Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ?

Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ?

Postby Majohn » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:42 pm

I am about to spend a month cycling around the South Island of New Zealand and have been trying to decide if a water proof ( I realise nothing is 100% water proof) jacket is required or whether I can be comfortable in a windproof and water resistant jacket.

I live in Brisbane and whilst I have travelled extensively I am still not familiar with being caught in potential cold weather. I want to be prepared incase I get caught in a rain storm in the mountains or something like that.

I have been looking at the shower pass elite 2.1 jacket (based on comments in these forums) and combining it with a Montane wind stopper. If I buy something I prefer to buy the best as I believe it is worth the initial investment in the long run.

I have also been looking at the Outdoor Research Foray jacket. It is reasonably light and given my new relaxed style of cycle touring I was thinking it might be possible to use a hiking jacket instead of something specifically designed for cycling as I also enjoy hiking.

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated?

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by BNA » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:58 pm

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Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ?

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:58 pm

Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ?

Are you serious? Have you looked at the rainfall charts for the west coast? Yes, absolutely. And the SP Elite 2.1 is the best choice for cycling.

I'm in Brisbane too and can meet up if you want to discuss. PM me.

Meantime, read my EnZed journals.

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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby Majohn » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:05 pm

Thanks Ron. I assumed it would be required.

I really enjoyed your first NZ journal. I will read the other tomorrow.

I wish there was somewhere in Brisbane that stocked the SP jacket so I could check on sizing. Hopefully it fits true to size. I'm nearly 6 foot but have a slight upper body.

On another note, do you use SPD style cycling shoes? I'm on the hunt for SPD shoes that are also comfortable to walk around in. I'm not sure they actually exist but one can always hope. Is it unrealistic to expect to be able to hike for a few hours in cycling shoes? Maybe I'm trying to be too much of a weight weeny.

Thanks again for your feedback Ron.
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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:47 pm

Majohn wrote:Thanks Ron. I assumed it would be required.

I really enjoyed your first NZ journal. I will read the other tomorrow.

I wish there was somewhere in Brisbane that stocked the SP jacket so I could check on sizing. Hopefully it fits true to size. I'm nearly 6 foot but have a slight upper body.

On another note, do you use SPD style cycling shoes? I'm on the hunt for SPD shoes that are also comfortable to walk around in. I'm not sure they actually exist but one can always hope. Is it unrealistic to expect to be able to hike for a few hours in cycling shoes? Maybe I'm trying to be too much of a weight weeny.

Thanks again for your feedback Ron.

No, I don't think there are any SP stockists in Australia. Best place to order is direct from SP.

Your jacket needs to be roomy to allow for underlayers, and to allow air to circulate for good ventilation, so a bit of extra room is not a bad thing. But since most Americans are on the larger side, use the SP sizing chart and you should be fine.

Yes, you can get SPD shoes suitable for walking. I take only one pair - extra shoes are bloody inconvenient to carry. I'm currently using Northwave Expedition GTX - these have a Goretex lining to keep water out, and a Vibram sole as used by all good hiking shoes. The SPD cleats crunch a bit on the trail but that doesn't bother me - I wear them all day every day on tour, and I've hiked 10km or so with them in complete comfort. This model has been superceded now but the current version, the Northwave Explorer GTX, looks to be just as good.

Shimano also offer an equivalent in the MT-71. I have a pair of these, worn twice which are too small for me if you are interested in saving a few dollars. Size 46 I think they are. Edit: Actually they are MT-60's the previous model - the same but different.

Also I usually carry a pair of thongs to wear in campground showers (these can sometimes be pretty grotty) and around camp. Last tour I had to ford several river crossings and found these Zen Oxygen barefoot running shoes which I posted about here. Just the ticket - very lightweight and pack completely flat, and not damaged by water.

I've posted in other threads about softshell jackets and Ground Effect clothing - all well worth looking in to.
Last edited by RonK on Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby il padrone » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:07 pm

RonK wrote:
Majohn wrote:Thanks Ron. I assumed it would be required.

I really enjoyed your first NZ journal. I will read the other tomorrow.

I wish there was somewhere in Brisbane that stocked the SP jacket so I could check on sizing. Hopefully it fits true to size. I'm nearly 6 foot but have a slight upper body.


No, I don't think there are any SP stockists in Australia. Best place to order is direct from SP.

Originality Uniforms in Melbourne used to be able to supply it. I don't know whether they still will but they still list one of the Showers Pass range on their web-site. Prices? No idea.

From your description of yourself you're probably not too different to me. An M size in the Elite 2.1 would fit fine.


Re shoes, I have hiked around Uluru, through Kata Tjuta, and did the gorge-top walk of Kings Canyon all in Keen Commuter SPD sandals and they were fine. Each of these walks was about 3 hours duration. I carry these as well as my regular Shimano MT33 as I value a change of shoes for comfort at the end of a day's riding.
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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:31 am

Majohn wrote:On another note, do you use SPD style cycling shoes? I'm on the hunt for SPD shoes that are also comfortable to walk around in. I'm not sure they actually exist but one can always hope. Is it unrealistic to expect to be able to hike for a few hours in cycling shoes? Maybe I'm trying to be too much of a weight weeny.


I climbed Burringurah (Mt Augustus) in my Northwave Drifter GTX  (Gore-Tex) MTB shoes. I am comfortable doing a few hours to a days walk in them, maybe longer.

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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby Tim » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:58 am

Majohn wrote:... that stocked the SP jacket so I could check on sizing. Hopefully it fits true to size. I'm nearly 6 foot but have a slight upper body.


When you say slight, how slight?
I am only 5 foot 6 (maybe 7) and weigh 61 Kilos. The medium fits me well with room to move and extra layers. All puffed up I measure 38 inches around the chest.
ilpadrone weighs in about the same as me but is a fair bit taller. He wears a medium too.
By today's standards that is very slight for males.
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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby Warin » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:12 pm

There are two things I think of when considering rain - how much rain and how many days/month.. oh a third thing - does it happen at one time of day (monsoonal rain usually occurs around 4 pm .. then goes away leaving things cool for the night).

For South Ise of NZ .. west coast .. gets about the same rain fall as Tully QLD.. you'd not plan on riding there without good wet weather gear. I.E. 10meters per year. Nice and green :)
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Re: Waterproof rain jacket - Are they a required item for NZ

Postby rifraf » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:44 pm

Another user and fan of the Northwave Drifter and Showers Pass jacket.

NZ is often a soak pit, especially in the last half of winter through spring.

Very important (IMHO) to take/utilise easy dry clothing when developing your layering system.

As has been said, West Coast of South Island has very high annual rainfall.
I remember going from Westport to Karamea for the first time and being astounded by the tiny size of their houseside water tanks.
A couple of weeks without rain in those parts is considered a drought.
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