Wet Weather Motorcycle Gear: Over or Under?

Wet Weather Motorcycle Gear: Over or Under?

wet ride to the ferryOver the weekend, I found myself riding in a hammering thunderstorm trying to get back home to Long Island.

My usual rain gear is a pair of FroggToggs. They aren’t pretty and I kind of look like a Yeti when wearing them but they haven’t let me down. They have done a good job of keeping me dry.

On this particular day, I left the house knowing that it would rain. Seeing as how I wouldn’t be terribly far from home, I figured I would bite the bullet and finally test the interior rain liners that came with my REV’IT Sand gear.

In the past I have hesitated to try the rain liners because I was unsure of just how “waterproof” they would be. It’s hard to go out on that limb when you have something that you know works. I guess I was feeling brave.

The Verdict:

The REV’IT rain liners work. They kept me dry as the blinding rain pelted me on my unfaired bike.

BUT… there is a sensation of being wet, anyway.

When I finally made it onto the ferry for home, I took my coat off inspecting my shirt to see if I was wet because my brain was telling me I must be.

I felt trapped in my gear. Having your rain liner as an interior layer means that your outer layer becomes soaked. That also means that it weighs like 400lbs.

Shedding your jacket is one thing, but if you aren’t wearing “public friendly” leggings or something of that nature under your riding pants, then you’re stuck wearing soaking wet pants.

I didn’t want to sit dripping next to other people on the boat. That left me standing around in the belly of the ferry with all of the cars.

Of course, there is also the issue of having to leave the house with the liners in your gear or find a place that you can put them in on the road. That’s potentially 3 layers of material all day long. Not always the most comfortable solution in the summer.

One single ride with the liners has me feeling like I prefer having an outer rain layer that is easy to put on and shed.

What About You?

What is your preference for rain gear?

15 Replies to “Wet Weather Motorcycle Gear: Over or Under?”

  1. For the reasons you give, I don’t understand inner linings. I use an outer rainsuit that keeps me perfectly dry. And, when I return to civilization, I look and feel normal.

  2. I wear GoreTex gear during Oregon’s 9 months of rain.

    If I’m commuting, I change into my set of work clothes.

    If I’m traveling long distances, rain makes it so that I don’t want to stop. So I keep riding. The heavy wet gear doesn’t feel so heavy when I’m on the bike and riding. Once I arrive at my destination, I shed the wet gear and put on a pair of dry civilian pants over my leggings.

  3. I use an extra rainsuit over leathers. Before that I had GoreTex which was fine as long as the ride wasn’t too long.

    However on longer rides, after a while, the inner parts got soaked and somehow it felt as if the GoreTex wasn’t repelling the water at all then. Even worse it got cold.

    I had this happen at least twice. It wasn’t really pouring down but rather drizzling and the air was overly saturated with humidity (fog, or better, clouds). I think the high humidity doesn’t go well with GoreTex.

    With my additional raingear you get wet as well, either due to sweating after a day in it or, in high humidity conditions, it simply happens (possibly due to sweating, too.. but I think it happens faster).

    But, which is most important, it still keeps you warm.

  4. I know that soaked feeling all too well even with the waterproof gear on. My fieldsheer jacket and pants are supposed to be waterproof but after a while I would get that same feeling of being soaked even if I wasn’t. And your right about the weight it is insane how heavy that stuff gets. I have a set of Teknic rain gear that is just PVC and was relatively cheap that goes over my gear. But in the winter it is near impossible to wear since my fieldsheer gear is bulky enough as it is. For the summer it is great though and fits right over my leathers. I used them when riding to the dragon and didn’t get wet once thanks to it. I prefer that stuff for anything but winter riding unless it is blistering hot out then I just roll with it because it won’t matter either way i’ll either sweat from the PVC or get soaked from the rain.

  5. We’ve ridden in some ugly rain and cold temps – I still love the frog togs, pound for pound they are the best I’ve used to keep dry – and that’s in the MANY thousands we’ve spent on various rain/adventure gear. There’s a lot to be said for escaping wet clothes, and on a multi-day trip, it sucks having 400 pound wet gear that you have to put back on the next day when it’s no longer raining.

  6. Once I discovered Goretex lined gear in early ’90s I haven’t looked back (or had to stop & do the roadside “rain gear dance”). Outer layer won’t get soaked if properly maintained (annual DWR treatments). Only real downside is that Goretex stops breathing @ very high humidity, but as you well know gear choice is full of compromises.

      1. Fuzzy, I’m afraid one of those tiresome Aerostich junkies. :^) Been wearing their stuff pretty much exclusively since ~1994. Only permanent exception is a Belstaff Discovery jacket that is my go-to for seriously cold temps, which is also a textile lined with a Gore-Tex derivative.

  7. Over! To me, between the weight and the temperature transfer on cold days, under not the way to go. I have a waterproof gortex First Gear 2 piece and I have been dry in some decent rainfall.

    1. I had a First Gear Kilimanjaro jacket that was the most water resistant of all my jackets so far, but I didn’t like the jacket that much and it ultimately breached. It was too flappy and loose in the size that i needed.

      Sitting on the slab doing 65 in a pissing rain for 8 hours on the Speed Triple really gives you a feel for how “waterproof” some waterproof things really aren’t.

      I’m not in the market for a new suit. So, I guess i’ll just have to keep packing the rain gear.

  8. I have the plastic (or whatever) yellow rain gear that I have used successfully, no water seems to get in but on hot days it’s sucks.

    I also have a 3 layer jacket with the outer layer being completely waterproof. It’s great in winter because it stops all wind from getting in and in rain stops all rain. It’s not as bad as wearing the plastic rain gear though. Once you remove the outer layer, it folds pretty well and the jacket becomes a mesh jacket. I also have an inside warm layer for winter. I have heard riders complain about the inside water proof liner which leaves the outside mesh soaked and heavy.

  9. I’ve always worn Aerostich Goretex pants (currently sporting a pair of their newest design the AD-1’s, and they rock!) because in Oregon it rains so much it would be a pain to stop and put a layer over. I usually wear shorts and the pants, regardless of the weather. If it’s cold out I put my running leggings under them. Now, the jacket scenario pees me off. I would prefer a jacket with a waterproof shell instead of the waterproof liner, for the reasons you mentioned…but on my current trip I’m using the Olympia mesh jacket with the liner, and I have to admit, despite my misgivings, I really dig this jacket! Good luck!

  10. So far my gear has been of the inner liner variety. I’ve mostly stayed dry while commuting and the gear didn’t get too waterlogged. It’s only an hour ride though. But I tend to think rain gear should be on the outside, for a lot of the reasons you’ve stated. Just makes more sense.

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