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Rain Wear for England

I've been practice-packing. I'm wondering if anyone packs a poncho instead of a rain coat or jacket? Or are ponchos just too much "HEY LOOK! I'M A TOURIST!"

Posted by
6777 posts

Frankly, the most obvious sign of a tourist in the rain would be carrying a Union Jack umbrella. There must be a million shops selling them, and two million tourists all at the same time with them. One actually would be a nice souvenir, but only if it was sturdy enough to hold up to some wind and truly be waterproof.

As far as garments, use what works. I’m partial to a longer raincoat myself. Mine’s light and packable, but still offers good protection from head to thigh. I’m not a fan of hoods (they really limit my vision), so a poncho won’t work for me. Getting splashed needs to be considered.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for your imput! I do have a nice, lightweight, lined raincoat that covers my... er, assets... though I'm trying to shave some bulk from my bag.

Posted by
4010 posts

I already had 2 of these Eddie Bauer Packable Rainfoil jackets last year:

But I became concerned about butt coverage so I got this Girl on the Go Trench Coat in Twilight (dark blue) and I was very glad I did:

About the bulk...

Wear it on the plane for extra warmth or comfort and to avoid yucky plane blankets. Use it as a pillow or lumbar support. Attach it to the exterior of your bag, day bag or carry-on.

About umbrellas, ponchos and hoods...

I hate umbrellas. They are useless in real rain, especially with wind. So are light weight ponchos.

I love hoods. They work best with a ball cap under them so that the bill keeps the hood up. On my trip last summer I discovered that they also work well with a watch cap under them because it also keeps them from falling forward on my face. Both worked to keep the hood in the right place and the rain and mist off my glasses.

You don't say when you'll be in England. My experience is that I have never been there when I didn't experience chilly, wet and windy weather somewhere along the way.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for the cap idea!
I have a Columbia Switchback Lined Long Jacket, and since I'm short, it covers the subject well.

I'll be on the Sept. 19-Oct. 2 tour, adding a few days on either end. I plan to plan on rain!

Posted by
2321 posts

I’m a tourist, regardless what I wear. I love the poncho I bought in Sorrento several years ago. It wasn’t cheap so it’s still water proof. Because it’s not fitted like a jacket it will cover my purse and day pack which a rain jacket won’t do and the hood keeps my head dry. I did sew the side seams down a bit so it wouldn’t catch the wind.

Posted by
31008 posts

September has traditionally been one of the driest months, much better than August, but all bets are off these days.

You may find that the beginning of October is cooling off - bring layers

Posted by
4490 posts

I got a fleece-lined lightweight rain jacket at Costco a couple of months ago (Calvin Klein, I think) and it was great for navigating the wet weather of Scotland. It's not overly long but covered my nether region quite well. The hood was the best because I could pull it shut and it really kept the rain off my head.

Ponchos are fine for emergencies but they tend to whip around a lot in the wind (depending on the style) and usually don't fit that well.

Posted by
15 posts

See, I was thinking I could throw the poncho over me and everything else, cinch the hood down, and carry on. Maybe I'll take the poncho for covering all the bases AND the rain jacket for warmth and style!

Posted by
549 posts

Use an umbrella. You will be going in and out of various places. A poncho will be a nuisance to take on and off and will spray water on those nearby as you do it. Then you have to stow a wet poncho as you are in a pub, museum, etc. Your outdoors will be limited to getting between dry places, not walking, walking, through parks and gardens.
Ponchos are dorky in the city.

Posted by
1166 posts

Hi drumminwoman -

I think wearing a poncho in the U.K. would immediately advertise that you were a tourist. My own view on them is that they are OK for some specific uses but the winds and breezes we get here render them useless for most of the time. Don’t forget that U.K. residents have spent large parts of their lives getting soaked through, without benefit of immediate warm sunshine to remedy the situation, so when they suggest ‘good quality rain jacket’ they are often speaking from, sometimes bitter, experience!

I don’t know when you plan to travel but right now it’s generally dry, if a little disappointingly grey following a warm and sunny kick off! Best be prepared for all eventualities though!


Posted by
595 posts

A poncho is fine for a warm weather climate where you just need a little bit of protection from a short sudden downpour.

In the UK, f you’re going to be outside for any length of time walking or sightseeing then you need a proper waterproof jacket. I think an umbrella is pretty pointless unless you’re literally going from a car to a restaurant. The wind is the problem.