable to go for proper waterproof riding jackets and pants. Made from special materials and designed specifically to prevent water from entering from all the seepage prone areas, waterproof riding gear lends you great confidence when you venture out in wet weather. Now, fully enclosed, waterproof riding pants and jackets aren’t very suitable for riding in hot weather, but some modern designs come with attachments and ventilation in special areas which allow them to be used in a variety of weather conditions. If you would be riding in hot, cold, and wet weather conditions, pick a set which is versatile enough, so that you don't have to invest in different sets. Research your options well, and buy a pair based on the reviews of real-world users.