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Keep warm and dry: leisure clothing to beat the elements

From rain-resistant jackets to thermal bodysuits, weather should hold no barriers

The best brands, rain-resistant jackets and woolly warmers to ensure we remain dry and cosy. Photograph: iStock

The best brands, rain-resistant jackets and woolly warmers to ensure we remain dry and cosy. Photograph: iStock

 

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing,” so said Alfred Wainwright, the famous guidebook author in his famous Lakeland Fells book. Mountain climbers, hillwalkers and morning sea swimmers also insist the elements should hold no barriers to our ambitious outdoor activities. Even the pandemic helped more of us to rediscover the pleasures of the raw countryside and the attraction of cycling, jogging and surfing. So where can we find the best brands, rain-resistant jackets and woolly warmers to ensure we remain dry and cosy to fully enjoy the experience?

The Surfdock shop has a range of super dryrobes that are riding a wave of popularity for water sport enthusiasts. Once you emerge from the waves frozen to the gills like a Findus fish finger just wrap this wonder robe around your shoulders and feel immediately defrosted. The premium Dry Robe Advance with its long sleeves and added padding (€150) is for the committed dawn sea swimmer while the kids’ version costing (€100) provides an essential fabric hug after a dip.

Dryrobe €150 from Surfdock
Dryrobe €150 from Surfdock

For less pricey options try out Robie Robes in a towelling style for €45 or the Billabong wraps and ponchos from wetsuitoutlet.com.

Hiking

Committed hillwalkers who head for the mountain peaks should invest in suitable rain-proof gear and thermal bodysuits. These include waterproof Gore-Tex jackets and rain trousers, thermal hats, gloves and a decent pair of Timberland walking boots. The North Face has a range of wind and rain-resistant gear for the hardy pavement plodder.

The North Face Retro Nuptse Jacket is very popular and comes in black as well as brighter two-tone shades for urban pedestrians who like drinking outside or watching rugby or GAA matches. For a more water-resistant style check out the Himalayan Search and Rescue jacket for €400 or the super snug insulated Dryvent version at €350. Timberland have a reputation for a solid pair of Euro Sprint Hiker boots and the Great Outdoors has a selection of trek and waterproof hiking boots by Scarpa, Morrell and Meindl. These are ideal all-terrain styles in hardy nubuck or full-grain leather to take on the muck and mayhem of trekking.

The Lena High Rise and Cora Bra set fom Leyo
The Lena High Rise and Cora Bra set fom Leyo

Yoga

The ubiquitous jolly jogger tends to be a fashion conscious outdoor species and requires just a couple of key items to look the part. So if you want that Gigi Hadid or Kendall Jenner street cred effect it’s worth choosing well. Most of us are familiar with Lululemon, a favourite with fashionistas who like to flaunt figure-hugging gymwear. The exclusive label is available in Brown Thomas or online with lots of curvy shapes and super hold lycra. The super high-rise leggings are stretchy and comfortable for €98 and made of tough stuff for everyday washing and active wear. The Lululemon Align tank top at €48 is also popular along with an oversized sweater for post session posing.

For yoga and gym lovers, theIrish Leyo yoga brand founded in Galway by mum and daughter Leah Tiernan and Orla Moore is flexible and stylish. The duo wanted to create a refined brand to rival the internationals and created the collection with breathable fabrics and contemporary design. The Lena High Rise and Cora Bra set looks gorgeous and comes in a black and beige colour. There are neon lime green leggings for just €60 and a whole range of stunning styles in their sales section.

Green and white jersey €42.99, cycling shorts €19.99 Cycletribe.ie
Green and white jersey €42.99, cycling shorts €19.99 Cycletribe.ie

Cycling

Committed cyclists are particular about their professional clobber and there is a mind-boggling list of items to buy from overshoes, biker skins and go-faster jerseys to cycling gloves, helmets and goggles. Whether you are taking part in the Tour de France or free-wheeling to the local pub – you are looking at a list of clothing. The online shop Cycletribe.ie has a top notch list of brands. Choose a base layer top for winter with thermal properties to keep warm while also transporting moisture away from your body. The Bodyfit Pro base layer is cosy or a long-sleeved jersey for €39.99. Add in shorts from Altura Peloton and Sidi Alba shoes and hop on the saddle in style. The Rogelli Rain pants keeps you dry at €99 with a light shower jacket such as the Dryride label.

Skiing

Trespass is the stand-out shop for those heading off to the slippery ski slopes abroad – a popular winter break for Irish college students. Unfortunately, parents are often snowballed with the bills so it’s worth tracking down the best value out there. The Helly Hansen ski pants for women are comfy and come in black. Then there are the Flourish ski jackets and Whirlibird ski gloves. The ski slopes are unforgiving for those not kitted out sufficiently – dreaded frostbite, sunburn and hypothermia await for the unprepared. Tommy Tiernan is hilarious at slagging the Irish brigade who emerge on the slopes clad head to toe in Aldi. With the eyewatering price tags on some of the gear, Aldi should be your first port of call.

Cable Aran Dress with Cowl neck €109 from Aran Woollen Mills
Cable Aran Dress with Cowl neck €109 from Aran Woollen Mills
Blue cashmere wrap from Ekotree Knitwear
Blue cashmere wrap from Ekotree Knitwear

Woollens

For those who prefer local sedentary lifestyles, sipping mulled wine, hot toddies cocooned in cashmere wraps and woollen capes – check out the gorgeous Ekotree Knitwear collection based in Co Clare. Their supersoft cashmeres and fabulous baby pink wrap shawls will make you feel like an eco-warrior in sheep’s clothing along the Wild Atlantic Way. Kerry Woollen Mills is one of the last surviving traditional woollen mills still manufacturing in the beautiful Kerry countryside. Established more than 300 years ago to alleviate local poverty, the legendary mill draws on River Gweestin for turbine power and the water to wash and dye its wool. Couch surfers can snuggle up in a layer of 100 per cent wool blankets as well as lambs wool tartan dressing gowns, mohair slippers, Healy Rae tweed caps, beanies and woolly mufflers. Now that’s a leisure pursuit worth bleating about!