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Notes From The Dockside: Rain gear - it's indispensable

It is one of those indispensable things. If you spend any time in the outdoors you need it. Over the years I have worn countless types of rain gear which has gone on to perpetuate a long standing love-hate relationship with the stuff.

One of the first things I began to realize about rain gear is that waterproof is a relative concept. I understand that nothing you are going to wear is going to be one hundred percent waterproof.

I haven't found anything yet that works completely. There is nothing like an all day soaker to test out a set of rain gear. Spend a rainy day in a boat and you will find all the places that water can leak in. Around the neck is a case in point. Rain gear never seems to have a good seal around the neck and after spending a day in the rain usually my shoulders, upper chest and upper back will be wet. I consider it a successful day when those areas are just damp but all too often I am soaked.

Age takes its toll on waterproofing. It seems just that when you get to the point that your rain gear becomes comfortable to wear after a couple of years, it starts to seep water in other places. Seams in the clothing are usually the first places that start to leak.

If the weather is hot, wearing rain gear can be especially annoying. There are times in the summer that I put on rain gear and an hour or so later, when the rain has stopped, I find that I am just as wet from sweating inside of it as I would be if I had not worn it all.

I do not care for hoods. Yes, I know that there are days that you really do need to pull up the hoods during a heavy drencher and I do then but I really do not like it. I find hoods to be so claustrophobic. Once you pull up the hood you can only see right in front of you through the hole in the hood. I know that you stay drier that way but you sure can't see much around you. It then requires you to move your whole body so that you see. If you turn your head all you see is the inside of the hood. If there are two of you in the boat it is almost impossible to talk since all your senses are blocked off and if you are trying to communicate you seem to be yelling out at each from underneath the hood.

The real secret to wearing rain gear is to put it on before you get wet. I seem to never be real good at timing that. Since I do not care to wear rain gear all that often, once it does start to rain I am reluctant to stop fishing and put it on. Not only am I interrupting my fishing but then I have to scrounge around in one of the boat lockers until I finally do get the rain gear out. Usually it is always under a ton of other stuff like extra tackle, a tool box, life vests, ropes, etc. and of course the rain gear is always on the very bottom.

Now by the time I actually get the rain gear out everything else in the locker is piled on the floor of the boat getting wet. Why can't it rain when my rain gear is on the top of all that stuff so that all I have to do is just open up the locker and grab it I will never know. There have been times that it has stopped raining by the time that I have finally found my rain gear. Of course, by this time I am soaked.

I have also noticed that it seems to rain harder when you are not wearing your rain gear. Because I am hesitant to put on rain gear to start with, I generally always wait until I am wet before I finally get it on. It is only going to rain for just a bit and it will be done in a minute or two, I say to myself.

By the time I have realized that this is not the case and I had better put my rain gear on I am now saturated. So when I finally do get the rain gear on, inevitably it will stop raining shortly thereafter. The best way to ensure that it will rain longer and harder is for me to not put my rain gear on and the best way to make it stop raining is for me to put it on. This has happened to me so often that I think that this is a law of nature.

However, every now and then and this does not seem to happen often, I actually do call it right. It starts to sprinkle a little bit. I look off in the distance and see nothing but dark, ugly rain clouds coming our way. I suggest to my fishing partner that we better get our rain gear on. We get it out, pull on our rain gear and a few minutes later it begins a steady and relentless downpour. I am feeling ever so clever and satisfied. I got it right.

Then I notice that my rain gear is leaking and I can feel the water soaking into my dry clothes. I guess that I will never win at this.