Best wet weather gear
The clocks have gone back, darkness has fallen, it's getting cold and it's starting to rain. What you'll have probably found is that you're getting a bit wetter than you were a few months ago. You've also probably found that those winter items you've got stashed in the moth eaten depths of your draws are not only a lot less plentiful than you'd thought, but a touch unfashionable as well.
Never fear. Pocket-lint is on the scene to keep you warm and dry on your way to work and play. So whether it's finding a way not to give up that cycle to the office or arming yourself to take the kids down to the park, here's some of the best wet weather gear that money can buy for those who like to carry a gadget or too come rain or shine.
Aquapac waterproof phone/GPS cover (£20)
In the summer it sells as a beach accessory - and we’ve used it ourselves to dive into unchartered waters (OK, a hotel pool) carrying a phone and valuables - but Aquapac’s touch-sensitive waterproof case is actually of more use in the rain. Lost and confused in a downpour and need to be rescued by Google Maps?
The Aquapac does the job, not because it’s waterproof (it’s actually submersible to 5m), but because its clear window allows you to carry on swiping, zooming and pinching in precipitation. We used it recently up a mountain with the ViewRanger app on an iPhone and were "well impressed", as common parlance would have it. Our only criticism is that it’s so sticky - like cling film - that it’s tricky to extract a smartphone without turning the whole thing inside out.
Alpinestars Slipstream backpack (£125)
We’ve all got a daypack, but is yours waterproof? Probably not, actually. Very few are which makes this one from Alpinestars worth considering. Cyclists and bikers in particular will love the Slipstream’s ultra light yet watertight design that seems to have virtually no stitching (the weak link in many a daypack) on show. As it goes, it's actually designed for athletes.
Keyboard gymnastics probably isn’t on the mind of many long distance runners, but commuters can keep condensation away from gadgets. The Slipstream has a built-in laptop sleeve and various pockets for pinning-down chargers and anything else that demands dryness. A superb choice with the wet weather gadgeteer.
Griffin Survivor for iPad 2 (£50)
Can’t afford a Panasonic Toughbook Android tablet? It was only a matter of time before the US military-grade Survivor iPhone case made the trip to iPad 2. The look of its rugged, thick outer won’t suit everyone, but it’s not just the clumsy that should look a little deeper at this protective jacket. The soggy, too, will benefit.
A completely waterproof screen protector is part of a design that uses a shatter-resistant polycarbonate frame covered in shock absorbing silicone. That waterproof screen also keeps an iPad 2 usable, with swiping, pinching and gestures all possible during a downpour. The only problems are the iPad 2’s ins and outs, but while travelling there’s no danger of a leak thanks to hinged, watertight plugs. Also comes with a built-in stand.
GoLite Kenai Pertex 2.5 layer hardshell jacket (£150)
There are pac-a-macs and then there’s the Kenai. This pocket-sized hardshell (as opposed to those summer stormshells) makes a decent effort at being both storable and serviceable, though we’d recommend this one for warm weather, or as the outer layer on a damn big jumper.
That it weighs just 255g shouldn’t surprise anyone - the GoLite brand is self-explanatory - but Kenai did a great job in our test. A nylon outer and Pertex membrane offer just enough waterproofing without too much sweat. Pockets at the sides, and one on the right breast just about suffice on what we’d recommend is used as an emergency jacket ripe for stowing in a work bag.
WaterWear V waterproof case (£20)
Like the Aquapac, this offers waterproof protection to your iThing, but it’s a more complete package. Inside the WaterWear V box isn’t just a transparent sealable plastic bag, but also a pair of water resistant headphones.
You’ll note the use of the word "resistant" there. Purveyors of water-tight goods tend to err on the side of caution though in practice it’s just as effective as the Aquapac. WaterWear V is a tad more complicated, featuring a headphones slot on the outside (something that makes it bulkier than its simpler rival) and a 3.5mm stereo mini jack cable on the other side of the case’s double zip lock. The WaterWear V’s final innovation is a small cable winder that seemed redundant until we realised its true duty; to sucker on to the back on a phone to act as a stand.
Berghaus Bowscale Jacket (£126)
Expensive, yes - all decent, packable waterproofs are north of £100 - and much thicker than the GoLite Kenai, this is the waterproof for sensible, practical types. Weighing a forgiveable 567g, the two-layer Bowscale jacket is crafted from that fabric beloved of outdoor types - Gore-Tex.
When we tried this performance shell, it proved utterly waterproof, though there’s nothing to get excited about in its design; Velcro-fastened sleeves, an inner zipped pocket and two outer pockets - the latter with carefully crafted waterproof zips - make-up the basic look.
The special skills come in the collar’s pack-away hood, which benefits from a decent peak and fasteners to keep it up in high winds, and a lined fabric that’s just so comfy to wear. Best worn with a fleece, this is the all-rounder for wearing out both in urban downpours and torrential treks. Available in women’s and men’s sizes.
Craghoppers Streall Stretch Trousers (£60)
Probably one of the best value outdoor brands around (and popular among kids doing their D of E), Craghoppers’ Streall are that rare thing - waterproof trousers that stretch. Useful for cyclists as well as walkers caught in the elements, the Streall weigh 450g when dry, so aren’t exactly lightweight, but do offer a watertight AquaDry construction.
They also give you three pockets with zips, which are a great place to store a smartphone in an Aquapac or WaterWear V case.
ODLO Protect Jacket (£300)
We’ve chosen this primarily for its full-length media pocket that’s ideal for stashing a gadget - typically a tablet - though it‘s a great place to trail a headphones cable if you‘ve gone off the idea of battery-hungry Bluetooth cans.
Completely waterproof (can you tell by the price?) the OLDO Protect is made from three layers with the innermost a mesh net that keeps your sweat away - though its underarm ventilation flaps are just as crucial.
Available in black, brown and the amusingly named "lemon curry", this mens-only jacket has more pocket-friendly fun in the shape of a hood draw cord that’s accessible from the hand pocket. Once tightened, the hood can be quickly released to its normal stretch position by releasing a cord stopper in the collar. Also includes adjustable cuffs with Velcro.