I am traveling to Ireland next fall and having a hard time finding a reasonable, good, warm raincoat. Any suggestions?
Try REI (rei.com). They have their own brands that I think are great quality. Consider getting a lighter weight, higher quality water proof shell and wear layers underneath. This reduces the bulkiness of your coat and actually keeps you warmer.
Try Lands End. I bought raincoats from them before our first trip to Ireland in 2001, and they are the greatest! Ours are the slicker-type, and the hood has a bill to keep rain out of your face. Mine is still my favorite raincoat and looks like new.
Unless youre looking for a business-y looking London Fog style - id look for anything with breathable-gortex in it (I like Mountain Hardwear)... LL Bean also has some very affordable ones. Some are just shells - and pack very lite - others have build in fleece-like material (make sure thats breathable and/or whicking as well - to keep you dry and comfy!)
I looked this past spring at every possible place and ended up with a man's size Columbia Sportswear. I wanted lots of pockets, a hood, not too heavy (better to layer your clothes), and it had to be long enough to cover my bum. I got it at Fred Meyer at 30% off. Watch for sales.You also want to be able to stuff the coat into a daypack and a bulky one isn't easy. The one I got has a great side zip pocket on the chest and my camera could be slid into the pocket very easily. The closest one that came to it was an Eddie Bauer. Wait until next spring to buy the coat.
Forget warm. Go for wind and water proof (not water resistant)with a hood and long enough to cover your bottom. In the stores ask for a light-weight parka.
Use a shirt and sweater as layers for warmth. If you are still cold, add a knit hat, scarf and gloves as needed.
Bringing a heavy coat takes away your option to go lighter in relatively nice weather. It also adds bulk to your load.
Thanks so much everyone!! I just love all the great people on this site :)
You might want to look at a company called Frogg Toggs. They make good lightweight raingear. Also the online store Sierra Trading Post often has discounts on top of their usual discounted prices and sell Gore-Tex and other waterproof/windproof jackets/shells.
I got a Gortex Columbia one at Costco that I really liked. Got it about 6 months ago and haven't been able to find a replacement since mine went missing. It was great and not too expensive. I think it was under $50 CAD.
It had a detachable fold up hood and deep pockets. It was lightweight and compact. With warm but thin, removable layers underneath, it was a great versatile jacket!
I wish I could tell you a model name or number but unfortunately I can't. I've learned my lesson...When I find a great piece of Travel clothing, buy two or three if it's a really good deal.
I've found some decent stuff at Costco and Sam's Club from time to time. It's worth a look!
Another reason not to spend a lot on a raincoat or to get too heavy/bulky a raincoat is that you might not even need one in the fall. We just returned from an Ireland trip in late Sept/early Oct and only got rained on a couple of times, and for only a few minutes each time.
I purchased a Columbia Sportwear waterproof raincoat which was very light weight but....it was light blue. Do NOT purchase a light color raincoat for your travels IF you are going to climb bell towers, go underground or be rubbing your arms along a wall makes for a dirty coat. MY mistake!! Ireland is very unpredictable for weather. One year in September we had only a couple days rain. Another year we had about 3/4 of our 3 weeks with rain and high winds. The Cliffs of Moher was NOT fun with the high winds and rain but made for good pictures of us trying to stand up straight! Just make sure your coat is waterproof, then layer over a T-neck and sweater.
I second all the recommendations that you get Gortex. It makes all the difference. Check out the hoods as you'll be using it. Some of my walking friends get the pants too, but I just wear pants that dry fast. If you're doing any off road walking get Gortex boots too. When your feet are warm yours legs don't seem to matter so much. Don't let the rain stop you!
I looked at my photos to see what brands we were wearing.
My 16 year old son had a Nike windbreaker/raincoat. It had no insulation but had a hood and went past the pockets on his pants. It worked well when combined with warm layers.
My 12 year old son wore a fleece lined Addidas warm-up jacket. It was about waist length with no hood. It was a little warmer than the Nike but no hood wasn't a great idea. It was water resistant, which wasn't enough when it was even lightly raining.
My wife wore an REI parka with a light wool felt lining. It went down past her butt and had a hood. It worked well overall with layers when needed.
I had a stadium jacket/raincoat from the Gap. I took it because it was dressy enough to wear with nicer clothes. It had no lining, no hood and was only waist length. I didn't miss the lining but the hood and slightly longer would have been appreciated.
My wife and 16 year old had the better choices.
THANKS so much to everyone who replied! You have all been very helpful :)