11 January 2008

Raingear review: O2 Rainwear pants

Posted by todd under: Raingear; Reviews .

This is a review of the 02 Rainwear pants by Rain Shield Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn. I also own the company’s O2 Cycling Series jacket, which I reviewed separately.

O2 rain suitPRICE: $20.99-$26.99 online (1, 2)

BACKGROUND: Over the past two years or so, I have worn these mostly on warm or hot days with my O2 Cycling Series rain jacket. Check here to read about my daily ride to work. The pants come in six sizes, ranging from Small to XXL; there is a size chart on the manufacturer’s site (look to the right on the last line of each product description), but proceed with caution (see below).

PROS: I have never gotten wet wearing these pants, even in heavy rain. They pack tightly into a stuff sack that comes with them. A full cut makes the pants easy to put on over my work clothes. The material wears well: While it seems as if it might be fragile — and my O2 jacket, made out of the same material, has torn at the cuffs — I have not torn the pants.

CAUTION ABOUT FIT AND SIZING: The pantlegs ride up significantly when you get on the bike, and mine are too short. To keep my pants dry when wearing these rain pants, I have to tuck my pantlegs into my socks, or tuck them into my Burley shoe covers. If you’re buying these pants, make sure they bunch up on your shoetops. Mine just touch my shoes. I got the size Large, but I should have gotten the XL. (My inseam is 33 inches.) Bottom line: It would be OK with me if the waist were a little too big, in order for the legs to be the right length.

CONS: The dork factor. It doesn’t much matter to me how I look while riding, as long as I’m comfortable. But if you’re at all concerned about Fashion, take note: You WILL look like a dweeb when covered from head to toe in reflective yellow. If you care about this, buy some black rain pants to go with your yellow top. Also: There are no pockets. The pants’ durability might be a problem, although it hasn’t been for me. I advise against pulling hard on them, or jamming your shoes into the legs while putting them on.

VERDICT: As long as these pants fit you, I can’t think of a good reason not to buy them (leaving aside the dork factor). They could serve a purpose for just about any type of rider. I recommend them highly to those just getting into cycling and those who are just starting to commute. For everyday commuters, these are perfect for carrying in a bag just in case it rains, because they pack so well.

OTHERS’ REVIEWS: The only ones I have seen are written by walkers or backpackers. If you find another review by a cyclist, let me know and I will link to it.

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About the picture atop the page

Yes, that's me, Todd Van Campen. No, I'm not wearing a helmet. Yes, I usually wear one, so please don't scold! Seriously, I endorse wearing a helmet! Pinky swear! In fact, I almost ALWAYS wear one (while riding a bike anyway). (On the other hand, if YOU don't want to wear a helmet, I have no problem with it.) I don't remember what happened on this particular day. Fortunately for all of us it makes for a less-nerdly picture. My exceptionally talented professional photographer friend Charles Bertram took this photo.

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I asked my 6-year-old son, Caleb, an avid bicyclist and artist, to draw a bike for me. I think he did a great job!

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