Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing "Spot the Tramper"

Does this jacket make me look fat?

Have I mentioned that it's winter here? Well, this week it's raining buckets. Rain and more rain, and just to break up the monotony, we occasionally get a bit of thunder and lightning.

This is not so unusual for winter in Wellington. We don't get snow, but we get rain. We also get wind. Strong wind. Gale force wind. Which means that umbrellas are pretty much useless, unless you like to watch them get turned inside-out and fly away.

So you'd expect people to take other precautions - maybe have a good raincoat. And yet, you'd be surprised how many people don't seem to own any waterproof outerwear (or underwear I presume) at all.

During a good rainy spell, I like to play "spot the tramper" on my way to and from work. It's not hard. The trampers are the people wearing waterproof breathable jackets. They've got the hoods up. Heck, they may even throw a pair of rain pants over their workwear if they're walking far.

Other folks may have rain jackets, but you can tell that they're either plastic, or not really waterproof. But here and there you spot the Mountain Hardware, the Arc'teryx, the Earth Sea Sky. Sometimes the colours are questionable, sometimes they look like they've seen a few too many storms. But the trampers' jackets are unmistakeable.

I'm happy to wear my tramping rain jacket in the city. It's a delightful red colour, and actually looks pretty snappy. But I chose the colour as much for the fact that it would make me easy to spot wandering lost in the woods, as for its ability to complement my wardrobe.

What's good for the wilderness (bright colours, full coverage) doesn't always look right in the city. So do you shop with both uses in mind, or do you buy another jack for city use, or do you just wear something ugly, hold your head high, and say "I own this ugly jacket because I'm a rugged, outdoorsy person!"

I'm not sure I could hit the streets in blaze orange, but for those of you who can - good on ya!


Mike said...

Hey I like your blog, which I just discovered (thanks to Google Alerts).

I think what really gives it away is having a big stripe of electrical tape holding things together. (That's the case with my rainy pants, anyway, which had a bad encounter with my gaiters one day.) The strange thing is that 90% of the time I'm wearing them is around town, because I tend to only wear them in strong wind and snow when tramping.

One day I'm planning to buy an umbrella just so I can take it to a windy ridge in the Ruahines for a good photo op. That'll be fun.

Maple Kiwi said...

Better take that photo op fast - an umbrella won't last long on top of the Ruahines!