By December 9, 2009

Random Motorcycling Tip #11: Making Sure Your Pants Stay Dry When Riding In the Rain

Riding in the rain on a motorcycle happens to just about every rider. The difference is that some of us ride in the rain on purpose, while other motorcyclists get caught in a downpour by accident. If you’re the former, here are some tips for keeping your pants dry during foul-weather commuting.

  • Gear up. The most important thing, obviously, is wearing waterproof motorcycle gear. You’re going to need:
    • Textile pants with a waterproof liner
    • Waterproof motorcycling boots — regular waterproof boots aren’t a good option because they are usually not tall enough to prevent upspray (more on that in a minute). Furthermore, they may not hold up in a crash as well as boots built specifically for motorcycling. Also make sure your boots have a gaiter on the inside to help keep water out of the openings along the side of the boot. I personally prefer buckles to zippers, but if your boot has a zipper make sure there is a gaiter behind the zipper, too. I wear Sidi On Roads (available at NewEnough).
    • If you are really concerned about staying dry — or you motorcycle during the colder months — you should buy a separate set of waterproof overpants. I own a jacket and pants set of Frogg Toggs Elite Highway (Amazon.com). It makes a huge difference when riding in torrential rain. It is also important for keeping me safe and warm when it’s cold out. You may stay dry when your waterproof textile jacket gets waterlogged, but the wind of riding at highway speeds plus a low ambient air temperature will make you cold in a hurry. It’s uncomfortable at best, and dangerous at worst.
  • Tuck your clothes in when going out in public. Fold your pant hem flat against your leg. Put your pant leg inside your boot. If you don’t do this, water upspray from the road my find its way past the various hem contraptions of your motorcycling pants and soak your “real” pants. This is particularly irksome if you are wearing jeans. Demin will rapidly transfer any water absorbed at the hem up your pants. I figured out “the tuck” the hard way after wondering why my knees were wet — it was from my jeans absorbing water on a three-hour ride in the rain.

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