There are a lot of options for modern riding gear made from materials such as gore-tex, Kevlar, nylon or polyester. Many of these outfits are advertised as being waterproof or water resistant and sometimes they actually are. However, like a lot of things, your riding gear needs a little TLC every now and then.
You may notice after a year or two, depending on how much you ride in the rain, that your gear doesn’t act quite like it did when it was brand new. The water resistant nature of new gear disappears over time and you may notice you don’t stay dry for as long as you used to.
Some manufacturers recommend certain products to treat their gear. Check with the maker of your riding gear for any specific process to renew the water resistant properties of your gear.
Motoport, the maker of my Stretch Kevlar suit, recommends Fabric Guard 303 repellant to treat the gear. I knew it was time after two riding seasons and managed to track down the spray bottles at a high-end auto customizing shop. After spraying the gear according to the instructions it was back to like-new again and the water just beads and runs off. I can ride through a fairly good downpour for 20 minutes and the gear keeps the moisture out. For longer periods of precipitation I have breathable rain liners that zip into the jacket and pants and are comfortable to wear from 20-35 degrees.
For my polyester Tourmaster gear I found Nikwax at an outdoor equipment shop and after running the gear through the washer (body armour removed) it once again shed the rain like the factory-new protection.
And while we’re talking about treating your gear don’t forget to apply some good leather conditioner to your favorite tailored cowhide. You may not want to wear it in the rain, but at least it should last for quite a few years.
Ideally, you would treat your gear at the end of the season so you are ready to go come spring. Wash all the bugs off, treat it if needed, and store it away for the next riding season. But, if you didn’t do that, there is no time like the present to prepare for riding in the rain.
Ride responsibly and enjoy your travels.
- R. Bruce Thomas