As an urban commuter, one of the worst things that can happen is getting caught up in rain unprepared, which I’ve done in the past. A lot.
But now, I’ve learned from my mistakes, and I’m ready to share with you what I think are the best waterproof urban commute essentials to have on a rainy day.
Urban Commute Essentials #1 Raincoat or Poncho
This should be a pretty obvious one, but people still mess this step up. When you buy a raincoat or poncho, you have to make sure that the materials are waterproof, or at least water-resistant. While fabrics like wool and cotton are breathable and natural, they will absorb the rain and you’ll feel gross the rest of the day.
Raincoat Materials That’ll Do the Job
You’re better off choosing a polyester jacket or polyurethane jacket, as these are the best options for water repelling. Nylon is okay, but it won’t hold much against downpour weather.
Find the Right Coat Length
Another tip when looking for jackets is to find something that is around mid thigh length and non-constricting. You’ll find that when you walk around the city, it’s better to have a shorter length hem. The longer it is, the more cumbersome it is to move around.
Another outerwear option you may like is ponchos. They’re great for conveniently storing a poncho in your backpack, and can go over any clothing article. The only downside is that you may not have as much coverage as a jacket.
Probably the best thing about raincoats is that they come in a variety of colors and prints, so you can really find something that speaks to you. Here are a few options that you can choose from.
Cole Haan Back Bow Hooded Raincoat – $129
North Face Berrien Waterproof Jacket – $120
1 Madison Contrast Cuff Fishtail Anorak – $109
French Connection Drape Back Trench Coat – $69
Urban Commute Essentials #2 Rainboots or Waterproof Shoes
Everyone needs a good pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes. While there are many shoes that claim to be water resistant, nothing beats the protection that rubber rain boots offer.
Styles of Waterproof Boots
Coming in at different heights, rain boots look good on any body type, from petite to large. Like raincoats, boots come in different styles and patterns. Some more modern rain boots are ankle height, made to look like a Chelsea boot. Duck boots are another popular style that I see around.
If you live in much colder climates, a winter boot might be smarter. Rain boots don’t always offer the best traction against rain, and especially against the snow. Rainboots just keep your feet dry–if you need warmth, it might not be the style for you.
Picking A Size
The last tip I have to offer when it comes to rain boots is to pay attention to sizing. Depending on the brand, some boots run smaller or larger. For the most part, if you plan on wearing thick socks with rain boots, go a half or full size up if recommended. But if you live in a humid climate, then stay in your size and wear thin socks.
Hunter Original Tall – $150
Sam Edelman Tinsley – $54
Sorel 1964 Premium Boot – $139
Urban Commute Essential #3 Commuter Laptop Backpack That’s Waterproof
Protecting your things is just as important as protecting your body. That’s why I prefer backpacks that are made of waterproof materials. I no longer use canvas, cotton, or leather bags simply because I don’t feel confident putting my laptop and other electronics in them.
Waterproof Materials to Look For in Backpacks
Polyester, tarpaulin, and polyurethane materials work well to protect your gear from rain. Another indicator of good rain protection are the zippers of backpacks, so be sure you read the description. YKK zippers are among the most popular in waterproof backpacks because they prevent water leaks.
Waterproof Backpack Styles That are Practical
There are many styles of waterproof backpacks for the urban commute. But a lot of the backpacks usually marketed towards women seem to be impractical, in my opinion. Yeah, they look cute, but they’re not going to hold everything that I need to carry.
That’s why a waterproof commuter laptop backpack seems to be the right choice. It has just what I need. A laptop compartment to help keep my computer from shifting around while I’m walking. Commuter backpacks are also great for organizing with their endless compartments.
Just Porter Streeter Backpack – $169
Incase Icon Backpack – $199
Timbuk2 Especial Tres – $209
Urban Commuter Accessories #1 Compact Umbrella
This isn’t so much an essential as it is an optional accessory. It may seem like overkill to have an umbrella and a raincoat, but in my experience, umbrellas can be life savers.
If it pours hard enough, you can’t possibly look in front of you. If you wear a hood, you’ll have to face the ground to prevent water from pouring all over your face. An umbrella is the answer to this dilemma. You’ll be able to look ahead of you, and more easily avoid running into pedestrians and traffic.
Another way an umbrella can come in handy is to protect your bottom half from sudden water splashes from speeding cars. This is one of the worst things a driver can do, and it happens often. At the very least an umbrella can act as a barrier from the wall of water.
Stormproof Travel Umbrella – $17
ShedRain Mini Umbrella – $15
Urban Commuter Accessories #2 Waterproof Smartwatch or Waterproof Phone Case
If you have the budget to spare, I highly recommend a waterproof smart watch as a rainy day must have. You may not always be able to check your phone without risking drenching it. Even in the train, it gets cramped on a rainy day, and it’s difficult to both put your umbrella away, grab your phone.
Smart watches have become a convenient way to go handless. Commuting can get hectic and the more hands you have available, the better. Smart watches are also great for health monitoring if that’s something you’re interested in.
If this seems like too much of a splurge, then I recommend a waterproof phone case or pouch. This way you’ll be able to check your phone to stay updated on traffic and train changes without wetting your phone.
Apple Watch Series 2 – $369
Travelon Waterproof Smart Phone Pouch – $10