• Xenia

Rain skirt

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

December 8, 2016:

Rains has started here, which means I'm again concerned with rain gear.

Current problem is that pants are getting wet below the hem of the raincoat, not only because they are simply exposed to the rain itself, but also cause the water is dripping down the edge of a coat. 

Hem of a coat is too soft, has no structure and doesn't hold shape, so naturally when you are walking under the rain it moves across legs in all directions and rubs water into pants , edge itself becoming wet from the inside too.

So there is whole mess that needs to be resolved.

One way would be adding something that will give structure to the hem, maybe even just a drawstring, thick shock cord (shock cord not for elasticity, but because it has more body than other cords). Less realistic, but luring idea is to have an inflatable tube at the hem, so that it acts almost like an umbrella over the lags.

Other way would be to have a separate piece of raingear covering laps, like rain pants or rain skirt. Or even kind of over knee rain gaiters , which are easier to put on rather than pants. I have experimented with rain skirt, will continue that way and will try to add cord to my coat too.


UPDATE: June 27, 2017

I have finally made a proper rain skirt, as a solution for the problem of water running of the jacket and straight to the pants, or skirt, which is pretty unpleasant and makes you cold during the rain. 

 I used a very simple conical one-piece construction, draw string at the waist, zipper in the vertical seam as a closure. The skirt is rotationally symmetric, you could have zipper in front, on the side or on the back or in any position in between. 

It had not yet been tested in a heavy rain, but it proved very useful in strong winds. We were taking sailing classes and the wind is a desirable thing there, wind breaker helps with the upper part of the body, but lower one could severely cool down, so that overall you would be cold. The skirt solved it, the windproof pants would have done it too, but donning the skirt was way faster and simpler than pants, when I was at the helm I had to ask somebody to take hold of the helm for 30 seconds, I donned the skirt right there and resumed my helmsman responsibilities.

  Besides, rain skirt is way more suitable for women in an urban environment, men wear only pants, so rain pants can always fit over it, but women wear much wider variety of clothes: dresses, skirts, high-volume pants, all of which could be effectively covered with the rain skirt.

Wind must be about 15 knots on the left photo:

I made the skirt from the same wpb fabric as my cycling rain anorak, they look unexpectedly cute together.


UPDATE: September 16, 2019

I've had the combination of the rain anorak, rain skirt and snow gaiters recently as my rain kit during a recent hiking trip in Alps.

And...it failed me.

I'm downgrading it to a 'light rain' kit from being light 'rain kit'. Why?

When it's pouring continuously for hours - the capillary action due to mesh surface of the fabric is so strong as to bring water inside along all the hems. Chest zipper, regardless of internal flap as well as taped seams - leaked, might be due to rubbing of sternum strap and pushing water through zipper middle. As well overlap of the skirt and gaiters was not sufficient which resulted in wet knees and eventually me stopping the planned day route in the middle and taking train instead.

And here is my new ultralight non breathable rain kit: two plastic rain coats, one worn regularly, one fashioned as a skirt.


Luckily that was the only rainy day during the whole trip and I didn't have to hike in the plastic bag.


What I've learned?

- Fabric should be as smooth as possible, it's not new knowledge, but I learned it hard way

- For strong and long rain a non-breathable poncho would be way more useful than a jacket

- I need to make rain mitts

- I need to make a proper rain pants or even a rain coverall (I had this idea for years, one garment protecting whole body and not restricting any mobility, it would be like diving dry suit)