Quick-Drying Outfits

For summer rainstorms, a quick-drying outfit is more important than a good raincoat. Who wants to wear a coat when it’s so hot outside? The sweat and humidity is worse than the rain. Ick.

I was wearing this outfit below last week when unexpected rain hit just as I left work. Five minutes into my ride, the rain stopped and the sun came out. I was pretty wet, not quite soaked, but by the time I got home 20 minutes later, I was completely dry. Very impressive quick-drying performance from my Patagonia skirt and top. I looked at the tag and they’re made of polyester. Boy, that fabric has come a long way since the 70’s.

As I set out for work yesterday morning, a sprinkle turned into a downpour, soaking me. I had to wring out my shirt after I locked my bike. Unfortunately, I was wearing Lululemon yoga capri pants and top. Despite laying them out to dry all day, they were still damp (and mildewy) at the end of the day. Whatever fabric those are made of is good for yoga movement, terrible for bike commuting in the rain. I chose to wear my office skirt and blouse for the ride home.

My shoes and riding gloves are still drying, too. I should stick to my Keen commuter sandals instead of regular sneakers for wet summer weather.

Funny how I’ve been bike commuting for three years and I’m still learning this stuff. ‘Cause I keep forgetting. :)

Who else forgoes typical rain gear in the summer? What kinds of clothes and accessories have you found best for quick-drying?

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18 thoughts on “Quick-Drying Outfits

  1. Annie says:

    I have bike sandals too and they are a necessity if my feet must dry out (and air out-phew) for the sticky summer ride home from work. I like silk or rayon tank tops also, but definitely not cotton t-shirts. The shorts are either spandex or cotton, depending on which ones I choose. The black color itself retains the heat and dries quickly. I do also carry my rain gear as a back up. My ride is 11 miles each way and I don’t want to get too chilled if I’m caught in a monsoon!

  2. Jen says:

    The newspaper trick is a good tip, there’s nothing worse than biking in wet shoes.

    I wear spandex, and they always dry pretty fast. I carry a bandana with me too- a good lightweight option for keeping your head dry.

    Getting caught in the rain on the way home is fun, I just hate getting unexpectedly rained on heading into work.

  3. Dave says:

    I have a number of vintage nylon (or cotton/nylon blend) button-up shirts that also dry really quickly, and a pair of thin cotton pinstripe trousers that I wear often during the summer, both because they are light, and they dry quickly. I also am usually wearing leather shoes of some sort when going to and from work, so they do well in short rain bursts. We have a lot of those sort of 15 minute spurts here during the spring and early summer, so I usually carry my umbrella, but I try to wear as few clothes as I can, so I don’t kill myself on the way home if it’s 95 with direct sun all the way.

    To be honest, if the temperature is above 70 degrees, I actually like getting rained on :) Of course, it can be a problem if you’re on your way to work, but I get rained on while heading to work all the rest of the year too, and I seem to manage just fine :)

  4. Dave says:

    Or they might be polyester/cotton blends, I forget… anyway… :) I’m wearing one of them now, but don’t want to un-tuck to get to the tag, sorry :)

  5. David says:

    I usually have a to-work-shirt, and a go-home-shirt, all year round. And I alway keep a few at-work-shirts, at work.
    But yes, if it’s raining I wear the quick-drying variety of shirts anyway, or wear a light rain-cape.

    In summer I wear shorts by Columbia, that are a very light nylon or something. Anyway, they dry literally in minutes. I have Axiom, “stormfront” waterproof panniers, 100% waterproof, huge, I love them.

    Shoes have been tough for me. But definitely easier in the summer, because I don’t have to worry about cold feet.
    So the other day I wore “aqua socks”, I think that’s what you call them, from Target. They have a sole, like shoes, but I guess are a type of water wear. They are not waterproof but very water friendly.

    Also, I pack for back up, some “crocs” flip-flop type of thing. Don’t matter if those get wet.
    Been lucky so far, no torrential downpours. But I’ll get caught in some, still a lot of summer left.

  6. Reuben says:

    On days when were expecting a warm 70 degree F downpour, I’ll often choose to just wear a swimming suit and plan to get soaked. Of course, this only works well for commuting where I know I have showers and a change of clothes at both ends of the trip…

  7. Scott says:

    synthetic fibers = yuck!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I have noticed some nice pieces at titlenine.com that at least advertise quick drying qualities- if you search for “dry” some items show up that look promising!

  9. martha p says:

    favorite, favorite, pants from athleta – I have both summer and winter version (fleece lined – yum). I can’t quite wear them to my corporate job, but that is not the fault of the pants.

    http://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=46800&pid=683761&vid=1&scid=683761032

  10. connie says:

    I usually bike in gym shorts and a tank top and change when I get to work. My co-workers do the same. Rain is not the only contender… sweat is a big factor in picking out good ‘bike clothes’

  11. Maureen says:

    Just gotta say, “Great outfit”!

  12. Karen says:

    I don’t really own rain gear, though I should. In the summer, I wear a lot of Patagonia, very fashionable in a mountain town. Most of their clothes dry very quickly. Sweating is not a big problem in an arid climate and when monsoon season arrives the rains are heavy but short and I can usually find a place to stop and have a cup of coffee. For me, the more critical season is winter, when I have to combat the cold.

  13. Robert Linthicum says:

    The challenge with these quick-drying synthetics (I like them, too–the Craft zip-neck undies are great as jerseys) is that you have to make a deal with the stink-devil to wear them. Even if you are meticulously clean before a commute, oh lordy do those things get stinky in just a few minutes, and have to be laundered after every use.

    Because of the too-much-laundry thing, I end up grabbing woolies almost every time. I’m not necessarily recommending this, but woolies can be worn maaaaany times before there is any detectable trace of “mustiness”. And they dry pretty quickly, too, but admittedly not nearly as quickly as the synthetics.

  14. lgnd clothing…

    […]Quick-Drying Outfits « Let's Go Ride a Bike – life on two wheels: simple. stylish. fun.[…]…

  15. cycler says:

    When there’s a chance of rain, I definitely try to wear skirts no matter the temperature. Tights or bare legs dry really fast :)
    Sometimes when the weather is bad, it is tempting to wear jeans in the winter, but those are the worst if you get wet.

  16. Vikash says:

    For men, Haggar makes these great Cool 18 Pants. They’re standard slacks but are made of wicking material and dry fast. They also have elastic hidden in the waistband so they actually adjust to different body positions (i.e. walking and biking) well.

    Bike grease barely shows on my black pair.

  17. ladyfleur says:

    How true! You often don’t know how an outfit will perform until you’ve gotten caught in a downpour.

    Quick tip: To dry out shoes fast, stuff them with newspaper. The newspaper will wick all the water out of the shoes, and they’ll be dry in just a few hours.

  18. cycler says:

    darn, they only come in 34L. I was hoping to get some for the Scientist, but there just aren’t many options when your inseam is 36″

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