It’s hard to predict what the weather’s going to do on a minute by minute basis so what do you do if you’re not dressed for the occasion?
Here are a few tips to help you minimise the damage…
1. Minimise how drenched you get by moving from A to B like a rain ninja
If you’ve been caught out in the rain without an umbrella you might have asked yourself this one. It’s a bit of a science project question actually. What’s the best way to minimise how drenched you get? Should you sprint, jog, stroll… walk – which is most efficient? Science has the answer! A top MIT professor has studied this age-old problem at great length. If you’re interested you can see his findings here (it’s actually very entertaining).
The answer (and look away now if you don’t want to know the results) is that you should run like the clappers. The faster you run the less wet you’ll get. And here’s a top tip, if you’re able to lean forward while running you’ll stay even dryer. Obviously a downside of running in the rain is that you might slip over and fall headfirst into a puddle/river/lake so please exercise caution with this tip.
2. Fashion yourself a home made poncho out of this everyday item
If you’re leaving work, a friend’s house (or even a supermarket) and you’ve not got a rain coat with you see if you can ‘borrow’ a bin bag (a normal black one will do). You can use it to make a homemade waterproof poncho.
Simply cut a slit at the bottom that’s big enough to put your head through and voila! You’ll be kept dry from the neck down. You might want to steer clear of bin men and recycling trucks when wearing this particular garment.
This bin bag poncho trick is often used at music festivals by revellers who want to travel light (a bin bag can easily be stashed in a coat pocket). It also doubles up as a bag protector – cut a couple of holes for the straps and your backpack is waterproof.
3. Choose the right jacket – don’t be blinded by fancy marketing
Outdoor clothing manufacturers claim their garments have all sorts of different levels of water resistance (and give them fancy names like ‘aqua dry’ and ‘rain shield’) but the truth is not all of them are up to the job.
A couple of years ago Sophie and I got caught in a rainstorm trekking up a volcano in the Congo (we go on the most romantic holidays) and within about 30 seconds our expensive, big brand, apparently ‘water resistant’ jackets were sopping wet. The rain was coming down in skin pummelling buckets and I had to quickly stash our passports in a plastic bag I had in my pocket to stop them getting ruined. Lesson learnt – choose the right jacket…
Manufacturers often coat their jackets with wax or water repellent chemicals but these can wear off after a couple of years. There are actually relatively few truly waterproof materials that are widely available, the main contenders being plastic, PVC, rubber, Gore-Tex and eVent. A couple of kinky options there for you… but most people will find jackets made from Gore-Tex or eVent most suitable. They’re lightweight, windproof and breathable.
Tip: Buy a rain coat in the summer and they’re often half price.
4. Always have a waterproof bag handy to keep your valuables safe!
Whether you’re commuting to and from work or trekking out in the countryside, one of the most irritating things about being caught in the rain is getting your stuff wet. It’s easy enough to put on a hood or stick up an umbrella to cover your head but that won’t protect your valuables.
Unless you walk around in rubber trousers, cameras, mobile phones and money aren’t usually protected in a pocket – or a handbag. The cheapest workaround is to carry a spare plastic bag with you. Wrap your phone around in it 3 or 4 times and then place it in your pocket/bag. If you’re looking for a more hardcore workaround these bags are excellent.
I’m a photography geek and carry a camera on me all the time. I use one of these bags to protect it from rain and scratches and it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve literally tried chucking it in the bath and it still didn’t get wet.
There we have it! Rain survival tips for a rain soaked island. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you got any tips/thoughts/advice.
Stay dry and happy!