A decent rain jacket is an essential piece of travel gear.
If I waited until the rain stopped to go traveling, chances are I would never leave the house! It seems like it's drizzling for at least half the year in Canada and some of my favourite travel destinations are notoriously wet - I'm talking about you, Ireland! While I HATE being damp, I'm not going to let the bad weather rain on my travel parade.
When Ryan and I had the chance to take Tilley Endurable's waterproof jacket with us on our round the world trip, we jumped at the chance to put this product through its paces and we were thrilled we found a raincoat that was compact enough to earn a place in our pack.
We didn't have to wait long to put our jackets to the test. Our time in Paris and in Belgium was cool, damp, and misty and the dark skies were always threatening us with an outright downpour. While we fortunately never got caught in a huge storm, we always wore our jackets 12 hours a day, everyday, just waiting for the skies to open up. After spending so much time in them, we noticed a few helpful details about the jackets' design, like how the hoods are roomy enough to accommodate a hat and how the pockets zipper so you never lose a receipt.
Even if we weren't constantly being threatened by rain we still would have worn our jackets everywhere. Europe was unseasonably cold during our November visit, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. While the waterproof jacket isn't designed to be a windbreaker or a cold weather coat, it proved to be invaluable to us and helped us to stay warm. The cut of the jacket is roomy enough to layer a sweater underneath and this is exactly what we did to stay warm.
In true "Vanessa fashion", I had many occasiosn to "test" just how stain resistant the jacket was and I'm happy to report that it easily came clean with a simple spot wash. The jackets also cleaned up wonderfully in the washing machine and they drip dried in about 12 hours.
There are only two small things I would modify about Tilley Endurables waterproof jacket. I would add tiny reflective patches or stitching - not enough to make it look sporty but just enough to add an extra element of safety. Rainy weather often means reduced viability for drivers and some reflective features would help protect a traveler on foot.
I would also add a compression sack or storage pouch for the jacket. The slippery material that all rain jackets are made from means they don't like to stay rolled or folded in a backpack. We ended up commandeering our laundry sack half way through the trip to store the jackets in the warm weather locations. The amount of space the jackets took up was cut in half once we figured this out and our packing became much easier.
Overall, the Tilley waterproof jacket is a simple, streamlined, very effective raincoat and it does a good job as a double-duty, unofficial windbreaker and cold weather defender. It has a permanent place on our packing list and now comes along on every trip, whether we anticipate needing it or not.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. What are your best tips for dealing with inclement weather when you travel?
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