are raincoats popular in India, SE Asia and other rain-season places?

the poncho I have is too small to cover backpack and other carry on stuff well, obstructs the view when turning my head, gets disheveled by the wind and generally sucks. Oh, and it costs too much both in Walmart and on Amazon - given how cheap tarp is, I don’t understand why somebody with better hands than me has not yet armed himself with scissors and glue and started a “make a good raincoat if the Chinese don’t bother” type of home business.

Anyway, so for any product it’s good to study the practices of people who have lots of experience with the problem it addresses. For instance, people who live in places that get the rain season must have lots of experience with the problem of torrential rain. They also might be short of money and so desire quality, low cost rainwear.

That’s in theory. So how does it work in practice? Are raincoats or similar clothing popular in South and SE Asia? Do they sell for a lot cheaper there than over here? Do they have any advanced functionality for wind resistance, or is the whole issue moot for a big enough suit?

Supposedly the Chinese character for ‘rain’ 雨 originally depicted a person wearing a raincoat made of straw, being pelted with drops of rain.

I think in a lot of monsoon climates, people do what they would have always traditionally done- wait for the rain to stop before venturing out. In a village situation, heavy rain is going to turn the dirt roads into an impassable swamp and it’s not like the outdoor markets are going to be in swing anyway. Tropical rain usually lasts and hour at best.

Too hot for rain coats.

Think very high humidity and now you have enclosed yourself in a sheet of plastic.

Bring a fold up umbrella, but most of the time, you’ll just run from one sheltered spot to another like the locals do.

Remember its a warm rain. Much different from the rain you are probably used to.

price update - the poncho in question, which sells for $4-10 in various American retailers including Amazon and Walmart, is available on alibaba in bulk for negotiable price of up to $0.74 a piece, with 2000 pieces minimum purchase.

LOL. Who was it that was kept telling me about Walmart strategy of keeping prices low and margins thin? :slight_smile:

Not that this makes this particular poncho any more effective and convenient than what I described above, but at least the price makes some borderline sense.

Don’t wear many raincoats here in Oregon, and our monsoon is cold rain. Except when bicycling, that is. We do a lot of bicycling, but even then we don’t usually wear the poncho-type raingear.

is lack of plastic any help in high humidity? Could it be that with plastic it is as much snafu as without it?

Walmart doesn’t sell those $.99 “emergency ponchos” that come in a ziploc bag? You can get them at most sporting goods stores that have a huntin’ section. They’re basically a glorified garbage bag with a hole in the top, which I suppose is the next slot down in the market. The trick is finding the yellow bags so it’s not as obvious you’re wearing a trash sack!

On the other extreme, the really nice breathable raincoats work great in hot humid rainstorms, but are really expensive which is probably what keeps them out of SE Asia. I think re: super cheap raincoats, the reason why you don’t see them is that if you use cheap poncho-type material, even in cold climates if you’re generating any sweat at all you’ll very soon be wetter on the inside than the outside.

In warm, humid rain you might as well not wear any rain gear. You end up getting wet as much from the sweat as you avoid from the rain if you’re moving. Standing still you can still wear rain gear and not sweat. But you can use an umbrella and still stay moderately dry.

In SE asia, monsoon season doesn’t mean it rains all day, it just means it rains really hard for 15 minutes or so. It’s not a windy rain, either. You probably carry an umbrella in case you get caught out, but generally you just wait a few minutes for the rain to stop. No need for a raincoat. It’s too hot for one, anyway.

My experience is everyone just uses umbrellas. In Japan umbrellas are readily available at almost every store and are extremely cheap. 1-2 bucks and you got yourself a cheap plastic one. I personally don’t mind getting wet so opt not to use one.

Cab drivers in Japan always insist on giving me an umbrella when it’s raining. I attempt to refuse but they insist. So I end up carrying a freaking umbrella anyway, when I’m there.

I have no idea how their umbrella supply works. Do the cab companies supply umbrellas to give to tourist looking people? It’s not like they have a trunk full they just have one or two and they always give me one.

They do? I live in the subtropics and my experience with really nice breathable raincoats is that they are only somewhat better than plastic. They are still so hot that you get soaked from the inside out. Particularly if you are doing any even very moderate exercise like walking.

the poncho is a bit akward to use. in the philippines vinyl one-piece raincoats are still used by children and out-door professionals but most of the latter (i was one) prefer the two-piece type with a trouser pair and a shorter upper coat. they usually come in high-visibility yellow.

Here in Panama no one uses raincoats, at least in the lowlands, where it’s too hot. As others have said, the main strategy when it rains is to run under cover and wait it out (since the heaviest rain usually doesn’t last for more than a half hour). Some people use umbrellas, but most people don’t even bother.

In the highlands, where it’s cooler, people often do use raincoats.

As mentioned, they really don’t. Gore-Tex and that ilk really require a temperature and humidity differential that doesn’t happen in the tropics. They barely work in New England on a hot summer day.

Are you just discovering that things are cheaper in wholesale quantities?

No, this goes back to another thread which code_grey started, in which he was quite certain that Wal-Mart’s prices and margins must be overly inflated, and that there must be a way to undercut Wal-Mart by shipping directly from China.

Yep, no raincoats, farrr too warm and humid. I still have bad memories of my yellow raincoat that I was made to wear when I was little… shudder

Now I carry a small collapseable umbrella that I keep in my bag, but really, I don’t expect to be outdoors too much when it’s raining. Your shoes are going to get drenched, some women keep rubber slippers (think Havaianas) in the office to change into if it’s really bad out and you have to get home.

Anyway the most you usually have to walk is from the train station/bus stop to your office, and from the train station/bus stop to your home. You might be entirely sheltered from the rain for those bits of your journey due to underground malls and covered walkways, especially in the central business district. And you’d look a complete doofus wearing a raincoat in the bus/train.

The really torrential rains last for maybe an hour at the most, although it might drizzle all day.

When I lived in Uganda, the Ugandan field assistants helping out the project I was associated with didn’t have the option of waiting out the rain. Rain gear and particularly gum boots were popular requests when people went into town, and their low quality was a perpetual topic of complaints.

But yeah, everyone else who could wait out the storm did. (Similarly to Tabby Cat’s description, sometimes it really would rain all day, but the torrential rain was rarely more than 30 minutes.)

In Meghalaya[sup]*[/sup], where monsoon season means it does rain all day, there’s a traditional large rain hat called a knup that some people wear. Others use umbrellas, but they don’t seem to mind going about their business in the rain, even when it gets heavier. It is a bit cooler there due to the altitude, so wearing a rain coat might work.

*Indian state which is one of the rainiest locations on the planet. In contrast to Hawaii, where it rains almost every day, the same amount of rain falls there, but most of it in the space of only a few months.