Thoughtful design and technical chops are not mutually exclusive
Rain, while absolutely essential to our planet’s survival, is a total pain in the ass. It makes everything—from commuting to grocery shopping— harder and more complicated. Fortunately, everyday rain gear has gotten a lot better lately. We’re seeing stuff that’s more durable, breathable, and even stylish. What follows are six pieces of our favorite look-good, stay-dry kit that will come in handy as the April showers roll through.
Blunt Umbrellas Metro ($45)
Umbrellas, like toothbrushes, tend to wear out rather quickly. But not the Metro. Thanks to a more aerodynamic design, plus a better tensioning system and a stronger anodized aluminum shaft, it’ll put up with wind gusts of over 50 mph and take a beating when jammed in your backpack. I also like that Blunt decided against gaudy fabric designs: solid Blue or Charcoal is all you get.
Relwen Packlight Shell ($200)
Chances are you have a high-end technical shell in your closet. But what about those times you don’t want to look like a Gore-Tex Skittle on the way to a rainy dinner? That’s when you pull out something more muted like the Packlight. It comes with thoughtful touches like leather cord locks and a longer tail, but its still waterproof/breathable and packs into its own pocket when not in use.
Xtratuf Deck Boot 6-Inch ($60)
Xtrafuf normally markets knee-high waterproof boots for commercial fisherman. But more recently they’ve offered paired-down versions for the rest of us. I’m currently digging their six-inch rain boots that come in a variety of fun colors and don’t make me look like a wanna-be boatman when splashing through puddles on the way to work. Grippy soles keep me from falling on my ass, but you’ll want a change of shoes for the office because they breathe about as well as a plastic bag.
Proof Nomad Pant ($75)
It’s profoundly satisfying to watch these simply-designed water-resistant chinos get wet. Most liquids, including coffee and rain, bead up and roll right off, keeping you dry and sharp. They will wet out in a total downpour, but if you’re trudging through a downpour, hopefully, you have the Blunt umbrella to keep you dry. Bonus points for the four-way stretch material that makes the pants as comfy as sweats and agile enough for lunch climbs at the gym.
Peak Design Field Pouch ($40)
Even if you have a water-resistant bag, you’ll want your electronics stored in a totally waterproof pouch like this. Made with an impenetrable 400-denier nylon canvas shell, the Field Pouch will keep your phone, mirrorless camera, portable hard drive, and a tablet totally dry if water starts seeping through the rest of your pack. I also dig the Pouch’s felt lining that ensures nothing gets scratched or banged up as I run for shelter.
Mission Workshop The Rhake Backpack ($365)
In sunny New Mexico, the Rhake is overkill. But for those of you who live in wetter climates like Seattle or Prague this totally waterproof bag is an expensive but worthy upgrade. It’ll hold all your everyday carry items including a 15-inch laptop, iPad, lunch, and workout gear, then keep everything dry even when it’s really coming down. Thanks to a 500-denier nylon outer, it will also take abuse for the next decade and still look like new.