I hate the rain. I hate having wet socks. I hate having wet shoes. I hate that being outside in the rain can ruin my perfectly tamed lion’s mane in 30 seconds or less.
I also hate umbrellas, which is a symptom of having lived in New York City. If there’s even a cloud in the NYC sky, suddenly every street corner has some dude peddling $5 umbrellas—and PEOPLE BUY THEM.
It’s probably no surprise that these $5 umbrellas are shitty.
They take up three times the usual circumference of a person on the sidewalk, though people never seem to figure that out. I’ve almost had umbrella spokes straight to my retina more times than I can count. These umbrellas flip inside out and rip to shreds with the slightest gust of wind.
After a New York rain, the sidewalks become a mass gravesite of the torn and tattered remains of those cheap- ass umbrellas that have never actually protected anyone from the rain ever.
So, here I am—a Portland transplant complaining about the rain. I’d rather freeze my proverbial balls off in negative 20 degree weather than get rained on in a mild spring shower. But Portland is a beautiful town, and if I never went outside because of the rain I’d be even more miserable than I am now.
One thing I’ve learned as I’ve become a quasi-adult is that adults plan for the elements. Adults don’t wear vans in the snow. Adults don’t bike in their wool sweaters. Adults wear practical shoes and rain jackets. They don’t do this because they’re lame (though they probably are), they do this because life will actually improve significantly when you stop walking around in soggy socks.
Here are some products and must-haves for getting outside in rainy Portland, Oregon: Outerwear Gore-tex everything—boots, pants, gloves, jackets, pants, overalls. They make it all and it’s worth it.
You will want a hood or a waterproof hat. If you have glasses, consider a brimmed hat to keep your spectacles from becoming rain receptacles.
Avoid the telltale swish sound of a traditional rain jacket by opting for a softshell waterproof jacket.
Rain pants can definitely come in handy when biking, since the tops of your thighs are angled perfectly to be pelted with evil, evil rain. When I’m just walking or hiking, I find rain pants are more trouble than they’re worth. The Portland company Showers Pass makes some Skyline rain pants that aren’t so bad.
For the most part, if your top half is dry and your feet are dry, a little rain on the thighs is probably not going to ruin your day outside.
Haha, I said underwear. While many products will claim to be waterproof and breathable, this combination is nearly impossible. Either something is sort of breathable and really waterproof, or actually breathable and almost waterproof.
So that means you’ll probably sweat underneath your outerwear. Dress in layers, making sure you have a lightweight bottom layer in case you get too warm.
If you’re hiking, wear boots high enough that puddles won’t spill over the top.
If you’re doing anything boat or kayak-related, get some Aqua Socks. Because Aqua Socks.
For biking, there are lots of options for waterproof shoes. You can also keep your regular shoes and throw on a pair of shoe covers. Both are good options.
Carry an extra pair of socks. You might also consider carrying a lightweight pair of slip-on shoes if you’re going to end up inside somewhere during your adventure.
There’s a company called SealSkinz (not a condom brand) that makes socks that are supposedly waterproof. These might be awesome. Without having tried them, I am skeptical. I don’t want to wait around for when a guy wearing a pair of SealSkinz takes them off and unleashes whatever unholy smell he’s been encasing inside his waterproof foot cocoons.
For more tips, ask an avid Portland bike commuter. I’m sure they’d love to tell you about how hardcore they are because of how often they bike in the rain and how you can be as cool as them by wearing layers upon layers of waterproof swag.
Long story short: Grow up, buy some rain gear and get outside.