Every Seasons’ Must Have: A Raincoat

Me chilling in my black L.L.Bean raincoat during Rock and Ice Magazine’s 2015 Photo Camp. Photo: James Harnois

Raincoats are awesome. Not only do the classic yellow ones bring sunny happiness to drizzly days, but they have many uses beyond the obvious keeping your torso, head, and arms dry during precipitation events.

Summer is here in Colorado, and so are the afternoon thundershowers. I’m significantly less grumpy getting poured out of Boulder Canyon when I remember to pack my raincoat and can trudge out 40-percent dry. Raincoats are also great in place of a carrying a soft shell. My black L.L.Bean jacket is hardly “breathable,” thus it wonderfully traps my torso heat when the sun goes behind a cloud. Its lack of breathability also makes it an excellent windbreaker. During winter, I sometimes wear my rain jacket over a thin puffy, which I’ve found greatly increases the latter’s warmth and once again aids in wind protection.

But don’t get stuck thinking of your raincoat as just a jacket. It’s also an amazing adult bib. I highly recommend wearing your easy-to-clean coat while eating and drinking. It’s nearly effortless to wipe spilled commute coffee or camp-stove burritos off your raincoat compared to your favorite flannel or office attire.

Thinking even further outside the box, your raincoat is a wonderful waterproof blanket for sitting on wet surfaces. For example, it’s nice to keep your bum dry while eating your mid-cragging sandwich on days when the rock is dry but the ground remains wet from recent rainfall. Your jacket is much lighter and more packable than most tarps, and, as mentioned above, it can double as a windbreaker. It can also double (or triple) as an emergency rope bag if you find your 60 meter sitting in wet grass or mud while you belay.

So keep your raincoat ready in your car, your climbing pack, on your coat rack, or, best yet, on yourself. You never know when it will come in handy, and the more you use it, the more uses you’ll find for it.


Liz Raincoat_coffeetapeclimb
The raincoat over the puffy beta. Photo: Tom O’Maley


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