In some parts of the world, it feels like it rains 365 days a year. If you want to experience outdoor adventures even in wet conditions, you'll need not only a waterproof jacket, but also waterproof trousers. The latest hardshell and rain trousers provide effective protection against light showers and downpours, are breathable and usually have a slightly wider cut. A wide cut ensures that they can be quickly pulled over shoes and normal trekking trousers. This is why rain trousers are also known as overtrousers. Many waterproof trousers also offer the advantages of being very light and having a small pack size. This means they fit inconspicuously into any backpack. However, rain trousers are only really waterproof if the leg cuffs can also be adjusted, e.g. with Velcro or elastic. There are also rain trousers for cold and wet conditions that are additionally lined.
Riding a bike is a wonderful, freeing experience, and people who start up with it never want to go back to other methods of commuting. It's even better with a pair of waterproof trousers.
Everything in life has at least one negative side, and in the case of riding a bike, that is definitely the rain. But, the good news is that, with the proper gear (including, of course, waterproof trousers) riding in the rain can be absolutely no problem for the savvy rider.
By proper gear, we mean waterproof socks, rain jackets, waterproof bags (very often overlooked by many), and definitely a good pair of wellies or similar. And, of course, naturally, a proper pair of waterproof trousers. These can be rain trousers or waterproof pants of many different kinds, depending on your habits, needs and desires.
Types of waterproof trousers
A pair of waterproof trousers can vary in many aspects, but the two most important are the material and the cut.
One very common material for waterproof trousers is coated plastic. This is the best option for riding in heavy driving rain. The reason for this is that this is the material most resistant to letting the rain penetrate it. This type of waterproof trouser is always worn above normal clothes. Because of this, it should always be wide enough to easily put on and take off.
Another similar option is trousers made out of coated nylon. These fall generally into the same category as the plastic-coated trousers already mentioned. The one difference is that the coated nylon trouser allows for a bit more breathability.
More modern options are also available. For example, waterproof trousers made of Gore-Tex or similar fabrics. These options are often available as trousers that you can wear normally just like any other pair of trousers. This means you don't have to put on a separate pair of waterproof trousers over your normal ones every time it rains.
The trade-off is, of course, that if the rain is really heavy these trousers may not be a up to the job of protecting you from the water.
How to determine which waterproof trousers are right for you
The weather will influence what you buy. If you're cycling in cold weather, look for trousers that have a warm lining. For example, you can get some with a cotton lining, or some with a fleece lining for those extremely cold winter days. There are lots of options for thermal linings.
On the other hand, you may want to look at waterproof trousers that have options for ventilation. And if you're planning on trekking or biking in the wild, it would be a good idea to get waterproof trousers that pack lightly if you're short on packing space.
It's important to know whether you will be wearing gaiters or not if it rains. In the latter case, get a pair that can snap or zip closed on the bottom. Also, if you are going to be wearing bulky clothing underneath, you will want a wider cut.