Ah, spring. The time of year when bike, shorts, flip flops and skiing all come together for a brief moment of seasonal perfection. Also one of the best times to get caught in the rain unexpectedly.
As a frequent bike commuter I must remember that a fast moving storm plus 55 degrees produces moisture of the liquid variety. Should I have the appearance – and demeanor – of a wet cat heading home from an errand, you can rest assured that I have forgotten this fact. Ditto for the annual spring corn snow harvest.
To counter my superb ability to misread spring weather, I’m testing the OR Revel pants and Orage Abdi Jacket.
My reasons for choosing the Revel pants were their use of waterproof fabric, lightweight design and compactability. I ordered a pair of XL’s to make sure they’d fit over jeans or my backcountry skiing leg layer. These will most always serve as my extra shell over what I plan on wearing at anything from a client meeting to dinner with friends. The adjustable snap cuff allows me to still keep them tight to my leg to stay out of the chain when biking. A full zip let means easy on/off without removing shoes, a nice option if your changing room is the local coffee shop or a Colorado alpine snowfield. And their size is just bigger than a compact umbrella, so they easily stow away in my Xtracycle’s saddle bags.
The Orage Abdi jacket has already proven itself a couple times this season with a bike commute through one of the hardest rains I’ve seen in Colorado and an epic day “spring” skiing. As expected, the jacket is waterproof, waterproof, waterproof. However, this high level of protection comes with the sacrifice of breathability, but the pit zips do a good job to alleviate the heat build up. A lap up Marble Peak in an unexpected whiteout of heavenly puking left me slightly damp feeling, though drier than my soft-shelled friends.
The Abdi packs just larger than a Nalgene and has the unexpected (from most other brands) element of style. I’ll gladly backcountry ski, play in the rain, or go out to dinner in this jacket. Plus the Classic Red to a camera is, as Lou has said, “what iron is to a magnet.” The hood works great keeping your head dry, but will not accommodate a helmet. While technically in Orage’s “Lifestyle” collection, I found the Abdi to be plenty technical as a spring shell.
With my new rain setup, the next big wet storm will become a reason to ride, instead of a reason to stay inside!
(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Carbondale, Colorado, where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave continues to advance his ski career with the occasional guest blog at WildSnow.com.)