Do I need my rain gear on this trip?
My answer to that is always going to be a YES!
One of the favorite sayings in Texas is “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 20 minutes, it will change. There have been so many times in my last 12 years of shooting sporting clays that I was very grateful that I had my rain gear! I try to live by the mantra of “better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it...and I know the local sporting goods stores are more than welcome to take your money when the weather changes for the worst, but I want to save my money for more ammo!
This review is from my experience in Sporting Clays or other target shooting – for hunting, fishing or something a bit more hard-core, that will have to be covered in another column!
When I went to France for the World FITASC in 2011 in July, I took my Barbour jacket and tall rubber LaCrosse boots and ended up wearing them every day! It turned out to be about 55 degrees and rained several times, after a much warmer forecast the week before when I was packing! Some of the Texas boys didn’t even bring jackets because hey, it’s hot in Texas in July, forgetting that an hour north of Paris puts you about half way up in Canada on our continent.
So when I went looking for a new pair I had a few requirements – for the pants I wanted wide legs, thin enough to not make me hot, but thick enough to keep me warm when I got cold and wet, a long zipper at the bottom of each leg so I could slide them on without taking off my shoes/boots.
I found a great pair of North Face pants that fit all those requirements and also have a strip of Velcro at the bottom that allows me to tighten them if I need to – great for the summer time when I’m wearing shorts and flipflops instead of jeans and boots! I would say for my next pair that I would like to have an opening that I could reach through to get to my jeans/shorts.
For a jacket, I wanted a full zip up rather than a pull-over and while I found a bunch that were pretty much perfect, I went with color as my primary driver and picked the Columbia jacket in green. Make sure you get Waterproof - not just Water Resistant! I know Cheryl Hall from England got completely soaked at that shoot in France because her jacket was only "water resistant" and just couldn't hold up to the steady rain. She ended up just shooting in her polo shirt because her jacket was so wet.
The best part with both of these pieces is that they fold up and roll up so nice and small that they barely take up any room in my gun bag.
The best rain gear is the stuff you have with you when it rains…so don’t forget to take it with you!
An umbrella is always good to pack also – I used mine recently during my FITASC event at the World English Sporting Championships in Florida as a sun shade – 92 degrees and humid with no clouds and no shade trees - it definitely helped!Originally Published May. 1st 2015