If there’s anyone who knows how to dress for the outdoors best, it’s tour guides. Snow, rain or shine, they’re wrapped up in weatherproof gear all year long to shield themselves from nature’s roughest elements. Since the rainy season is upon us (because spring showers bring May flowers), it’s always a good idea to pack some rain essentials, be it a rain jacket, poncho, or umbrella, so you can avoid drenched clothes and puddle-soaked shoes wherever adventure takes you next. By no means are we rain experts, so we left it to two tour guides to share the best rain essentials to pack on your next trip.
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For Bill Dodenhoff, MBA, a New Orleans-based tour guide, the rainy season exists all year long, so he recommends ponchos. Not only are they inexpensive, they’re lightweight and packable in a personal bag in case of unexpected storms. “My preference is a longer length, light, and totally waterproof,” Dodenhoff says.
For those who live in rainy areas, Christopher Falvey, co-founder of Unique NOLA Tours, also in New Orleans, recommends a quality rain jacket. “A good rain jacket is highly water-resistant, has a hood to protect your head, and pockets to hold your items so you don’t have to carry a bag,” says Falvey. You also can’t underestimate a good pair of waterproof shoes. They insulate your toes from nature’s elements and save your socks from being soiled the next time it decides to pour.
We tapped two tour guides for their specific shopping input and recommendations. No matter the forecast, check out the rain essentials that they swear by for when things get shower-y.
Sizes available: XS-XL
Navigating rainy weather is no walk in the park, but tour guides recommend a quality jacket like Outdoor Voices Precippoly. It’s engineered with tour-guide approved elements like a waterproof shell and zippered vents, so you’ll never have to walk around soaked or in a sweat again. Also neat? It comes with a whopping seven pockets to store your phone, keys, wallet, and other essentials you may need and bungee cords to cinch the jacket for an adjusted fit. Windy and wet conditions are no match.
Sizes available: 0-20
To protect your legs from getting wet, opt for a longer jacket like Lululemon’s Rain Rebel Jacket. This hooded jacket is made of a polyester outer that keeps you dry all day long and features a roomier fit to allow for layering inside when things get chilly. Strategically placed vents make this jacket breezy, and the cinchable waist prevents you from losing shape with its looser fit. Rain, rain, go away!
Sizes available: XXS-XL
The Renew Anorak ticks all of the boxes of a quality rain jacket with its spacious hood, longer fit, and waterproof outer, which is made of 14 recycled bottles (yay for the environment). Incorporated into the design of the jacket is a hidden drawcord that makes wearing it easy (loose or tight, wear it however you’d like). No matter what the forecast is projected to be, this waterproof and stylish jacket has got you covered.
Sizes available: S-XL
This Dryrobe long-sleeve parka comes recommended by Dodenhoff. “The lining and outer fabric wick away water and keeps me dry no matter the weather,” he says. Unlike other rain jackets, this one is lined with fleece and has a zipped closure to lock in warmth no matter the activity. Plus, it boasts a waterproof outer layer that sheds one rain drop at a time. Finally, a jacket you can wear for beaching, dog walking, camping, or water sports.
Sizes available: XS-XXL
The North Face consistently spews out quality outerwear, so it’s a no brainer to go to them for rain jackets. Waterproof, hooded, and mid-weight, this loose-fitting jacket is ideal for walking, trekking, or commuting in the rain. Throughout the jacket, you’ll find drawstring cords to adjust for the best fit and pockets to dip your hands in whenever the chills become too much.
Sizes available: XS-XXL
For a durable jacket that will last you, Falvey recommends Patagonia. “I’d recommend because they meet all of the qualifications for a good rain jacket: they have hoods and pockets are are highly water resistant, but they are also comfortable [since] they do not restrict movement,” he explains. Whenever the forecast is acting up, you can count on this jacket’s water-repellent shell, hand-warming pockets, and nylon shell to keep you dry and toasty.
Sizes available: XS-XL
No roundup would be complete without an editor favorite: Quince. Beyond the endless basics, Quince has a weatherproof rain jacket that will get you through thick or thin. Made of polyester and recycled polyester, the jacket is waterproof and has a durable, water-repellent finish to stop raindrops in its tracks. Beyond that, it’s lightweight, travel-friendly, and features two zippered hand pockets for cold days or storing essentials. Plus, it helps that the material is OEKO-TEX certified, so your skin is in good hands. Praise Quince!
Originally $14, now $6
Rain ponchos are generally inexpensive, and this one is on sale for just $6. Made of vinyl, this poncho is lightweight, waterproof, and ultra packable—which is ideal for travelers. Plus, it comes with a hood to keep your head and hair-do nice and dry when the rain strikes.
Sizes available: one size
Sizes: one size
Ponchos don’t get the best reputation in the fashion industry, but Saphirose’s Rain Poncho puts all of those claims to rest. The trench-coat style is functional as it is fashionable with its full zipper, adjustable cuffs, and full-sized pockets. When the sun shines again, pack up your poncho in its reusable pouch for easy transport.
If ponchos or rain jackets aren’t your thing, tour guides also swear by a trusty umbrella. This one is equipped with a 10-ribbed, windproof canopy construction that allows air to pass through the vents so that your umbrella doesn’t go flying the second there’s a gust of wind. It’s compact, portable, and is easy to carry (thanks, strap). When you’re done, you can stow it away easily in your bag.
Sizes available: 5-11
Hunter’s Original Play Short Boots bring shine and color during gloomy days. Available in a whopping 19 colors, from yellow to iridescent purple, these booties are sure to bring a smile to your face. This pair is constructed out of natural rubber to shut water out and a pull-on tab that makes it easy to slip the shoe on and off. Not to mention, they’re extremely comfortable to wear—which is a major plus, considering most rain boots are known for their stiff fit. Not this pair. Hikes, rain girl walks, and city tours are all possible.
Sizes available: 5-11
This is another go-to comfortable pair of rain boots everyone needs in their closet. Bypass puddles with Everlane’s Rain Boots. Constructed out of 100 percent rubber, these boots are waterproof, easy to clean, have a supportive sole, and offer plenty of room for thick socks. Rubber can be extremely stiff, but these pull tabs and stretchy side panels make slipping these puppies on a breeze. Another perk: the duo color paneling is stylish, so you can pair with jeans and a comfy sweater.
Sizes available: 6-12
Bogs Amanda Plush II Chelsea Boot will allow you to take your walks to new heights. This rubber boot shields out water and is 100 percent waterproof (soaked toes, no more). You don’t have to worry about cold feet either thanks to the plush lining inside. Available in yellow and four other colors, these shoes are that statement boot you never knew you needed.